How To Treat Constipation In Betta Fish? (Causes+Symptoms+Prevention)

Constipation is a common issue in a betta fish life. However, it can make your betta fish suffer from a life-threatening condition when left untreated for a long time. 

In this article, we will discuss treating constipation in betta fish, but as we all know, prevention is better than cure. So, with treatment, it is also necessary to know the causes behind constipation and how we can prevent our betta from this issue. 

So, How to treat constipation in betta fish? Let us find out.

Follow these steps to treat betta constipation:

  1. Take a clean container and add some betta tank water to it.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt per 5-gallon water in the container.
  3. Stir the solution until the salt completely dissolves into the water.
  4. Add the solution back to your betta tank. (Treat your betta tank in a hospital tank if it is living in a community tank.)
  5. Keep your betta in that tank for a week or more until you notice improvement.

This article will also discuss the causes and symptoms of constipation and how to prevent constipation in bettas. So, let us get into it. 

Constipation in betta fish

If we try to understand it easily, constipation is the situation in which your betta fish find it hard to lose the stools because of the hardened faeces.

When betta fish is healthy, faeces will sink to the bottom and will not stick to your betta’s body.

Now there can be various reasons behind your betta fish suffering from constipation. Also, your bettas will show symptoms when suffering from constipation which we will discuss in the further article.

What are the symptoms of constipation in betta fish?

All these are the symptoms that your betta fish will show when suffering from constipation:

  1. Your betta fish will have stringy faeces hanging from him.
  2. Your betta will avoid eating and will spit the food.
  3. Your betta fish will become lethargic.
  4. Your betta fish will show a strange swimming pattern.
  5. Your betta belly will appear bloated.

Stringy faeces

The primary symptom of betta fish constipation is stringy faeces hanging in their body, appearing like a thread-like tail.

However, you will be able to detect it if you spend most of the time in front of your betta tank.

When your betta suffers from constipation, it will not be able to pass the waste easily, and the faeces will become stringy, hanging from him.

Avoiding eating

Betta fish suffering from constipation often avoid eating and spit out the food.

Now, spitting out the food is common in betta fish as they do so to break the food down so that it becomes easy for them to digest it.

Yes, if your betta is spitting and completely not eating the food, there can be various issues, and constipation is one of them.

Lack of appetite can be an indication of stress, illness, diseases, and issues like swim bladder disorder and constipation.


Betta fish suffering from constipation will not be interested in moving much.

You will find your betta fish staying at one spot most of the time.

Look for the change of energy in your betta fish, and if you find that your betta fish is less energetic and stays in one place most of the time, constipation can be the reason.

Strange swimming pattern

Constipated betta will have trouble swimming in some cases. 

Now, swim bladder disorder can also be the issue behind your betta fish having trouble swimming.

So, in such cases, knowing all about swim bladder disorder and how to treat it is important.

You can read our article on Treating Swim Bladder Disease In Betta, as it will help you treat your betta fish.

Bloated belly

When fishes suffer from constipation, it prevents them from releasing waste from their stomach.

As time passes, your betta will have a bigger belly.

So, a bloated belly is a clear sign of your betta fish suffering from constipation.

However, make sure that it is not dropsy. Dropsy is a condition in which fish get a swollen belly, and its scale starts sticking out, taking a pinecone-like appearance.

Note: All the symptoms we have discussed above are also the symptoms your betta will show when suffering from other issues like swim bladder disorder, stress, etc. So, first, make sure that your betta is suffering from constipation by detecting that your betta is showing all or more than one symptom of constipation before applying any treatment. 

What are the causes of constipation in betta fish?

All these are the causes of constipation in betta fish:

  1. You are overfeeding your betta fish.
  2. Your betta fish does not have enough exercise.
  3. You are feeding too many flakes and other dry food to your betta.
  4. Your betta fish is not getting enough fibre.
  5. Your betta fish is suffering from swim bladder disorder.


Overfeeding is the common reason behind constipated betta fish.

Bettas are voracious eaters and will eat whenever you serve them food. 

However, you must know that bettas have a stomach size similar to their eye, which means they cannot eat much at a time.

Betta owners usually overfeed their bettas as they think a few pellets will not be enough for them.

But, in reality, feeding a few pellets at a time multiple times a day is an adequate way of feeding your bettas, which will also prevent overfeeding.

Also read: How Often To Feed Betta Fish?

Not enough exercise

Your betta will suffer constipation if it only eats and has little movement.

Fishes need to swim around and exercise for their healthy life and proper growth.

Now, when we talk about betta fish living in the wild, we see that betta lives in shallow places like rice paddies, stagnant ponds, marshals, and slow-streaming rivers.

This makes us believe that betta will do fine in small bowls in captivity, which is not true. Instead, betta fish require large enough space to swim and live comfortably.

Also read: How Many Betta Fish In 5-Gallon Tank?

Feeding too many flakes or other freeze-dried food.

Regularly feeding flakes and other freeze-dried food to your betta fish can also constipate them.

Dry food expands when it meets with moisture, and as we discussed above, bettas are very enthusiastic eaters and will grab the food as soon as you put it in their tank.

Such flakes and dry food will expand in their stomach, resulting in constipation.

Not getting enough fibre.

Betta fish not consuming enough fibre in their diet can also be the reason behind constipation.

Pellets are the common food that everybody considers to feed their bettas and are good for their staple diet.

However, pellets don’t contain all the nutrients. For example, pellets don’t contain enough fibre, and betta, a predatory animal, needs more than pellets.

Feeding live foods to your betta fish once or twice a week will ensure enough fibre and other nutrients that your betta needs. 

Swim bladder disorder

Swim bladder disorder can also be the reason behind constipation in betta fish.

Actually, swim bladder disorder is not a disease. It’s a symptom of other issues your betta fish is going through. 

Swim bladder disease can be the reason behind constipation, and also constipation can be the reason behind swim bladder disorder.

Any internal injury or expansion of organs causes swim bladder disorder. 

When you feed dry food to your bettas, it gets expands on their stomach, enlarging it and causing an effect on their swim bladder.

Can betta fish pass away from constipation?

If left untreated, constipation can be life-threatening in your betta’s life.

Constipation will result in your betta fish not eating, staying in one place, coming under stress, and getting prone to swim bladder disorder.

Stress due to constipation will make your betta fish prone to various diseases and parasites, weakening their immune system, and they will suffer from a life-threatening condition.

In the worst case, your betta fish can even pass away if left untreated for a long time.

How to treat constipation in betta fish?

There are a few ways to treat constipation in betta fish. One is by using Epsom salt, and one is by letting them fast.

Treating betta constipation using Epsom salt:

  1. Collect water from your betta tank and place it in a clean container.
  2. Add one teaspoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water in the container.
  3. Mix the Epsom salt well until it fully dissolves in the water.
  4. Add that solution back into your betta tank.
  5. Follow the process for one week or more until you see the improvement.

Note: If your betta is living in a community tank, consider separating and adding it to a hospital tank, as treating them in a hospital tank will be easy. 

Other ways of treating your betta fish are:

  1. Increasing the water temperature to 80-82 °F (In the case of bettas, these are their ideal water temperature.)
  2. Let them fast for 2-3 days, and then start by feeding them fibre-rich food. Peas and daphnia are good options as they are fibre-rich food.

How to prevent constipation in betta fish?

Ensure all these things to prevent constipation in betta fish:

  1. Avoid overfeeding your betta fish.
  2. Feed your betta fish with a high-quality complex diet.
  3. Provide your betta fish with enough space to swim and live.
  4. Ensure adequate water conditions and parameters.

Avoid overfeeding

Overfeeding can lead to constipation, and we should always avoid overfeeding our betta fish to ensure their healthy life.

To avoid overfeeding your bettas, serve them food in a quantity they can finish eating in one to two minutes.

However, to keep it simple, provide your bettas with 2-3 pellets or any other food twice a day to ensure adequate feeding.

DaysBetta Food
Monday2-3 pellets twice a day
TuesdayLive, freeze-dried, or frozen food 2-3 pieces twice a day
Wednesday2-3 pellets twice a day
Thursday2-3 pellets twice a day
FridayLive, freeze-dried, or frozen food 2-3 pieces twice a day
Saturday2-3 pellets twice a day
SundayLet your betta fish have a fast on Sunday to maintain their appetite.
This table shows the feeding routine for your betta fish from Monday to Sunday.

Also, if you find any leftover food floating in the tank after some minutes of serving the food, immediately take the food outside using a net or anything else. 

Feed a high-quality complex diet.

Feeding your betta fish with only flakes and other freeze-dried food is the primary reason for constipation.

Consider feeding your betta fish with various food to ensure adequate feeding.

There are pellets in the market that are specially made for bettas. 

You can feed your betta with betta pellets, which should be the staple part of their everyday diet.

Live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and larvae should be fed once a week and should not be a staple part of your betta’s diet.

Also, if you are feeding your bettas dry food like flakes and freeze-dried food, consider soaking them in the water before offering them to your betta.

Provide enough space

As discussed above, we have to provide enough room for our betta fish so that they can swim comfortably and do much exercise by swimming all around the tank.

Many of us think that betta can live happily in a small size tank or bowl of 1-2.5 gallons.

However, you must provide your betta fish with a minimum tank size of 5 gallons.

More than 5 gallons will be best for your betta fish. However, we recommend keeping your betta fish in a 10-gallon tank.

Ensure adequate water conditions and parameters.

Poor water conditions and too-cold water temperatures can cause constipation in your betta.

Too cold a water temperature slows down the metabolism of your betta fish, resulting in constipation.

Also, bettas prefer a well-heated tank to thrive.

To ensure good water conditions, ensure all these things:

  1.  Perform a weekly water change of at least 30-35%. (Ensure treating the tap water with a water conditioner to dechlorinate it)
  2. Add a filter with biofilter media to keep the water clean and safe from harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.
  3. Add plenty of live plants to your betta tank.
  4. Perform monthly tank maintenance by cleaning the glass, filter, and other objects in the tank.

Note: When cleaning the filter, make sure not to wash the biofilter media with tap water. Instead, clean it with aquarium water to preserve good bacteria.

Ensure adequate water parameters by ensuring all these:

  1. Maintain the water temperature between 78-82 °F. (Consider adding a heater to your betta tank to ensure stable water temperature.)
  2. The water pH level of your betta tank should be between 7 and 8.
  3. Regularly check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels and maintain ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, whereas nitrate should be below 20 ppm. ( We recommend using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit to regularly check your betta tank’s ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH level as it shows accurate results.)

Also read: How Often To Change Betta Fish Water?


You can treat betta constipation by using Epsom salt and by letting them fast for 2-3 days, and then start by feeding them with fibre-rich food.

There can be various causes behind betta fish constipation, of which poor diet and overfeeding is the primary cause.

Avoid overfeeding, feed a high-quality complex diet, and provide much space to your bettas so they can exercise by swimming much to prevent such issues.

Bloated belly, sticky faeces, lethargy, and swim bladder disorder are the symptoms your betta will show when suffering from constipation.

Reference: Wikipedia, Wikipedia

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