Swim bladder disease is common among many fishes, including betta fish. There can be numerous reasons behind your betta fish suffering from swim bladder disease.
Detecting the cause behind swim bladder disease and treating it according to the issue is necessary as it can be life-threatening for your betta fish once it reaches advanced stages. So, How to treat swim bladder disease in betta? Let us find out.
Antibiotical treatment is necessary if bacteria and parasites are the reason behind swim bladder disease. Fasting and using Epsom salt is required when the reason behind swim bladder disorder is constipation and overfeeding. Ensure good water conditions and avoid overfeeding to prevent such issues.
This article will discuss how to treat swim bladder disease in betta fish. Also, we will discuss the causes and prevention of swim bladder disease. So, let us get into it.
- 1 What is a swim bladder?
- 2 What is swim bladder disease?
- 3 What are the signs of swim bladder disease in betta fish?
- 4 What are the causes of swim bladder disease in betta fish?
- 5 How do you cure swim bladder disease in betta fish?
- 6 How to prevent my betta fish from swim bladder disease?
- 7 How long can betta fish live with swim bladder disease?
- 8 Conclusion:
What is a swim bladder?
The swim bladder, also known as the air bladder, is an internal gas-filled organ that gives the ability to maintain buoyancy to many bony fish like bettas.
Fishes use their swim bladder to stay in one place inside the water and control their buoyancy.
Any issues with the swim bladder will make your fish suffer from swimming properly and maintaining its buoyancy.
What is swim bladder disease?
Swim bladder disease is not properly a disease.
The term disease indicates any minor illness or damage that affects the swim bladder and stops it from working properly or completely.
We don’t treat swim bladder disease. Instead, we try to cure the issues your betta fish is suffering from, which is causing swim bladder disease to your betta fish indirectly.
What are the signs of swim bladder disease in betta fish?
All these are the signs of swim bladder disease in betta fish:
- Your betta will sink to the bottom of the tank.
- Your betta will float at the top of the tank.
- Your betta fish will swim sideways.
- Your betta fish will become lethargic.
- Your betta fish will develop a curved back.
- Your betta fish will develop a distended belly.
- Your betta fish will be swimming upside down.
- Your betta will struggle to remain upright.
All these are the symptoms of swim bladder disorder in your betta fish.
As discussed above, a swim bladder helps your fish maintain their buoyancy.
With issues maintaining their buoyancy, your betta will either sink to the bottom or float at the top.
Also, your betta fish will struggle to stay upright and will swim upside down.
Suffering from all these issues, your betta will come under stress and become weak, becoming lethargic.
Your betta will also develop a distended belly if the reason behind the swim bladder disorder is overeating.
What are the causes of swim bladder disease in betta fish?
All these are the causes behind swim bladder disease in betta fish:
- Your betta fish is suffering from constipation due to overfeeding.
- The water temperature of your betta fish tank is low.
- Your betta fish is physically injured.
- Your betta fish is suffering from bacterial infection.
- Your betta fish is suffering from a parasitic infection.
- Your betta fish is born with the swim bladder issue.
Overfeeding is the primary cause behind your betta fish suffering from swim bladder disorder.
You must know that your betta fish have a stomach size similar to their eye, which means that anyone can easily end up overfeeding their betta fish.
When you overfeed your betta fish, their belly gets extended, which pushes the swim bladder, resulting in swim bladder disorder.
Low water temperature
Betta fish are tropical freshwater fish that prefers clean and well-heated tank to thrive.
Also, the digestion process of your fish slows down in low water temperatures, which means they will take more time to digest their food.
Slow digestion will result in betta fish suffering from constipation, extending their stomach, and affecting their swim bladder.
It is also possible that your betta fish is suffering from a swim bladder disorder due to physical injury.
Your betta may hit itself by banging on objects present in your betta fish tank.
In such cases, betta can end up hurting their swim bladder.
Bacterial infection can also be the reason behind your betta fish suffering from swim bladder disorder.
Such bacterial infection is caused due to poor water conditions.
When your betta fish is suffering from bacterial infection, it will show symptoms of swim bladder disorder and many other symptoms.
In many cases, euthanizing your betta fish with an affected swim bladder due to bacterial infection is only the option left.
Parasites can also be the reason behind your betta fish’s affected swim bladder.
When overfeeding, injury and inadequate water temperature is not the reason behind swim bladder, then parasite can be the reason.
Parasitic worms can damage your betta fish’s stomach and intestines, making it harder for them to swim due to the affected swim bladder.
Parasitic worms are not life-threatening for your betta fish, but they can affect your swim bladder in some cases.
Your betta fish may be born with swim bladder issues.
Some fish are born with swim bladder issues.
You cannot do anything about this as it is a born defect.
How do you cure swim bladder disease in betta fish?
The treatment of your swim bladder disease in betta fish entirely depends on the cause of the disease.
Your betta fish can suffer swim bladder disorder due to overfeeding, bacterial infection, parasites, stress, and shock.
Let us discuss what to do if the reason behind swim bladder disease is:
- Bacterial infection and parasites
Treating swim bladder disorder due to overfeeding:
- Please place the sick betta in a separate tank if there are more fish in your betta tank.
- The very first thing you now have to do is stop feeding your betta fish, as they have been overfed already.
- Don’t feed your betta fish for 2-3 days, and let them fast for these days.
- While fasting, consider increasing the temperature slowly up to 80-82 °F. Increasing the temperature will help your betta fish in faster digestion.
- After that, start feeding them with soaked rich fiber food like Daphnia.
You can also treat your betta fish with Epsom salt when suffering from swim bladder disorder due to overfeeding and constipation, and for that, all you have to do is:
- Add half a gallon of water into a clean container. (Make sure to treat it with a water conditioner to eliminate chlorine, chloramine, and other heavy metals.)
- Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt into that water and let it dissolve.
- Add more half-gallon conditioned water into the container. (Make sure to bring the water temperature the same as the water temperature of your betta aquarium.)
- Let your fish be in that container for 10-15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, place your betta fish back in the aquarium.
- Monitor your betta fish and see if it is okay.
Consider putting your betta fish back in the tank if it is not having any movement or lying in the corner after placing it into the container.
If your betta fish doesn’t recover from this treatment and continues showing the swim bladder issue symptoms, constipation and overfeeding are not the issue.
Treating swim bladder disorder due to parasites and bacterial infections.
If your betta fish is suffering from swim bladder disorder because of parasites and bacterial infection, then we have to treat it with antibiotics.
In this treatment, everything will be the same. Only you have to dose them with medicine instead of making them starve.
Follow these steps to treat your betta fish swim bladder disease caused by parasites and bacterial infections:
- Place your betta fish in a separate tank with low water volume.
- Treat them with antibiotics recommended by the vet.
- You have to use melafix in case of bacterial infections and bettamax in case of parasites.
- Once the duration of the medication is completed, and your betta fish is recovered, you can introduce your betta fish back to its home tank.
Treating swim bladder disease due to shock.
If overfeeding, bacterial infections, and parasites are not the reason behind your betta fish swim bladder disease, shock can be the one.
Your betta fish can come into shock due to inadequate water parameters and living conditions. Any physical injury can also make them come into shock.
In such cases, all you have to do is provide them with adequate water parameters and living conditions, a stress-free environment, and regular feeding.
How to prevent my betta fish from swim bladder disease?
Ensure all these things to prevent your betta fish from swim bladder disease:
- Provide your betta fish with good water conditions.
- Avoid overfeeding your betta fish.
- Ensure to provide adequate water temperature to your betta fish.
- Feed your betta fish with high-quality food.
Good water conditions
Ensuring good water conditions is necessary to prevent bacterial infection and parasites that cause swim bladder disorder.
Do a weekly water change of 35% at least to keep the water clean.
We should always treat the tap water with a water conditioner to eliminate chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals from the water.
Chlorine is not harmful to us but can be life-threatening for your fish.
So, we recommend using the API water conditioner to treat the water, as it will help you eliminate chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, nitrite, and other heavy metals from the water.
Also, adding a filter to your betta fish tank will help you keep the water clean and protected from harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.
We recommend using a Fluval high-performance aquarium filter for your tank, as it will ensure that your water is clean and protected from harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.
Regularly checking ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate is also necessary, as anything more than the adequate level will cause serious issues to your betta fish.
Keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, whereas nitrate should be below 20 ppm.
We recommend using the API freshwater master test kit to check your fish tank’s ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH level, as it shows an accurate result.
Overfeeding can cause constipation to your betta fish, enlarging their intestine and causing swim bladder disorder.
To avoid overfeeding your betta fish, consider feeding your betta fish in a quantity that they can finish eating in one to two minutes.
Feed your betta fish 2-3 pellets at a time, twice a day. Quantity more than that will end up overfeeding your betta fish.
Also read: How Often To Feed Betta Fish?
Adequate water temperature
Providing your betta fish with adequate water temperature is necessary to prevent such issues.
Living in an inadequate water temperature will make them come under stress, and they will become weak.
Weak betta fish will always be vulnerable to issues like swim bladder disorder.
Betta fish require a water temperature between 78-82 °F.
Also, add a heater to your betta fish tank to ensure stable water temperature.
Unstable water temperature will stress out your betta fish, and they will become prone to various diseases and parasites.
Feed high-quality food
Feeding high-quality food to your betta fish is necessary to keep them healthy, which will protect them from various parasites and bacteria.
Also, consider feeding your betta fish soaked food as dry food will enlarge in their abdomen when it gets wet, which widens their stomach, affecting their swim bladder.
Feed your betta fish with sinking pellets to prevent such issues.
Also, consider soaking the food before feeding it to your betta fish. Doing this will allow the food to sink, and your betta will eat from the bottom.
Eating food from the surface will result in swallowing air, and intaking too much air will end up making your betta fish suffer from swim bladder disease.
Also read: Can Betta Fish Eat Bloodworms?
How long can betta fish live with swim bladder disease?
If your betta fish is born with swim bladder disorder, it can live its full life happily.
And, if your betta fish has been affected with swim bladder disorder due to bacterial infections and parasites, they will not live for more than 2-3 weeks if you don’t treat your betta.
Treating the disease in advanced stages is impossible, and the only option you are left with is euthanasia.
The treatment of the swim bladder disorder depends on the reason behind the disease.
Fasting and using Epsom salt is used to treat swim bladder disease, which is caused by overfeeding and constipation.
Antibiotics like mellafix and bettamax are used to treat bacterial infections and parasites.
Providing adequate water parameters, good living conditions, and a stress-free environment is necessary to cure your betta fish swim bladder disease due to shock.