Things No One Told You About Betta Fish Behavior Before Death

Caring for Betta fishes is relatively easy and does not require much maintenance. These fishes do very well in an environment where it is accepted and welcomed. However, it is equally essential to be aware of when the fish is sick as it will begin to show visual and evident symptoms of degrading health.

Betta fish behavior before death is widespread and easy to identify if you know what to look for. Even if your fish is not that old, it may begin to show visual symptoms of degrading health when it is sick or closing in on its death.

Therefore, if you have a Betta as a pet and notice some of these significant changes mentioned below, you need to consider its health. These steps can help you save your fish when taken care of properly.

Betta Fish Behavior Before Death: The Most Common Symptoms

Betta Fishes are rather particular kinds of fishes that visually let you know when you should expect the worst.

Betta Fish Behavior Before Death - The Most Common Symptoms

There are specific changes in and on them that will let you know when their situation is only degrading. Some of the most common symptoms are as mentioned below –


Betta fishes are known to move in groups and have company around. They don’t typically prefer being alone in a tank with other fishes for long periods.

When Betta fishes know their situation has only progressively degraded, they tend to isolate themselves far away from other fishes.

They will interact with other fishes in the tank and swim around together. You know something is wrong if you notice less interaction between one Betta and the rest of the fishes. Bettas are social creatures that thrive off of the company.

Therefore when you see any fish being isolated and barely moving with the rest of the fish, you need to take a deeper look into what is going on.

Hardly Responsive

One of the most socially compatible fishes is Betta. They thrive off of interaction among other fishes and humans too. These fishes can be trained to do certain activities.

Therefore, they are incredibly responsive to their surroundings and nature.

If you find your Betta barely responsive and interactive, you know something is wrong with the fish. As the sickness in a Betta progresses, it will begin to avoid involving itself by joining in on the other fishes.

They will start to avoid responding to both humans and other fishes too. The sick fish will begin to move on its own if it does so and prefers not to be bothered. Feeding time is the ideal time to figure out if your fish is sick or not.

Since this is when most fishes gather and become competitive, trying to get more food. So if one of your fishes seems to barely respond or move during feeding time, you need to get it checked.

Loss of Appetite

Losing appetite can easily signify if a fish is sick. A Betta should eat at least five food pellets per session of the two feeding sessions throughout the day.

Even if the fish reaches the tank’s surface during the feeding process, a sick or dying Betta might not eat anything.

These fish are relatively active. They are generally competitive during feeding sessions without being hostile. Sometimes these fishes may even reach out to grab the food pellets. However, they may end up not swallowing it or spitting it out of their mouth.

Frequent spitting out of their food is a, sure enough, reason that something is already wrong with the fish. This is one of the main indications of them not having an appetite to eat.

Loss of appetite is often paired with symptoms such as barely moving or interacting with other fishes. In such cases, consulting with the vet is crucial.

Color Shifting

Bettas are very bright and vividly colored species of fishes that are highly involved with their surroundings and enjoy being a part of their community. When a Betta starts to become sick or is closing in on its death, it will show visual symptoms of loss of colors.

This may be specks of loss of color or long streaks of discoloration through its body. The pigmentation on the scales of a Betta is where the fading typically begins. In young Bettas, sudden and unusual fading of colors is a good enough reason to worry about its health and emotions.

Fading is not only limited to older fishes and is only linked to death. It could appear on a young fish who may be sick but not deadly. It might be tough to distinguish fading on some Bettas as some may come with marbled streaks. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the appearance of your fish.

Some Evident Symptoms of a Sick Betta Fish

Bettas don’t usually get sick under proper conditions and in a safe environment. However, when sick, a Betta will show some apparent symptoms when it is not doing its best. Some of these symptoms are as mentioned down below –

Some Evident Symptoms of A Sick Betta Fish

Shortening of Scales

When a Betta is sick, its fins and scales will seem shorter than it typically is. Their fins may begin to rot and chip as the sickness progresses.

Not Scratching Itself Against Any Surface

Fishes are known to scratch themselves against any surface to clean themselves. When Bettas are close to death, they will avoid cleaning themselves or rubbing against any surface.

Loss Of Balance

A Betta is close to death and will lose its balance and hit against surfaces. It will struggle to maintain its balance and bump against the tank or other fishes and may also struggle to swim correctly.


Having Bettas as your pet can be a lovely addition to your fish tank.

However, some people may think it is rather challenging to have these as pets due to their unique visual appearance. Some of the most common questions regarding Bettas are as mentioned down below –

How long does a Betta live?

When cared for properly, Betta fishes can live up to 6 long and happy years of healthy life. These fishes are not necessarily high maintenance and do not require much to ensure their health.

However, in a Betta-friendly environment with other fishes, they will thrive and seemingly live a long and happy life without additional intervention from humans or vets.

Although a premature-born Betta is always at risk and needs to be cared for, a healthy fish should easily live six-plus years happily.

Does fading guarantee near death for Bettas?

Fading does not guarantee death on a Betta. However, it does indicate stress, sickness and discomfort in Betta. Unless your fish has significant marbled streaks, any form of fading or discoloration on a Betta must be thoroughly cared for and checked for.

These fishes are highly sensitive to temperature changes which may cause stress and cause discomfort. Therefore, if there is any fading on your fish, it is a good idea to get it checked out and cared for by professionals.

Does Betta float to the surface or sink when dead?

Unlike most fishes, Bettas will sink to the bottom of the tank when they die. This may be hard to distinguish whether the fish is dead because Bettas tend to isolate themselves and rest at the bottom of the tank when sick.

So if you notice your fish is resting at the bottom for long hours on end, it is an evident and good enough reason to check whether there is still life left in it or not.

Bottom Line

Betta fishes are some of the most beautiful fishes you can have as pets in a fish tank. However, you need to ensure that other fishes in the tank provide a friendly and social environment for the Betta to thrive on living well.

Although these are not exceptionally high-maintenance fishes, there are specific indications you need to consider to ensure they are healthy and safe. These fishes are some of the most social fishes to have. However, when sick, Betta fish behavior before death is very evident and apparent. These indications allow you enough time to try and prevent further damage to the fish.

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