“Why is my Betta fish not moving?” is a common question asked by betta fish owners. After all, bettas are known for their vibrant colors and active personalities. So when your betta fish suddenly stops moving, it can be worrying.
There are a few reasons why your betta fish might not be moving. It could be sick, it could be stressed, or it could be bored. Some reasons are more concerning than others, but all of them can be addressed.
In this article, we’ll explore the different reasons why your betta fish might not be moving. We’ll also give you some tips on how to get your betta fish moving again.
Normal Reasons Why A Betta Fish May Not Be Moving
There are several reasons why a betta fish may not be moving, and most of them are perfectly normal. Here are some of the most common.
Despite being active little fish, Bettas need a lot of their beauty sleep. They will often spend much of their time resting or sleeping at the bottom of their tank. This is perfectly normal behavior, and there’s no need to worry unless you notice your betta fish sleep more than usual.
If you see your betta fish lying at the bottom of the tank and not moving, it is probably just taking a nap. Luckily, there’s nothing to worry about a sleeping Betta fish!
Another reason why your betta fish may not be moving is because it is hungry. Bettas are known to be greedy eaters, and if they haven’t been fed in a while, they may not have the energy to move around.
If you think your betta fish is not moving because it is hungry, try giving it some food. You can even give it live treats such as brine shrimp and daphnia in order to get it to go after the food. If it still doesn’t move, it may be sick or stressed — more on that later.
Betta splendens have an average lifespan of 3-5 years in captivity. If your betta fish is not moving and is getting up there in age, it may just be because it is old and doesn’t have the energy to move around like it used to. Older fish, just like humans, have less energy to spare and therefore need to spend more time resting.
Concerning Reasons Why A Betta Fish May Not Be Moving (With Solutions)
There are some reasons why a betta fish may not be moving that are more concerning than others. If your betta fish is not moving and you are concerned about its health, here are some potential causes to look into.
One reason why your betta fish may not be moving is because of temperature shock. Bettas are tropical fish and need warm water to survive.
If the water in their tank is too cold, they may go into shock and stop moving. On the other hand, if the water is way too warm, Bettas stop swimming as well due to hot temperature shock. You need to keep the water temperature at a stable rate within their optimal range in order to make sure that they don’t go into shock.
Here are the signs you should watch out for if you think your Betta fish is in shock due to extreme water temperature:
- Laying at the bottom of the tank
- Not moving much
- Gasping for air
- Fading colors
The best way to deal with this issue is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Bettas should always be kept in water that is between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to use a heater to keep the water at a consistent temperature.
Here are some suitable heaters for Betta tanks:
- 5 gallon-Betta tanks: Aqueon Mini Flat Heater 10 Watts
- 10 gallon-Betta tanks: Aqueon Submersible Aquatic Flat Heater 15 Watts
- 15 gallon-Betta tanks: Fluval M50 Submersible Heater 50 watts
- 20 gallon-Betta tanks: Marineland Precision Heater 75 watts
If your betta fish is already in shock, what you can do is slowly raise the temperature of the cold water. This can be done by adding a few drops of warm water to the tank every few minutes. Once the water has reached the correct temperature, your betta fish should start to recover.
As mentioned, shock may also be caused by water that’s too warm. That’s because the heat reduces the dissolved oxygen in the water, which means your betta fish could start suffocating. If you think this might be the case, turn off the heater (if any) and let the water cool down to a more comfortable temperature.
If your betta fish is still not moving after you’ve taken these steps, it is always best to err on the side of caution and take it to a vet as soon as possible.
Another reason why your betta fish may not be moving is that it is stressed. Stress can be caused by a number of things, including:
- An aggressive tankmate
- Having too many tankmates
- Being moved to a new tank
- Not having enough hiding place
- Having bright lights shining on the tank
Stress can be fatal to Betta fish if the cause isn’t dealt with. That’s because when a fish is stressed, its immune system is weakened, making it more susceptible to diseases.
If you think your fish is stressed, watch out for these signs:
- Hiding all the time
- Not eating
- Floating upside down
- Gasping for air
If you think your betta fish is stressed, the first thing you need to do is figure out what is causing the stress.
If it’s an aggressive tankmate, the solution is to remove the aggressor from the tank. If it’s too many Betta tank mates, you’ll need to remove some of the fish.
If it’s because of a move, give your fish some time to adjust to its new surroundings. And if it’s because of bright lights or not enough hiding places, you’ll need to make some changes to the tank.
Once you’ve dealt with the cause of the stress, you can help your fish recover by adding some stress-relieving products to the tank. These include:
- Betta Water Conditioner: Products like Seachem Prime can help remove toxins from the water, making it safer for your fish to live in.
- Betta Stress Relief: Seachem StressGuard is one example of a product that can reduce stress in fish. It contains ingredients that can promote healing and boost the immune system.
- Betta Vitamins: Adding vitamins like Boyd Enterprises Freshwater Vitachem and Brightwell Aquatics Vitamarin F to the water can help improve the overall condition of your Betta fish.
Poor Water Quality
Poor water quality can also cause a Betta fish to stop moving. Bettas are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and the quality of the water is a big factor in their health. If the water in their tank is not clean, it can cause them to stress out and stop moving.
One of the biggest things that can affect water quality is ammonia. Ammonia is a toxic gas that is produced when fish waste breaks down. If the level of ammonia in the water gets too high, it can kill your betta fish.
Here are the signs you should watch out for if you think your Betta fish is in poor water quality:
- Lying at the bottom of the tank
- Betta’s gills moving slowly
- Fading colors
The best way to prevent poor water quality is to do regular water changes. You should aim to change at least 25% of the water in the tank every week.
Use a water test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit in order to see the water parameters in your tank. If you see anything that’s too low or too high based on the recommended levels indicated on the test, you should make changes immediately.
If your problem is nitrates, for example, you should do a water change and vacuum the gravel to remove any built-up waste.
If you have high ammonia levels, you can use an ammonia-removing product like Seachem Ammonia Alert or API Ammo-Lock after doing a water change.
You should also avoid overfeeding your fish. Too much food can lead to ammonia buildup, so only feed your Betta fish what it can eat in one sitting.
Lack Of Oxygen
Another reason why your betta fish may not be moving is that it is not getting enough oxygen. Bettas can breathe through their labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe air right from the surface of the water.
However, if the water in their tank is not well-oxygenated, they may start to suffocate and will start coming up to the surface more and more. Eventually, it could suffocate them completely.
Here are the signs you should watch out for if you think your betta fish is not getting enough oxygen:
- Gasping for air at the surface of the water
- Floating erratically
- Lying motionless at the bottom of the tank
Gasping for air is a sure sign that a Betta is suffocating, so if you see this, it’s time to take action.
The first thing you should do is add an air stone to the tank. This will help oxygenate the water and make it easier for your fish to breathe.
You should also make sure that you’re not overfeeding your fish. Too much food can cause ammonia levels to rise, which can lead to poor water quality and a lack of oxygen.
Unfortunately, there are also some medical reasons why your betta fish may not be moving. If your betta fish is lethargic and not moving, it could be a sign of sickness or disease.
Some common diseases in bettas include swim bladder disease, fin rot, mouth fungus, and velvet. Swim bladder problems, in particular, can cause Bettas to either swim sideways or not move at all. If you see your Betta swimming erratically before they stop moving, then it could be a swim bladder issue.
If you think your betta fish may be sick, it is important to give it medication or take it to the vet immediately.
If your betta fish is not moving and you notice any of the following red flags, it is important to take it to the vet immediately as it could be a sign of a serious illness.
- Rapid breathing
- Labored breathing (breathing heavily)
- Flashing (scratching itself on objects in the tank)
- Clamped fins (fins are held close to the body and not flowing freely)
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in color
If you notice your Betta not moving for long periods of time, it could be something more serious. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help.
First, you can use a water testing kit to help you determine if there are any water quality issues that could be causing your fish to be sick. Like we mentioned above, poor water conditions can cause problems for Bettas, so this is the first thing you should consider.
You should also take a look at your betta’s food and see if there are any changes you can make. Sometimes, a change in diet can help fish recover from an illness, whether it’s swim bladder issues or something else.
There are a variety of fish medications that you can administer if you think your betta fish is sick such as API Fin & Body Cure, Aquarium Salt, and Tetra Lifeguard All-In-One Treatment. However, if you have a vet nearby that has experience in fish, it’s always best to consult them beforehand.
How To Prevent Betta Fish From Not Moving
Prevention is better than cure, so they say. If you don’t want to see your Betta fish potentially suffering due to preventable causes, then here are some things you can do.
Regular Water Changes
The best way to prevent your betta fish from not moving is by making sure that you’re on top of your water change schedule.
Changing the water can instantly clear up many problems in the tank. If there’s anything in there that’s causing your fish stress or discomfort, a water change will usually take care of it.
A good rule of thumb is to do a 25% water change at least every week. This will help to keep the water quality in your Betta’s tank high and will also help to prevent ammonia and nitrite buildup.
Monitor Water Quality
It’s also important to monitor the water quality in your tank on a regular basis. You can do this by using a water testing kit to test the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in your tank.
If you notice any spikes in these levels, it’s important to do a water change as soon as possible.
You should also make sure that you’re regularly cleaning your Betta’s tank and removing any build-up of waste. A clean tank is a happy tank!
Waste can build up in the gravel, on the glass, and in the filter. You should aim to clean these areas every week to ensure that your tank stays clean and looking good.
Of course, make sure that you don’t remove the good bacteria in your filter! You can do this by using your old aquarium water to clean the filter media. If the water is too dirty, you can also use water that has been treated with a water conditioner.
Provide High Quality Food
Another way to prevent your betta fish from not moving is by providing it with high-quality food.
Betta fish are carnivores, so their diet should be rich in protein. Their diet should also contain some plant matter to provide them with essential vitamins and minerals.
There are a variety of high-quality betta fish foods on the market. Some of our favorites include Ultra Fresh Betta Pro Shrimp Patties, Tetra Betta Small Pellets. Aqueon Pro Foods Betta Fish Food Formula, Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food, and Hikari Betta Bio-Gold.
Make Changes To The Tank
The tank is your Betta fish’s entire world. So, it’s important to make sure that it is set up in a way that is conducive to a happy and healthy life.
As mentioned above, stress is one of the biggest causes of betta fish not moving. If you want to prevent your Betta fish from getting stressed, you should try your best to not expose them to stressors in the first place.
For instance, your Betta tank should have lots of hiding places, such as plants and caves. This will give your fish somewhere to go when they feel stressed or threatened.
Since Bettas can get stressed from lighting that is too bright, you should also make sure that you’re using a low-wattage light bulb in your tank.
You should also avoid putting your Betta fish in a tank with other fish. Bettas are territorial and aggressive, so they will often fight with other fish. This can lead to stress and injury.
Finally, you should make sure that you’re not overcrowding your Betta tank. A good rule of thumb is to have 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water for each fish.
That said, avoid making sudden changes to the tank, such as adding new fish or changing the water. These changes can be stressful for your Betta fish them to stop moving.
If your betta fish is not moving, there are a few potential explanations. Some of these reasons are more serious than others, but all of them require your attention if you want to have healthy fish again.
By understanding the most common causes of this behavior and taking action immediately, you can get your betta moving once more in no time at all!
- Why Your Betta Is Laying At The Bottom Of The Tank – Reasons & Solutions
- Why Your Betta Is Floating To The Top Of The Tank – Reasons & Solutions
- Behavioral Signs That Your Betta May Be Sick Or Dying
- Betta Fish Lifespan – How To Increase Your Betta’s Longevity