Just like any other fish, Bettas can suffer from various diseases. No matter what type of tank or bowl you keep them in they can become ill. But, when given the proper care, quality nutrition and a stable environment, parasitic diseases and infections are very rare in Bettas.

The main cause of diseases, infections and parasites in Bettas is poor water quality and fluctuating water temperatures. By performing regular water changes and maintaining a steady water temperature, you can often prevent diseases from occurring in the first place.

Performing regular water changes is extremely important if you keep your Bettas in a small tank or bowl. In a small space, waste will accumulate much more quickly creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that is dangerous to your Betta.

There are several diseases that Bettas can contract, but the most common are dropsy, ick, velvet and fin rot. The quicker you diagnose a problem and treat it the better chance you have of stopping it from becoming fatal to your fish. And, the best way to catch a disease in the early stages is to pay close attention to your fish.

If youre housing your Betta in a community tank the first thing you should do when you suspect an illness is to isolate the Betta from the rest of the fish. A one gallon tank is ideal to use as an isolation tank, the needed water changes will be easier and it will be easier to administer the proper dosage of medication.


Dropsy is the most fatal disease that a Betta can develop, in fact, there is no cure for this disease. Very little is known about dropsy, except that it causes the abdominal area to bloat and the tissues get filled with fluids. Aside from a bloated belly, the Bettas scales will be raised.


Ick is caused by a parasite and will present itself as white spots all over the fishs body. The Betta may stop eating, its fins may look like theyre clumped together and he may not be as active. You can help prevent ick by regularly adding rock or aquarium salt to the tank.

If your Betta is showing signs of ick, you should immediately do a complete water change and add one teaspoon of salt for each gallon of water. The tank and the contents need to be sanitized and cleaned thoroughly. There are also numerous medications that you can purchase to treat ick.


Like ick, velvet is a parasite and can be prevented by the addition of salt to the tank. Velvet is much harder to diagnose than ick and you may not even be able to see it just by looking at your fish. The best way to detect velvet is to shine a light directly on the Bettas body.

If your Betta has velvet, youll see a very fine covering on the fishs body that will be either rust or gold in color and appear velvety. The Betta may have a faded color, a loss of appetite, clumped fins and you may see it scratching its body against the gravel, rocks or tank decorations.

Velvet can be treated in the same way that you treat ick. Do a full water change, sanitize all the tank contents and add one teaspoon of rock or aquarium salt to each gallon of water. You can also purchase a medication that is made especially for velvet that can be used in conjunction with the salt treatments.

Fin Rot

The main cause of fin rot is dirty water. It can generally be prevented by keeping the aquarium water clean. A fish that has fin rot will have fins that appear to be falling apart. The fins will keep getting shorter and shorter and you may notice a darker color at the edges of the fins and tail.

A Betta that has fin rot may stop eating and be less active, or he may continue to eat normally and still be very active. Fin rot should be treated with a medication that is specifically for fin rot, or an antibiotic. The bowl should be sanitized at least once weekly and you can add a little salt to the water to help promote healing.