How to Fix Swim Bladder in Betta

How to Fix Swim Bladder in Betta

One common challenge that faces betta fish is swim bladder disorder. If you notice your betta fish swimming in a strange manner, worry less. Today, you’ll learn how to fix swim bladder in betta fish.

A swim bladder is an internal organ filled with gas. It helps betta fish maintain buoyancy. If you missed it, it helps the fish stay in place without using much energy by consistently moving the fins.

However, the swim bladder faces more pressure because it’s located behind other internal organs.

For instance, if the fish overeats or gets constipated, the swim bladder can face much pressure and fail to function normally.

Well, read on to learn how to fix swim bladder in betta fish.

What is Swim Bladder Disorder?

red and silver fighting fish
Betta fish

Swim bladder disorder is a condition in which the swim bladder fails to function normally. The affected fish faces buoyancy problems resulting in even other severe symptoms.

The fish may lack the ability to float or sink easily, but the condition can be corrected within a short duration.

Betta fish swim bladder disease can shock many people, especially beginners. Many aquarists report cases of their betta floating upside down, laying on the side, or swimming sideways.

Upon noticing this behavior, your first reaction may be that the fish is dead or it’s dying, but that isn’t the case.

Read: Reasons why betta fish are sold in small cups

Causes of Swim Bladder Disorder


Constipation usually occurs when you feed the fish dry pellets or freeze-dried food. These foods absorb water inside the digestive system and become engorged. This results in constipation.


Betta fish are naturally greedy. So, they may bloat and experience swim bladder disorder if you overfeed them.


Betta fish are well known to be territorial. So, it isn’t strange to see some breeds fighting, especially if you have kept males together. This results in injuries that can damage the swim bladder.


Bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections cause inflammation around the swim bladder in betta fish. Afterward, the immune system is compromised, and the swim bladder is affected.

Feeding on the Wrong Food

Food meant for other fish species should not be fed on betta fish. For instance, it’s wrong to feed them with pellets and dry flakes with wheat and corn fillers.

Definitely, the fish will have digestion problems, and the swim bladder will be affected.


Shock happens after sudden environmental changes like water change or high currents.

Dirty water

Water with high contaminants may affect the betta swim bladder. For instance, high nitrates are well known to cause swim bladder problems.

Birth Defect

Some betta fish may be born with a natural swim bladder defect.

Read: What to do for a stressed betta fish

bokeh shot of blue and orange fish
Betta fish in aquarium

Symptoms of Swim Bladder Disorder

Betta swim bladder symptoms may be similar to other infection symptoms. In fact, certain infections trigger swim bladder disorder.

Sinking to the bottom or floating on the surface

If the swim bladder is deflated, the fish will have problems swimming, settling at the bottom.

On the other hand, the fish will float if the bladder is gulped in too much air.

Betta struggles to keep upright

You will notice many fin movements as they try to maintain their balance inside the water.

Enlarged belly

The fish belly usually enlarges due to constipation as the internal organs swell, including the swim bladder.

Curved spine

The fish’s spine is pushed by the inflated abdomen hence the curvature. You will also notice strange swimming behavior.

Lack of appetite

Due to the enlargement of the internal organs, the fish will lack appetite. At this time, you will discover more decaying food at the tank bottom.

Read: Can male and female betta fish live together?

How to Fix Swim Bladder in Betta

So, how long does swim bladder treatment take to work?

If you take the time to learn the real cause, you will treat your fish in a few days. Some conditions like bloating can be fixed in just 3 days.

Is swim bladder disease fatal?

Naturally, swim bladder disorder isn’t fatal. However, if left unfixed for an extended period, it can be dangerous.

Read on the ways to fix swim bladder and get answers to several other questions you may have.

1. Fast your betta for 3 days

If your fish is constipated or they have overeaten, fast them for 3 days to fix the problem. And if the condition remains severe after 3 days, feed them daphnia or peas.

Daphnia and peas are effective laxatives that can fix digestion disorders. Ideally, boil the peas for some minutes and skin them.

Then, feed the fish on a spoon because they may not be able to rush once you drop it in the tank.

2. Switch off the Lights

Keep the area dark for the fish to have more hours of rest. This should happen if you are treating constipation.

3. Chemical treatment

Some medicine like bettafix and melafix can treat bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections.

Additionally, you can also use aquarium salt. However, discontinue carbon filtration because the chemicals may be filtered.

4. Introduce injured fish into a shallow tank

Separate injured fish from others and introduce them to a shallow tank for easy swimming.

You can also do this for bettas born with swim bladder disorders. Ideally, introduce live plants and other hiding places to have more rest.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a small tank, reduce the water level in their tank to keep them comfortable.

5. Have a good filter and do a frequent water change

Good filtration will eliminate contaminants like nitrates that cause swim bladder problems. Also, do frequent water changes to keep the oxygen levels high.

6. Fix the water temperature

If the water temperature is low, the digestive process slows, and as a result, the fish bloats. This causes the swim bladder to swell.

Always keep an eye on the water temperature to ensure the fish are comfortable.

FAQs on Fish Swim Bladder

Will Swim Bladder Go Away?

If the disorder is caused by constipation, it will go away with time. But if infections or injuries cause it, it may not go away until treated.

Does Epsom Salt Help Swim Bladder?

Epsom salt is effective in treating swim bladder disease.

How Do You Treat Swim Bladder in Betta Fish?

How to fix swim bladder in betta fish involves water changing, use of antibiotics, and feeding the fish quality food.

Read: Why did my betta fish die in 2 days?


Betta Fish News Medium Club: Swim Bladder Disease Betta- Quick How to Cure Guide!

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