I have a betta fish, which I have had for 2 years. A few months ago, my nephew got into its food (which I now keep up high) and dumped it into his tank. I cleaned the tank but not before he ate whatever he could eat. I left him unfed for a few days hoping to let him finish digesting the food that was in his system and recover. That did not work so I tried a dose of Daphnia. Once again the fish continued to lay on its side and he is still behaving like that.

Has his swim bladder been damaged? Is there something I can do for him to help him recover?

He still comes up to eat. He's currently in a 5 gallon tank with silk planks, a cave, a water filter, stone gravel and a heater.

  • 1
    Have you tested his water since? Food being left too long in water can cause a spike in ammonia levels. Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 11:06
  • I changed the water immediately that day as it was a mess with all the food in it. He was actually moved from the gallon and half to the five gallon tank last month (I was in the process of moving back when I first bought him and as soon as I unpacked the five gallon tank, he was moved into that). I kind of thought more space and a different atmosphere would perk him up a bit. He seems to be still living just laying on the bottom of the tank and only moving really for food. I assumed he would eventually bounce back but that has not been the case. Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 11:37
  • 👍 sadly that's as far as my fish knowledge goes for this kind of thing, hopefully someone else can chime in. Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 12:21
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    Did you cycle the new tank before moving your fish?
    – Diether
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 11:27
  • 2
    It's not safe to add fish to a tank that you just filled with water. More info about that can be found here: pets.stackexchange.com/a/323/7038
    – Diether
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


Your fish is most likely still ok. I had a betta fish for about 7 or 8 years, and it almost never moved unless it was eating. Other than that it just floated on its side for pretty much its entire life.

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