I have a two tail, royal blue betta fish. When I first had him(him, he is a male), he was always very active, and would move around the cage all crazy like.

Any way, it technically is my baby sister's fish, and I was caring for it, but sister wanted to feed it. So mom moved it to the baby's room. It got less attention there, but had plenty of ambient light. Anyway, mom moved it to the hallway again, when the baby lost interest, and now she feeds him.

But recently he has been not moving, his fins are clamped, and he lies on his side all day. Tonight I took the lid off and put a few pellets in, and he tried to go get them, but he didn't seem to be able to move away from the side of the cage. I decided the closest thing to his symptoms is swim bladder disease, and here is my evidence for it:

  1. the day before we noticed it, mom was doing a full change of his water, when he jumped out and on to the counter, and squiggled around for a second or two. mom quickly put him in small tank, but he did get jiggled.

  2. he does try to move, but it seems difficult.

  3. he spends most of the time at the top of the tank on his side.

It might not be swim bladder disease because:

  • he lies on his side, but not vertically as described online. (sorry, no links for my rep level:P...)

If my diagnosis is correct, I would like to know what I should do to make him more comfortable. please explain your diagnosis.

(I don't have enough rep to post a picture.)

  • 1
    If you think it is a disease (and it sounds that way) you should consult a vet. Apr 7, 2015 at 5:33
  • Try searching on this site for swim bladder disease, if that's what you think it is - there are a few questions about it already. Apr 7, 2015 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


I would defiantly agree that you poor betta has swim bladder disease. Sadly, there is no known cure for this because the cause of it varies so much. With the observation of him floating at the top, it tells you that his swim bladder is most likely filled with air, this is usually due to gulping air from the surface. If you feed him floating pellets, that's the cause. To eat, he's been going to the surface and eating the food, when he is hungry he gulps for food at the surface that isn't there.

If you don't feed him floating pellets, it could've been genetic. Some are just born with it and It comes later on in life.

The struggling to move is normal with swim bladder disease, sadly when they get to this stage they don't last too long. Although he might just surprise the both of us and go on for a while. The most you can do at this stage is wet your finger and dipping it in the pellet food, then holding your pelleted finger in front of his mouth to try and get him to take it. But this doesn't always work, sometimes they don't take it.

I'm so sorry to hear what has happened, he sounds like a much loved pet. I wish you all the best and hope there is a happy outcome.

  • Thank you for your help. Unfortunately, I have been feeding him floating pellets. Byte left last Monday. I have another fish, and will avoid floating pellets in the future. Thanks! Apr 10, 2015 at 17:00

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