I got my betta 3 months ago, he was living in a 1/2 hallow tank.

He seemed happy up until a week ago when he stopped eating and began laying on the bottom and only coming up for air. When he swims he drags himself and his fins looked to be getting torn up and short.


3 Answers 3


I'm not sure what kind of tank you mean by hallow, but I can tell you that the main problem with your fish is improper habitat. Beta fish don't "sleep" on the bottom.

The problem with beta fish is one created by the pet industry. They're trying to sell stuff to make money and most don't regard the well being of the fish as primary. Beta's can gulp air, so the pet stores figured that they can put them in a super small container that would kill any normal fish due to lack of oxygen exchange. They'd suffocate to death. Now a beta doesn't cost that much, but it's not just the beta. It's the little tank, it's the food, it's the water test kits and treatment drops for chlorinated water. Because betas are billed as a low maintenance pet that appeals to parents with kids who want pets, but don't want to take care of them.

The truth is that a beta fish can survive in the horrible conditions they are typically kept in, but they'll quickly degrade and die. Yes, they can gulp air, so the low oxygen content won't kill them outright, but the smaller the area of water the quicker toxins build up. Even changing the water frequently will lead to problems, because you're constantly removing good bacteria with the bad and introducing new water that has to reestablish good bacterial colonies. That's not even counting that most people have chlorinated tap water that isn't that good for fish, even when treated. People start having happen, what you've experienced. They get a healthy looking fish in a tiny plastic cup, bring it home and put it in a giant "comparatively" bowl, and it starts sitting on the bottom, loosing color, fins become damaged, and it soon dies.

Now I'm not lecturing your or saying you've done anything wrong. I just wanted to explain the situation as I see it. That's just explaining why what's happening is happening. The solution is to get the fish a bigger tank with a full lighting set up and a continuously running filter. This will establish good bacterial colonies, filter out the toxins, and oxygenate the water. Your fish will perk up and start looking a lot better. I bought a 5 gallon hex tank from walmart in the past for a baby tank, but I've also used it for a beta, and it did great. It played in the water return and was very active. I found the beta I put in my 35gal tank to be very active as well, constantly swimming the entire tank in all columns of the water. I hope this has helped with your issue.


If your Beta keeps laying down on the bottom of the tank, I would suggest purchasing a moss ball. A moss ball is a ball of green moss that is made for Beta fish. It gives them a proper place to lay down and sleep. If your Beta is getting a little shabby and it's little fine are torn up, just leave it be. Hope this helps!

  • This answer could be improved with supporting references. A quick look show moss balls are good for fish tanks, but I did not see anything about a Betta sleeping on them. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 22:15
  • FWIW, typical betta lifespan is actually 2-4 years. Though it may be 6-12 months old by the time it gets to a pet store. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 20:41

An easy improvement is to figure out what's tearing up the fins and remove it immediately.

  • Usually plastic plants (cheap) are the culprit; silk plants (expensive) do not have this issue. I don't know of any live plants that cause this issue.

  • If it's not plants, are there any bullying fish in the tank who could be picking on him?

  • If neither of those, he probably has Fin Rot, a bacterial infection.

Moving very little and not eating could be a wide variety of things, but an easy thing to rule out is constipation. Put a single pea in the tank, it will help him poop (if that is the issue). During this time when he is sick, do not overfeed (uneaten food pollutes the water, making all fish health worse), in fact, feed half as much as normal until he starts to eat normally.

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