Betta Fin Diseases

The first key indicator of stress and disease.


When there are obvious changes in a betta‘s fins it’s time to test the water and watch for other symptoms. When trying to diagnose bettas based on their fins it is important to observe other symptoms as well. If you do not see any other ailments and your betta is still active and eating then you may be dealing with the start of fin rot. However, if your betta’s fins are not darkening or obtaining a murky film on the tips it could just be an injury. Observe his behavior over the next couple of days.

Signs of injury include fin loss, frayed or ragged fins, and open sores.

If your betta fish is housed with any tank mates, you need to keep a close eye on the tank. There is a good chance that one of the other fish may be nipping at the betta‘s long fins. If your betta fish is housed alone or not being bullied, check the ornaments kept in the tank or bowl. If you have anything sharp or rough that could snag a betta‘s tail or scratch off scales be sure to remove those items right away. Make sure to only purchase aquarium-approved decorations that are not jagged or rough.


Change in Betta Fin Tissue


betta fin rot

The fins on this crowntail betta are losing color and darkening at the tips as well as receding.

Discoloration and fin loss

Fin Rot is a gram-negative bacterial infection caused by stress. It is one of the most common diseases in beta fish. It most often occurs due to poor water quality.  Remember to test your water and avoid overcrowding your tank.

Symptoms of Fin Rot are very noticeable and include change in color, darkened or bloody fins, fin loss and frayed or ragged fins

Treatment for Fin Rot: Conduct a water change and include Aquarium Salt to aid in healing and a reduction of pathogens. Treat the water with an antibiotic such as Maracyn 2.  Medication can be purchased at your local pet shop.



Red streaks or “bloody” fins not caused by injury


betta fish bloody fins

The first obvious Septicemia symptom is red streaking in the fins and body.

Septicemia is an infection of the blood caused by a bacteria obtained from tainted food,or more commonly, poor water conditions. It is a very serious disease that needs to be treated as soon as it is spotted. The betta to the right exhibits the most apparent symptom of Septicemia which is red streaking or spotting in the fins and body.

Other symptoms of Septicemia include appetite loss, color loss or fading, clamped fins, and lethargy. In its advanced stages, Septicemia will cause open sores and pop eye.

To read about preventing and treating this disease, click here: Betta Septicemia.



Clamped Fins


When the fins themselves are not torn or deteriorating but your fish is holding their fins close to their body it is called “clamping” or “clamped fins”.

betta fin problems clamped fins

Betta fish with clamping his fins

Clamped fins are a sign of stress. This usually occurs when water temperatures are low or the pH is off balance. When a fish is stressed it will lower their immunities and heighten their vulnerability to become ill. To prevent this from happening, follow these steps:

1. Check your water temperature. If the water is too cool you will need to buy a tank heater. If you currently use a tank heater turn up the temperature but do not exceed 82 degrees.

2. Do regular water changes using a fish-safe water treatment to remove harsh chemicals. Need to know how to perform a water change? Click on one of the following links: Aquarium Water Change or Clean a Betta Bowl .

3. Add aquarium salt. This aides in healing because it lessens the number of pathogens in the water and helps to boost immunities.

4. Add Stress Coat, this contains Aloe Vera which has healing properties and helps fish with their natural slime coat. This is also a good product to use as a preventative to fish diseases.

If this does not bring your Betta back to life within a few days please make sure you have not over looked any other symptoms such as  lethargy, weight loss, and appetite loss. Clamped fins in combination with other symptoms point towards a disease and must be treated right away.

About Angela Soup

2 Responses to “Betta Fin Diseases”

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  1. Jasmine Buxton says:

    is there another way to cure a clamped fin on my betta?

    • Angela Soup says:

      If your betta is experiencing clamped fins the first thing you should do is a 25% water change. If this does not solve the issue then you will need to bring your water in for testing. Most pet shops I know does this for free. Typically when a betta is clamping his/her fins it is due to unbalanced water levels in Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, and Alkalinity.

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