My betta fish was laying on the aquarium’s bottom. What’s the matter with her? If you’re a beginning aquarist, it might be tough to tell the difference between weird behavior in your bettas and signals that they’re unwell and need treatment.
I propose to explore the 12 main reasons why fighting fish lies at the bottom of the aquarium, as well as ways to solve these problems. Some of them are harmless, while others may indicate stress or illness.
Dangerous causes and their solutions when a fighting fish lies on the bottom of the aquarium?
1. Ammonia poisoning
The level of ammonia rises when the chemical composition of water or its temperature changes.
What is the best way to find out?
Watch the breathing of betta fish. If betta fish tank breathing heavily, poisoning may have occurred ammonia poisoning or nitrate poisoning. Special equipment are used to measure the quantity of ammonia in the aquarium. It must be or very close to it.
If the ammonia levels in the tank is too high, you should first replace half of the aquarium water and then check again. Repeat if the ammonia level is still high. Keep an eye on the water parameters until they return to normal.
Cleaning the fish tank on a regular basis, avoiding overfeeding, and investing in a good filter that can do chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration may all help to enhance the quality of the water in the aquarium and produce healthy fish.
Before refilling the aquarium with new water, dechlorinate it with a water conditioner and replace the water 20 percent every week.
2. Swim bladder disorder
A sick betta fish may swim near the surface or lie on the bottom, breathing heavily if the swim bladder is not functioning properly. Overfeeding or incorrect food digestion might cause swim bladder illness. Small quantities of frozen green peas or daphnia food, both high in fiber, should be offered to fish with swim bladder illness.
Crushed peas or a tiny bit of daphnia, both of which are rich sources of fiber, are an effective way to solve the problem. Betta fish are carnivorous, and if they lived in the wild, they would consume meat.
Before feeding your battling fish, soak any pellets in water for 2-3 minutes. To avoid constipation and swim bladder disorder, feed your bettas a high-fiber diet roughly twice a week. The provision of a range of betta diets can help to prevent constipation. Bloodworms (water flea larvae) can be utilized as a food source.
Bloodworm is an organic diet that will assist the fish fight sickness while also enhancing their vibrant colors. It’s also feasible to go many days without feeding the fish. The betta fish should be able to resume regular swimming after the bloat has gone away.
3. Nitrate Poisoning
Nitrate is a result of microorganisms breaking down fish waste in a well-cycled fish tank. When garbage decomposes, toxic ammonia is produced.
Nitrate is less dangerous than ammonia. It is, however, silently lethal. If your Betta fish is exposed to high amounts of nitrates and ammonia levels for an extended length of time, they might suffer a lot of harm.
When a betta fish is nitrate poisoning, it becomes feeble and lethargic, and eventually sinks to the bottom of the tank.
Betta fish may also find it difficult to breathe (rapid gill movement). You may notice discoloration in the betta fish in addition to the loss of vibrant coloration. All this is due to poor water quality.
All of the symptoms are nitrate poisoning symptoms. A trustworthy aquarium water testing kit may be used to assess nitrate levels in aquarium water. Water parameters should not include more than 5 to 10 parts per million.
Although you may have heard that anything in the range of 20 to 40 ppm is acceptable for freshwater aquarium, this is not the case. However, prolonged exposure to a 20 ppm nitrate level may be stressful for your fish. They will show indications of pain and sickness today and tomorrow.
4. Excessive Current
Strong currents are unsuitable for betta fish, who prefer a more gradual flow of water. Despite their large fins, betta fish are poor swimmers. Fins are just decorative and do not aid swimming.
As a result, if the filter current in the tank is too powerful, your fish may become weary. It’s possible that your betta fish will seek refuge on the tank’s bottom to escape the filter’s current.
Some could claim that betta fish aquariums don’t need filters at all. However, I recommend that you keep a filter in your betta tank. Betta fish, like any other fish, create waste, necessitating the use of an aquarium filter.
The key is to get a filter with flow settings that can be adjusted. If your fish tank is less than 5 gallons, I recommend investing in a low-cost yet efficient sponge filter. The sponge filter current is often not strong, which is a good thing.
A HOB filter is best for tanks with a capacity of 10 to 50 gallons. If you don’t already have one, you can easily get one with an adjustable flow option from my list of the best HOB filters.
Although canister filters have a reputation for keeping tank parameters healthy for longer periods of time, they are only suggested for bigger tanks (more than 75 gallons).
If you have a big tank, consider installing a spray bar at the canister filter outlet. The spray bar assists in spreading out the high current generated by canister filters.
If you already have a filter with a high current, you can lower the current using a DIY solution
Limit your water consumption
The output flow will gradually be subdued if the water input is reduced. You may do this by placing a piece of foam or fabric in the entrance to limit the amount of water that enters.
Build a baffle
At the filter output, you can make a baffle configuration. Baffles aid in the dispersion of the flow. Baffle arrangements can be made out of anything that isn’t particularly sturdy, such as mesh screens, plastic cups, or even water bottles. Cut it down to size and place it over the outlet.
Betta fish can hide from the powerful current in a well-planted tank with décor, rocks, and driftwoods, which give lots of hiding spots (and sometimes even a comfortable bed for sleeping). Betta fish may also employ decorations to pass the time and avoid boredom.
5. Stress or Disease
A variety of ailments can cause a betta fish to sink to thebottom of the tank. By definition, betta fish’s immune systems are weaker than most fishes’ due to the manner they are bred. I have terrible news for you if you haven’t discovered a solution to your problem in this post.
If hanging out at thebottom of the tank is accompanied with abnormal behavior, loss of colour, swimming sideways, hazy eyes, irritated fin patches, etc. then your betta is certainly unwell and you should definitely be concerned.
All of these signs point to something other than a slacker personality. If you have ruled out constipation and swim bladder issues, it might be a healthy betta, or the female betta is pregnant and will soon be betta fish laying.
Sometimes, but not always, this situation resolves itself. If this is the case, there isn’t much that can be done.
Adding live plants to betta aquariums is a quick and ridiculously effective technique to alleviate stress levels.
These will artificially reproduce the betta’s natural surroundings, which might be helpful in reducing stress. If you suspect your betta is stressed, I recommend adding surface water plants that stay afloat.
They remove extra organics from the aquarium water, create novel environments for exploration, and come as near as possible to the betta’s natural rice paddy. Oh, and they’re gorgeous.
6. Water is too cold
A Betta, like any other cold-blooded organism, cannot stand being in cold water.
They are tropical and like water temperatures between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 in Celcius). Your betta’s metabolism will slow down if the water is too chilly.
The fish will grow drowsy and spend a lot of time at the bottom of your aquarium as a result of this. If you suspect this is the issue, gradually raise the temperature.
If the fish tank does not already have a heater, do some fast research on the best heaters for tanks with a capacity of 3 to 10 gallons of water and get one as quickly as possible.
7. The Water is Too Hot
During the summer, the water may get quite hot. The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water decreases as it heats. So, while a rise in temperature isn’t the issue, the lack of oxygen that comes with it might leave your betta fish gasping for air at the bottom of the tank.
Despite the fact that betta fish have a unique labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air from the atmosphere, a poorly oxygenated aquarium might put their lives in jeopardy.
As a result, you must keep the water temperature in a safe range for betta fish. Cool your aquarium gradually; rapid temperature changes may stress the fish. Cooling fans, room air conditioners, and fish tank chillers are all good options.
Furthermore, in the event of a high-temperature event, utilizing an air pump with appropriate capacity will be useful in providing a constant supply of necessary oxygen for your fish.
Non-dangerous reasons when the fish lay down on the bottom of the aquarium
1. The Betta Fish is Getting Older
A Betta fish lifespan is limited and dependent on the right circumstances.
In the wild and in captivity, they may live up to five years!
If you’ve had your betta for a while, he may be showing signs of old age, just like any other animal.
But don’t be alarmed; it doesn’t indicate that anything is wrong with their health. They’ll just slow down like all living things do when their energy levels dwindle with time.
Keeping up with the younger betta fish becomes increasingly difficult as they get older. As a result, the majority of elderly fish choose to sleep on leaves or relax on the tank’s bottom!
It’s difficult to tell how old betta fish are unless you nurture them from a fry stage or breed them yourself. If your betta fish appears to be in good health and isn’t showing any signs of sickness, it’s most likely due to their old age.
2. It may be sleeping
Betta fish, like the majority of other creatures, require relaxation and sleep. During the night, the fish will frequently choose a cozy spot on the aquarium’s bottom where it will rest and slumber.
Bettas will occasionally slumber on a large leaf towards the top of the tank, as this is how they sleep in the wild.
Betta fish are not nocturnal, thus their sleeping patterns mandate that they be active during the day and sleep at night, or when the room darkens. They may also sleep in short bursts of roughly an hour at a time, several times during the night.
Betta fish prefer to lie on their backs. It’s a unique characteristic of theirs that contributes to their appeal among fish keepers. If your pet looks to be generally healthy and active, it is most likely sleeping on the bottom.
Fun fact: There are also “betta beds” that look like fake leaves and are big enough to hold a sleeping betta. Chewy, a respected online pet supply retailer, has them for around $4. Amazon, on the other hand, does.
Anyway, if you’re like me and find the absurdity amusing, you’ll be pleased to provide a comfortable bed for your cat. The leaf should be attached to the tank’s top. Betta fish spend their time in the natural closer to the surface.
Take care not to confuse sleep with fatigue. When the lights are turned out, a betta fish will sleep. Leaving them on all the time might cause the fish to become confused. It will swim around until it is fatigued, then rest for an extended period of time someplace in the tank.
The immune system of your betta might be weakened by exhaustion.
3. Your Betta is Lazy
One of the reasons your betta fish is sitting on the bottom is a lack of ambition or lethargy. Unfortunately, decorative betta fish are not immune to being indolent.
When a fish’s fins are too huge for its body, it’s difficult for it to swim around and participate in pleasurable activities. The unintended consequence is that they eventually wind up sitting in odd positions in their tank, or even on the bottom!
Keep a watchful eye on your fish! There’s nothing to be concerned about if he wanders around and eats properly in between naps. However, tank mates, toys, hiding locations, and other items might help your betta become more active.
Betta fish are very interactive and can identify their owners, and you can train them to play with you.
4. Its Aquarium is too small and the fish feels confined
If you’re keeping your betta insmall fish tanks than three gallons, it’s time to upgrade. For a Betta fish, a 3-gallon tank is the absolute minimum. Yours should ideally be kept in a 5 or 10-gallon tank.
One justification for upgrading is that smaller tanks are tougher to control. Each minor alteration in the water’s conditions might throw the entire system out of whack, leaving your Betta with nowhere to hide.
“The remedy to pollution is dilution”
Anyway, another point I’d want to emphasize is that, as previously said, Betta fish are curious creatures that also value their own space. When the aquarium is too tiny and there isn’t enough room to explore or retreat to, stress might develop.
Your betta’s life spark will fade, and it may prefer to stay at the bottom of the tank. Remember that betta fish have a lot of vertical room to swim in in their native home. They’re located in rice paddies, which, although being shallow, always give additional area to explore or a suitable hiding spot.
So, if the volume of your betta tank is less than 2-gallons, I strongly advise you to consider obtaining it a larger habitat. Make sure there are enough of plants in the new location.
5. Lack of entertainment
Your betta fish may become bored if there isn’t enough to do in the tank. Betta fish may become melancholy if they have nothing to explore and play with, leading them to rest on the bottom.
Betta fish like exploring their environment, so make sure they have lots of hiding spaces and toys. Also, add some embellishments to the area, such as caverns, driftwood, floating logs, and so on, to make it more fascinating!
Mirrors are sometimes used as betta toys
The mirror’s purpose is to agitate your betta fish by giving him the impression that another one is about to enter his domain!
I don’t advocate utilizing them because it sounds like it would be rather stressful for these small creatures. Rather of enraging them (which may cause them to become even more stressed), try something else, such as floating plants or becoming creative with décor elements in general.
And in conclusion
It’s not unusual to see a betta fish sleeping calmly at the bottom of the tank.
It all comes down to getting to know your fish and its routines.
Keep a close eye on its behavior to see if it’s merely a way of life or a hidden problem. Watch the water temperature, tank size and betta fish sometimes to notice swim bladder disease, ammonia poisoning, nitrate poisoning in time. Or maybe your pet fish is just bored or you already have an older betta fish.
Healthy aquarium inhabitants!