Betta Swim Bladder Disease: (7 Symptoms & Best Treatment)

Betta swim bladder disease is a prevalent ailment many Betta fish owners may encounter. Swimming bladder disorder is a severe condition that can kill your betta fish if left untreated.

Many betta fish owners are unaware of the symptoms of swim bladder disease, and as a result, many fish die from this condition.

Therefore, it’s essential to always watch for betta swim bladder disease symptoms and take appropriate steps as soon as they appear.

swim bladder disease in betta

In this betta fish care guide, we will cover the most common signs of swim bladder disorder in betta Fish along with the best type of treatment available so you can ensure your little friend a speedy recovery!

What Is Betta Swim Bladder Disease?

Swim Bladder Disorder (SBD) is a frustrating condition that betta fish are all too familiar with. Swim bladder disease in betta fish is a disorder that affects the fish’s internal organs responsible for buoyancy and balance.

This organ, called the swim bladder, is filled with gas which helps the fish to maintain its balance in the water and control its horizontal position.

When this organ malfunctions, it can cause betta fish to have difficulty swimming in a straight line, float to the top of the tank, or sink to the bottom.

This secondary symptom can be the unfortunate evidence of underlying ailments, leading to further distress for these beloved pets.

Flip-over Syndrome, known colloquially in aquatic circles, has been observed more frequently among bettas and fancy goldfish populations – so watch out!

How Do Fish Get Swim Bladder?

Several factors can lead to SBD in betta fish. These include dietary issues such as overfeeding, water quality problems (including high levels of nitrate or ammonia), injury or trauma, bacterial or viral infections, and genetic predisposition.

For instance, swim bladder disease caused if a betta overeats food; the food can block the intestine and cause an infection known as Intestinal Blockage or Impaction.

This can lead to swim bladder disorder betta fish by preventing gas from being released from the digestive tract. Similarly, if betta fish are susceptible to bacterial or viral infections, these can cause swim bladder betta issues.

Finally, genetics can play a role in your betta’s swim bladder health. This is especially true for show-quality, fancy bettas since they are bred to have certain traits, such as long fins, and these genetic modifications may cause the fish to be more prone to developing SBD.

7 Common Betta Swim Bladder Symptoms

  • 1. Loss Of Appetite: One of the first signs of Swim Bladder Disorder that you’ll likely notice is an abrupt loss of appetite.
  • 2. Unusual Posture & Positioning: Betta Fish with SBD will often display a very different posture than healthy fish and may be seen swimming in an awkward, lopsided manner. They may also need help maintaining their tank depth and need help to stay afloat or sink to the bottom.
  • 3. Discolored Fins: Diseased bettas may also display discolored fins and gills, ranging from a pale yellow to a deep purple hue.
  • 4. Bloating & Swelling: Betta Fish with swim bladder disorder may also appear bloated or swollen due to gas buildup in the digestive tract.
  • 5. Erratic Movement & Trouble Swimming: This symptom is especially noticeable compared to healthy fish swimming normally around them. An unhealthy betta will exhibit erratic movements caused by difficulty controlling its buoyancy and may show signs of difficulty swimming.
  • 6. Floating Upright: This is the most apparent symptom of swim bladder disorder in betta fish, as they will often float upright at the top of the tank with their tail pointed upwards.
  • 7. Clamped Fins: Betta with swim bladder disorder may also have “clamped” fins which are visible even when the fish is healthy and active. This behavior signifies that your betta is under stress and not feeling well.

How Do You Know If Your Fish Has Swim Bladder Disease?

It is best to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of SBD so that you can recognize it early and take steps to treat it.

When your betta fish are affected by SBD, it’s displaying an altered swimming style and physical distortion and could be struggling with swim bladder disease – a clue for aquarium owners to look out for.

Contact a veterinarian or aquarist as soon as possible for further advice on managing and treating the condition. If your betta displays any of the betta bladder disease symptoms mentioned above, 

In some cases, SBD may resolve itself without intervention, but if left untreated, it can lead to more severe health problems that could put your fish’s life in danger.

With proper care and vigilance, most bettas with SBD can recover fully. If you suspect your pet has this ailment, seek professional help immediately to ensure they get relief from their discomfort quickly.

What Does Swim Bladder Disease Look Like?

Bettas are a popular fish for home aquariums, but many people don’t know how to treat swim bladder in betta fish. 

SBD can manifest in different ways, and the betta swim bladder symptoms may vary from Fish to Fish. The best way to treat swim bladder disease is to identify and treat the cause.

Watch this video to learn about the different symptoms of swim bladder disease and how to treat swim bladder disease in betta fish.

How Do You Treat Swim Bladder in Betta Fish?

How Do You Treat Swim Bladder Disease? To treat betta’s swim bladder disorder, it is crucial first to identify and address the condition’s underlying cause.

Depending on what is causing the swim bladder disease betta fish, treatments may include dietary changes or medications.

If constipation is causing the SBD, then adding high-fiber foods such as boiled peas could be helpful. If a bacterial infection is the cause, antibiotics may be prescribed.

It is also essential to ensure that your betta has plenty of clean, oxygen-rich water to swim and live in. Regular water changes are essential for keeping the betta’s tank clean and providing a healthy environment for your fish.

Regularly check the water temperature of your heater and adjust its thermostat accordingly for optimal performance within 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bettas are beautiful tropical fish that need warm temperatures to thrive and can also suffer from digestive processes if their environment is too cool. In general, keeping them in water at 76-82℉ provides the conditions they require for optimal health and digestion.

Finally, if these swim bladder treatments are not helping, you may need to consult a veterinarian or aquarist for further advice on treating your betta.

Following these steps and taking the necessary precautions can help your betta fish recover from SBD and live a healthy, happy life.

How Long Does It Take Betta Fish to Recover from Swim Bladder?

Why does my betta swim bladder not getting better? The recovery time for fish with swim bladder disorder can vary depending on the severity of the condition and any underlying common causes of swimming bladder issues.

In most cases, a betta fish should show signs of improvement within a few days of being treated.

Some bettas may take longer to recover, but generally, it is safe to assume that it will take at least a couple of weeks for the fish to return to its normal swimming behavior.

It is important to monitor your betta’s condition and seek professional help if you notice any further signs of SBD.

Most bettas can fully recover from swim bladder disorder with proper care and treatment.

Please familiarize yourself with betta swim bladder disease symptoms so that you can recognize them early and take steps to treat them. This will ensure a better quality of life for your pet fish and peace of mind for you as an aquarium owner.

Swim Bladder Disease Betta Cure

Many people think that swim bladder disease is a death sentence for bettas, but that’s not always the case. 

Swim bladder disease can be incredibly frustrating and scary for betta owners because it can cause their fish to float or sink. 

You can do a few things to treat SBD in your betta. This video will show you how to cure swim bladder disease using an easy at-home remedy.

Remember: Keep your betta healthy and happy by knowing their perfect tank mates! Learn how to control algae with ease, as well as create a makeshift aquarium for them.

Swim Bladder Disease Treatment

To treat positive buoyancy disorder, a veterinarian can use careful techniques to remove air from the swim bladder delicately. This helps restore neutral buoyancy and gives affected fish independence in the water!

In some cases, dietary changes can also help reduce the risk of a swim bladder disorder. This includes avoiding over-feeding your betta and providing high-quality foods that are higher in fiber.

If an underlying medical condition is causing swim bladder disease, it will need to be identified and treated.

It’s essential to seek professional advice from a licensed vet or aquarist to ensure that your fish gets the best treatment for SBD.

With proper care and swim bladder treatment, most bettas can make a full recovery from swim bladder disease and live a healthy, happy life.

What Medications Treat Swim Bladder?

Betta Swim Bladder Medication: Antibiotics are the most effective treatment if your betta has SBD. In some cases, antifungal medications may also be prescribed.

There are a few different types of Betta Swim Bladder Medication on the market. The most popular ones are Bioactive Tapsafe plus, Sludge Buster, Flora Boost, Green Away, and Anti Hair Algae.

I recommend going with a product that contains Bioactive Tapsafe plus, as it is the most effective at clearing out the buildup of toxins that can cause swim bladder problems.

Can a Betta Fish Eat Goldfish Food

Your veterinarian or aquarist can advise which medication is best for your fish based on their diagnosis.

It’s important to follow the instructions provided as directed and finish the entire course of treatment. This will ensure that the infection has been completely cleared and your fish can recover.

In addition to medications, keeping your quarantine tank clean and healthy is essential by performing regular water changes and keeping on top of tank maintenance.

Providing your betta with clean, well-oxygenated water is essential for their health and will help prevent swim bladder disease from happening in the future.

Can Swim Bladder Disease Fix Itself?

While swim bladder disorders may not be easily corrected, they may sometimes fix themselves. This is particularly true if the fish can find feed and keep themselves healthy.

Although SBD is treatable, it’s essential to recognize the swim bladder disease betta symptoms early so you can start treatment immediately. Unfortunately, some cases of swim bladder disorder cannot be fixed independently.

In these cases, a veterinarian or an aquarist may recommend medications to help treat the disorder’s underlying cause.

Why Is My Fish Floating Sideways but Still Alive?

Is Betta fish floating on the side but not dead yet? This is often a sign of SBD, which occurs when air or gas gets trapped in the fish’s swim bladder.

The swim bladder is an organ that helps the fish maintain its position in the water. When gas or air gets trapped in this organ, it can cause the fish to become buoyant and float sideways.

In some cases, SBD can be treated with dietary adjustments or medications. However, if the condition is severe, a veterinarian or aquarist may need to intervene and help restore balance in the Fish’s SBD.

It’s important to seek professional advice immediately so your fish can receive the best treatment for a swim bladder disorder.

Can a Fish Recover from Swim Bladder?

Yes. A fish can recover from its swim bladder if the cause is treated and removed. The swim bladder is a gas-filled sac in the fish that helps it to maintain buoyancy.

If the SBD becomes inflamed or infected, the fish will have trouble maintaining its balance and float or sink to the bottom of the betta tank.

Treatment involves identifying and treating swim bladder disease causes of the problem, such as parasitic infection, and releasing excess gas from the SBD until it returns to normal size.

If left untreated, however, a fish with a ruptured SBD will eventually die.

Commonly Asked Questions about Betta Fish Swim Bladder Disease (FAQ)

Does Swimming Bladder Disease Go Away on Its Own?

No. SBD does not usually go away on its own and must be treated with medications or dietary adjustments, depending on the cause of the disorder. Swim bladder disease fatal If left untreated, the fish will eventually die from this condition.

Does Epsom Salt Help Swim Bladder?

Yes. Epsom salt can be helpful for fish affected by SBD as it helps to reduce swelling in the swim bladder, which can help the fish to stay afloat. Epsom salt should be used with other treatments prescribed by your veterinarian or aquarist.

Does Swim Bladder Hurt Fish?

Is swim bladder disease painful for fish? Yes, betta fish suffering from Swim bladder disease can be painful for fish and cause them to swim in an awkward, jerky manner or float abnormally. If left untreated, the fish may suffer from lack of appetite, lethargy, and death. Diagnosing SBD Early is the key to successful treatment.

Do Peas Cure Swim Bladder?

In some cases, peas can help to cure SBD. Peas are high in fiber and low in protein, which may help to reduce the amount of gas in the fish’s swim bladder. Soaked and mashed peas can be fed to your betta fish to treat this condition.

Can Stress Cause Swim Bladder?

Yes. Stress can lead to SBD, as it weakens the immune system and increases the chances of parasitic or bacterial infection. If a fish is chronically stressed, it may be more susceptible to SBD or other fish ailments.

Why Is My Betta Fish Floating but Still Alive?

This is likely a sign of a swim bladder problem, which occurs when air or gas gets trapped in the Fish’s SBD.

Why Does My Betta Fish Laying on Its Side and Not Eating?

This could signify SBD, as the fish may have trouble balancing itself in the water. It’s essential to seek professional advice immediately so your fish can receive the best treatment for SBD.

Can You Pop Swim Bladder?

No, popping the swim bladder is not recommended and can be dangerous for the fish. It’s important to consult a veterinarian or aquarist for the proper Betta SBD treatment.

Does Bettafix Work for Swim Bladder?

Bettafix is a medication designed to treat fungal and bacterial infections but does not address the underlying cause of swim bladder problems. Bettafix offers a range of treatments for common fish ailments, including wounds, ulcers, mouth fungus, and fin/tail rot. Plus, it helps to repair frayed or torn fins so you can restore your aquatic friend’s beautiful appearance. Unfortunately, the product is not intended as a treatment for SBD.

What Happens If You Pop a Fish Swim Bladder?

Don’t put pressure on the swim bladder, as Popping a fish’s swim bladder can be dangerous and potentially fatal, as this may cause internal bleeding or other serious issues. If you suspect SBD, seek professional advice from a veterinarian or aquarist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Does Salt Help Fish with Swim Bladder?

Yes, in some cases, salt can help to treat betta SBD. Salt helps reduce swelling in the Betta SBD, making it easier for the fish to stay afloat.

Is Swim Bladder Disease Contagious to Other Fish?

No, SBD is not contagious and cannot be spread from one fish to another. Each case of swim bladder problems must be treated individually, depending on the root cause of the disorder.


Betta swim bladder disorder is a common ailment among Bettas; however, it is treatable. There are many causes of Betta SBD, ranging from constipation to infection, but swim bladder disease is often caused by overfeeding or poor water quality. If you encounter any of the above swim bladder disease symptoms, begin betta swim bladder disease treatment immediately to give them the best chance for recovery. Your betta can live a long and healthy life with proper care and attention.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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