Why Is My Betta Fish Not Moving?


We know that you care about your fish and want to make sure they are happy. However, you may notice your betta isn’t moving as much as he used to be.

We’re here to help by answering a solution to the query, “Why is my Betta fish not moving?”  The answer may be as simple as a change in environment or temperature, but it could also mean something more serious like a disease.

Let’s take a look at why this might be happening and what you can do about it!

Read more: Why is My Betta Fish Turning White

Why Is My Betta Fish Not Moving?

1. Sleeping or resting

Betta fish, like humans, require relaxation. Yes, every fish has to sleep once to recover energy and maintain regular body processes.

Without sleep, they would not have survived for more than a few days. Betta fish require rest. Their eyes are sometimes closed, and sometimes not. Betta fish prefer to sleep on the sides, typically resting on the substrate and the leaves.

It’s possible that your Betta fish is sleeping if they don’t move. If you shake the tank, stir the water, or switch on the lights, the Betta bursts into action. The odds are they are truly resting.

However, if Betta fish is sleeping a lot, it might be due to something else. It might occur as a result of inappropriate feeding, disease, or poor tank conditions.

In some cases, maybe Betta is becoming older, and its life is slowly evaporating. Old fish, like people, will be more inactive and sluggish than young.

2. Poor water quality – temperature and other variables

One major cause the Betta fish may be passive and not swimming around is that water conditions are not optimal. The temperature of the water is an essential consideration here.

You must keep your Betta fish in water between 78 and 80 degrees F. At the same time, if the water is heated over or too cold, your fish will most likely be sluggish.

Especially if the water temperature falls below 75 degrees, the metabolic system will collapse, body functions stop working, the fish stop eating, and cease swimming.

So, if the Betta fish doesn’t move, check the water degree and the heater to make sure everything is in working condition. A lack of illumination may also cause stop movement. Is there lighting in your Betta tank? If the tank is frequently dark, your Betta may be passive or sleeping since they believe it is nightfall.

Check pH level is also very important. Betta fish require water with a neutral pH of 7. Any lower or greater than that may jeopardize its health, causing it to slow down, possibly grow unwell, and eventually die.

High amounts of ammonia and nitrate can cause all sorts of toxicity issues. These toxins will poison Bettas fish if you aren’t careful!

If water pH and temperature are OK, but fish aren’t moving, it might be due to excessive nitrate and ammonia levels. In this instance, examine the water, do some tests, and ensure that the tank has appropriate biological filtration.

3. Improper feeding & food

One of the easiest methods to keep your Betta fish healthy and happy is feeding it various tasty foods. In addition, not giving them what they need may be causing lethargy or laziness in their swimming behavior!

Bettas need to eat meat-based meals. Therefore, make sure to give high-quality ones like flake/pellets rather than cheap commercial brands, which can contain harmful ingredients. Furthermore, insect larvae, brine shrimp, and many sorts of worms are also beneficial for your fish.

Giving your Betta more food than it can digest in two minutes might cause digestive problems or stress, leading to lethargy and listlessness. If you notice any symptoms of these signs on an ongoing basis, this would mean – the amount of food being fed is too high for its size!

4. Swim bladder problems, constipation, and other illnesses

Betta fish are prone to swim bladder issues on occasion. The build-up in your Betta’s pocket can cause it to become bloated, lumpy, or even induce suffocation owing to incapacity for gas exchange between air and water. It is also a buoyancy instrument that helps fish sink or float and aids in navigation.

If you find that your Betta fish doesn’t move and skew the body to one side, they most likely have a swim bladder problem. Constipation and overfeeding are the most common causes of swim bladder difficulties in Betta fish.

If this is the case with your fish, its abdomen will likely be inflated and bigger than usual. To fix this issue, stop feeding the fish for three days and then serve it a shelled pea, ideally a cooked shelled pea. This method should aid in the clearing of the fish’s abdomen.

Other diseases may lead your Betta to cease moving as much like dropsy, velvet, certain fungal illnesses, worms, parasitic infections, and others.

5. The Betta is no longer alive

So, this is the worst-case situation. Betta fish have a life expectancy of 3 to 5 years. Yes, Betta fish, like ourselves and all other things, may and do die.

If your Betta fish is above the age of three and not swimming, especially if it’s resting on its side at the bottom of the tank or eyes closed, it could pass away. You may examine whether the Betta is still alive by stirring the water around and closely examining its gills.

If your fish is beyond the age of three, there are techniques to revive it. Nevertheless, the chances of any resuscitation efforts working are small to none with advanced age.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are many answers to the question, “Why is my betta fish not moving?”. The most common causes for this include poor water quality, stress, and disease.

If you’ve done everything possible to make your pet feel better but still struggling, don’t hesitate to contact an expert at your local aquarium store to discuss the situation further.

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