Does My Betta Have Swim Bladder Disease?

swim bladder disease

Swim Bladder Disease (SBD) is a common betta disease that is fairly easy to treat, as long as you watch out for the symptoms and catch it early on. Even though your betta might be healthy now, I strongly recommend that you continue to read this post to make sure you have all the information you need, just in case it happens to your betta.

Symptoms of Swim Bladder Disease

Here’s a list of symptoms that you might want to look out for to see if your betta fish has the swim bladder disease:

  • Your betta may begin to float uncontrollably to the top of the tank or sink below.
  • He or she is floating on his side.
  • They may struggle to swim and possibly swim at strange angles.
  • If you look from the top, your betta may even have an “S” shaped spine.
  • They also tend to lie around without moving much, only ceasing to speed up to the top as fast as they can for air.
  • And lastly, they often have swollen stomachs.

If you see any or all of these symptoms your betta may very well have swim bladder disease, but again, do not panic.


How To Treat Swim Bladder Disease

You can easily treat this by first determining what the possible cause may be. The most common cause is constipation. If your betta has swim bladder disease, you may want to treat him/her for constipation to start off, as this is usually the number one cause of this disorder. Generally constipation is caused by overfeeding. One of the best ways to treat this is to allow your betta a period of fasting until his/her stomach is no longer bloated. Normally no feeding for about 2-3 days should be enough. After the fasting, try to feed your betta a pea. Just thaw a frozen pea in warm water, de-skin it and scrape off a small portion (about 1/4) then feed it to your betta. You can do this for three to five days until your fish gets back to normal.
A less common reason for swim bladder disease is some sort of injury or traumatic experience. It’s a good thing that these are rare, because treating an injury or traumatic experience is usually not possible. However, you can extend the life of your betta by keeping the water level in your betta fish tank a little bit lower than normal and provide large plants so that it is easier to swim to the surface.
Swim Bladder Disorder can also be caused by birth defects and should be managed the same as an injury-caused case. Lastly, bacterial infections can cause this disorder and can be treated with an antibiotic such as Tetracycline or Kanacyn. (Just make sure you follow the instructions based on your betta fish tank dimensions).


Like I said before, this is a highly common disorder and most likely you will need to endure it once or even a few times throughout owning betta fish. It’s almost always caused by overfeeding and/or constipation. So simply keep your betta fish tank in good shape and be sure to feed your fish quality foods without overfeeding. Remember that your little betta’s stomach is very tiny and they do not need much food to survive.
Hopefully these tips have helped you discover if your betta has swim bladder disease and what you can do to prevent and manage it.
Have you ever had to treat this swim bladder disease or any other betta fish diseases? Do you have any advice that you would like to share? If so, please post your experiences and comments below! Remember, the best betta tank is a clean betta tank!
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