Betta Fish Swimming Erratically: Top 10 reasons

Bettas are magnificent small creatures that offer you pleasure, enjoyment or entertainment. They are present to refine and decorate your home. Mostly they serve as a decoration of majestic colors for pure pleasure. That idyllic picture completely disappears when you see your Betta fish swimming erratically. Instead of enjoying your fish swimming in the tank, you see your fish swimming fast forth and back showing a lack of elegance when moving around the tank.

Betta Fish Swimming Erratically

Why is my Betta Fish swimming erratically?

There are several reasons why your fish doesn’t behave normally. We will make a list of the most common reasons why your Betta doesn’t behave normally. 

1. Lack of Oxygen

The most common reason for erratic behavior is the lack of oxygen called hypoxia. In most cases, your Betta will try to reach the surface of the tank looking for oxygen. This condition usually happens when the water in the tank is too hot. The first thing you need to do is to check the temperature of the water. Let us remind you that the ideal temperature should be in the range of 76-82 F.

2. Poor Water Quality

Your water quality is poor. This can cause various problems but it usually begins with a change of behavior. You need to be sure that your water quality is around PH level seven.  If the level of ammonia is too high it will poison your Betta.

3. Poor Nutrition

Since Bettas are carnivores, they want protein-rich food. Poor nutrition is also one of the reasons that can cause erratic swimming of your Betta. The swimming capability is affected if your Betta doesn’t get all the needed nutrients. In this case you also need to be attentive because if you feed it a lot you will provoke your Betta to spit food or cause other problems. Balanced nutrition is the best thing for a healthy Betta.

4. Parasites

You notice that your Betta starts rubbing against the decorations inside the tank or just banging them. The reason for that is that something itches it and the fish is maybe trying to scratch. The most probable reason for this is parasites. They can be very irritating.

Another thing is worm-like parasites – skin or gill flukes that cause the same erratic behavior. These conditions cannot be seen easily but there are indications too. The color of the fish changes like it’s faded.

5. Poor Vision

Sometimes poor vision causes erratic swimming. Your Betta might be too old or there is a problem with Popeye or a cloudy eye. If age is not the issue you should take some advice from a professional.

6. Birth Defect or Disorder

There are also some birth defects such as a nervous system disorder or any kind of neurological damage. You can’t do much here but you should also search for advice from a professional.

7. Swim Bladder Disease

Another form of behavior is when your Betta swims upside down means that your fish could be having swim-bladder disease. A swim-bladder enables the fish to regulate the air that goes in and out so that’s why the fish swims erratically.

8. Stress

Your Betta can also be stressed. It usually happens during the first few days in a new environment. Pay attention to it and if it doesn’t go off in a few days consult with a professional.

9. Chemicals in the Water

If you used some chemicals in the water firstly you should wait for a while to see if your Betta calms down. If that doesn’t happen then you have to do a water change to stop your Betta from suffering any further.

10. Not Enough Space

In the end, we should take into consideration that your Betta doesn’t have enough space. The tank isn’t big enough. Just to remind you that Bettas can survive in small spaces but they will feel more comfortable in at least a five-gallon tank.

Final Thoughts

If your Betta is swimming erratically that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem. Some of the reasons for erratic swimming mentioned above are easily solvable if you identify them in time. With some of these conditions you can deal on your own but in others, you need professional help. You should call a veterinarian or a specialized person for aquatic issues. That person will probably combine quarantine and remedies to help your Betta.

Leave a Comment