Blind Betta Fish: Causes And Care

There are species that can go blind, but a blind Betta fish is not a common thing. Complete blindness is rather rare in Bettas. However, they can lose sight in one eye or go partially blind. This is certainly not a reason to despair and your pet won’t die if blindness occurs. What you can definitely do is find the cause of blindness by observing the symptoms and helping your pet learn how to live with it.

blind betta fish

Can A Betta Fish Go Blind? Common Reasons

There are different things that can cause a Betta to lose some or all of its sight and we are going to tell you about the common ones. Some causes can be prevented and treated but others are out of control. We will provide enough information and hope that we will help you avoid severe causes and prevent them from happening. 

  • Infections are the most common reason for many diseases as well as a Betta go blind. Water from the tap, that we normally use for our tank, includes pathogens which if not extracted can be brought into the tank as well as many other diseases. If the immune system is weakened it is open to infection of any kind. The immune system can be harmed or damaged by many other causes such as stress or poor diet. Further stress can be caused by the size of a tank, overcrowded tank, poor or sudden changes of water condition, not enough hiding places, bullying, loud noise, too much light and many others. Most infections rather attack other parts of the fish but if it happens you should be ready. The infection can be bacterial, fungal or parasitic and no matter the origin you should treat the tank with a medication that can handle all types. In most cases if it is an infection, it will spread fast, eye or eyes will go cloudy but you will notice other symptoms such as loss of appetite and lethargy.  Do not confuse infections with Popeye or cataracts which we will tell you later on. 
  • Dragon eye, Moon eye, Snake eye or diamond eye are all names for a condition that happens when the scales grow over a Betta’s eye. It begins with translucent scales near or around the eye. Later they become colored and grow in number. Effective blindness comes within weeks or a month when they cover the eye fully and a Betta becomes blind. It is an interesting fact that a dragon eye happens at the same time in both eyes. Maybe not at the same speed but it surely covers both at approximately the same time. The cause of a Dragon eye is unknown but it is suspected to be an infection. The scales grow in the areas where they shouldn’t be as an abnormal response of the immune system in the attempt to reject the infection.
  • Cataracts can occur in Bettas that are three years and older. The lens of the eye becomes cloudy preventing the light from entering the eye and making Betta have difficulties seeing or even not see at all. There isn’t much you can do if cataracts appear. The only thing that you can do to help your Betta pet is to teach it how to live with them. Maybe surgery is an option for people but it certainly is not an option for Bettas due to their size. 
  • Losing eyes/eyes are the last reason on our list but you can be sure that your Betta is blind if it has lost an eye or both eyes. This can happen due to some physical damage in most cases sharp objects in the tank or due to a fight with tank mates. In this case you should carefully choose tank mates from the list of convenient ones. There are cases when an eye loss happens due to a severe infection. This is also a situation where you can’t do much except to help your Betta adjust and learn how to live with blindness. 

How To Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Blind?

It is not that difficult to identify that something is wrong with your Betta’s eye. They are conspicuous and it is easy to detect only by paying attention. The visible cloudy layer is something you notice first. If the condition goes worse, you will notice other symptoms such as the loss of appetite and lethargy. Your Betta will have trouble moving and often bump into an object due to lack of sight. 

If you notice abnormal scales that have covered the eye then you are dealing with dragon eye which is the most common name for this condition although it can be moon eye, diamond or snake eye too. This condition certainly leads to blindness and there isn’t anything you can do to stop it. 

Other things that can make your Betta become blind are infections that are not treated in time and adequately and cataracts which can show up when your Betta becomes old. 

Apart from these listed things physical damage can cause eye loss and since they are aggressive by nature it is not that uncommon that a Betta loses its eye during a fight with other fish. Your Betta simply doesn’t have an eye in the eye hole and it is blind. 

How To Feed A Blind Betta Fish?

Once you have determined that your Betta is blind you need to help it deal with the blindness and adjust to a life without eyesight. The first thing you should do is rearrange the tank so that sharp objects, anything sharp and edgy, as well as other decorations, do not get in the way and cause further injuries. The biggest issue for further survival is feeding and you needn’t be concerned because you can do many things about it.

  • The easiest thing, to begin with, is to put the food each time you feed your pet in the same place in the tank. Pick a corner that is suitable and continue feeding it there each and every time. Be patient and eventually, a Betta will learn the location and swim there if it is hungry. 
  • If a Betta goes gradually blind you can teach it to take food always in the same place but also add a tap of the tank before you drop food. They will connect the sound with feeding since Bettas are intelligent fish. In time, they will learn the feeding trick which will help them later when they go completely blind to know that the food is served and where to look for it. 
  • The feeding ring is another aid that you can use. Sometimes a Betta isn’t hungry and food stays in the tank for a while. It can float around the tank or even worse decompose and go to the bottom where it will produce waste. The feeding ring will keep the food in place until your Betta decides to eat it or if it stays uneaten, help you easily collect it and take it out of the tank. 
  • If your Betta has lost only one eye then you should drop food near the good eye. If you go with live food, it will help it notice the movement and identify the meal. Natural hunting urge will do the job for you.  
  • If you have trouble feeding your pet you can use tweezers and serve the food directly near the mouth of your pet. Remember to feed it with small portions or it will have trouble swallowing the food. 
  • There is also an option to put the food where your Betta rests. When it goes to rest it will smell the food and take it. This only stands for food that can float long enough and doesn’t decompose fast or it will sink to the bottom. 

There are many things you can do to feed your pet and help it stay alive and healthy even if it is blind. With some patience you can teach your pet many tricks and help it overcome blindness and carry on its life. 

Final Words

Even though complete blindness is rather rare your Betta pet can still go bling due to many reasons which we explained. Just to recap, the most common ones are infection, cataract, dragon eye or an injury and we have talked about them in detail above. If blindness occurs the most important is to provide a safe environment for a blind Betta. Rearrange the tank and feed your pet and it will continue its life.

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