Betta Fins Clamped – Causes and Treatment

If you are a betta fish lover you surely get worried and upset if you see your betta fins clamped or curled. This thing may happen due to many various reasons but surely isn’t something you could just let off. If you want to solve this issue you need to know all the possible reasons that can influence this and try to solve it for your betta’s sake. 

What are clamped fins in Betta?

Clamped fins are not a disease, they are a sign which your beta sends through body language. Clamped fins are simply a signal that something is wrong with your betta pet. In most cases, it is connected with the water quality so that should be the first on your list to check. 

What causes clamped fins?

We are going to provide a list of possible reasons why your betta’s fins are clamped. 

Stress is the most common reason why this happens. Various things provoke stress such as water parameters, improper environment, tank size, tankmates. Let us now see what are the things you need to provide when it comes to these possible stressors.

Water Parameters

Water parameters for bettas need to be constant and at a high level. Water temperature should be between 76 and 82 degrees and the best is to keep it at 78 F. You should have a heater provided at all times so that the temperature doesn’t change. Sudden changes in temperature can cause shock and stress in your betta. The hardness of the water should be between 6.5 and 7.5. If the water is harder than preferable it will make the fins curl. To prevent this use water softeners. The level of nitrite should be 0.0 as well as ammonia level and they are very dangerous for your fish and highly poisonous.  Not only they can cause curly fins but they can also bring to more serious conditions or even death. Nitrate is not as dangerous as nitrite and ammonia so it is tolerated less than 20 ppm but it can cause problems such as curling and trouble with swimming. Keeping all the parameters within range will help your betta thrive and stay healthy.


Injury is something that can cause betta’s fin clamp. Bettas, by nature, are very aggressive and territorial. Their long fins are always an easy target. Since they are poor swimmers due to the length of their fins, they can sometimes get stuck among ornaments or decorations in the tank. Other tank mates can attack them if they are fin nippers so be very careful when choosing a tank mate, you do not want your betta pet to get hurt. 

And there are cases when bettas even attack their own fins. Some injuries will resolve on their own but that is not a guarantee that the fins will be the same after the recovery. 

If you checked the parameters and nothing is wrong with them the second thing you should do is to eliminate all the sharp objects from your tank. 

If there is nothing else left, you need to separate tank mates until your betta gets better or permanently.

Ich Disease or Infection

There are cases when clamped fins are caused by an ich disease or infection. In these cases, apart from clamped fins they develop white spots on the body. This is most often caused by stress, changes in PH of the water and sudden temperature changes.  In this case, treatment goes with antibiotics and you should take a piece of advice from a specialist. If the cause is an infection, you should use one spoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water combined with antibiotics. 

Old Age

When they grow old betta’s fin clamp. Since their life span is from 2 to 4 years, maybe your betta is just too old. One of the symptoms of your betta growing old are clamped and curled fins. Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do about it. Just let it be. 

Genetic Anomaly

In some rare cases, clamped fins are connected to a genetic anomaly. There is nothing you can do here except not to breed that specific betta because it will most surely pass on to the next generation. 

How to treat clamped fins?

The first thing you should do to treat clamped fins is to check for all water parameters. Start with the temperature and then check the PH of the water and the level of nitrates, nitrites and ammonia.

 If you are sure that nothing is wrong with the water, check for decorations in the tank. Everything with sharp edges should be removed because it is a potential threat to injury. 

If there are no tankmates to provoke this in the end you may be dealing with a betta that is simply growing old and there is nothing you can do. 

In conclusion

Clamped fins are something that can disturb the magnificence of your betta`s appearance. There are various reasons which can lead to this and mostly they are connected to environmental factors such as water parameters, injuries, stress, tank mates or simply your betta is growing old.  There are many things you can do to help your pet except in the case of a genetic abnormality or growing old. 

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