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Betta Fish Depression

From time to time, you may notice that your Betta fish seems depressed and languishes around in its aquarium not appearing to take an interest in fish food, other aquatic creatures or its owner. Even though your Betta fish may appear to have depression, it is important to realise that your fish doesn’t have a mental condition. When a Betta fish is depressed, it is in fact stressed.

Betta Fish Depression

Stress is a very dangerous thing for all tropical aquarium fish. When they are stressed, fish are more susceptible to disease and can sometimes stop feeding which in turn makes the even weaker. Betta fish are much less likely to breed when stressed and you will probably not see a male Betta making a bubble nest when it’s “depressed.”

The causes of Betta fish depression are almost always related to the water quality, especially those Betta fish kept in very small aquariums with no filtration or proper aeration. The substances in a fish tank that cause stress are normally ammonia, nitrates or nitrites, all of which can be reduced with effective filtration and regular water changes.

If your aquarium is very clean and well filtered, it may be the case that your Betta fish is diseased rather than suffering from depression. Before assuming that its a sure case of Betta fish depression, check around its gills and fins for irregularities and be sure to look our for any white patches on its fins and body.

Some people believe that keeping small Betta fish aquariums next to each other will make their fish flare up their fins and become more aggressive. This works by making the Bettas think that they are sharing a tank with other males. Other people put a small mirror by the side of the tank in an attempt to trick the Betta into thinking its own reflection is another fish, and guess what….this actually works. 

Betta fish depression can also be caused by overfeeding. This can lead to swim bladder infections and bloating, both of which can kill any tropical fish if they are allowed to worsen. Always make sure you remove any uneaten food a couple of minutes after feeding your Betta fish. This will help prevent overeating and will also improve water quality by reducing the amount of food left in the tank to rot.

It is also possibly that you are keeping your Betta with other tropical fish that aren’t compatible with it. Feeling threatened by the large fins of other fish may depress your Betta. If you notice any fin nipping then this may be the cause of your Betta fish depression.

In conclusion, there is no such thing as Betta fish depression as this is merely a term used to describe the languid behaviour of a Betta fish suffering from stress caused by its environment, other fish or disease. For further information, please consult our Betta fish diseases, aquarium setup or compatibility pages.