11 Signs Of a Stressed Betta Fish [and How To Calm Them]

When a betta fish is stressed, it will begin to lose its vibrant color and start to look pale and lifeless.

 If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of water.

It’s important to look after your betta fish as you can’t leave it in a small bowl all day without doing damage.

It’s one of the reasons I love keeping the aquarium as a hobby.

To get the most out of a betta fish. You need to ensure it has plenty of space to swim around and enjoy a happy, stress-free life.

So what should you be looking for when it comes to a stressed betta?

Signs Of a Stressed Betta Fish [and How To Calm Them]

Your betta fish is probably one of the happiest, most peaceful pets you can have.

But sometimes it doesn’t take much to make it start acting up.

Here are eleven signs that your betta fish is getting stressed out.

Also, we will be discussing the reason and solution behind the sign.

#1 A Change In Color

Your betta fish will begin to show signs of stress if its color begins to change.

This usually happens after a few weeks and is a sure-fire sign that it needs some space to live.

A stressed betta can appear pale or look lifeless and this is especially true if you’ve had it for a while.

If you take a look at the image below, you can see that this betta fish has started to change.

REASON:

Your betta fish is feeling lonely and as a result, is looking for company.

This is because the betta is now getting stressed.

SOLUTION:

The best thing you can do is to make sure your betta fish gets lots of attention.

Make sure to play with them frequently.

This will keep them occupied and help them to get used to your presence.

Also, read: Betta fish behavior before death [7 Signs you must know]

#2 It’s Biting, Snapping, or Acting Unhappy

When your betta fish becomes stressed, they will often display aggression.

This aggression may come in the form of biting, snatching, or snapping.

You mustn’t allow them to do this.

REASON:

Bettas are very territorial. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to keep them in a suitable environment.

SOLUTION:

You need to ensure your betta fish has a big tank.

#3 It Loses Its Appetite

When a betta fish becomes stressed, it will often start to lose its appetite.

It doesn’t mean it’s not eating, but it does mean that it no longer seems interested in food.

If you see your betta fish acting like this, then it’s time to think about moving them into a bigger tank.

REASON:

The stress is getting to them and this is affecting their ability to eat. 

SOLUTION:

Make sure to give your betta fish lots of attention and provide them with a wide variety of different foods.

#4 It Wants More Room To Swim Or Has Trouble Swimming

If your betta fish is constantly struggling to swim, it’s a good sign that it’s feeling stressed.

It’s important to remember that when it comes to betta fish, swimming is a big part of their lives.

Your betta fish will usually swim around happily in the water. But if it has trouble swimming, then this is another sign of a stressed fish.

REASON:

Stress can cause the muscles in your betta fish’s body to get tight. And this will often result in the fish struggling to move around.

SOLUTION:

You should make sure you give your betta fish plenty of space to swim around in the tank.

#5 It Becomes More Aggressive

When a betta fish gets stressed, it’s going to start acting differently.

They are normally very calm and peaceful. But when they become stressed, they can start to become aggressive.

This aggression may come in the form of biting, snapping, or even just looking at you angrily.

REASON:

When a betta fish gets stressed, it’s not usually able to focus on anything else.

SOLUTION:

The best thing you can do is to provide your betta with lots of attention and interaction.

#6 Its Skin Looks Thin, Shriveled, and Scaly

If you see your betta fish’s skin beginning to look a little scaly and thin. Then this is a good sign that it’s feeling stressed.

REASON:

Stress will often cause the skin of your betta fish to become thin and scaly.

SOLUTION:

The best thing you can do is to keep them swimming around in the water. And also provide them with lots of different foods.

#7 It Tends To Hide From You In The Tank Or A Corner

When a betta fish gets stressed, it’s going to start to act differently.

It’s going to try to hide in the corner of the tank or a corner of the aquarium.

REASON:

When your betta fish is stressed, it’s going to try to hide from anything that makes it feel uncomfortable.

SOLUTION:

You need to make sure that your betta fish is provided with enough space in the tank to swim around.

#8 It Shows Signs Of Lethargy

If your betta fish is showing signs of lethargy, then this is a good sign that it’s feeling stressed.

REASON:

Your betta fish will often start to act less energetic and interested in life when it’s feeling stressed.

SOLUTION:

The best thing you can do is to provide them with lots of attention and interaction.

#9 Its Breathing Is Abnormal

When a betta fish becomes stressed, it’s going to start breathing differently.

It may start to have a very deep or heavy breathing pattern, or even stop breathing for periods.

REASON:

When your betta fish is stressed, its breathing patterns are going to become more shallow.

SOLUTION:

You need to make sure that your betta fish has plenty of space to swim around in the tank. Also that it’s provided with enough food.

#10 It’s Getting Sunken Eyes

When a betta fish gets stressed, it’s going to start showing signs that it’s feeling uncomfortable.

One of the signs that your betta fish is stressed is that it’s going to start showing signs of having sunken eyes.

This is usually caused by stress hormones. That is being produced causing the pupils to become smaller.

REASON:

The eyes of your betta fish will start to get sunken and this will happen when it’s feeling stressed.

SOLUTION:

The best thing you can do is to make sure that your betta fish has lots of room to swim around in the tank.

#11 It Appears Dull And Lacking In Energy

If your betta fish appears dull and lacks energy, then this is a good sign that it’s feeling stressed.

REASON:

When your betta fish feels stressed, it’s going to start to show signs that it’s lacking in energy.

SOLUTION:

The best thing you can do is to provide them with plenty of attention and interaction.

These are some possible signs of a stressed betta fish.

If you’re worried that your betta fish is stressed, then you should look at these signs as soon as you can.

In addition, you should also try to calm down your betta fish. Discussed in the next section.

How Does a Stressed Betta Act?

You can figure out that if your betta fish is stressed, it will begin to act differently.

This can be very frustrating if you don’t know why it’s behaving in this way.

Here are some common ways that a stressed betta will act.

#1. It Gets Aggressive

When a betta fish feels stressed, it’s going to start showing signs that it’s feeling uncomfortable.

It’s going to start acting aggressively toward you.

#2. It Shows Signs Of Lethargy

Signs of lethargy is a common signs of stress. It’s when a betta fish starts acting less interested in life and even stops swimming for periods.

If your betta fish shows signs of lethargy, then it’s going to start to act less interested in life and more like a zombie.

#3. It Hides In A Corner or The Tank

If your betta fish hides in a corner of the tank’s wall, then it’s usually a sign that it’s feeling stressed.

This is a good way to know that it’s stressed because your betta fish is feeling like it wants to escape from you.

It’s going to start hiding in this area when it’s feeling uncomfortable.

#4. It Has Sunken Eyes

Betta fish’s sunken eyes represent stress.

A betta needs to have enough space in the tank and an adequate food supply to help it recover from stress.

This can be achieved by making sure that it has lots of space to swim around in the tank. And that it’s provided with enough food.

#5. It Appears Dull And Lacking In Energy

As I said earlier, when a betta fish gets stressed, it’s going to start acting differently. The next thing you need to do is find out why it’s acting in this way.

It appears dull and lacking in energy because it’s not getting enough oxygen. 

#6. You Can See Stress Strips

Stress strips are yellowish-white lines that form on your betta fish’s body.

These are formed when a betta fish is stressed, and they’re very obvious if you look at the fish closely.

Stress strips are a good way of telling if your betta fish is stressed.

These are the lines that are usually caused by the stress hormones that are being produced.

#7. Betta Fish Keep Darting

Fish keeps darting in and out of the water. Swimming around in circles, or sometimes even jumping up out of the water.

Darting means that your betta fish is acting like it’s trying to escape something. Or that your betta fish is feeling uncomfortable. And so it needs to swim away from the place where it’s feeling stressed.

This sign shows that your betta fish is stressed.

#8. Check For Clamped Fins

Stressed betta fish will often begin to show signs of having their fins clamped together. If you notice this, you should try and gently unclamp the betta fish’s fins. 

Clamped fins are caused when the fish is stressed and this can make its fins stick together.

If you notice that your betta fish is getting stressed, then you should begin to look at its behavior.

How to Calm Your Betta Fish

It is important to note that if you’re worried that your betta fish is stressed. Then it’s going to need your help to calm down.

You can do this by using the following methods:

#1 Remove Any Stressful Objects from The Water

One of the best ways to help your betta fish to relax is to remove any objects that are causing stress to the fish.

If you have anything that you’re not using in the tank, then it’s a good idea to put them outside or give them away.

#2 Ensure Your Fish Has Plenty of Space To Swim Around

If your betta fish is getting stressed because it doesn’t have enough room to swim around in. Then you need to ensure that it has lots of space.

You should also make sure that it has enough food and clean water to help it recover from stress.

#3 Make sure The Water Quality is Perfectly Balanced

The water quality of your tank should be perfect so that your betta fish can keep calm.

You should make sure that the water is not too warm or too cold, but you also need to make sure that it’s perfectly balanced.

If the water temperature is too high. Then your betta fish will start getting stressed because it will not be able to survive in the water.

#4 It Will Feel Uncomfortable and Begin To Act In a Nervous Way

If the water is too cold. Then it can lead to health issues like a fish being unable to produce enough waste or a loss of appetite.

You should always make sure that the water is perfectly balanced.

#5 Don’t Leave Your Fish Alone for Longer Than An Hour

It’s important to remember that if you’re leaving your betta fish alone for longer than an hour. It will begin to get stressed.

The reason for this is that it will need to use up its energy stores. And if you don’t help your betta fish to recover, then it will become stressed.

The stress will lead to your betta fish becoming lethargic and sluggish.

#6 Be Consistent With The Feeding Schedule

Your betta fish needs to be fed once a day, and the best time to feed your betta fish is in the morning.

Make sure that you remove the food from the tank during the night so that it doesn’t eat the same food twice in a row.

You should also make sure that the food that you give to your betta fish has a good amount of vitamins and nutrients. But it should also be something that it likes.

You should also make sure that you have an active tank filter system. Because if you don’t, then the water will not be clean.

#7 Use A Stress Ball

If you have a betta fish that is getting stressed, then you can use a stress ball.

The stress ball will help to help your betta fish to relax.

You can use a stress ball when you are feeling stressed or worried.

You should take the stress ball out of your pocket or handbag and place it on the side of your betta fish’s tank.

The stress ball should be placed on the top of your betta fish’s head.

The reason for this is that if you place the ball in the water. Then it will begin to swim around the tank and become agitated.

By placing the stress ball on the top of your betta fish’s head. Then it will swim in a straight line, and this will help your betta fish to calm down.

Also, read our detailed article: My 13 ways to calm down a stressed betta fish!

Why Is My Betta Swimming Around Crazy? Is It Stressed?!!

When you see your betta fish swimming around crazy, then it probably means that it’s stressed.

If you think that your betta fish is stressed, then you should do something about it.

If it doesn’t calm down after the methods above, then you should do the following:

Put the betta fish into a larger aquarium.

Change the water.

Try using a stress ball. Make sure that the tank has enough light.

It’s easy to spot a stressed betta fish.

Besides, this sign might make your betta fish more aggressive.

Make sure you have the right tank size for your betta fish.

Once your betta gets to calm down.

Conversely, you may want to put your betta fish in a bigger aquarium. To ensure that it can enjoy its space and freedom of movement.

Can a Stressed Betta Fish Recover?

Yes, betta fish can recover from stress.

They can also be happy and healthy if they’re given the chance to live a stress-free life.

However, a lot of betta fish don’t get that chance as they get stressed due to various reasons.

For example, overcrowding and poor water quality are some of the main causes of stress in bettas. Stress isn’t all bad though.

There are some studies that show that it can actually improve physical performance.

If you want to recover your betta fish from stress then you must be patient.

You should understand that your betta fish is getting stressed. Because it doesn’t have a healthy lifestyle.

If you want your betta fish to recover from stress then you should help it get back on track.

Make sure that you have a healthy diet for your betta fish.

Meanwhile, it’s also important that you provide plenty of space for it to move around and swim in.

As a last resort, you may want to put your betta fish into a bigger aquarium.

If the betta fish is stressed, then it may need more space.

How Long Does It Take For a Stressed Betta To Settle In?

There is no specific time that it takes for a stressed betta fish to settle in.

Some bettas can recover in as little as an hour while others can take up to 48 hours.

If you think that your betta fish is stressed, then you should take action immediately.

Make sure you have a good understanding of what causes stress in bettas and how you can help your betta fish.

First thing first, you should make sure that your betta fish has enough space to swim around in.

This means that you should give it at least 10 gallons of space. You should also ensure that it has access to enough sunlight.

Finally, you should also provide a suitable diet for it. After all, if your betta is stressed, then it will most likely get sick.

It may also be aggressive towards other fish in the tank.

If you don’t give your betta fish enough space or food, then it will feel stressed.

Is It Normal For a Betta To Sit At The Bottom Of The Tank?

Obviously, it depends on how much space they have.

If you have more than five gallons of space, then you can expect to see your betta fish at the bottom of the tank.

However, if your betta has less than five gallons of space, then it might not be able to swim around freely.

In this case, your betta fish might spend most of its time sitting at the bottom of the tank.

This is because it needs more space to swim around in.

In addition to this, your betta fish might feel uncomfortable as it doesn’t get the chance to breathe as easily.

Why Does My Betta Stay At The Top Of The Tank?

If your betta fish spends most of its time at the top of the tank, then there is a high chance that you may have some problems.

For example, if your betta fish spends most of its time at the top of the tank. Then it means that you have too little water in your aquarium.

If you have too little water in the tank, then your betta fish will struggle to swim.

This will mean that it will need more room to swim around.

If you’re using an automatic filter or a saltwater filter. Then you should ensure that it’s working well and that the water quality is good.

How To Build A Stress-Free Habit For Your Fish

To build a stress-free habit for your fish you need to give them what they need when they need it.

This can be difficult if your betta fish is stressed.

In this case, you should consider getting them some special care.

For example, you should make sure that you know how to help your betta fish.

In order to do this, you need to understand why they’re stressed.

There are lots of reasons why bettas may feel stressed. But there’s one thing that almost all of them have in common: lack of nutrition.

You also need to understand what causes stress in bettas.

First, you need to make sure that you provide a healthy diet for your betta fish.

This is because if it doesn’t get the right nutrients, then it may become stressed.

Next, you need to make sure that you give your betta plenty of space.

If it has less than five gallons of space, then it might not be able to swim freely.

In addition to this, you should also make sure that it has access to sunlight and fresh water.

Conclusion

Bettas are a very popular fish, but they’re not as easy to care for as other types of fish.

There are lots of reasons why they may feel stressed, but one of the most common reasons is lack of nutrition.

If your betta isn’t getting enough nutrients, then it may become stressed.

Next, you should make sure that you understand what causes stress in bettas.

This is because stress can make them unhealthy.

Finally, you should also make sure that you know how to help your betta fish.

You may also like:

How to save a dying betta fish?

How to tell if a betta fish is dying of old age?

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