Betta Fish Dropsy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

dropsy betta fish

Despite the silly name, betta fish dropsy is in fact a very serious condition. The symptoms can be unpleasant at best for your betta. Dropsy can ultimately prove to be devastating, and this is particularly true if you fail to catch what is commonly and mistakenly referred to as a disease.

While not a disease in the specific sense of the word, dropsy nonetheless can mean your betta is not in the best of the health. By being able to correctly identify dropsy symptoms, which will then give you the ability to take advantage of the various dropsy treatment options that are available to you.

If time and diligence are in your corner, the chances of recovery are in fact quite high.

Let’s start by understanding what we’re talking about, when we talk about dropsy in the first place.

dropsy betta fish

What Is Dropsy?

One of the most frustrating things about dropsy is that there is no one specific thing that can cause. Conditions are established through the presence of gram-negative bacteria. There are a number of different causes that have been pointed to as a primary. However, dropsy ultimately seems to be a condition that can come from a range of sources.

Another thing we know for certain is that dropsy is extremely rare in healthy bettas. To put it another way, dropsy becomes a dangerous possibility for betta fishes with diminished or compromised immune systems.

Several factors can create such a weakness. Understanding the value of maintaining the best possible tank conditions is going to carry you a long way. We’re going to cover that. However, for the moment, let’s take a closer look at the most common symptoms of dropsy to watch out for.

It cannot be stated enough times that when it comes to seeing how to treat dropsy in bettas, a speedy response is absolutely vital.

How Does A Betta Fish Become Infected With Dropsy?

Another frustrating thing about dropsy is how slowly it sometimes spreads. In some cases, your betta can have dropsy for a while, before they ever show any of the symptoms we are going to discuss.

Dropsy works at slowly making its way into the scales of your betta. When this occurs, their entire inner workings can be impacted. Causing harm to both the kidneys and liver, dropsy also leads to fluid retention. This in turn creates the bloated betta stomach that has long been associated with this condition.

As you might imagine, this fluid buildup can make your betta very unhappy. Besides the fact that it can shorten their lifespan, particularly if it is left untreated, dropsy can also make your betta uncomfortable. They will swim and eat less, which in of itself will contribute to a decline in their health. You can see by now how easy it is for dropsy to shift from a minor infection to a life-threatening situation.

How To Treat Dropsy In Betta Fish

What Are The Symptoms Of Dropsy In Bettas?

If you already know what edema in human beings can look or feel like, then you have a rough idea of what dropsy looks and feels like for your bettas. Arguably the most notable physical symptom of dropsy is the presence of a bloated belly.

To reiterate an earlier point, dropsy is not a disease. It is a bacterial infection that can be created by certain conditions. In fact, the symptoms of dropsy are in fact the underlying symptoms of a more serious situation. This means that if you treat the situation, the infection will go away. Furthermore, through consistent aquarium maintenance and care, you will insure an extremely likelihood of dropsy never returning either.

Here are the main symptoms you need to watch for.

What Are Some Of The Earliest Signs Of Dropsy?

Early detection of dropsy can prove to be a little tricky. However, with a careful, trained eye, you can spot some potential red flags, before they amount to something deadlier:

First of all, look to their appetite. This is almost always where you can figure out if something is wrong. Just keep in mind that a poor appetite does not automatically mean your betta has dropsy. Poor appetite is connected to many of the diseases and infections which threaten your bettas. If this is the only symptom you’ve noticed so far, there isn’t a lot more that can be done, beyond simply keeping an eye on them.

You do NOT want to begin a dropsy treatment, until you are extremely certain that this is what your betta has. Treatments can be harmful, if there is nothing to actually treat.

Is your betta avoiding other fish? This is another possible warning sign. Again, this is another early symptom in which the presence of this behavior is not a guarantee that an infection is present. However, if you combine this with low appetite, the odds are going to start to climb a bit.

If the betta is not only hiding from other fish, but tends to prefer to stay in just one place, then you are definitely looking at a potential case of dropsy. If you take all three of these early symptoms, you will have a betta with a very high probability of having dropsy.

Even so, all of these symptoms can still be indicative of something else. Let’s break down the more serious symptoms you should appreciate in greater detail.

What Are The More Serious Signs Of Dropsy?

If your betta is expressing all three of the early warning signs we covered above, the most infamous symptom, the bloated belly, is likely to appear soon after. You can expect to notice the appearance of this bloating roughly two to three days after the early symptoms have become apparent. Yes, treatment is still well within the realm of possibility at this point, but it does get more challenging.

The stomach is going to look swollen. This is a clear sign that your betta has dropsy.

Like many other diseases and infections with betta fish, you are also going to want to pay attention to the scales. If you have heard the word “pinecone” in association with the physical symptoms of dropsy, then should have a pretty clear idea of what we are talking about. There is a reason why this is perhaps the most well-known of all the symptoms we’re discussing right now. When you see it on your betta for the first time, prepared to be shocked, as it is quite distinctive. The name comes from the fact that all of its scales are sticking out, similar to what you would have with a pine cone. By far, the worst part at this point is the somber knowledge that effective treatment becomes far less likely.

The Importance Of Dropsy Prevention In Bettas

Obviously, still do your best to get your betta back to good health, but understand the value of everything we have covered thus far. It is designed to give you a foundation that will hopefully prevent things from getting to this stage in the first place.

You should also pay attention to the gills. If their appearance lacks in color, resembling a more pale appearance, then your betta may have dropsy. Bulgy eyes and a red, bulgy anus can also be indicators that your betta is retaining a dangerous amount of fluid. A curved spine can also be a strong indicator, as well as a betta that is seemingly reluctant to swim to the bottom of your tank.

With a clearer idea of the symptoms you are trying to spot, you now have a firm foundation to learn about treatment options. While dropsy can be hard on your bettas, you’re going to be pleased to find the treatment path is pretty straightforward. What you want to do is make sure you get started from the first moment you know your betta has dropsy.

What Are My Dropsy Treatment Options For Betta Fish?

Let’s go through all the steps involved in how to treat betta fish for dropsy:

  • Start by setting up your quarantine tank. Like many other known diseases and infections which can befall bettas, you’re probably going to want to cut them off from the other fish in your tank. This prevents the bacteria from spreading, while also giving your infected betta a peaceful space with which to heal up in a stress-free environment. Five to ten gallons is fine for a quarantine tank. Make sure to add conditioned water, as well as places in which your betta can hide when the mood strikes. You should also have a heater, and you should also perhaps even consider getting a filter.
  • The next step will be to change out the water currently in your tank. This doesn’t have to be a lot. It doesn’t even have to be half. As far as the original aquarium is concerned, you only need to change around 25%. This is an important step in making sure the rest of the fish in the tank do not contract dropsy. Treatment and management become considerably more challenging, if you have more than one betta or fish displaying symptoms.
  • Get your hands on some aquarium salt. Thankfully, there are lots of good products available through Amazon and elsewhere. We don’t have a specific recommendation, but make sure you purchase what you need from a reliable, popular manufacturer. Anything you purchase will come with clear instructions for use.
  • Put your infected betta into a plastic bag with some water from the main tank. Put this bag in the water of the new tank. Allow your betta around twenty minutes to get themselves comfortable with the new tank. Then you can let them out of the bag.
  • Now, this next part is really a personal choice. If you only have the one infected betta fish, then disregard changing only 25% of the water. Our suggestion at that stage would be to change out seventy-five percent of the water. The entire tank, as well as everything associated with the tank, should be carefully scrubbed and cleaned. Some would suggest doing this regardless, but we’re talking about a considerable amount of work and resources at that juncture. It is not absolutely necessary, but it can make for a good measure for anyone who w ants to be completely confident in the treatment they are using for their betta. If you are interested in going this route, make sure you know everything there is to know about cleaning out your betta tank safely and effectively.
  • This is where we start administering the best antibiotics you have on hand. In our experience, amoxicillin provides the most effective relief against this bacterial infection. These products are usually distributed in 500mg dosages. Make sure you follow all of the directions associated with whatever you purchase, in order to ensure your betta gets all of the benefits.
  • The most effective way to give your bettas amoxicillin is to soak some into their food. This will be explained in the directions of whatever you purchase. If your betta is still eating, this should be easy enough to do. If not, do not panic! You can still administer the medicine!

Don’t Forget To Change The Quarantine Tank Daily!

This is regrettably something many people forget to do!

As we mentioned before, dropsy treatment will probably involve aquarium salt (do NOT use table salt, as it is NOT the same thing!) and antibiotics. Because of this, your water should be changed out every single day. This won’t take long, as it is only a 5-10-gallon tank, but it must be kept in mind.


At this point, you should have all the information you need. As we mentioned before, efficiency is the key to successfully treating the condition. In other words, if you notice all three of those early warning signs of dropsy in your betta fish, then you can almost certainly move on to exploring treatment options. It is highly unlikely that if your betta fish isn’t eating, and prefers to hide and avoid other fish, they have dropsy.

With the tips covered above, you’re on the right track to help your betta get better.

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

Fin Rot In Bettas Fish: What You Can Do Before It’s Too Late!

Fin Rot In Bettas Fish

If you are planning to own betta fish, understand now why it is so important to take fin rot seriously. This is one of the most unfortunate conditions which can befall your betta fish. While fin rot can be devastating to many different types of aquarium fish, it is considered to be more prevalent among bettas.

The more you learn about fin rot symptoms and causes, particularly among betta fish, the easier it will be to appreciate just how grave this condition can become. One of the most important things to remember about fin rot is the fact that time is of the essence, when it comes to how you respond.

We’re going to cover fin rot treatments for bettas shortly. For now, let’s start with a deep dive into everything you need to know about betta rot.

Fin Rot In Bettas Fish

What Is Fin Rot?

Let’s start our discussion of fin rot in bettas with some good news: Yes, fin rot is treatable, and the success rate, when you keep in mind all the steps and tips involved, is quite high. However, you need to understand what you’re dealing with.

Ideally, you’ll get all of this information before bringing your betta home. If that isn’t the case, relax. While fin rot can be absolutely brutal, betta fish retain their reputation for toughness. There is a reasonable window between detection and successful treatment.

Fin rot is essentially the consequence of too much bacteria in an aquarium. Obviously, we need a certain number of bacteria present to break things down and so forth. At the same time, too much bacteria can be problematic. The stress it can put on your fish, especially the bettas, can lead to things like fin rot.

It is commonly thought of as a bacterial infection. This is true, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Truth About The Origins Fin Rot

As it turns out, fin rot can be bacterial or fungal. These are two considerably different things, so it becomes crucial to be able to tell the difference between them. When you can do this, your treatment will have higher odds of being effective.

The type of fin rot you are dealing with is perhaps best understood by looking at the evenness of the damage. Fin rot causes physical wear and tear to the fins and other areas of your bettas. We will cover this in greater detail later. For now, just keep in mind that bacterial fin rot causes your bettas to look uneven. A fungal case of fin rot can be indicated by damage that looks more even.

What Is Fin Rot

What Causes Fin Rot In Bettas?

We have already briefly touched on the basic conditions that can lead to fin rot. As previously indicated, it is most commonly brought about due to unsanitary conditions in your tank. Don’t forget that even if you have one of the best aquarium filters on the market, you should still be cleaning out your tank on a regular basis. This means removing a certain percentage of the water in the tank (a minimum of 10%), as well as removing debris and untouched foodstuffs along your tank’s bottom.

The temperature of your tank, the number of fish in your tank, and even the size of your tank can all play a role in creating the conditions necessary for fin rot to occur. While fin rot in of itself is not the end of the world, it is often made much worse with the addition of stress. What does this mean?

The Relationship Between Stress And Immune Systems In Bettas

While it is obviously important to take fin rot seriously, it is just as important to see why fin rot is so problematic in the first place. It comes down to the issue of stress, and what that means for the immune system of your bettas.

Bettas are hardy fish for your aquarium. Unfortunately, they can be prone to stress. This stress can come from overcrowded conditions, the tank not being the ideal temperature for betta fish, bullying by other fish, and more. Females are particularly susceptible to stress from over-eager males and even other females.

When you stress your betta out, the same thing happens to him as happens to any of us when we’re way too anxious: The immune system tanks. This make us more susceptible to getting sick. This applies to bettas, and it can be realized in a variety of different ways. Not only can your betta be more likely to contract fin rot when it’s stressed out, but the stress and weakened immune system can make fin rot much more serious.

So, if we want to prevent fin rot, we have to keep conditions ideal for your betta on every possible level. Otherwise, it will not be long, before you start to see symptoms.

Symptoms Of Fin Rot In Bettas

Another point worth repeating: Time is definitely off the essence, when it comes to treating your bettas for fin rot. We cannot overstate the value of knowing exactly what to look for, when it comes to signs that your betta fish has fin rot.

Here are the most significant fin rot symptoms to keep in mind. Because it is important to be as specific as possible, when it comes to knowing what to look for with fin rot and bettas, we’re going to break things down into mild fin rot symptoms and serious fin rot symptoms.

Mild Betta Fish Fin Rot Symptoms

Obviously, the main benefit of being able to identify these milder symptoms is the chance to treat and prevent future outbreaks much more successfully:

  • Look for a slight darkness to the fins of your betta. In general, good betta maintenance will include being aware of what your bettas fins normally look like.
  • Pay attention to the tips, as well. If you suddenly notice the presence of brown, grey, or white colors in this area, there is a good chance that your betta has a mild case. The tips can also look irritated, with a sore appearance.
  • One of the most notorious symptoms of fin rot relates to the ragged edges that suddenly appear along the fins of your betta. The area can also look frayed, damaged (as though attacked). Check your bettas regularly to know when this symptom might be appearing.

If your betta’s case of fin rot is only mild, there should not be any indication of rot anywhere NEAR the body of the betta. This is far and away the most important distinction between mild and major fin rot.

Serious Betta Fish Fin Rot Symptoms

Remember the window of opportunity that rests between identifying fin rot and successful treatment? It is mostly open to the criteria of mild fin rot.

If your betta has a more serious case, the window closes to a noticeable degree. While successfully restoring a betta with serious or major fin rot is not impossible, it does become a good deal more difficult at this juncture.

Here are the most common signs of a serious, possibly deadly, case of fin rot for your betta:

  • The placement of the fins is once again very important in this arena. If your betta is fighting a bad case of fin rot, you will immediately see the fins receding towards the body to a highly dangerous degree.
  • Rather than a slow-but-steady change in color and appearance, serious fin rot cases will be highlighted by entire clumps of your betta’s fin simply falling away.
  • An actual, significant portion of the fin will be completely dead. This can be as much as 1.5cm.
  • Recall the light discoloration we discussed earlier with the milder symptoms. If the condition has progressed to a potentially critical point, this discoloration will be impossible to ignore. Look for something that is going to be extremely dark in appearance.
  • Do you see white fuzz anywhere on the betta’s fin? This is another guarantee that your betta is dealing with the worst possible version of the infection.
  • In addition to the white fuzz, you should also be able to see the presence of red spots all over the betta.

Again, treatment is not impossible at this point. Just understand that the odds are also rather stacked against you. Nursing your betta back from this point is extremely time-consuming, and it will not come with any assurances that the betta will recover. This is why we want you to be able to catch these symptoms as early on as possible.

Next, let’s discuss treatment and prevention.

How To Prevent Fin Rot

While there are indeed treatment options, which we will discuss in greater detail shortly, prevention is really the best way to deal with fin rot, regardless of the specific fish you own. Prevention means implementing simple steps that will ultimately make your betta and other members of your aquarium family as happy as possible.

Having said that, there are a few things you will want to consider, when it comes to fin rot treatments for bettas.

The Best Treatment Options For Fin Rot In Betta Fish

The first thing we should talk about is the subject of quarantine.

Should you isolate any and all fish, including your betta, which are confirmed to have fin rot? Yes. If your tank is larger than two gallons, or if you have any other living beings or plant life, you should cut off the infected betta from your actual aquarium as soon as possible.

Setting up a quarantine betta fish tank is pretty much the same as setting up a normal fish tank. Add your conditioned water heater, and filter. Make sure, even with a filter, you’re changing out the water in the tank every couple of days.

Also: If you want to minimize the stress your betta might experience from being moved to a new tank, put them in the new tank in a tied-off plastic bag, filled with the water of the original tank. After about 15 minutes of floating along the top, they should be just fine. Let them out, and keep a very close eye on them.

Once the betta has been isolated, make them as comfortable and happy as possible. Your next measure will be to seek out and use an effective antibiotic.

For more information on treatment products for infections such as fin rot, check out this list of aquarium fish treatment medications that you can purchase at Amazon and elsewhere.

Regardless of where you decide to put your sick betta, make sure the tank conditions are always ideal. This means a temperature between 76 and 80F, with the pH being somewhere in the close vicinity of 7. The standards your specific betta is used to is going to ultimately be your best bet.

There is also some serious potential to be considered in using aquarium salt as a means of treating fin rot. If used sparingly and gently, aquarium salt can prove to be enormously effective. Just keep in mind that you do not want to use this product for more than ten consecutive days. Follow the directions for any product you purchase very carefully. Failing to do this can lead to even more health problems for your bettas, including kidney damage and liver damage.

Proven Prevention Strategies For Betta Fish Fin Rot

Let’s see what we can accomplish in the way of prevention:

  • A clean tank: This is worth mentioning at least one more time! A tank that is being cleaned on a regular basis, combined with the use of a filter and other conditions agreeable to bettas, is a tank that your betta fish will love. This diminishes stress, while keeping the potential for bacteria to build up and cause problems low.
  • The right size tank: Your bettas need the right size tank to be happy, as well. Five gallons is considered to be the absolute minimum. If you plan to have several fish, or if they’re going to share space with other types, the tank should be bigger.
  • The right number of fish: Overcrowding creates stress, but it also creates heightened conditions for something like fin rot to thrive. In a five-gallon tank, there shouldn’t be more than four or five fish, but even that is kind of pushing it. Figure out if your tank meets the conditions for problematic or even dangerous overcrowding. If that proves to be the case, it might be time to invest in a second aquarium.
  • Males and females: Male bettas and female bettas can live together. However, there are several things within this thought to keep in mind. Otherwise, you can wind up creating highly stressful conditions for the bettas in your tank.
  • Act fast: Prevention also involves preventing a mild case of fin rot from becoming something much graver. Remember the symptoms of mild fin rot we mentioned above. This isn’t something that needs to consume your life, but giving your betta a close look at least once a day can protect them from so much.


Let’s summarize everything we’ve covered here today with a few of the most common questions and answers concerning betta fish and fin rot:

Should I automatically panic, as soon as I see that my betta has fin rot?

Certainly not. You have to remember that this infection is extremely common, Meaning the odds are pretty good that your betta is going to have it at one point or another. As long as you can spot the condition early enough, there is almost certainly nothing to seriously worry about.

Is one fin rot treatment method more effective than the other?

Not really. We wouldn’t suggest trying both aquarium salt and antibiotics at the same time, but each have their own solid respective track orders. We would suggest starting out with one of the antibiotics mentioned above. This should be combined with creating the best possible conditions in your tank.

Do I really need to isolate my betta from the rest of my fish?

We would strongly advise it. One of the easiest ways for fin rot to pass is for one fish to give it another fish. This can be done more quickly and easily than you might think. If you know in no uncertain terms that your betta has fin rot, they should be cut off from the others ASAP. It is also a good idea to keep as close an eye on the rest of your fish as possible.

What can I do to further aid in the recovery of my betta?

There are actually a couple of very helpful things you can do. In the first place, remove anything from the tank that might cause damage to the highly delicate condition your betta will be in while on the mend. You should also make it a point to keep your patient away from other fish, until the point in which it has healed completely.

Can my betta get fin rot twice?



With this comprehensive guide, it should be easy to give your betta the very best of care.

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

Columnaris In Bettas: How To Identify And Eliminate Cotton Wool Disease!

Columnaris In Bettas

Known by a number of names, columnaris is unfortunately very common among many different types of fish. If you own one or several betta fish, you will want to keep in mind the prevalence of this disease among them. This is one disease that can be absolutely devastating to them on a variety of levels.

At the same time, treating columnaris is not impossible by any means. If you understand the symptoms, as well as the different treatment options available to you, columnaris can often be stopped, before it causes too much damage. There are also preventative measures that can dramatically decrease the likelihood of columnaris ever occurring.

Columnaris In Bettas

What Type Of Disease Is This?

As mentioned before, columnaris is known by several different names. Some refer to it as cotton wool disease. Others call it saddle back disease. It is also sometimes known as mouth rot or mouth-fungus. However, it is NOT a fungal infection. It is in fact a bacterial infection that can be external or internal. It can also be either chronic or acute.

Why is it mistaken for a fungal infection? This is likely due to the presence of lesions which can appear on your betta fish. They are mold-like in appearance.

Some even refer to the infection as guppy disease. However, it is important to remember that we are talking about a disease that can cause problems among numerous fish types. Regardless of the name, understand that we are talking about a very common type of bacterial infection. It can be found in many different types of aquarium fish, including bettas.

While cotton wool disease is a little more common among livebearers than fish like bettas, it is still something they are quite susceptible to. If you are planning to own one or several betta fish, you will need to be on the lookout for symptoms, as well as what to do about those symptoms.

What causes columnaris? There are a few different culprits that you will want to keep in mind.

What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Columnaris Among Bettas?

Before we learn more about columnaris symptoms, we should first take a look at what causes this infection in the first place. While it can indeed be devastating, some of the most common reasons for columnaris among betta fish are quite preventable on your end.

The name of the game with columnaris ultimately comes down to stress. There are other ways in which betta fish can catch this infection, which we will discuss in greater detail below. However, you will still notice stress is a consistent factor among many of the most common columnaris causes:

An Overstocked Tank

Generally speaking, it is suggested that you have one gallon of water for every inch of fish. This is why we often suggest getting a tank in the 15 to 20-range. Unless you have no plans to own more than one or two fish. If you have too many fish in the tank, you’re going to run into some problems.

When you have too many fish in your tank, an overabundance of bioloads is created. When this occurs, your filter can become overwhelmed with its task of trying to keep waste out. This can cause your tank to become too filthy for your bettas to comfortably live for longer.

Poor water quality can create a breeding ground for bacteria. This will be even more apparent if you don’t have a filter for your tank.

Columnaris is just one of the infectious bacteria that can become prevalent in your tank.

Harassment From Other Fish

This is one of the most common causes of how Columnaris can come from stress. All it takes for your betta fish to catch this infection is a weakened immune system. A dirty tank can cause this weakness, but stress is one of the biggest culprits you need to keep an eye on.

Harassment from other fish can very easily lead to cotton wool disease among bettas. It is rare that other types of fish will bother your bettas, but this is still something that can occur. What is more likely is that your betta can be harassed by other bettas. Male bettas can pick on other males, but they also have a terrible reputation for bothering females to the point of weakening their immune system through stress.

When the immune system is diminished, the odds of your bettas developing columnaris can skyrocket. We would suggest keeping only one betta, and then keeping an eye on their interactions with any other fish in your tank.

It is not impossible by any means to keep a male and female betta together, but it can lead to problems when not properly monitored.

Inconsistent Temperatures/pH Levels In The Water

This is another example of a common columnaris cause that can are easy enough to prevent on your end.

Simply put, bettas need certain levels in the tank to be happy. The good news is that you have a fair amount of wiggle room for both pH levels and temperature. Bettas have a great reputation for being a fairly durable fish.

That said, you still want to keep your tank levels between 76F and 82F for the temperature. On the pH side of things, you want to opt for around 5 to 8. These are not difficult levels to maintain, but it can get complicated, if you add different types of fish to your aquarium.

Check your tank levels. If your betta are not happy with the temperature/pH levels, they will become stressed out. As is the case with the bullying element we mentioned above, this stress can cause weakness to the immune system. This in turn creates the conditions for columnaris.

Poor Water Quality In General

This can actually be an entirely different problem, as opposed to the tank becoming filthy due to overpopulation. Even if your tank is not overstocked, you can still run the risk of conditions becoming unsanitary to the point of elevating the risk of columnaris.

Regular water changes are essential for the health of your fish. This certainly extends to your bettas. A filter is generally the best way to take care of your fish, but the filter still needs to be checked on a regular basis. You also need to make sure the water is changed consistently, as well. The rule of thumb in this arena is to have around thirty to fifty percent of your water changed every week.

Poor water quality can definitely impact your betta fish, leading to a weakened immune system.

And while it isn’t directly related to poor water quality, you should also make sure they are getting the best possible betta fish diet, as well. They are carnivorous fish. This means they should be eating small animals like bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine, worms, and more. The emphasis on good betta diet comes down to making sure they get plenty of protein and living animals to eat.

Brought From Another Tank

One of the most common questions about bettas and columnaris is whether or not it can be passed on from one fish to the next. The answer to this is an emphatic yes. More importantly, it doesn’t have to be a betta that can transfer the infection to another betta. Any fish can give cotton wool disease to another fish.

Quarantining your new fish is always, always a good idea. The window for this is anywhere from two to four weeks.

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Columnaris In Bettas?

AS we mentioned earlier in this article, the presence of lesions along the mouth is a certain sign that your betta has columnaris. The presence of these lesions can appear slowly with a chronic case of the infection. The lesions can spread much more quickly with an acute situation. This can lead to your entire fish tank being wiped out by the bacteria in a matter of mere hours.

Worse yet, if the temperature of the tank is too high, this can exacerbate the spread of the bacteria. This is one of the most visibly distinctive symptoms of columnaris. If you notice these lesions on one or several of your fish, take steps to remedy the situation IMMEDIATELY. Lowering the temperature in the tank is NOT a solution, but it can slow down progression somewhat.

Beyond lesions, there are a few more symptoms you are going to want to look out for:

  • The presence of white spots or gray-in-appearance spots. These can also appear on your betta in the form of patches. Look for such spots along the head. You can also find them around its gills or fins. If your betta fish has bright, beautiful colors, as is commonly the case, you should pay attention to areas that are paler in appearance. As time goes on, these spots can be come yellow or even brown.
  • Look for lesions that go all the way down the sides of your betta. This common symptom is where the name saddle back disease comes from.
  • If you see lesions around the mouth, they will have an appearance not unlike that of mold, which is why the infection is misunderstood by some. If the condition is not dealt with quickly enough, the lesions will eventually become areas that have simply become eaten away by the infection.
  • As the infection worsens, you will also see various forms of damage to the fins. Erosion can occur, which in turn will give the fins a frayed, damaged appearance.
  • Even the gills of your betta can be impacted by columnaris. If you see your betta breathing more rapidly than usual, then it is likely that they are experiencing one of the symptoms. However, by this point, you will have likely noticed the spots and lesions.

In fairly rare cases, cotton wool disease can be entirely internal. This means that you will not witness any of the symptoms we have discussed so far. If your betta dies, and there is seemingly no other reason that you can see for this, there is a small chance they had an internal case of columnaris.

You can also look to a betta which is constantly rubbing itself against tank ornaments or whatever you have for the bottom of your tank. It is also very possible that if your betta has discomfort/infection around its mouth area, it isn’t going to be eating. A diminished appetite is definitely something to look for.

How Can I Treat Columnaris In Betta Fish?

Going through some of the worst offenders for cotton wool disease, we can see that many of them are preventable on your end. This extends to making sure your tank is cleaned and well-maintained at all times. Giving your betta a good diet is also a sure way to keep them fostering favorable infection conditions.

Checking on their stress levels, and making sure new fish are always quarantined after being brought home, are all great ways to lower the possibility of ever having to worry about any of this.

Even so, the infection can still occur, even under the best of circumstances. Understanding this can go a long way towards making sure you are ready with treatment options. You will want to start by quarantining any bettas or other fish you are certain have the infection.

Lowering the temperature by a couple of degrees can also be beneficial to a betta fighting the infection.

Furan-2 is one of the most popular treatment methods for betta fish with columnaris. Kanamycin is another popular antibiotic which can treat them. There are also medicated fish food options which can prove to be effective. Look for anything that contains Oxytetracycline.

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Cotton Wool Disease?

At the end of the day, your best bet for dealing with columnaris is to prevent it entirely. The tips we mentioned above will prove enormously useful. There are also vaccination options which you can explore.

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

Help! I Have Constipated Beta! What Do I Do?!

Constipation In Betta Fish

The pooping habits of Betta probably isn’t first and foremost on your mind. You may not even be sure if betta fish poop to begin with. Nonetheless, if you are planning to own these stunning, endlessly fascinating fish, you’ll want to know what to do in the event of constipation.

Yes, unfortunately, bettas can indeed get constipated. Thankfully, you aren’t without options for dealing with this. We’re going to take a closer look at not only how bettas can get constipated, but solutions to help them feel better in no time at all.

Constipation In Betta Fish
Makayla Maxheimer

The Basics Of Bettas And Constipation

Two things about constipation in betta fish:

  • It’s fairly common. So, if you find that your betta meets the symptoms of constipation, don’t panic.
  • It’s more complex a subject than you might think. One of the problems with constipation, especially in something like betta fish is how many different culprits are out there. You may have to rule certain things out.

One thing is for certain: Despite being a common enough ailment, your betta still isn’t happy when they’re constipated. You should take steps to remedy their discomfort at once.

Let’s start by breaking down everything you need to know about bettas and pooping in general.

The Essentials Of Betta Fish And Pooping

Betta fish do indeed poop. Like virtually all living beings, they excrete material that some might mistake for an untouched pellet of food. Bettas love to eat, so that’s probably not the case!

With poops that often feature a rounded, clumpy look and texture, you will eventually start to notice these accumulating along the bottom of the cage. Obviously, you want to be sure you’re cleaning out the tank on a regular basis. If you have a 15-liter tank, using a filter, you should only need to have the tank cleaned every six to eight months or so. If you don’t have a filter, you’re going to be cleaning every four or five weeks.

Also, the rules are slightly different for larger tanks.

As is the case with most animals, bettas will prefer to poop in the same general area. This makes cleanup fairly simple. Betta fish by and large prefer to poop in the same quiet area. However, the poop can accumulate very quickly indeed. Keep in mind how often we mentioned cleaning out the tank, with or without a filter.

Bettas poop the same way we all do, which is to say whenever they need to. If you feed them consistently, they will probably poop consistently.

Should they suddenly stop eating, there are a few different possibilities you can point to.

Does Not Eating Mean My Betta Is Constipated?

If this is the case, there are three possibilities. They might just be refusing to eat. This could be due to anything from stress, to changing their food. On the other hand, your betta could also be sick. This could be due to any number of things.

Finally, your betta might simply be uncomfortable. Figuring out which one applies to your situation is going to come down to filling in some blanks.


Signs Of Betta Constipation And Other Issues

The entire process of how betta consume and excrete is essentially the same as ours. They mash up and devour food. Everything is broken down through the processes inherent in digestion. Whatever is left comes out through the anus, which you will find in front of its anal fin, and behind its ventral fins.

We’ve already covered what normal betta poop looks like. With that in mind, it won’t be hard to notice when something is amiss. One of the first noticeable examples of this thought is the presence of poop that’s stringy, or even hanging from the anus. Your betta isn’t happy about it either. If you also notice the presence of bloating, which will indeed reflect in how the betta looks, then you’re definitely dealing with constipation.

What we need to do next is pay attention to the color. If the color of the poop is white, then you’re unfortunately not just dealing with constipation. It is almost a certainty that you are dealing with parasites. Also known as Ick, these parasites can be dealt with easily enough, but you’ll have to go on a different path, than if you were simply dealing with constipation.

How Do You Know It’s Just Constipation?

If the poop is stringy, hanging from the fish, but is still the same color it would normally be, then you’re not dealing with parasites.

At this point, it is fairly safe to suspect that you are dealing with constipation specifically. The next challenge then will be to figure out the source of the issue. There are a handful of possibilities which you are going to want to eliminate.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of constipation in betta fish.

Specific Causes Of Constipation In Betta Fish

Now that you know for certain that it’s constipation, you can start to look at the best options for treatment. However, this doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy the first product you find, or try the first idea that someone suggests to you.

The first step in the treatment stage is in knowing exactly where the constipation is coming from. The answer to this question can go a long way towards informing the specific care you give them. If the treatment method isn’t the right one, you’re going to find yourself treating it repeatedly. We want a long-term solution, as opposed to a short one.

Here are some of the most common causes of constipation among betta fish:

Checking On Their Diets

This is one of the first possibilities you will want to explore. We know that betta fish are carnivores. What some fail to appreciate is that even though this is true, you still need to make sure they are getting the right amount of fiber.

This is again something we share with betta. Most animals, without necessary fiber intake, will become bloated and constipated. Betta fish are generally up to eat anything you give them, as long as it comes with meat. That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you should be feeding them.

What Sort Of Food Are You Feeding Your Bettas?

Products made up of flakes, or freeze-dried food, should not be the only thing you’re feeding your bettas. This is true for most fish, but it is particularly so for the betta fish.

Why? Partially because the dryness of these products means they’re going to expand dramatically, when they come into contact with the water. Bettas will likely eat them before they have fully expanded. If you’re going to feed your betta freeze-dried or flakey foods, make sure these products are soaked before feeding.

Betta Fish And Pellets

Compared to flakes/freeze-dried options, pellets are generally considered a much better option for happy bettas that don’t have to worry about constipation. Pellets also provide a much better degree of essential nutrition, although they are not the only thing you should be feeding them either.

However, if you do only feed them pellets, the odds of constipation are relatively low.

Betta Fish And Live Food

When we say that even with the best betta pellet foods on the market, your bettas may need more, this is what we’re talking about.

Remember what we said earlier about fiber? This is where the pellets are unfortunately going to fail you. This is true of even the top pellet products for bettas. While they will provide your bettas with a plethora of crucial nutrients, they aren’t going to give them everything. For that, you’re going to need live food in the diet. A diet with this attention to balance all but guarantees you won’t have to worry about constipation.

Remember, we are indeed talking about carnivores.

Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are three of the best live food for betta fish options out there. The presence of chitin in the skeletons of these creatures is one of the reasons why all of them are ideal for a betta diet. This is a material that is highly rich in fiber. This is combined with whatever makes up the contents of the stomachs of these creatures.

Some also like mosquito larvae.

However, with all of these options, it is important to avoid overfeeding. This is one of the most common causes of constipation in betta fish.

More On Overfeeding Betta Fish

More On Overfeeding Betta Fish

Bloodworms in particular can make for a nice treat for betta. The key word here is “treat.” These things should not be given to your bettas every day. They are best administered as a treat. Bloodworms are too rich in certain ingredients, which can create issues over time.

If you’re looking for a better live animal to add to their diet, we would suggest looking for daphnia. This can also potentially be a treatment option for betta constipation, as daphnia can function as a mild laxative.

Betta fish like to eat. They tend to eat quickly, and they tend to eat with a great deal of enthusiasm. This is fun to watch, but it also means knowing bettas are going to eat until they feel full. As you know from your own stomach, feeling full can be starkly different from actually being full.

Because of this, and because of the various problems that can arise from feeding your betta too much, we would advise keeping a close eye on how much you feed them every day. Balance is important, and part of that means only feeding them what they absolutely need.

Swim Bladder Disease And Betta Fish

One of the most common consequences of overfeeding betta fish is a condition known as swim bladder disease. As the name implies, this occurs when something has disrupted the swim bladders of your betta. It can also occur with younger bettas, whose swim bladders generally take some time to fully form.

The problem with swim bladder disease is that it can be difficult to deal with. For example, it could be causing your betta’s constipation, just as easily as the constipation could be the main culprit behind the appearance of swim bladder disease in your betta. Infections and injuries can also lead to constipation. This in turn can lead to swim bladder disease.

Shock, parasites, overfeeding, constipation, bacterial infections, or even a tank where the temperature is too low are all possible causes of swim bladder disease.

Symptoms Of Swim Bladder Disease And/Or Constipation

In terms of symptoms, you’re going to want to look for, if we’re specifically talking about swim bladder disease and the relationship to constipation.

If your betta experiences any difficulties while swimming. You should also look to see if they struggle with remaining buoyant for a prolonged period of time. They will be swimming in a lopsided fashion, while constantly fighting to keep their positioning as normal as possible. Look for a curved backside or swollen belly, as well.

A general feeling of lethargy, combined with a noticeably different appetite, will show you in no uncertain terms that you are probably dealing with swim bladder disease. Barring that, your betta is probably very constipated. You will want to take steps to correct their pain and discomfort as quickly as possible.

Another frustrating aspect of this? The fact that you also have different cures to try. We’ve already discussed daphnia as a minor laxative. Let’s examine all of the different ways you can get your betta back to its balanced, contented self.

A Word On The Value Of A Large Tank For Bettas

To reiterate: You should figure out a constipation treatment for betta in your tank as soon as possible. This is something that can jump from bad to grave in hardly any time at all.

If none of the above for swim bladder disease applies to you, the problem with your betta might just be a lack of exercise. The value of exercise for bettas isn’t always something that occurs to people. This is why we always tell people to get a tank large enough for everyone in it to be happy. Not only do betta like to have space to eat, rest, and even hide, but they also like to have space to move around. If the tank is too small, they can’t do that.

Small, cramped surroundings can also prove to be highly stressful for bettas, which can influence diet, and lead to constipation.

Your tank should be five gallons at the very least. We would suggest something larger.

What Are The Best Treatment Options For Bettas With Constipation?

Lets’ wrap things up with a look at some of the best treatments for constipation in betta fish. We’ve touched on most of these ideas, but each one still deserves a closer look on your part:

  • Water temperature: Beyond the importance of a tank with plenty of space, and making sure the tank is cleaned out regularly, you can ensure comfort and avoid constipation by keeping the temperature in the tank at an ideal level. By this, we mean somewhere in the neighborhood of seventy-six to eighty-one degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fasting: This is one where you are obviously going to want to be careful. You don’t want to starve them to death. At the same time, they can go a reasonable period without food, and not suffer any problems. In fact, where it concerns constipation, fasting for one to three days can clear their system out nicely. If the constipation is more severe (look for that bloating in particular), the fast can last as long as seven days. At that point, you will naturally want to keep a very close eye on the betta.
  • Flaring: This would be the practice of a betta making itself seem bigger. It is often used as an intimidation measure, but it is actually quite beneficial for a betta to do it for at least a minute or so a day. Flaring often makes them poop, as well. Setting up a mirror near the tank can cause your betta to flare. This is not a treatment you want to repeat often, as too much flaring can cause them to become significantly stressed out.
  • Peas: If nothing else we’ve discussed works, a small fast can be combined with feeding them a pea. Yes, you read that correctly. Peas can be a whirlwind at clearing out a blocked-up betta fish. After fasting them for a whole, single day, put one frozen pea in half of a cup of water. Microwaving for ten seconds, the single pea will then be submerged in cold water for a few moments. Remove the skin, and then chop up and feed your betta one half. Give them the other half, if they seem to want more. You should not need more than this.

Curing Betta Constipation

With these options, you should be able to get rid of your betta’s constipation issues.

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

Can My Betta Fish Live In Harmony With My Guppies?


Can betta fish and guppies live together? Given the notoriously aggressive nature of guppies, some would argue that these two different types of fish are best kept apart. Yet given the numerous benefits of owing guppies, many still would like to at least try to bring them together.

The truth of the matter is that in a broad sense, yes, it is possible for guppies and betta fish to coexist in the same tank. However, doing so requires keeping several things in mind. Even then, the science of putting guppies and betta fish together is far from perfect. You may want to prepare yourself for at least some trial and error.


The Many Challenges Of Guppies And Betta Fish Together

Guppies are hailed for their hardiness, their breathtaking colors, and their pleasant personalities. You would love to have someone like that for a roommate. Why not betta?

Understanding the unique challenges of betta ownership is essential here. Guppies are well-regarded for how easy it is to care for them. They also have many unique care considerations that can make it difficult for them to live comfortably with the care considerations of Betta. Temperament is important, but it isn’t the only thing you need to keep in mind.

Let’s break down all of these differences. This will also give you a good idea of what each type of fish requires individually.

Tank Conditions For Guppies And Bettas

First, let’s get the ideal tank for bettas and guppies out of the way. This will include ideal settings for both. Once you have these elements out of the way, we can discuss factors like gender, size, and even the best ratio of betta fish to guppies.

In a nutshell, guppies and betta fish have fairly differing requirements for comfortable water. Water hardness is determined basically by how many dissolved minerals are in the water. This includes magnesium, calcium, and others. Hard water, which guppies prefer, will have a lot of that stuff. The pH is going to be somewhere in the range of 6.8 to 7.8.

Their thriving temperature range is between seventy-four-and eighty-two-degrees Fahrenheit. Guppies come to us from lakes and rivers throughout South America. While these requirements are important, the hardiness we mentioned before is going to give you a little wiggle room.

With bettas, we are talking about fish that traditionally like comparatively softer, more acidic waters. Originating from Southeast Asia, where you can find them in such places as streams and rice paddies, betta fish have an optimal pH of 7. Their ideal temperature is between seventy-eight and eighty.

What does this mean? Two things. One, betta fish have a lot less flexibility with these factors than guppies. Two, even with those figures in mind, there is still clearly a sweet spot in which both guppies and betta could theoretically live together comfortably. Furthermore, bettas are considered moderately resistant and adaptable. They can generally get used to harder water.

The following filtration levels are considered perfect for tanks with both of these fish:

  • 0 PPM (Parts-Per-Million) Ammonia
  • 0 PPM Nitrite
  • 20 (Maximum) PPM Nitrate

A water testing kit will help you stay on top of this.

The Ideal Tank And What To Put In It

One thing guppies and bettas have in common? Overcrowding will stress them OUT. To that end, you’re going to want a fish tank that’s at least 10 gallons. Our recommendation would be for something larger than that 20 gallons for a fish tank is probably best.

With 20 gallons, or even larger tanks, you’re ensuring there will be plenty of room for your bettas and guppies to cohabitate successfully.

Also, while guppies do not jump out of open tanks, betta are notorious for doing this. You will need a secured lid for your tank. This will not be an issue for the guppies.

In terms of what you should put inside your tank, beyond the perfect water, remember that guppies like things like black substrate, rocks, and live plants. Guppies and betta each like to hide sometimes. Plant life not only recreates the environment of guppies, but it also beautifies the tank. Ultimately, both guppies and betta need a rich plethora of live plants to be healthy and happy. There are a ton of great options out there, when it comes to the best live plants for guppies and more.

Plants can also help to keep the peace. A rich array of examples can prevent bettas from ever really becoming interested in guppies. Java ferns, guppy grass, and watersprites are all nice ideas to consider.

Now, with your tank and water requirements taken care of, we can focus on the fun part: Buying the fish!

Choosing The Right Guppies

We’re going to focus more on how to choose the right betta fish, as opposed to your considerations with guppies. The reason for this is simple. A tank of guppies is simply easier to establish, before you make the decision to add betta fish. While you can try to throw them all into an ideal tank together at the same time, this could blow up in your face.

The best way to go is to establish a guppy tank using the considerations for bettas highlighted above. Once you’ve created a comfortable place, you can begin to add your bettas. Male guppies can stress out the females with their mating aspirations, which can lead to problems. The idea ratio for guppies is generally seen as two females for every male. You definitely want more females than males, at the end of the day.

Male guppies also have a tendency to be the more colorful of the two genders. Such colors can look lovely in the tank, but they can also stir aggression in betta fish. This is particularly true of male betta fish. In other words, male guppies and male betta fish are just about the worst combination possible. Both are aggressive. Both can cause problems if left alone with each other.


Choosing The Right Bettas

The truth of the matter is that betta fish are not quite as aggressive as a whole as some claim. Semi-aggressive would be a better way to put it. This subject can be further elaborated on by understanding aggressiveness in terms of betta breeds and genders.

Yes, some betta fish breeds are more aggressive than others. For a cohabitation tank with guppies, this is a vital consideration. Delta betta fish and halfmoon betta fish are both examples of less aggressive breeds. Start there.

Also, there should obviously be a limit on the number of bettas that are living in the tank with the guppies. Even the less-aggressive betta fish breeds can still have issues in this arena, both with each other, as well with any other types you have in the tank.

While one single betta fish can still be a problem for the guppies, particularly in terms of biting fins and bullying behaviors, this is considered the best number for a combination tank. Because the male bettas are generally more aggressive than the females, the idea ratio will then be one female betta to your male/female guppy ratio.

Mixing Guppy And Betta Genders: Dos And Don’ts

Remember you also want more female guppies than male. In fact, unless you want to breed at some point (which can present its own problems in a tank shared by these two types), you may want to consider a tank of all female guppies and all female bettas. Female bettas aren’t as aggressive as males, but you also have a guppy gender with the lowest possible likelihood of triggering any aggression in females.

 If you’re committed to keeping male guppies in the tank, consider feeder guppies over the fancy ones. These tend to be duller in appearance and smaller, which eliminates two big triggers for aggression in bettas.

What Should I Feed My Bettas And Guppies?

This is another important area. Not all fish food is alike. Relying on one product to feed both can be problematic at best.

The betta fish is a carnivore. This means you’re going to want to give them meat products with lots of yummy protein. Insects, worms, or even smaller fish (which is why it’s a bad idea for a prospective breeder to keep guppy fry and bettas in the same tank) are all the types of things you should focus on. Your feeding schedule for bettas should be roughly once per day. Some owners prefer to split up a daily serving into two portions at different points in the day. Rotate different betta fish food products to give them an ideal variety.

You should also consider feeding your guppies first. Why? Because guppies are omnivores. They can eat the betta fish meat products, and they will. Unfortunately, these meat products are not going to give them everything they need for optimal nutrition. You should be feeding guppies veggie-based products at least once per day.

Give your guppies the veggie pallets first. Chances are, the bettas will not touch that food. Once you’ve fed the guppies, you can give the bettas their food. The guppies will still steal the food, which can lead to a long list of problems associated with overeating. The smart way to get around this is to use something like a pipette to make sure the bettas are getting the food that’s meant for them.

Guppies are also known for eating the algae in your tank. This is another one of the benefits that people like about them.

Important Care Tips For Guppies And Betta Living Togethe

You now have a lot of the basics down, when it comes to how to create the perfect fish tank for guppies and betta.

Let’s wrap things up with a few general tips and ideas that we couldn’t cover in the text above:

  • Be wary of diseases which can impact both. For example, ich/ick is a parasite which can make both bettas and guppies deathly ill. Stress is the biggest cause of this condition, which is notable for creating a rash of white spots on either fish. Thankfully, there are lots of ich treatment products out there. Furthermore, poor tank conditions can also lead to fin rot.
  • Get a second tank. This one can be a little smaller than your main purchase. The main benefit of a second tank is that if something goes wrong with bringing bettas and guppies together, you can move one to your secondary with ease.
  • Don’t want to get a second tank? Keep in mind that tank dividers are available. Using such a divider safely and correctly is highly dependent upon having a large enough tank. This is why most experts insist on a tank  of at least twenty gallons.
  • While your main concern might be on how the betta are going to treat the guppies, remember that the guppies can do things like snatch their food and nip on their fins. Should this happen, you’ll want to find and isolate the guppy causing the problem.
  • Remember that because of the specific tank conditions required for both guppies and bettas to be happy together, certain fish (such as many tropical examples) are not going to be suitable for your tank at all.
  • While less social and flexible than guppies, bettas still have the potential to live comfortably and happily with many other types of fish. Check out this YouTube video for a few examples of the different types of fish that can be tankmates with bettas. You are not limited to guppies by any means.


It almost goes without saying that you’re going to want to keep a very close eye on your tank, after you’ve moved the betta(s) in with the guppies, or vice-versa. If the betta has a good temperament, regardless of gender, it will probably do just fine.

If you choose to add additional guppies or betta to your tank, remember everything we covered about aggression triggers, gender, and ideal ratios.

With a little effort, you can absolutely create conditions suitable to guppies and bettas simultaneously.

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

How To Breed Guppies Like A Boss!

How To Breed Guppies

Guppies are an adorable and affordable option for beginner fishkeeping. However, many end up falling in love with these charming, nondemanding pets. Guppies are popular with kids for several reasons. They are easy to take care of, come in a plethora of brilliant colors, and have some of the cutest fishy faces you’ve ever seen.

For all of those reasons, guppies remain quite popular with adults, as well!

How To Breed Guppies

Fascinating Facts About Guppies

The common guppy, which is what we’re talking about in this breeding for beginners’ article, is also known as Poecilia reticulata. They are often chosen by adults as a gift for children. Indeed, the variety of colors, endurance, overall beauty, and ease-of-breeding makes them a great choice for those just starting out with fishkeeping in general.

At the same time, many like to keep guppies long after establishing a better understanding of how to care for fish. Guppies can easily coexist with many other species, and they also have the benefit of always being an extremely affordable addition to your tank. Their overall peaceful nature means they can get along with a wider range of aquatic roommates than just about any other fish.

They also have a reputation for being some of the most social fish you could ever own. They can often be seen swimming around, drawing attention to themselves. This gives your tank an appealing, consistent state of aesthetically-pleasing activity.

A Quick History Of Guppies

Native to South America, guppies have been a staple of fish tanks for more than a century. You will find that guppies are commercially bred all throughout the water. This is because they can put up with a lot more than many other kinds of fish. That doesn’t mean they are invincible, but they are generally hardier fish as a rule.

There are also some who believe that guppies can be used as a means of controlling mosquito populations. However, nothing conclusive has been found in this arena, and it has historically been unsuccessful when tried.

Let’s get started on breeding guppies. This doesn’t entail anything too complicated, but there are still a few things you need to keep in mind.

Choosing Your Guppy Tank And Filtration System

While there are still a few more things about guppies specifically to cover, this is a good time to start gathering your supplies and tools. This extends to not only picking the right guppy tank for your babies, but also making sure you have a reliable filtration system.

Your breeding tank needs to be AT LEAST ten gallons. This ten gallon tank from Aqueon is a good example of what we are talking about. However, many experts believe a 20-gallon tank is in fact the best option for a beginner. We would agree. Twenty gallons gives you plenty of room to grow your interests. It also ensures plenty of room to move around for a modest collection of guppies and other fish, among the different components of your tank.

There are sizes larger than 20 gallons, in case you’re wondering.

Sponge filters are considered ideal. There are also uncovered systems that can be hung along the back of the tank, but these can actually kill guppies. A sponge filter not only offers mechanical and biological filtration capabilities simultaneously, but they won’t suck up any of your fish (cannisters and uncovered systems can do this).

Decorations And Substrate For Guppies

The next step will be to get your substrate, and then figure out the best/most enjoyable decorations to fill the space.

The substrate refers to the material that will be lining the bottom of your cage. Because guppies are such a durable species, the substrate can honestly be whatever you please. They do as well with gravel or sand, as they would with tile substrate products. You can even leave the bottom of the tank completely bare, if you please.

Just keep in mind that guppies often eat food that has fallen to the bottom of the tank. To that end, do not choose anything that is so fine, the guppies might eat it with their food.

In terms of decorations, you can mostly make your own choices in this arena. Males are notorious for harassing females, so we would suggest at least three or four large decorations. Not only does this give the females somewhere to hide, but it also breaks the line of sight between two different fish in the tank. This is important, as the males can actually harass the female guppies to death.

A Word About Saving Fry

Now, as a hopeful guppy breeder, you may want to make the following decision now: What to do about the baby guppies that are born in the tank, particularly in terms of the threat posed to them by adults.

Also known as fry, baby guppies are often mistaken for bits of food, after they are born. There are two basic responses to this fact. You can establish fry traps, which can help you to catch the babies before they’re eaten, or you can put down decorative plants. These tightly-knit areas can consist of java moss or something called guppy grass. Subwassertang is also very popular. Any of these can give you hiding spaces the adults won’t be able to reach.

The second option refers to something known as a fry trap. You can purchase your guppy fry trap outright, or you can learn how to make your own. Regardless of what you choose, you need to make a decision quickly, if you are going to breed. Check your solution regularly for any fry you need to move to another tank.

Some also choose to simply remove the mother, after she has given birth. This should be fine, as mother guppies do not contribute much of anything to the raising of their offspring. If anything, they can cause more problems.

Establishing Water Parameters

Water parameters are always important, when it comes to the fish you’re going to put in your tank. The high tolerance of guppies can shine here, but you should still keep certain essential water parameters in mind.

As a general rule, you should try to keep your ideal water for guppies pretty hard. The higher your pH levels, the harder the water is likely to be. The average pH for tap water is around 7.6. That is an ideal number for a guppy. You should also try to maintain a high degree of calcium with your water. This is essential for females in particular, as they need the calcium to remain strong while going through their breeding phase.

Don’t forget that a prime female gives birth to upwards of 30 fry in a single month. Crushed coral is a popular source of calcium.

Being able to measure your water accurately is important. Your TDS, also known as Total Dissolved Liquids, will tell you the amount of minerals and material (such as salt) that are in your water. Your gH refers to General Hardness more specifically measures the amount of magnesium and calcium in your water. 15-30gH is the ideal range. Then you have kH, which refers to carbonate hardness. This should be around 8.

Thankfully, testing kits for home aquariums make it easy to maintain the ideal levels. The temperature of the tank should always strive to be somewhere between seventy-eight and eighty-two degrees.

Time To Pick Your Breeders!

More likely than not, this is the part you have been looking forward to the most!

Once your tank has been properly cycled, with approximately 4ppm ammonia becoming nitrate within twenty-four hours, you can start shopping around for guppies. The first thing you need to keep in mind with this is that under no circumstances should you get just one male and female guppy. As we mentioned before, the males can chase a female to death.

However, you still need to keep a certain number of males and females in the tank at any given moment. Females guppies tend to be much larger overall than their male counterparts. The males tend to be more colorful, and this is particularly true in their tails.

An ideal guppy ratio for prospective breeders if two-to-one. That means two female guppies for every male in your tank. If you have a ten-gallon tank, start with approximately 1-2 male guppies and 3-5 female guppies. Even just a tank containing one male and two females can a good starting point. In fact, some experts say that’s exactly where you should begin.

“Which guppy strains are best for breeding?” is probably your next question. This is worth understanding, as well as other qualities you may want to be on the lookout for.

Are There Any Particular Guppy Strains Or Qualities To Look For?

You can decide ahead of time what you want to breed guppies for. Do you want to breed for color? Size? The shape of their fins? Some combination of the two? You don’t have to answer these now, particularly if you are new to all of this.

Our advice would be to use this guide to set up conditions for a beginner breeding experience. Gain some confidence, before you start aspiring to the most lucrative guppies to sell.

In general, you should look for guppies that offer the following characteristics:

  • Bright, appealing eyes.
  • Fins which are completely intact.
  • Coloration which could be described as bright or varied.

These are all indicators of a good strain. These are qualities you should look for regardless. However, if you are breeding with specific qualities in mind, there are a handful of other components which can be added to this fact.

Basic Breeding Tips For Guppies

Guppies are an example of a livebearer. This means that they do not eggs. They will actually keep the guppies going inside of themselves, until the point in which the guppies are strong enough to swim and survive largely on their own.

Breeding is really quite straightforward. Once you have your guppies, and once your tank has been brought to the appropriate conditions for breeding, you can begin. After a day or two with 1 breeding male and approximately 2 breeding females, you should begin to see results. If you opt to have more than this number in your tank, it can get tricky to get fry which will offer the traits you’re trying to work towards.

Once your female guppy or guppies begin to give birth, they will probably continue to do so for anywhere from several months, to a full year. Remember that guppies menstruate, which means they will continue to live after their breeding prime has come and gone.

If the fry reveal the strain or qualities you desired, then there is nothing more to do than care for them. However, if you are breeding guppies for sale, and the strain you’re trying to recreate goes down in popularity, have those males and females separated at once!

It is also a good idea to try and get your males and female from the same strain. This is going to save you a ton of time. Even so, breeding for a specific strain can be challenging. You may want to do some research beyond what we’ve discussed here.

How To Take Care Of Your Guppies: When To Change Water

Although the hardiness of guppies is always appreciated, care is still important for healthy and happy guppies every step of the way. For example, how often should you change your water? This is essential for getting rid of the waste your guppies produce, which in turn can be extremely toxic to then.

If you only have a few guppies to start, you only need to change around thirty percent of the water in the tank once every week. Tap water should be fine, but a water conditioner attached to your tap is just as important to their health. A filter can get rid of undesirables like chlorine and assorted heavy metals. The water should also be at the same temperate point as the water in the tank.

How To Take Care Of Your Guppies: Feeding Time!

Feeding guppies is one of the most enjoyable aspects of keeping them in your space. The sight of dozens of adorable, flashy, alert guppies coming to the surface of the water for a tasty snack is one many owners love.

Learning how to feed guppies is pretty straightforward. For one thing, they enjoy a nice variety of food. The list currently includes frozen or live foods, vegie flake bits, or spirulina tabs. Some guppy owners even swear by giving them raw vegetables.

A good variety of the foods we mentioned above is perhaps best. They generally only need to be fed once per day, per the directions listed on the products you buy. Hikari USA Tropical Fancy Guppy For Pet Health, TetraMin Nutritionally Balanced Tropical Flake Food for Tropical Fish, and Omega One Super Color Flakes are all great examples of popular foods for guppies. Overfeeding can kill your fish with an abundance of ammonia.

How To Take Care Of Guppy Fry

If you don’t want to buy a water filter, consider changing out as much as fifty percent of your water each week. A thick substrate, as well as the presence of live plants, can also eliminate the need for a filter.

At this point, you should be ready to take care of your fry.

If you want to be a bit of a fanatic about feeding your fry the best food possible, consider freshly-hatched brine shrimp. As they are omnivores, guppies of any age will do best when maintain a good mixture of veggies and meats. Maintaining the best possible water tank conditions for guppies, which we have already discussed, will also go a long way.

If anything, getting guppy fry is a lot easier than managing an overpopulation problem. Too many guppies from breeding is a common problem many come across. This is certainly true in the beginning. If you need to get some population control measures enacted as quickly as possible, there are a number of potentially useful options you can explore.

What Do I Do If My Guppies Are Dying?

If you have a commonplace guppy strain, known for its hardiness, and the fry are dying off in great amounts, you have a problem.

In such a situation, you may find yourself dealing with bacterial infection or parasitic infection. Do you see any adults with unusually small stomachs? Do you see any small patches of white on them? These are two of the most common indicators of a problem. Broad spectrum medications, including antibiotic and antiparasitic options, are your best bet.

What Do I Need To Know About Chilling?

Ich or ick is a condition that comes with a high mortality rate. It can cause a decrease in appetite, as well as the behavior of rubbing their skin against rocks. The females becoming too cold can cause such an outbreak, so it is vitally important to keep those tank temps as high as possible.


These are the basics of guppy breeding and upkeep! Good luck and have fun!

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

Guppies Experience Menopause, Too! It’s True!

Guppies Experience Menopause

When we think about guppies, menopause probably isn’t one of our initial thoughts. However, as a recent study indicated, female guppies do indeed experience menopause. This means there is more to their life than simply breeding and having babies. In general, as we have learned through studies just like the one mentioned, there is more to guppies than many people realize.

Guppies Experience Menopause

From the fact that female guppies experience menopause exactly as human females do, many compelling questions are beginning to emerge.

For example, why are some female animals continuing on past their optimal fertility years?

What Exactly Is Menopause?

Before we get deeper into the female guppy and menopause, let’s go over a brief definition of menopause.

Menopause refers to the natural leveling out of reproductive hormones in many female animals. This leveling out eventually gives way to decline. In the United States alone, more than 2 million new cases are diagnosed every year. Vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes are the most common symptoms. Various treatment options can be utilized, and most females who experience menopause do so without significant change to their lives. This thought extends to guppies. For any species, menopause marks the end of one’s reproductive years.

Symptoms generally lessen and/or disappear after four or five years.

What Does All Of This Mean For Guppies?

Guppies have always been grouped as animals whose purpose is fulfilled, once they have successfully extended their species. However, with this recent study showing us that the females go through menopause, this grouping no longer applies. Menstruation is a process which, among other things, tells us an animal, including humans, does not exist solely to breed.

Evolutionary theories aside, it is clear that female guppies have a role to play in their ecosystem, beyond the value of reproduction. This role can be potentially realized in several ways.

What Roles Do Guppies Fill Beyond Menopause?

This is where things can get interesting. If we believe that virtually everything in nature has a purpose, at any given stage of its lifespan, then it’s tempting to assume female guppies continue to be useful after their prime years of reproduction.

The notion of older female guppies acting as protectors for younger guppies is one theory that has been put forward. Many believe they have witnessed this behavior in action. Simply put, the older females are bigger, more easily visible, and are generally faster than their more youthful counterparts. All of these traits could be beneficial in the ecosystem of the guppy.

Keep in mind that this is just one possibility of many. Some believe female guppies simply exist after their reproductive years have passed, regardless of whether or not they have anything to contribute to the ecosystem.

This is something that will certainly require more study. Remember, this study was only released just fifteen years ago. That may sound like a lot of time, but studies such as these often demand a good deal of patience. Furthermore, there remains a sizable portion of individuals who are completely unaware that menopause occurs within female guppies.

What Happens To Female Guppies When They Enter Menopause?

If you do some research on guppies beyond this article, you will find a number of interesting anecdotes and facts about how they age. Particularly with the females, it has been said that you can always tell when they become menopausal. This, they say, is due to the older female guppy becoming fatter over time.

That is not altogether accurate. Yes, female guppies during menopause become bigger, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to becoming fatter. Many seem to become longer, as opposed to fatter. However, a certain amount of weight gain can still occur. It just doesn’t seem to be focused on the belly.

On average, guppies reproduce at a pace of roughly one litter every thirty days. This translates to approximately twenty litters of anywhere between thirty and fifty baby guppies. Beyond the astonishing fact that female guppies can have as many as one thousand babies in their lifespan, there does seem to a point in which this pace dramatically slows down. Older female guppies produce less as they approach menopause, compared to when they were younger. By a certain age, they seem to stop having babies altogether.

Yet they continue on.

A Few More Fascinating Facts About Guppies And Menopause

The 2005 study we cited at the top of this article has a few more fascinating elements to ponder.

A study conducted prior to the 2005 study showed the following: Guppies from areas with comparatively more predators than other guppies not only lived for a longer period time, but they also tend to start reproducing at a younger age, compared to guppies that lived in less risky areas. It was the mission of the 2005 study to figure out why this was occurring in the first place.

By the time the 2005 study had been completed, researchers were able to make a number of interesting predictions:

  • Female guppies do NOT provide maternal care to their babies, once they have given birth. The theory remains that female guppies can provide protection to younger guppies from predators, but this not a fully established proven concept, as we mentioned earlier.
  • “Fitness” is the term used by scientists to describe the ability of an animal to reproduce. From this specific perspective, researchers are still not clear on why female guppies continue to live after their reproductive years have concluded.

There is a theory that this is simply because the female guppy breaks down in different stages.

Conclusion: What We Definitively Know About Female Guppies And Menopause

By the way, the notion of older female guppies providing protection to younger females is known as the “grandmother effect.” The only species in which this behavior has been definitively found is in humans.

What we know for certain is that because female guppies continue to live full lives after their breeding years, their lives are not defined by natural selection. In other words, a guppy does not need to specific and constant biological function to justify its existence.

Pretty thought-provoking stuff!

Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.