Why Is My Betta Fish Not Swimming Around? (2024 Updated)

Betta fish is a colorful and vibrant personality. It’s responsive to the environment and frequently swims with excitement. Therefore, when it’s not active, the initial reaction of the majority of people is to be scared.

What’s wrong with my betta fish not swimming around? Are betta fish lying down on the bottom of your tank as normal? Do you need to be worried?

There are many reasons why is my betta fish not swimming around and rests at the bottom of a tank. Some of them are typical and harmless, while others could be indicators of health issues or stress.

We will look at a few of the causes your betta fish could not be moving. We also look at the steps you can take to aid it in its recovery. It is possible for your betta to be at a specific spot and the reason it could be in the bottom of your tank.

Do betta fish stop swimming and sleep?

Bettas are indeed one of the fish that actually lie down in the water. It’s true that bettas can’t only breathe underwater as regular fish. They absorb oxygen off the top of your tank. the betta breathes exactly like us.

The reasons why is my betta fish not swimming around?

The sight of a betta fish not swimming is frightening if you’re not aware of the reasons. It is possible to think it’s dead. But, the absence of movement isn’t always an indication of death. It could be as simple as falling asleep to an even more serious issue like poisoning.

Sleeping Betta Fish

One of the main reasons to find a Siamese fighting fish in the middle of the tank is it’s asleep. Betta fish are known to love lying on their sides and resting. It’s a comfortable position for them even though it appears like a bizarre behavior to many aquarium keepers.

A betta that has a great appetite, lots of energy, and who hasn’t noticed gasping for air, but is in the middle of the tank may be asleep. If you’re not sure if your betta is just exhausted, watch the fish carefully for a few days, and look for indications of stress or illness.

Bettas prefer a spot to lay on their (usually) big fins. It is also possible to add an additional resting spot over the tank’s bottom, to see whether your betta fish is lying on its back to rest.

If you offer a broad-leafed plant or a hammock the same accessory for betta fish Many fish will change from lying on their backs toward the middle of the tank, and then lying on their sides in the new location. This usually indicates that the fish is in good health.

Older Bettas Like Resting at the Bottom

Another popular (and non-harmful) response to “Why is my betta fish at the bottom of the tank?” It is due to the fact that it is aged and deficient in energy. The older betta fish might lack the endurance to move around the tank as often and may need to have a short break, lying on their backs at an angle at the base of the aquarium.

As your bettas get older it is possible to offer more places to rest. Bettas like a gentle, slow flow of water, which is especially true for fish that are older.

Ammonia Poisoning

A betta lying on the bottom of your tank might be not a cause for concern. But, if your Betta fish isn’t eating and also lying on the bottom, it could be a problem.

Temperature fluctuations in the water or chemistry are often the cause of this type of behavior. The most frequently cited cause is poisoning with ammonia.

It’s pretty easy to check for poisoning. First, look over your fish and watch for any signs of breathing deeply. Next, you should use the test kits for aquariums to determine the levels of ammonia present that are present in your water. The ammonia levels are supposed to be near zero.

If the level of ammonia inside the tank is high, you may perform the partial water change. It is possible to change around 50% of the water in the tank, however, it’s recommended to eliminate about 25%, and then repeat the procedure over the course of a few days. Keep an eye on your chemical levels until they are back to normal.

You can also lower ammonia levels by running your aquarium through a cycle before adding any fish. Keep the tank clean by avoiding feeding too much as well as investing in a high-quality filter that performs mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration may aid in. A water conditioner could also be added to the tank as an option for a temporary solution.

Nitrate Poisoning

Nitrate poisoning can be that is caused by chemical surges in the aquarium’s water. Fish that are poisoned by nitrate may be breathing heavily and appear like they are pale, or have discoloration. They could also appear sluggish and could be lying on their back but they are not dead.

Examine the water to look for spikes in nitrate. The number should be near zero, but it must be less than 20ppm. If the nitrates are excessive, you can perform the partial water change, and add a cycled filtration system into the aquarium.

Swim Bladder Disease

Your Betta could be on its back due to problems with the bladder of your swimming. These issues arise when the swim bladder is unfit for several reasons.

“Swim bladder” disease is a very common fish disease and is often the reason your betta fish is lying on its back.

Swim bladder disease is an illness that causes the bladder of the swimmer cannot properly function. This makes it difficult or even impossible for your betta fish to swim around the tank.

A few fish that have an issue with their swim bladders may appear to float close to the top, while others may be on the bottom.

Swim bladder diseases typically result from overfeeding or a fish’s inability to digest food properly. If you want to help a fish with the problem of its swim bladder, provide tiny pieces of frozen green beans and daphnia food for fish and both contain a lot of fiber.

It is also possible to stop giving your fish food for a couple of days. When it is feeling better and has gotten rid of the issue that was bloating the betta lying on its side will shortly be swimming again.

To avoid swimmer constipation and bladder issues be sure to not feed your fish too much. Feed only at least once or twice a day and limit your feed to between four and six pellets each feeding.

Small Aquarium

Another reason that is often cited that is the reason for betta fish not moving is the size of the tank. It could not be large enough and not enough for the fish. The proper size for an aquarium depends on the amount of Betta fish.

If you are only able to keep one betta fish in your aquarium should contain 3 to 5 gallons of water. For every inch the betta fish expands, you should include another gallon. In addition, if you decide to incorporate community fish, the addition of water is essential.

Larger aquariums are ideal for Betta fish. They will have greater space to move around in a safe manner, which is important as they are highly active. Small tanks limit their moves. In addition, a smaller tank results in bio-load accumulation more quickly, which is harmful to Bettas.

A larger tank reduces the chance of a betta fish lying on the side but not dying, the larger tank stops them from becoming aggressive. Since they’ll be able to enjoy a larger area they don’t have to compete with other fish for their space.

Temperature Fluctuation

Temperature fluctuations pose an issue for fish that are betta. There is a greater chance of a betta fish that is not eating and lying on the bottom increasing when the temperature of the tank changes. Keep the temperature between 75-80 temperatures Fahrenheit.

As a species of tropical fish, bettas can experience a freezing shock in which the water temperature drops quickly. It can lead to a wide range of physiological and behavioral effects that include the feeling of being drained. Since they are cold-blooded, bettas soak up the warmth of the water instead of producing body heat. So, a sudden drop in the temperature of the water will cause them to be unable to move.

In addition, the hot temperature shock is a typical cause of betta fish not moving. But, the impact isn’t as serious as cold shock. There will be erratic breathing, heavy swimming, and inactivity when the temperature of your water increases rapidly and is difficult for the betta.

Wrong pH

If you find Betta fish lying on the sides in the middle of your tank, this could be due to water quality. One of the most common reasons is that the pH is not right.

Bettas thrive in water with a pH of 7.0. Tap water is an excellent alternative, with an acidity range that ranges from 6.5 or 7.5.

An aquarium with the wrong pH can cause death to your Betta. It could be suffering from a condition called pH shock. Although it is possible to cause death in a flash, however, it may also lead to an insidious death. If it is the latter the fish will show weaknesses, such as limited movement. It could begin to sink on its bottom prior to when it goes to sleep.

Lack Of Filter

A betta lying on the bottom or the side of the tank could indicate that your tank does not have filters. A good filter will get rid of bacteria and toxins that could harm your fish.

Without a filter, harmful chemicals can accumulate. This could lead to poisoning with nitrate and ammonia as I’ve mentioned previously. Water quality issues due to the absence of a filter could result in fin rot as well as infection by bacteria.

Filtering but it doesn’t suffice. There are times when you’ll find betta fish at the bottom of the tank, even with the most advanced filtering system. The reason is that the filter’s current is too strong and you may need to modify the filter’s settings.

A flow in excess can devour your betta’s power. Imagine yourself in a large sea with massive waves. It’s not easy, is it? It’s exactly what bettas go through also. Instead of fighting against the movement in the waters, they may decide to stop moving.

The attachment of a sponge filter is one of the fastest methods to reduce the amount of current generated by the filter. It can also redirect the flow of water toward the aquarium’s ornaments instead of directly striking your fish.

Improper Eating Habits

A healthy diet is vital to ensure a healthy betta fish. However, be aware that eating too little or excessive food can harm their health. It’s another reason for betta fish to lay on the floor of tanks.

In feeding bettas, excess food causes an increase in bloating. Similar to humans, they can’t move around much when they’re full. So, they’ll end their swimming, lie at the bottom, or lie to the side in the aquarium.

However feeding fish with inadequate food, will not get the nutrition they require. In the absence of proper nutrition. The energy of the fish suffers. It also restricts their movement.

Lack Of Habitat Features

The aquarium’s habitat functions are more than just decorative functions. They are also instrumental in creating the ideal habitat that allows bettas the chance to flourish.

Bettas are fond of having plenty of hiding places, and Bettas that are laying in the middle of the tank can be stressed if they don’t have enough shelter to sleep in.

Include more plants in the aquarium, or put the aquarium in a tiny cave or house structure within the tank. A betta that feels secure and secure will keep it healthy and prevent the betta fish from resting on the bottom of the tank.

Wrong Tank Mates

Bettas are also referred to by the name of Japanese as well as Siamese combat fish. The name alone provides some idea about its fierce behavior. However it is able to coexist with other fish in tanks however, you have to be careful.

Avoid larger and more vivid fish, as they could make bettas nervous. Nibblers are not recommended. It is better to stick to bottom feeders since they can be a little detrimental to Bettas.

It is also not recommended to have more than two male fish in the same tank. Two males in a tank are the most likely recipe for disaster since they’ll eventually fight.

Although it is normal for bettas to fight when in danger, this might not be the norm. Sometimes, they are also scared. They’ll avoid attention or appear to be in a state of calm. Instead of being an aggressive fish, your betta might rather not move when it is in an aquarium fish that is more aggressive.


This is the most likely scenario that a betta is not moving. Everyone would hate to see an unmoving betta fish that is dying, but the reality is your fish will eventually reach an age.

The average life span of the betta fish ranges from about two to four years. It is contingent on the conditions of the surrounding environment, such as the quality of the water and temperature. The proper maintenance and care will allow the fish to remain healthy and enjoy a higher standard of living.

To determine if Betta is dying The first things to examine will be the gills. Check for signs that it is breathing even if it’s not moving at the sides or bottom or the sides of the tank. The discoloration can also be seen in dead bettas.

You can tap the tank lightly and look out for any response from the fish. Any movement at all is evidence of existence. Even a sick fish will be moved when you tap the glass.

How To Prevent Betta Fish From Not Swimming Around

Do not allow betta fish to be lying on the bottom or side of your aquarium. Below are a few tips to keep it active

  • Check the fish for signs of illness and observe for any signs of illness for example, lethargy or lack of appetite
  • Utilize medication or other treatments to treat any health issues like the condition known as swim bladder disease.
  • Give the betta a comfortable space to rest
  • Verify for chemical imbalances and make sure that the water’s chemistry remains in balance
  • Provide the fish with essential nutrients, while avoiding over or overfeeding
  • Create more hiding places, or move the betta fish to a bigger tank to reduce stress
  • Beware of overstocking your aquarium with ornaments because it could impede movement
  • Be aware of the tankmate bettas beware of fish that are too aggressive
  • Keep the water in the aquarium between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Why is my betta fish not active?

It could be caused by an insufficient diet, illness, or poor tank conditions. It could also be due to being aware that the Betta is becoming old and life is gradually disappearing from its body. Like humans, elderly Betta fish are more sluggish and inactive as compared to young ones.

Is it normal for betta fish to stop swimming?

They’re beautiful and display a vibrant display, however, your fish mostly uses their pectoral fins for swimming. Long-term swimming is exhausting for small fish. That’s why Bettas often rest. They enjoy being in the sun and taking a break.

Why is my betta fish staying in one spot?

The most common reasons for the betta fish remaining in one location could be poor environmental conditions or the treatment of the fish. Stress from incompatible tankmates or water issues, inadequate tank capacity, or high ammonia levels can lead to the betta fish being at the bottom of the tank.

Why is my fish not moving but still alive?

If your fish is experiencing extreme stress (i.e. gasping at the surface or lying down on the bottom, doing nothing, and scurrying throughout the water) It is possible to be certain that the water is affected in some way. Cleaning sprays may have gotten in the tank, or some other thing released poisons in the water.

What does a stressed betta look like?

A stressed betta fish appears dull or faded in appearance. Stress can cause a Betta Fish to shed its vibrant and vibrant colors and look dull or washed out. This could indicate that your fish is under emotional or physical stress and might require additional focus or a more relaxed setting.

Conclusion – Why is my betta fish not swimming around?

Why is my betta fish not swimming around? Have you ever looked at your aquarium and wondered why your betta fish not moving? It could be dead, but the majority of the time it’s because the lack of movement is just normal behavior of betta fish.

The idea of having a Betta species is quite fascinating. whether it’s either male or female Betta fish. In reality, it’s pretty sad that they’ll eventually die. If your fish doesn’t move there are a variety of reasons.

For instance, poor quality food, unfavorable temperatures extreme pH levels, and bad water quality are a few of the main reasons.

It’s a good idea to double-check but be aware of any indications of stress or illness and check the water quality of the aquarium to ensure it’s within the correct temperature and chemical range. Making quick progress to fix any issues will guarantee an active and healthy fish.

Are there any other suggestions you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to comment below.

Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of FishCampRehab.com, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.