Why Is My Betta Swimming Sideways? Causes & Treatments

Betta fish are quite popular as they can be cared for just as easily as tropical fish. They also come in a variety of hues and are disease resistant. However, new aquarists sometimes struggle with growing bettas and are perplexed by the following typical query: Why is my betta swimming sideways?

Roll your mouse down now to discover intriguing facts about betta fish, the causes of your betta fish swimming sideways, and how serious it is.


Source: Pixabay

Why Is My Betta Swimming Sideways?

It is a high possibility that your betta fish has swim bladder symptoms if you observe it swimming sideways.

Like other fishes, betta fish have a swim bladder in their tiny bodies. The fish’s float is controlled by this bladder, which eliminates the need for continual swimming on the part of the fish.

The betta fish is balanced in place by its swim bladder.  However, this body part is so delicate that a small disruption can have a significant impact on a fish’s swimming ability normally, causing the fish to move sideways or even upturned.

In addition, there are other potential culprits of bladder dysfunction: a sickness, a physical abnormality, a mechanical issue, an environmental issue, or unidentified causes. Fish affected will have trouble managing their capacity to float or sink, referred to as buoyancy disorders.

Luckily, swim bladder illness is not a concern and may often be treated quickly and easily.

swim bladder

Source: Pixabay

What Is The Symptom Of Swim Bladder Disease in Betta Fish?

You may look for signs, including swimming to the top of the tank, dropping to the bottom, floating on their backs, swimming vertically, and swimming on their sides to determine whether your betta is suffering from swim bladder illness. Or, you can see your betta swimming in circles.

Moreover, your fish can quit eating or cease making feces. If you see this in addition to swimming issues, it may be a pointer that overeating or constipation is to blame.

The fish’s ability to swim and maintain buoyancy in the water is mostly related to the above symptoms.

An s-shaped spine and an expanded belly are two more physical symptoms of the illness. Fish that have been affected could occasionally continue to eat normally, or they might not be eager to be fed.

swim bladder symptom

Source: Pixabay

What Causes Swim Bladder Disease?

Tank Water Temperature

The betta fish’s well-being is greatly influenced by the tank’s temperature. That is one of the major reasons for your betta fish swimming sideways after water change in the aquarium.

Since their bodies are designed for a steady aquatic environment, they are extremely sensitive to temp fluctuations.

The ideal water temp for a betta is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The health of the betta fish may suffer if the temperature is either lower or higher than this benchmark.

If you reside in a cold climate, you need to get a water tank warmer to maintain the right condition for your pet.

Be aware that even after installing a water tank heater, you must continue regular tests to ensure everything is functioning properly.

A water aquarium heater is a machine. Hence, it occasionally malfunctions. And, your betta fish may experience extreme stress due to these sudden increases in water temperature.

Tank Water Quality

Water quality is another factor that may contribute to swimming bladder illness.

You must use an elevated water filter to clean the tank to prevent the growth of germs and provide your betta with a clean habitat.

When you add something to the tank, such as a flower, green seaweed, or decorative items, remember that each item must be cleaned and disinfected because it can contain bacteria or worms.

You should note that you should only give your Betta fish premium food since if you buy low-quality foods it may be contaminated with lethal germs and worms that can pollute the water. As a result, the betta fish can suffer terrible injuries from dirty and unclean water.

blue and white betta

Source: Pixabay


It is obvious that betta fish are carnivorous animals, so one of their favorite pastimes is eating.

Having said that, overeating frequently leads to swimming bladder disease because of their passion for food.

It is simple for them to swell up when they consume more food than what their little tummies can accommodate. That damages the swim bladder, causing asymmetrical swimming and other strange motions.

To avoid ailments like swim bladder illness, be cautious about how frequently you feed your pet daily.


Your betta fish may be shocked or stressed out very easily. Anxiety in a betta fish can be triggered by loud sounds, reflective glass surfaces, bright light, and temperature fluctuations.

In short, due to stress or shock, a betta fish may become more susceptible to illnesses and diseases, such as swim bladder problems.

Air Gulps

The last cause is the accidental ingestion of air by betta fish when eating food from the tank’s top.

Moving sideways and experiencing pain are the effects of the air bubbles making the swim bladder enlarge. That also occurs if you are running late with food deliveries and your betta fish has been starving for a while.

They may swallow more air to quickly eat the food on the surface due to hunger. To avoid a bad case, limit the amount of food you give your betta fish at each meal and distribute them throughout the day.

Air Gulps

Source: Pixabay

How To Fix The Swim Bladder in Betta?

It would help if you always started by looking at the fish’s surroundings when faced with a case of buoyancy disorder or any other abnormalities.

Collect a thorough history of the fish, paying particular attention to when it was bought or bred, whether it was wild-caught or raised in a tank, and whether it had previously exhibited normal behaviors and been fed.

Furthermore, you should check the water’s temp, pH, ammonia level, nitrogen content, and other parameters.

Feed only high-quality food, and you might want to give dry food a brief soak before giving it. Always completely thaw frozen food before adding it to the tank. Try providing submerged food to fish that gulp air while eating on the surface.

Last but not least, as various fish species may have varied food needs, nutrition should also be assessed. It is necessary to adjust any environmental factors out of the fish’s usual range.


Why Is My Betta Swimming Backwards?

As we have previously stated, swim bladder illness is most likely to blame if you observe your betta swimming backward or exhibiting any other problems mentioned above.

How Do I Know My Betta is Dying?

Our brief answer is that a change in color along the fish’s body, such as white or brown patches, is one of the indicators that a betta fish is likely to pass away. Some other signs are abnormal swimming strokes, shortening, or degenerating fins.

Do Peas Help Swim Bladder?

Fish are forced to consume green peas near the bottom of their aquarium because they sink in water, which keeps extra air from getting into their GI tract and swim bladder.

Feeding betta fish peas that have been boiled or frozen will break through the impaction and release the strain on the fish’s swim bladder. If your fish begins to drift sideways, we advise you to cease feeding them for a few days and then hand-feed peas to help remove any obstructions.


Why is my betta swimming sideways? Well, we already know that swimming bladder illness is the primary cause. In addition, you grasp other helpful information on the symptoms, causes, and prevention of the swimming bladder ailment.

Thanks for reading our post, and see you in the next article. Have a good day!