Why is my betta laying at the bottom of the tank?

Has your betta been lying on the bottom of your tank too much lately? 

Are you staring at the tank helplessly?

Are you worried if such a behavior is normal or not?

Being a betta owner is no easy task and you may face some weird behaviors as well, but if your betta has been laying too much at the bottom, we need to find out the reason so we can address it quickly.

I have got all the reasons for your betta’s unnatural behaviors right here in this article.

Your betta may be laying at the bottom of the tank for multiple reasons. But most of the time, its because there is no filter in the tank and many chemicals and ammonia build up. This may result in ammonia poisoning and may even result in the death of your dear fish.

Highly recommend to see this video to understand more:

Why is my betta laying at the bottom of the tank?

Betta is a kind of fish that requires a lot of work. Even though it is a very beautiful and a color full fish, it can be a little difficult to take care of it. Unlike a cat or a dog, your fish may not be showing symptoms for anything.

You will have to observe it very carefully to understand that your betta is not acting the way it is supposed to. Even if you figure out that something is off, it will be a whole other task for you to understand if you need to act on the weird behavior or take it normally.

The first few things you need to check when a betta fish is laying at the bottom is if it is; breathing heavily, not eating, or if it is even moving at all.

My betta is laying at the bottom of the tank and breathing heavy

If you have been looking at your betta and have noticed that it has been laying at the tank’s bottom and is breathing heavily as well, there is usually only one reason for that. Such a scenario in other kinds of fish may mean that it is about to die, but for betta fish, the scenarios is a little different. 

Ammonia poisoning 

Not changing the water of the tank frequently, or not having any filtration machine in your aquarium can lead to a build-up of chemicals and ammonia in your tank. The build-up of ammonia leads to ammonia poisoning in your betta and if the problem is not solved as soon as possible, it may lead to your betta dying.  

Ammonia levels can be easily checked in your fish tank using an API master test kit. This kit will help you check the ammonia levels and you can act accordingly. If you cannot buy a test kit make sure you are changing half of the water in your fish tank every two days, this will also help you drain out any chemicals or ammonia building up.

My betta is laying at the bottom of the tank and not eating

The following reasons may help you in figuring out why your betta is laying at the bottom and not eating. You may also be able to asses whether you need to be worried about such behavior or just let it go.


Bettas have a weak immune system compared to other fishes, and they tend to overfeed themselves as well which may result in some illnesses. Even though it is difficult to find out if your betta is really sick or not, you need to see if it has some kind of discoloration, spots on its body, or even just some odd behaviors. These will be your clue that your betta is not feeling well and is mots certainly sick.

Bettas may have swim bladder issues, that is when they get constipated and stop eating or moving. Overeating makes your betta constipated which also results in them getting swelled up. When they get swelled up, they may start to lose scales on their bodies as well.

The spotting on their bodies may occur because your fish has got some kind of parasite infection. 


The bladder issues in the fishes can be sorted by feeding your betta with a pea, chopped into very tiny pieces so that it can easily eat. You again have to make sure that you do not overfeed your betta again. It will take you some time to get that right amount of food to be given to your betta because of accuracy in the feed matters.  

As far as the spotting and discoloration are concerned for parasite infections, you will have to check for ammonia percentage in the water tank. Aside from water, adding a little pink salt or Epsom salt to the aquarium may also help cure your betta and bring it back to its healthy and happy life.


Believe it or not, but fishes also get stressed out. It is the environment usually that causes them stress and depression. This may lead to your betta not eating and even laying down more often. 


A solution to ensure that your betta does not get stressed out or depressed is that you can add plants. Yes.! Adding plants that float at the top or just sit at the bottom can help destress your betta. With plants added the fishes feel more at home and closer to their natural environment. this not only helps them but gives your aquarium a good look as well.

With the addition of plants, you need to ensure that the water is still frequently cleaned and your plants are also cleaned so that no germs or bacteria are formed causing other problems for you and your betta.

Aquarium size

Just like hamsters and other caged animals need to have a big moving and living space, fishes and especially betta need to have a good enough space to swim. Small aquariums also add to the stress levels for your betta.


When buying a betta, you need to be sure of the fact that you have a big enough space for them to live. They are very sensitive fish breed and require their personal spaces. They prefer to swim vertically into the depth so investing in an aquarium that your betta will stay happier in and have enough room to swim will be a good idea.

My betta is laying at the bottom of the tank and is not moving

If your betta is not moving and is at the bottom you need first make sure if it has been behaving normally before or not. You’ll find the reasons in this article for either case; has it been behaving normally or not.

Sleeping or resting

Bettas need their rest. They need to sleep and take their naps. If there is darkness in the room, the bettas tend to fall asleep and stay at the bottom. Just like other animals and other fishes, the bettas tend to sleep but usually, their sleeping time is divided into portions with one portion stretching up to a maximum of one hour.

If your betta has been swimming and making bubbles like normal and is looking healthy, it is most probably just sleeping or napping. But if it has been behaving a little odd lately and looks weak as well, then there might be some illness or some infection, which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Lazy betta

Sometimes betta’s just like to lay around the aquarium from one place to another. Just like us humans’ bettas also have their lazy days and may even be using support to swim around. So, you do not really need to worry about it. Just try and make sure that your betta hasn’t been acting differently and has no visible problems. Rest assured you are good to go.

Swim bladder problem

feeding is a very difficult task when it comes to fishes. They easily overfeed and either get constipated or die. Same is the case for a betta, they will eat up the entire food you drop in their tank regardless of their hunger.

This leads to your betta getting constipated or even getting a swim bladder issue. When betta overfeeds or gets constipated, their stomachs swell up causing them difficulty to move or swim, and sometimes they may even float upside down or sideways. 

To solve this problem, try to give your betta a crushed boiled pea every week or blood worms. After this give it 24 hours to fast and then start feeding again. You can also dip your betta’s food dish in chlorinated water and then serve food. The smell will stop them from overfeeding. 

Water temperature

Make sure the water temperature is the same throughout, for this you may need to have a heater installed so that the temperature is maintained. If you already have a beater check if it is working or not. Usually, temperature changes also make the water too hot which makes it difficult to breathe for the fish and it may sink to the bottom for some time to get the oxygen. 

Old age

Betta has a life span of 4 to 5 years. After spending three years, they tend to get old and weak and would spend most of their time laying around and not moving. So, if you’re betta as passed the three years that means it has reached old age and that it will pretty much lay around now and eventually leave you and your tank for its final adobe. 

Filter current

Aquariums come with a filter installed that has a current speed set according to the water aquarium can hold. If you buy a new or a separate filter, then you will need to adjust its speed and see what the right speed of the filter current is. Not just betta but other fishes also, if received fast-moving filter current in their tank will feel pressured and would move to the bottom so that they are not being pushed towards some area.

Make sure you adjust the filter speed properly or just buy an aquarium with an installed filter. Otherwise, make sure to keep changing the water every week so that your betta stays happy and healthy.

How can you identify the most common illnesses in your betta?

Unlike other pets and animals identifying an illness on a betta is no easy task, but there are some basic symptoms to look for. 

If your betta has been laying around too much, is not active, has white spots or discoloration it usually means that there is something wrong that needs medical attention. Other then this, your betta may also have fin rotting, that means the fins will not stay as upright as they should be, they may even start to dangle a little. Your betta may start to lose weight and become more lethargic than normal.

All of this can mean that either there is a water problem or if your betta has gotten infection internal or external. You may have to give your betta some kinds of antibiotics therefore, one should immediately check with the vet and get the problem sorted before it gets too late.

How can you help your sick betta?

A few basic things you can try if your betta is falling sick are, either you change the water or get a bigger tank.

Change the water

One of the things you can do for a better and healthy betta or any kind of fish for that matter is, change the water. You need to keep changing the water because in small bowls or tanks the water gets dirty too quickly because of their waste and food leftovers. The fishes when laying in their own dirt can develop infections and there can be the growth of bacteria and germs that will not be healthy for your betta at all.

So, do not wait for your betta to ruin the water completely or the water top starts getting milky, change the water on time that is weekly basis so that no bacteria can survive, and your betta stays healthy.

Get a bigger aquarium 

Fishes, specifically betta’s like to live in their natural habitat and have higher chances of better health. If you have adopted a betta, try and give it a bigger tank, because we all know, the bigger the better. Betta’s thrive and live happily in larger tanks where they can easily move around swim freely. If your betta is laying around more and not very healthy, try getting a bigger tank, it may give it the feels of its natural habitat and make it better.

Related question

Does swim bladder ever go away?

Swim bladder can be both permanent or temporary. But if it is permanent you don’t have to worry because your betta will still survive, it may need a few lifestyle modifications, but it will surely survive given the right care and the right treatment.

Can a stressed fish recover?

A stressed fish can recover but it can not be guaranteed. A stressed-out fish gets a weak immune system and therefore is unable to fight a lot of diseases, which may end up reducing its life span.

Why is fish swimming too fast?

If the water conditions in your water tank change or water quality drops down, it stresses out your fish which may result in your betta acting weird.


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