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Why is my Betta Fish Swimming Sideways

why is my betta fish swimming sideways

They say that betta fish is a perfect pet for new aquarium owners due to its unique and offbeat personality. This fish tends to float, swim, and do strange positions in the aquarium. However, you will also see this cute fish swimming sideways.

But the question is, is swimming sideways normal? Why is my betta fish swimming sideways? If you ask this question, it is probably because the fish is infected with swim bladder disease. We will know about this disease and other information as we go along in this article.


The Reason Why Betta Fish is Swimming Sideways

Why is my betta fish not swimming? Why is it swimming sideways? I have asked these pair of questions the very first time my betta fish was infected with swim bladder disease. Initially, I thought it was normal because of the quirky and strange personality that betta fish has.

Later on, I discovered that swimming sideways or not swimming at all was a symptom of a swim bladder disease. The swim bladder is an organ used by betta fish that allows control of his buoyancy. This organ helps the fish swim easily and saves energy during the swim.

Honestly, swim bladder disease is not actually a disease at all. The simple explanation is that the fish’s swim bladder is damaged due to several reasons that make it not function properly.
There are several reasons why the fish will eventually get swim bladder diseases. Please check on the common causes below:

Constipation and Overfeeding

The problem with betta fish is they tend to overeat. Once you feed them, they will not stop eating even after they are full or once the food is finished. This type of personality can often lead them to be constipated.

Too much constipation can also affect their swimming bladder, which can affect their ability to swim. Constant constipation can also help build a lot of fatty deposits in the bladder, which can negatively impact its health.

Low Temperature

When your aquarium’s water temperature is too low, it can also contribute to your fish having swim bladder disease. Low temperature can cause the bladder to slow down, which can result in the fish being constipated.

To prevent this situation from happening, ensure that the water is maintained to its ideal temperature. Always make sure that the water temperature in your fish tank will not go down below 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bacterial Infection

One of the reasons a betta fish can have a swim bladder disease is a bacterial infection. It is actually the other way around. Bacterial infection is actually a disease that may happen in a fish, and one of the symptoms is the fish having a swim bladder disease.

Usually, bacterial infections may happen because of poor water maintenance. If the quality of water in your aquarium is so low, there will be more symptoms that will show on the fish apart from the problem in the bladder. Pinecone scales and severe bloating are some signs that your fish is in trouble.

Parasite Infection

Your betta fish can also be infected by parasites, particularly their stomach and intestines. It is usually the result of having to overfeed your fish which makes the parasites infest their body. And once it happens, you will start seeing the fish swimming strangely or even sideways.

Serious Diseases

There will be times that your betta fish will be infected with cysts in the kidney. Also, female bettas egg binding can also make the fish acquire the swim bladder disease. Most of these sicknesses are serious that all you can do is wait and see what will happen to your beloved fish.

What To Do if your Fish is Swimming Sideways

what to do if your fish is swimming sideways

If your fish is swimming sideways, it is probably because it is infected with a swim bladder disease. What you will do in the next few days is essential to help solve the problem and possibly save your beloved betta fish.

First, you will need to transfer your fish to another aquarium. This new aquarium will be the place where the fish will be treated. It should be a small aquarium or even a fishbowl but make sure that the fish can still swim freely even if it is sideways.

Then, look for the possible cause of the disease. It will be better for you not to feed your fish for a few days if it is because of constipation. Three days to be exact. This process will make the digestive system heal and rest while also cleaning itself.

If your fish has suffered from a bacterial infection, the medication should be antibiotics. In this case, I suggest that you consult a fish specialist so that he will be the one treating the fish. Consulting a veterinarian is the safest and easiest thing during this time.

Overall, swim bladder disease is not fatal if the cause of it is usual constipation or bloating. Your betta fish can make a full recovery eventually, even if it takes time. However, if the cause is so severe such as a bacterial infection, the life of your fish may be in danger.


Why is my betta fish swimming sideways? If you have asked this question before, it is probably because your pet has a swim bladder disease that has affected its ability to swim normally. The most important thing is not to ignore this disease because it can be a sign of something more serious with your betta fish.

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