Betta fish can be depressed. Depression can impact your bettas’ whole day’s activity. But how do I know if my Betta is depressed? and how to make your Betta fish happy is a matter of learning.
In this post I will answer the most asked question: how do I know if my betta is depressed along with recovery? So read the post till the end to get all of your questions answered.
Do Betta Fish Get Depressed?
Bettas are very smart creatures. They have feelings including depression. Though, amazingly betta can be attacked by depression.
Hence when betta fish face unfavorable environments they act abnormally along with dull appearance and become sad which is identified as betta’s depression. It has a bad impact on their health and overall activity.
Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?
Betta fish feel uncomfortable with other fishes in a community tank. They love to live independently and need their territory.
So if you notice your fish is living lonely it does not indicate that the fish are depressed as they do not have any issue with loneliness.
But you can keep other fish with your betta fish which will live in the bottom of the tank and will not disturb the betta.
As well as when you will select other fish species try to choose well-developed fish to keep the fish safe from betta.
Also, you should not keep 2 male bettas in a tank. Because they will fight for their own space which will not be a good decision.
Additionally, you should use a tank separator if you keep female and male betta for breeding as they will also create trouble.
Why Do Betta Fish Get Depressed?
There are so many reasons to make the betta fish depressed. some of the common reasons are
1. Poor Water Quality
If the betta’s tank water quality is bad and has chemicals including ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite the fish will act abnormally. They will be depressed and reduce their regular activity.
2. Unstable water temperature
Bettas required water temperature is 76 to 85 degrees F. But if the water temperature changes rapidly they will be stressed and become depressed.
Betta lives independently. they do not love overcrowded tanks. If aquarists overstock their betta’s tank there will be space shortage problems which can make the betta aggressive and depressed.
4. No Hiding Place
When you will decorate the betta tank there should be some hiding places such as caves, plants etc. so that they can hide and take some rest.
5. Hormone imbalance
Sometimes hormone imbalance is responsible for bettas aggression. Also, it makes the betta fish depressed.
How Do I Know If My Betta is Depressed?
There are a lot of symptoms available to identify a depressed betta fish. Some depressed betta fish may have all of the symptoms and some will have a few of them.
1. Refuse To Eat
A depressed betta fish refuses to eat food. Some betta may reduce their food amount and some may ignore eating food.
In this case you should respond quickly to take necessary steps to solve their problem. As a lack of appetite is not good in the long term for bettas health.
A stressed betta or stressed human are not interested in their normal activity. They reduce their activity level and become lethargic.
If your betta is stressed they will spend most of the time at the bottom of the tank and lose their interest in swimming.
Betta fish have peculiar behavior and they are not scared to swim around the aquarists.
But if the betta is depressed they will hide themselves under the plant and decoration.
4. Color Changing
A healthy and happy betta has a bright color. But betta fish color can be changed if they face any physical or mental issue.
A depressed bettas have a dull appearance and clamped fins. Though discoloration can happen for other diseases.
Yet if you notice any other symptoms with color changing it will be a depression sign.
Aggressiveness is a sign of depressed betta. A depressed betta can be more aggressive against their tank mate and can attack their tankmates.
How To Help Your Betta Fish Recover From Depression?
If you identify that your betta fish is depressed you should find out the reasons to solve the problem. If the reasons are identified then it will be easier to get a solution.
Here are some ways given below to help your betta fish recover from depression.
1. Increase the Tank Size
To make your betta fish happy and stress less you should increase the tank size.
You should keep one betta in a 5 gallon tank and if you keep tank mates with betta then you should keep the tank size 10 gallon.
2. Maintain Correct Water Parameter
Correct water parameter is very important for a healthy and happy betta. So you should check your tank water parameter on a daily basis.
If you see the water parameter is not correct as your betta required you should work on it.
You should keep the ammonia and nitrite level zero whether nitrates will be lower than 20 ppm.
pH range will be between 6.5 to 7.5. Water temperature will be 76 to 85 degree F as well as water hardness will be 3 to 4 ppm. Also keep the tank water clean.
3. Use a Suitable Filter
A good filter is helpful for you to maintain your tank water quality. So try to select a suitable filter according to your tank size. But you should choose a filter which has a gentle water flow.
4. Enough Decorations
A well-decorated tank is very helpful to make the betta fish happy and cheer. You can add plants, caves, ornaments as well as floating leaves also. But you should keep only silk or live plants and avoid plastic trees.
As plastic plants have sharp edges which can harm the betta fish at swimming time.
For live plants, you can keep jave moss, hornwort, java fern and anacharis to decorate your tank. Additionally, lots of tunnels and caves can be added to entertain the betta.
5. Add Tank Mates
Though betta fish do not love to share their own space with others, you can add some bottom dweller fish with bettas as a tankmate.
6. Provide Quality Food
Every fish needs an amount of nutrition for physical and mental growth. Food without nutrition can not save fish from any diseases and depression also. Betta fish is known as carnivorous.
You can mix the frozen and live food to give your betta. You can provide your betta brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae and bloodworms etc.
Additionally, aqueon betta pellets are a good nutrition source for betta.
7. Interact with Your Betta
Betta fish interact with their owner very quickly. You can spend some time with them such as talking, playing etc to make the fish happy.
What Are The Signs Of A Happy Betta?
There are a lot of signs available to understand whether your betta fish is happy or not. Here are a few signs mentioned below.
- Enough swimming
- Interested in food
- Making bubble nests
- interacting with you
- Bright Colour
Researches on Fish Mode
A study found that live fish led to greater perceptions of relaxation and positive mood compared to the other conditions. Participants experienced less anxiety during and after observing live fish.
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there is limited scientific research specifically focused on the mood and depression of betta fish (Siamese fighting fish).
Betta fish are known for their vibrant colors and unique behaviors, but their emotional states and the presence of depression are challenging to ascertain.
Fish, including bettas, have different physiological and behavioral responses to various stimuli, such as changes in environmental conditions, tank mates, and water parameters.
However, it is difficult to directly equate these responses to human emotions like mood and depression since fish have distinct neurobiology and cognitive processes.
Nonetheless, studies have investigated stress responses and behavioral changes in betta fish in response to environmental factors.
Stressors such as overcrowding, poor water quality, and inadequate tank conditions can lead to negative physiological and behavioral effects in bettas.
These stress responses may manifest as reduced activity, appetite changes, abnormal swimming patterns, and color fading.
Providing proper care, appropriate tank conditions, and sufficient space for bettas is important for their overall well-being.
In a nutshell betta depression is a common issue for aquarists. Also it can be resolved quickly by following some steps. So if your betta act abnormally, find out the reason and solve it to make your fish happy.
However some beginners asked a question: how do I know if my betta is depressed for their zero knowledge. This post will help them to understand their bettas’ mental condition.