Can Betta Fish Break Their Back?

betta fish

Bettas can break their back or even look folded as a result of some diseases or overfeeding. Overfeeding with dry pallets will make their gut swell, it will put a lot of pressure on them internally making them look folded/ bent.

The most common cause of betta fish broken back is exposure to some bacteria and, fungal pathogen. When taken good care of, they will get better depending on how severe the damage is. 

How do you take care of your Bettas to prevent them from breaking their back? I’m sure you will also like to know the causes of broken back in bettas and if at all they can break their back.

Can Betta Fish Break Their Back?

Yes, Bettas can break their back. They are fragile, and any stress or discomfort can harm them. Your betta having a broken back doesn’t mean the end for your pet. If properly taken care of, it can grow back easily as a fingernail growing back.

There can be many reasons why their back will get broken. It could be a result of infection from a fungal pathogen or gram-negative bacteria in your aquarium. It is a common disease in aquariums popularly known as fin rot. It can be prevented and if your Bettas happen to get infected, they can be treated and they will bounce back to their normal life as though nothing happened.

During their healing process, there is a need for proper care because they are very fragile at that stage. You have to feed them properly, make sure their tank is properly aerated, ensure chemical balance in the water and keep the environment clean.

Why Is My Bettas Back Broken?

Bettas get their back, look folded or deformed. This is not a normal/natural occurrence and it indicates a problem. For you to be able to solve a problem, you have to know the root cause. Some of the causes of broke back in bettas is as a result of the following;

  • Fin rot can be a cause for broken back in your Bettas. It is a common aquarium disease caused by a fungal pathogen and gram-negative bacterias in the aquarium. This infection can be treated. These pathogens and bacteria are naturally present in your tank, with poor maintenance, your fish are prone to get infected.
  • Feeding your fish lots of dry pallets will make their guts swell when they get exposed to water. This lead to internal pressure on your fish and their inability to control their swim bladder. The swim bladder is a sack-like apparatus in fish that gets filled with gas. It helps them control their buoyancy.
  • Some viral infections and tumours can make your Bettas back break or look deformed. In these cases, your betta can not be treated, you can only help supply food and nutrients that will strengthen their immune system.
  • Tuberculosis is extremely rare in bettas but it is still possible. It is very fatal and needs to be treated urgently, it is caused by mycobacterium marinum a bacteria found in aquarium water. Your fish can get tuberculosis for 6 months without showing any symptoms which makes it deadly. The bacteria attack the Internal organs of your betta and you begin to notice the signs and symptoms when these organs begin to fail. At that point chances of survival or saving your betta is slim.

How To Prevent Fish Tuberculosis

The chances of your fish getting tuberculosis is low, if you take proper care and preventive measure, then you wouldn’t have to worry about it. When bringing a new betta home, make sure you quarantine it before adding it to your main tank.

Always ensure you feed them with the proper diet that is packed with nutrients for their growth and that will help them maintain a strong immune system. When their immune system is strong, they wouldn’t be prone to tuberculosis.

Frequently change their water and make sure it is in good condition and of high quality, this way you will not harbour any harmful bacteria or pathogen that is harmful to your fish. Above all make sure you purchase your betta from a reliable source.

How To Treat Fish Tuberculosis

Fish tuberculosis is a fatal infection and needs to be prevented and treated well and with utmost care. Most times fish tuberculosis is detected at a late stage, but when you do there is a slim chance for your fish and I’m sure you will want to take it.

If you are lucky to detect it at an early stage then here are some of the measures to take in treating fish tuberculosis.

– Diet

Feeding your fish with the proper diet that contains vitamins and nutrients needed by your better will help it stay strong and also strengthen its immune system. This way it can help fish the infection.

– Proper Aeration

Your aquarium needs a proper supply of air to balance the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the water. Tuberculosis disease affects the respiratory organs of your betta and they use these organs for breathing.

Not having enough oxygen for their respiration can add to the stress and cause more complications. You can use an air pump for proper aeration why regulating and checking the level of oxygen to make sure it’s not too little or too much.

– Tank Maintenance

Regularly clean your tank and remove all the waste, debris, and leftover foods. This way the tank is kept clean and safe for your betta

– Water Quality

Always test your water using a test kit for ammonia and nitrates. Hight amount of any of these can be detrimental to your Bettas health

– Seek Advice

Fish tuberculosis is a serious and deadly fish disease. You will need to consult a professional or visit a veterinarian or fish expert for advice on what to do and possibly medications you can administer.

– Stress

Avoid anything that will stress your betta. Any stress will only weaken the immune system when the immune system at this point needs to be at its strongest.

If you have other fish in your tank you can house them in another tank until you are done treating your betta.

What To Know:


Your Bettas can break their back making them look folded and deformed. The good thing is the broken back can be treated and your betta will be fine. There are different causes of broken back in betters which include fin rot, overfeeding them with dry pallets, tumours, infection from bacterias and pathogens, and also fish tuberculosis.

The most deadly cause is fish tuberculosis because it doesn’t show signs or symptoms of infection until about 6 months after your Bettas get infected. Before this time the internal organs are damaged with a slim to almost no chance of survival.

You need to always clean and maintain proper aeration, and quality water in your aquarium to prevent some bacteria or pathogens from causing harm to your Bettas.

Written by Justin Michaels

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