Do Betta Fish Float When They Die – Know Everything to Clear Your Confusion

By  //  July 13, 2021

Many people have the image that when a betta fish dies, it floats on the water. When the mass death of regular fish is talked about in the news, we often see fish floating on the water’s surface. It may be one of the reasons why such an image is spreading.

However, in the case of betta fish, it does not float immediately after it dies. The fact that a betta fish dies and floats on the water is related to the decay and ability of the body.

Even if you are confused about this topic, you can read this article from top to bottom. This guide provides clear ideas of whether betta fish float when they die and its swim bladder disorder. 

Do betta fish float when they die?

Not all betta fish float after death. In some exceptional cases, when a betta fish dies, this means the blood circulation and heartbeats are stopped. But there remains Oxygen in the float among the betta fish body. After the death of betta, fish tissue gradually breaks down. It also adds more gas, especially in the gastrointestinal tract.

As a result, there is no way to let the gas escape, but the gas pushes the betta fish’s belly to inflate it. It turns the dead fish into a kind of fish balloon and rises towards the water’s surface. In addition, the body of a betta fish is lighter than water in itself, so it is also an object that floats effortlessly.

However, depending on the depth at which the betta fish died, it may not rise from the surface, at least until the decomposition actually begins. Generally, most fish do not have enough ability to float in the water.

In addition, betta fish have an organ called a swim bladder. When alive, the specific gravity is adjusted so that they can stay at the desired depth in the water by putting gas such as air in and out of this bag. But when you die, the same is true for pre-death and weakened fish.  Since the adjustment cannot be made well, the stomach with gas will come up.

Betta Fish Swim Bladder Disorder:

Every fish has an organ called a swim bladder, which helps control fish position in the water. Betta fish are not exceptional. When betta fish rise in the water, they take air into the swim bladder organ. And if betta fish want to sink in the water, they expel air.

Actually, when the swim bladder organ is damaged, it is called swim bladder disorder. Therefore betta fish cannot adjust swim bladder functions, and standard body functionality is stopped.

As a result, the gas generated by rotting internal organs becomes superior to the swim bladder and floats on the water’s surface.

In fact, even if you are alive, gas may accumulate in your body due to indigestion, etc., and it may float if you cannot discharge it to the outside of your body. This is caused by the inability to adjust the swim bladder or damage to the swim bladder due to the gas accumulated in the body.

How to find out if a Betta fish is dead?

As mentioned, most people think that fish sink to the bottom or float on the water’s surface when they die. But in reality, there is a discrepancy between floating and sinking depending on the cause of death. If you want to understand whether your betta fish was dead or not, you have to identify some symptoms. 

Therefore, it would be best if you looked for signs of resistance from the betta fish. So you can try to hook up the fish’s body with the net. If the fish is sleeping, then it will wake up and try to escape from the net. Otherwise, the fish may be dead or very sick. 

In the next step, you need to keep an eye on your betta’s fins. If you see the cloudy pupils on your better fish eyes, it is the sign of death for most betta fish.

In addition, when you touch the betta fish, you need to make sure the betta’s gills & mouth are moving. Even if betta fish are sick, they will breathe slowly. When betta fish are dead, their skin becomes dry and solid. So you need to pay attention to cracked skin as you lift the fish.

What will you do if betta fish die?

When you identify your betta fish as dead, you must clean it from the aquarium as soon as possible. If the discovery of dead betta fish is delayed, the fish in the same aquarium may have eaten a part of the body of the dead fish.

Indeed betta fish may have died from senility or starvation. But if betta fish die from a disease, the fish in the same aquarium is more likely to be infected with pathogens.

Also, if dead fish are left unattended, it will cause deterioration of water quality. So you should clean them up as soon as possible.