My Betta Fish Died and Came Back To Life! {6 Symptoms Explained}

Have you been watching your betta fish and you think, “My Betta fish died and came back to life!”

Is it even possible? Did they actually die or did something else happen?

In this article, we’ll talk about betta fish deaths, near deaths and if they are just passed out.

My Betta Fish Died and Came Back To Life

A betta fish can’t come back to life after death, but you can revive a dying fish from totally dying.

Once a fish is dead, there is nothing an aquarist can do. The only help you can provide is when it is still alive but dying.

Betta fish don’t die easily, they are just sleeping in most cases. Let’s use this article as a checklist and run through the information below.

Can Betta Fish Die

How Do You Know When A Betta Fish Is About To Die?

If you take a close watch on your betta, you can tell if it is dying or not. If you pay little attention to them, you might not be able to tell and might eventually lead to the death of your fish.

Here are 6 symptoms to watch out for to tell if your fish is about to die:

  1. Physical appearance
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Unusual swimming patterns
  4. Increased respiration rate
  5. Reduced activity
  6. Faded color

1. Physical appearance

The fish’s physical appearance is one of the best ways to tell if it is dying or not. When a fish is dying, the body starts to show signs that might require a fish veterinarian’s attention. The most common symptom is the development of white spots on the body.

2. Loss of appetite

Another prevalent symptom to check out is the way they eat. When bettas are dying, they start to lose appetite and feed less. Sometimes, feeding the wrong food can also depict this, so you should be sure you feed them the right food.

3. Unusual swimming patterns

The fish starts to exhibit unusual swimming patterns. They might rub their body against rocks, fold fins on their sides, hit the tank on purpose, etc. When you start noticing this, your beta is dying.

4. Increased respiration rate

When bettas are dying, they tend to breathe faster. They secrete mucus that they use in covering their gills. When you notice this, you should contact a veterinarian as your fish is dying.

5. Reduced activity

Bettas activity reduces when they are dying. They start swimming slowly, lying at the bottom of the tank with their sides, etc. Whenever you notice this, contact a vet as soon as you can.

6. Faded color

Bettas color starts
to fade when they are dying. This symptom is prevalent also.

How To Revive a Betta Fish

The best way to revive a betta fish is to:

  • add aquarium salt to the water 
  • remove any other fish that are in the aquarium

It is possible to revive a dying fish, but it is impossible to revive a fish when the fish dies. The fish’s system still works at the dying stage, but it is working abnormally or unusually.

You can correct the system to work right by taking some medical steps. When the fish dies completely, all the system stops working, and there is nothing a veterinarian can do to bring the fish back to life.

Is My Betta Dead Or In Shock?

You can mistake your betta fish to be dead while it is in shock. You have to distinguish between these two to know what necessary steps to take when it is in shock or dead.

It is very easy to know when a fish is dead, but it might not be that easy to tell if it is in shock.

Signs a fish is in shock

  • Gasping
  • Darting
  • Thrashing
  • Trying to jump out of water
  • Swimming near the water surface
  • Improper airflow from gills
  • Improper breathing
  • Bumping into objects

Sometimes, when the fish is so much in shock, it will be so weak it won’t jump out of the tank. When this shock condition sets in, the betta starts to faint and get out of breath.

Signs that a fish is dead

  • The fish sinks to the bottom.
  • Their eyes become opaque.
  • It will float upside down with its stomach facing upwards.
  • They become pale.

Why Does My Betta Fish Look Dead?

You can take a look at your betta fish at times, and your heart skips a beat, thinking it is dead. At times, the fish isn’t dead; it only looks that way. You must know when to differentiate your betta from being dead or when it isn’t.

Your Betta fish can look dead because of some reason. Here are threeconditions where your fish looks dead:

1. When in shock

Your betta fish can look dead when it is in shock. Shock is a critical condition of fishes that can lead to death if you do not attend to it quickly. The bettas sometimes appear dead when they are in shock.

2. Stress

Stress can also make bettas appear dead. Stress affects fishes; when they get too stressed, they can die. Before dying, they can appear dead, which is why you have to take care of them.

3. Poor water condition

Poor water conditions can also cause bettas to appear dead in the tank. Poor water can lead to the fish falling sick, which might eventually die if not taken care of as soon as possible.

Overfeeding, physical defects, dangerous living conditions, etc. can also appear dead because they do not support the fish’s healthy living.

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How to Bring a Betta Fish Back to Life

Unfortunately if your Betta fish is dead, there is no chance of bringing it back to life. Now, there are instances of betta fish pretending or acting dead. Usually this happens when the water is too cold or too hot. It can also be a sign of stress.

  1. If you don’t have a water heater already in your tank, consider setting one up. The temperature should be around 76 degrees Fahrenheit or 24.5 degrees Celsius.
  2. There are products such as “Betta Revive” which helps to treat fish tank water in order for your Betta fish to spring back to life. In these cases they’re attempting to clean your tank water for you.
  3. In order to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, you need to make sure that the nitrogen cycle in your tank is healthy and active. A cycled tank allows for the beneficial bacteria to eat up the ammonia that is caused from detritus build up.
  4. Use a test kit to regularly check for ammonium nitrite and nitrate levels and your Betta fish that are still alive will thank you for it.

Can Betta Fish Freeze to Death?

Yes. Cold water and cold temperatures below 76 degrees Fahrenheit can cause a betta fish to become stressed and eventually die if the water doesn’t get heated up again.

The ideal temperature should be set between 76 -82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the water gets cold, your Betta fish’s immune system slows down and it makes them more susceptible to catching fungal parasitic or bacterial diseases.

Alternatively, if the water is too hot your Betta fish will experience an increase in its metabolism. At this point it may start to swimming erratically and feel uncomfortable.

A betta fish under hot water conditions age faster. It’s best to use a heater to set your temperature at a comfortable level for your Betta fish to not freeze to death or die from a premature life when the water is too hot.

Can Betta Fish Freeze and Come Back to Life?

A betta fish is frozen and its metabolism slows down to the point where it is not moving anymore.  This is when it is very difficult to bring it back to life. A frozen betta fish is a dead betta fish.

The common methods of trying to revive a betta fish includes applying aquarium salt into the tank or Epsom salt. There are many recommendations for using aquarium salt or Epsom salt, but it’s best to follow the directions on the product that you choose.

Cleaning the tank frequently and check for the water parameters to stay ideal without large fluctuations. A betta fish that is frozen is going to be practically impossible to bring back to life.

Betta fish on sometimes die easily from overfeeding. Consider this a lesson learned. The next time you have a betta fish in your tank you will be better equipped to prolong their life and keep them healthy and thriving in your aquarium’s ecosystem.

Why Did My Betta Fish Die?

Your Betta fish could have died from a number of reasons. Most likely it’s due to a poor environment that is resulting from unclean water. Let’s look at some of the reasons below for why your Betta fish could have died:

  • overfeeding
  • aggressive tank memes
  • tank too small
  • old age
  • improper tank cycling
  • parasitic bacterial or fungal infection
  • disease spread from new fish in your tank
  • changes in the water temperature
  • not enough food
  • not enough water changes
  • natural causes
  • a poor batch of betta fish from your local fish shop

Many fish shops are able to diagnose the condition of your tank water. If you have recently bought this beta fish from this location, they may consider an exchange for your dead betta with another betta fish.

Do Betta Fish Die Easily?

No. Bettas are hardy fishes that can survive in poor conditions, but it is advisable always to keep them in the right condition. Betta fish do not die easily because of their hardy feature. Despite their hardy feature, they also die due to some reasons;

  • Betta fish can die from poor water conditions; as much as they can withstand poor conditions, they can also die from it.
  • Your betta fish can die from overfeeding, so you should be careful when feeding them.
  • Bettas do not go well with cool waters, so you should raise your water temperature a little if it is too cool.
  • Bettas can also die from physical damage; be watchful over them.
  • They can also die from infections, sickness, or disease; you should take them to a vet when you notice it.

Why Did My Betta Die After Water Change?

Bettas adapt to water over a long period that if there is a sudden large change in the water, the fish might not tolerate it.

The water’s chemistry is already accustomed to the betta’s body system that if there is a large change in the water, it won’t tolerate it and eventually die.

If there is a high amount of ammonia in the new water, the betta can die also.

What Is Normal Betta Behavior?

You must know your betta’s normal behavior, so you would be able to detect its abnormal days.

Normally, bettas are:

  • playful fish that swim actively in tanks
  • very interactive as they will follow you when you move around the tank.
  • actively swimming up and down the tank
  • swimming quickly to the top of the tank when you look down on them
  • active fish

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below are the frequently asked questions on bettas.

1. What Is The Lifespan Of A Betta Fish?

In captivity, bettas can live for 3 to 5 years if you take good care of them by providing them with the necessary living conditions. While in the wild, they can live for about two years.

2. What Do I Do With My Dead Betta Fish?

When your betta fish dies, please remove it from the tank and place it in a paper bag. Put the bagged dead fish in a freezer if you are not ready to bury it. But if you are ready to bury it, you should dig out the floor and ensure you do not flush it.

3. Why Did My Betta Fish Turn White And Die?

Betta fish can turn white and die for several reasons. They can die from poor conditions, disease or infections, stress, overfeeding, physical damage, and lots more. If they turn white before dying, it is probably from infections.

4. How Can I Tell If My Betta Is Stressed?

The best way to know if stress is affecting your bettas is through their physical appearance. You can also tell from their activity as they tend to behave unusually.

5. Can I Leave My Betta Fish For A Week?

Bettas can stay for about a week without food, which means you can be away for a week, and your fish will do fine. You only have to provide adequate water conditions while you are away.

6. Is My Betta Fish Stressed?

You have to consider a lot of factors to know the stress level of your Betta. Consider the factors above to check.

7. How Do You Calm A Stressed Betta Fish?

To reduce your betta stress, change the tank’s water frequently, and keep the ammonia and nitrate level low. You can also treat the water to remove toxins.

8. Do Betta Fish Look Dead When They Sleep?

Bettas might look dead when they are asleep because they do not move, but you can easily differentiate from these two by checking if the fish is breathing.


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Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.