Betta Fish Losing Fins: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Betta fish originate from Southeast Asia where they are known for their beautiful fins. These fish are often kept in aquariums as pets due to their playful and happy personalities. Bettas are intelligent and can learn to swim and feed themselves. They are also considered one of the easiest fish to keep in an aquarium, making them a popular choice for beginner aquarists.

Unfortunately, betta fish can lose their fins. This can be due to several reasons, including disease, injury, or overfeeding. If you notice your betta fish losing its fins, it’s important to take action to prevent further damage. You can try to treat the fish’s symptoms or find a new home for it if it’s too difficult to care for it.  If your betta fish has lost all of its fins, it is important to take it to a vet as soon as possible to have it checked for any injuries and to get started on treatment.

Water Animal Concept: Betta fish underwater in aquarium against a backdrop of green algae. Betta Splendens. Multi-Color Fancy Siamese Fighting Fish. Blue Red Purple Betta. Suitable For Background.

What Causes Betta Fin Loss?


One of the most common causes of fin loss in bettas is stress. Bettas are often kept in small, crowded tanks, which can cause them to experience a lot of stress. This kind of environment is not conducive to their health and can lead to fin loss.


Another common cause of fin loss in bettas is injury. If a betta fish falls out of the water or gets caught in something that tears its fins, this can lead to fin loss. This is more likely when the betta fish has broken away from his or her home tank and accidentally breaks bottle glass through their fins while trying to walk on top of it in an attempt to follow you.


Betta fish can also lose their fins due to disease. If a betta fish is sick, its immune system may attack the fish’s fins as part of the body’s natural defenses. This type of fin loss is usually reversible if caught early enough, but it can be quite serious and require medical treatment.

Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality can also lead to betta fin loss. Many factors can contribute to poor water quality, including high levels of waste and bacteria, low oxygen levels, and too much chloramine or chlorine. If your betta fish is losing its fins frequently and the issue seems to be related to the water quality in its tank, it may be best to replace the entire tank with new freshwater.

Old Age

Betta fish can also start to lose their fins as they reach old age. As a betta’s body begins to fail it may no longer be able to properly produce the oil that coats and protects the fins. This process can happen gradually over time, leading to fin loss in your betta fish. If you notice any signs of fin loss in an older betta fish, such as difficulty swimming or dangling his or her fins low in the water, it may be time to find a new home for this fish, unfortunately.

Excessive Plant

If your betta fish is swimming around with drooping fins and seems to be struggling to keep up with the rest of the tank’s inhabitants, it may be due to an excessive amount of plants in its surroundings. This type of fin loss can significantly reduce a betta fish’s mobility and fitness, making him or her more susceptible to disease and other potential problems. If you notice this issue, it may be best to remove some or all of the plants from your tank to help reduce this problem.


Another possible cause of betta fin loss is due to tankmates. If your fish is constantly fighting with other tank occupants, including other betta fish, it may lose some or all of its fins as a result. This type of fin loss can be quite serious and require veterinary attention if not treated quickly. It’s important to have compatible tank mates for your betta fish so that they can enjoy each other’s company without any tension or aggression. It’s better to start with tank mates that are compatible from the get-go, rather than trying to make changes later on in life when health issues haven’t been addressed and might be more difficult, if not impossible.

High Levels of Ammonia

If your betta fish is showing signs of fin loss and you’ve tested the water and there are no detectable levels of ammonia, another issue is likely causing this problem. Ammonia can be toxic to fish, so if you notice high levels in the tank or your fish exhibiting any other abnormal behaviors, it may be time to take corrective action.

beautiful ornamental betta fish, with blur background

What to Do if My Betta Loses a Fin?

If your betta fish loses one or more of its fins, there are a few things you can do to help it recover. First, make sure that the fin is not stuck in something. If it is, try to gently wiggle it free. If the fin is still stuck, you can try to remove the fin with a pair of pliers. If that doesn’t work, you can try to cut off the fin with a pair of scissors. Finally, you can give your betta fish some antibiotics if it appears to be infected.

How to Treat Betta’s Fin Loss?

Here are some tips on how to treat your betta fish with fin loss:

  • Check the health of your betta fish carefully. If it appears to be injured, take it to a vet immediately.
  • Provide a comfortable environment for your betta fish. If its fins are falling off, the fish may feel insecure and stressed out. Make sure its tank is large and has plenty of hiding places.
  • Feed your betta fish a healthy diet. A poor diet can lead to fin loss, so make sure to give your betta fish a variety of foods including fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Clean the tank regularly. All traces of debris can lead to problems for your betta fish, including fin loss. Make sure to clean the tank every week or two and add a proper filter system if necessary.

How to Prevent Betta Fin Loss?

One of the most common problems with betta fish is fin loss. This can be caused by several things, but the most common is poor water quality. If your betta fish is losing its fins, there are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening in the first place.

One of the first things you can do is make sure your water is clean and well-maintained. If your water has a lot of debris and is not clear, your betta fish will likely start losing its fins. You can also try adding a filter to your tank to help improve the water quality. Get a good betta fish protein diet as well. This is vital if you have fin loss, as it will help promote strong fins and healthy skin. For example, brine shrimp are excellent options for your betta’s diet because they provide high levels of essential vitamins and nutrients that can improve the appearance of your fish’s health significantly over time. Brine shrimps also taste good to marine-loving betta species.

beautiful ornamental betta fish, with blur background

Will a Betta’s Fins Grow Back?

Betta fish fins will not grow back completely, but they can often regenerate to a certain extent. If your betta is losing its fins gradually over time, you may be able to partially restore them by treating the problem before it gets too serious. For example, if the water is cloudy or contains a lot of debris, adding an artificial filtration system can help improve the quality of your water and help prevent fin loss in the first place.

How Long Does It Take for a Betta’s Fins to Grow Back?

Most bettas will have their fins grow back in about four to six weeks. However, it can take up to a month for the fins to fully grow back. Betta fish lose their fins when they are young and they will grow them back over time.

How to Tell if Fins Are Growing Back?

If you have a betta fish with fins that are gradually growing back after they have been lost, then you may not need to worry. The fins will grow back in a gradual process and usually take around a few weeks to a month. If the fins are growing back quickly or not at all, then you may need to take your fish to a veterinarian for further diagnosis.

What’s the Difference Between Fin Loss and Fin Rot?

Fin loss is when one or more of your betta fish’s fins start to fall off. This can be a result of a variety of things but is most commonly due to fin rot. Fin rot is a condition where the fish’s flesh starts to decay and fall off the fins. Fin rot, on the other hand, is a more severe form of fin loss where the fish’s fins start to fall off in large chunks. This can be a very serious issue and requires immediate attention if it isn’t treated.

There is a big difference between fin loss and fin rot, and it’s important to be aware of the signs so you can prevent either condition from happening. If your betta fish starts losing its fins, don’t wait to take it to a vet. Fin loss can be quite dangerous and may require surgery to restore the fins properly.