Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: 5 Reasons & 3 Best Solutions

Have you ever caught the betta fish in your aquarium floating vertically in the air? If yes, this phenomenon is called “betta fish vertical death hang.” This name implies that if you don’t keep an eye on the fish, it can lead to deadly consequences. This problem can be caused by a number of different factors, and each of them has a solution.

Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: What Is It?

What is betta fish vertical death hang
What is betta fish vertical death hang

When a betta fish seems to be floating vertically in the tank, it is known as a “vertical death hang.” Some fish may experience spurts of activity and then go back to their vertical hanging floats. Whenever a betta fish vertically hangs, it is a sign that there is something wrong with it and it is urgently in need of care.

Unless you are able to physically help the fish float, it could lead to the fish’s death if it remains in this position for a long period of time. If you wish to prevent your fish from dying, you need to determine why it is floating vertically. As soon as you figure out what is causing your beta fish to hang upside down, you will know which solution to use. 

What Are the Causes Of Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang?

Here are some of the main reasons why it is doing the betta fish vertical death hang. And you need to immediately respond to the situation if you see your fish in such a position:

Bad water quality

In a bad water environment, a betta fish will suffer from poor health. A betta fish’s swim bladder can become infected if it is exposed to toxic water conditions. As a consequence, the fish is unable to float in the correct position.

Small aquarium

The small tank or bowl could be causing the betta fish to hang vertically
Too small tank or bowl could be causing the betta fish to hang vertically

Betta fish need the proper amount of space in their tanks to live a healthy and happy life. For the fish to grow and have a conducive environment to live in, the tank needs to be a size that allows proper living conditions to be attained. There could be something causing the betta fish to hang vertically due to its small tank or bowl.

Too cool

Betta fish require a comfortable and warm environment in order to thrive and live. A betta fish that is kept in too cold water will suffer the betta fish vertical death hang. In the event that the temperature is consistently below 75 F, your betta fish will tend to hang up as a result. 


It is common for betta fish to float upside down after eating too much. There is a lot of knowledge about betta fish, but little attention is paid to their natural diet, which consists of insects and larvae. They contain more water than standard food supplies.

On the other hand, when fed too many bloodworms and pellets, the pet Betta fish may swell. This occurs because the fish are fed drier food. As a result of this swelling, the swim bladder may experience pressure because of blockage. Therefore, the fish may tilt to the side in a vertical position. 

Low pH level

Water with a pH of approximately 6.8 to 7.5 is ideal for betta fish
Water with a pH of approximately 6.8 to 7.5 is ideal for betta fish

Another possible reason your betta fish could be hanging upside down is that the pH level in the water is too low. Water with a pH of approximately 6.8 to 7.5 is ideal for betta fish. Especially when the water is slightly acidic, Betta fish can flourish. Nevertheless, they cannot survive in water with a low pH level.

How Can You Take Care of a Vertically Hanging Betta Fish?

Hopefully, once you determine the reason why your fish are hanging horizontally, you can help them so that they will be swimming in the correct position again. The sooner you get them the help they need, the better chance you have of saving their lives.

The following are comprehensive guides on how to care for Betta fish:

Clean up the water

The water in which your betta fish lives needs to be clean. Betta fish produce ammonia in the water every time they eat, which is a byproduct of their digestion, causing the water to become tainted. As you may not be able to see or smell ammonia, you cannot simply detect it using your senses. Therefore, in order to maintain a fishbowl/tank, you will need to establish a routine of frequent cleanings.

Choose the right tank size

There is a misconception that betta fish just need to live in small places because they are small. It is recommended that betta fish have at least a tank of 5 gallons (19 liters). Some bettas, however, require even larger tanks to remain healthy. 

Provide the right amount of food

A big factor contributing to betta fish vertical death hang is overfeeding since it causes swelling. If you want to prevent this, make sure you only feed them two to three times each day and stick to the proper feeding portions. Allow them to eat a maximum of 2 or 3 bloodworms at a time when you are feeding them.

With pellets, it is recommended that you soak them first in order to allow moisture to penetrate the food. The pellets for feeding fish will need to be soaked for a minimum of ten minutes in the tank water before they are carefully fed to your fish. By doing so, the Betta fish can digest safely and without swelling.

Video: How To Treat A Betta With Swim Bladder Disease


Are there any ways to reduce swelling in betta fish with bloated abdomens?

Some of the water may need to be replaced so that the swelling can be reduced. Firstly, mix 4 liters of water with 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt (without any dyes or additives) and allow it to dissolve completely. After that, remove roughly 25% of the water that is in the betta fish tank and then replace it with the Epsom salt mixture. It is recommended to repeat this process three more times every fifteen minutes after waiting 15 minutes. 

What temperature range is best for betta fish to stay healthy?

To prevent your betta fish from suffering a vertical death hang, you should make sure the tank conditions are perfect for it. A temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for these fish. If it gets much colder than this, their immune system will be weakened and they may die. 

It is highly recommended that you clean the betta fish tank at least once a week so that your fish won’t get sick. By doing this, you can ensure that the water is clean and won’t cause an infection.

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