My fish has a swollen tummy

Bronx mom

Hello everyone,
My husbands Beta is not looking good, he is sitting on the bottom of his tank with a wollen tummy. He swims to the top pretty quickly and moves his fins pretty well. His scales look good his tail and fins do to. It seems like he doesn't want to eat and he looks like he has a little beer belly. I'm sure this is something that has been discussed before so I'm hoping someone out there won't say "ugh this question again" pls help as I don't want to have to go thru the loss of another beta. this is our 3rd in the last 3 yrs to get sick and I don't want to loose this lil guy. thanks.


I'm not positive but your best bet would to be defrost one frozen pea in the microwave for 10sec, take off the skin and cut the pea into three to four small pieces, small enough to fit in the bettas mouth and feed them to him twice a day and no other food as I believe he is constipated. Do this as it will not hurt him and he should be fed peas anyways, and only feed him peas for now. Chickadee should be along soon to confirm. You can try posting this in the betta section so it wil get more attention. Don't worry about asking a question you don't know, that's why there's this forum.


LZ Floyd

HI Bronx mom.

Your Betta sounds like it has constipation.  That is something that can come from overfeeding, too cool of water (the water should be around 80 degrees), or who knows.

Frozen pea treats are good for Bettas to help with constipation.  They love them as treats, too (at least that's what I see in the threads).  Frozen peas should not be used to replace the Betta's meal, the pea is a treat to be given in addition to feeding the Betta two small meals a day.

If you've never fed peas to your Betta, s/he might not eat them until ready to eat.  Bettas love pea treats, so after the first go-round, s/he will eat them.  It will likely help to fast the fish for a day before trying the peas this time around.

When ready to try it, dethaw a frozen pea for around thirty seconds in the m/w, then remove the skin.  The pea will have two halves.  You now want to slice off a piece about half the size of the fish's eye.  (The Betta's stomach is about the size of his eye.)  Divide that piece into three slices.  It's small, I know.   Feed the fish these pea bits.

In some cases, the constipation may be bad enough to fast the fish for more than one day.  But it seems safe to try this after a one-day fast.  You also might wish to try sticking to a pea treatment for two days rather than one.  After this pea treatment is done, you can return to feeding your little guy or girl the usual food, but in small amounts on the first day.

If you are interested, there are some stickys on the Betta home page with suggestions about water temp, feeding, and such.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your Betta.



First of all, we need to know something about how the betta is living. Is he in a heated, filtered tank and how old is he? If you have him in a heated tank how high is the temperature set? If he is not in a heated tank, what is the room temperature?

Bettas are very prone to constipation and especially if they are overfed and cold. Their metabolism slows down to the point that the food is not digested well and they become backed up badly. Bettas can and do die of constipation and need to have the amount and type of food monitored and controlled by their owners.

If you have not done so, please read the following to see if there is anything about your betta's life that needs to change.

The pea diet for several days (up to 5 days) means no fish food at all and pea meals to consist of a small piece of defrosted frozen pea cut into 3 chunks two times a day as the only food given to the fish. If the problem is constipation, this should help, but will not take care of the problem unless the causes of it are taken care of. If the tank is not heated then you need a heater! Bettas are tropical fish and the MYTH that they can live in a little bit of unheated water is just that a MYTH. They may live for a while but it is like locking one of us into a bathroom with no way out and making us live in our own wastes all the time. (and be cold while doing it) When you see the lovely fish tanks with the Angels, Gourami, and other tropical fish, that is what the betta should have for a home too although it should not be in with a community of fish.

This is the best I can do without an idea of what type of home the betta has and how he is living on a day-to-day basis. In order to heat a tank, always get a heater with an adjustable temperature control and one that has actual numbers, not HIGH/LOW. The tank for the betta cannot be smaller than 2.5 gallons or it is not capable of being heated. You need to get a heater that is 10 time the number of watts for gallons in the tank (i.e. 25 watt heater for a 2.5 gallon tank; 50 watt heater for a 5 gallon tank, etc.)

Please let us know how things are going..we do want to help. This is a very serious problem and needs to be taken care of right away.

Welcome to our forum and the Betta Board. (I see you have been told about the Betta Board)

  • Thread Starter

Bronx mom

Thanks for the info, it is much appreciated. Jimmy blanco from the bronx, is his full name...............yeah I know, levae it to a man to name a fish! Well Jimmy lives in a half gallon fish bowl with no heater. I condition the water with a pinch of aquarium salt, a blue solution and a water conditioner. I had to do some homework as our outher betta died after about a year from tail rot. My husband was given this fish from a friend who works in a pet store and told him that that his fish has been living fish bowl that holds a quart of water and beta's don't need much to survive. Well we learned that lesson pretty quickly, after Jimmy bullseye, (yeah I know) died. :-\ So now this is the first I hear of need a heater and 2.5 gallon tank. I have a Parrot and know how much work it takes to keep her healthy and happy, I had no idea that this little fishy was gonna go thru these changes. I told my husband that if he didnt want this fish to die then he had to get what it needed, or don't bring home anything living he wasn't willing to spend a few bucks on to take care of. It is very misleading when you walk into and aquarium pet shop and they don't teach you anything about these guys and their in these tiny cups. I guess for now I'm going to keep him in the warmest room in the house until I can get the info I need to get these items. Are heaters costly? and do they need to be plugged in or are they battery operated? As you can see I know squat about all this. Thanks for your replies, will follow up and let you know how things are going.

Bronx mom


Bronx Mom, Hello

First may I say that I LOVE people from NY.  Nope, never lived there or even been.  I just love them...have my reasons but don't want to go off topic too much.

I wanted to suggest that you bring this to the Betta Board.  I know that Rose (chickadee) and Mike and ATM have posted to you here (she's the Betta Board moderator and Mike's a great and knowledgeable Betta Dad, ATM knows a great deal too) so that's good.  I just think that if you copy and paste this into a new thread on the actual Betta Board, more people who know and love Betta will see it and help.  Here's the url 

I'm so happy that you're trying to help the lil guy.  I'm glad too that you gave your husband the what for.  WTG.  It won't take you long (nor much money) for you to get what you need for this lil guy to get well and to thrive.

It's nice to meet you    I'll watch for you at the Betta Board


You will definitely need to get a heater for your baby, and might I suggest you go to WALMART and get an $8.99 10 gallon tank for him? You will need a 50 watt heater for the 10 gallon, and you will be amazed at the difference in his personality when he has this size tank! He will be swimming around like your more active fish! As far as a filter goes, you could get by with an inexpensive sponge filter that would cost under $10.00, it's easy to clean, and you don't have to buy filter media for it. You simply squeeze and rinse the sponge every once in awhile in old tank water to clean it. The sponge filter will also require an air pump though to run it.

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