Why Does My Betta Fish Stay At The Top Of The Tank By The Filter

Photo by Khoa Pham on Unsplash

Betta fish is well-known for its tendency to swim in the middle or higher parts of the water column. However, this behavior might be telling you that there is some issue hiding, especially if your betta is always swimming on the water’s surface. But don’t worry, as each of these issues has a remedy, and your betta will be thankful. Let’s dive deeper into some possible reasons for this strange behavior.


Poor water quality

Depletion of oxygen levels can lead to poor water quality, and this usually causes betta fish to seem sick and linger at the water’s surface. Inadequate tank maintenance or overfeeding are some of the major reasons for poor water quality. This can also cause some more serious issues, such as bacterial infections, algal blooms, and low oxygen levels. To make sure your betta fish is safe and healthy, use a high-quality water filter and clean the tank once or twice a week. The experts at Underwater Photo Ring recommend using mild filtration to keep water clean without generating harmful currents. The health and pleasure of your betta fish depend on how you maintain its tank environment, so be careful with it.


Lack of oxygen

This fish will gladly thrive in the middle to top parts of the tank, where they can easily breathe in oxygen. However, if your betta is constantly surface-gasping for air, it can be an indication of an oxygen shortage. The effects can be devastating, especially if other fish cannot breathe oxygen from the air. Luckily, low oxygen levels are simple to fix with the help of a trustworthy filter, frequent partial water changes, thorough tank cleaning, and clean water.


Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash


Temperature problems

Temperature issues are another possible factor that causes your betta to cling to the tank’s surface. The location of your heater determines whether the hot water stays at the top or remains at the bottom. Your betta fish will avoid the bottom of the tank if it becomes too cold for it to bear. To ensure that the heat is distributed evenly around the tank, position the heater close to its center. Also, it can happen that one heater is not enough, so you may need to invest in another one. But don’t worry, as long as you keep them at the same temperature, they won’t overheat the tank. 


Ammonia poisoning

An excess of ammonia might begin to suffocate your betta fish, and as a result, they often return to the top of the tank to breathe air. When the ammonia levels are too high, your fish may also try to jump out of the tank gasping for air. First of all, test the water with some of the best kits from reliable websites. For bettas, anything above 0 ppm is too much. Also, check that nitrite and nitrate levels are below 20 ppm to make sure the tank environment is safe for your fish. 



Another possible reason why your betta is always at the top of the tank is because they may be looking for food. Try giving it little portions throughout the day, but be careful not to overfeed them. The best way is to give them one or two pellets twice a day.

It is now more clear why your betta behaves in such a way, but luckily, each of these possible reasons has its solution. The most important things you can do are check the water quality, oxygen levels, and temperature, and make sure your betta fish is not hungry or sick. 


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