Why does my fish betta fish stay at the top of his fish bowl?

3 years ago #1

Why does my fish betta fish stay at the top of his fish bowl?

Posted on Tropical Fish
3 years ago #2
Forum: 0

Without by more info we can't help. What size tank? Is there a filter, heater? How long has the betta been in this set up and what is your water change schedual? And do you check your water for ammonia, nitrite & nitrates?
When we know we can hopefully figure out the problem

3 years ago #3
Jason S
Gold Member
Blogs: 1
Forum: 176
Votes: 10

No fish can be kept in bowls
Bettas require a heater and should have filtration.
The best size of a tank would be 5-10 gallons for ur betta.
Your fish may be going to the top to breath because the water he is in is toxic
Or he may have problems with his swim bladder.
Please give us more info

Here is good website

3 years ago #4
Blogs: 4
Forum: 9,543
Votes: 442

Lack of oxygen due to high ammonia and no filter (if you do not have one)

Here are all the reasons not to put a betta in a bowl

A fish profile about bettas and Common myths about bettas

About the nitrogen cycle (an uncycled tank does not have sufficient bacteria to feed on the continuous supply of toxic ammonia fish produce)

Read these and please ask for any clarification you need or any questions you may have.

2 years ago #5

He is in a round water fall 1 1/2 gallon aquarium with a filter. A rescued him from a friend who had him in a tall vase with no filtration. I have had him about 6 months. The lady at the pet store told me that I could take out the filter and rinse it and be able to use it longer. I normally change it to a new one about 1 time a month. I noticed that the tank gets a film on the top on the water which I skim off with paper towels and add top off the tank within an inch from the top. There are a couple of live plants in the tank. Lots of times he lays on top of the pump because I get it is warm. I have not changed out the water since the middle of November. I do not check for nitrates or nitrites or have a heater. The lady at the store said to take out only 1/2 of the water and clean it with a small vacuum pump for the bottom of the tank which I have. I have clean water in another container ready for him and then I will put him right back his tank. How warm should his water be kept? The aquarium also has an led light over the top of it. I hope he will be alright. Thank you, Grace

2 years ago #6
Blogs: 115
Forum: 28,715
Votes: 1,503

Grace: Perhaps you will want to open the following link to find out about the nitrogen cycle:

I have no idea why the lady in the pet shop gave you bad advice, but she did. Bettas have been known to survive inappropriate conditions; lack of a nitrogen cycle, filter and temperature control all qualify as inappropriate. A bit more research would be helpful.

1 year ago #7

Hi John,

Wondering if you can help me out with my betta fish.

I just got the fish couple week, started with bowl without heater and filter but the bowl gets too cloudy so I purchase new system 2.5g with filter and heater. 1st day changing from bowl to new tank fish and tank was fine but 2nd day the tank was cloudy and fish only stay up top. I tried changing the water 10% but it doesn't help with cloudy and fish still stay up top.

Can you give some advice and tips? Thanks.

1 year ago #8

That might be true. However, we have had a Betta in a small fish bowl and it has lived for OVER two years!

1 year ago #9
Blogs: 4
Forum: 9,543
Votes: 442

Though possible to keep a fish alive in a fish bowl or in marginal conditions there is a great difference between keeping them alive and raising them to thrive.

It is unfortunate that fish cannot vocalize and let you know that they are in pain or unhappy. A fish needs space to swim, to spread their gills. A fish bowl does not offer that luxury and unless you are changing water very frequently it is easy, in such a small volume for toxins to rise rapidly.

Low levels of ammonia make changes on the cellular level so even when it does not kill immediately, it has a definite effect on the longevity of a fish, setting it up to be susceptible to illnesses and lowering their immunity.

A betta can easily l-i-v-e 3-4 years when looked after well, 5-6 in pristine lab conditions.

I had to spell live like that because we have a glitch in our system and it thinks that word is an email addy

1 year ago #10

I have noticed that a lot of the conversations on this site generally lead to filter, no filter; bowl, no bowl; big tank, little tank arguments. Really back and forth. And if you notice, most of the people who stay on this site and reply to everyone are fish experts, offering experience. Yet a lot of intermediate aquarium owners argue this advice with, 'well I did...' and 'well actually my friend/ the pet store guy said...'

Well, for one, how can you tell what the fish is feeling? Is it in the direction his tail moves? How often he goes to the top of his tank? Or maybe how he eats? I would love to know your secret on how to tell if your fish is happy in his home.

Next, like I said, a lot of these people are experts on this ****. They research, talk to real aquarium geniuses, they keep seven 55 gallon tanks with exotic fish in them. They've been doing this for years and years. And I know it's expensive to buy all the **** they say you need, but, if you don't like it, go to ask.com or some ****. Yes, fish can live in poor conditions, yes, often it's better than the conditions at the store, but why can't you apply fish to the golden rule as well? Treat others the way you wanna be treated. You keep your fish in a half gallon tank with no filter and one little plant? Well, I for one would be glad to show you how it feels.... just have to figure out how to fit you in the bowl.

Remember, you asked them. And instead of arguing over and over, maybe ask better questions. Maybe there's a way to, I don't know, make a fish tank of of a large Tupperware container and have a large, cheap tank. Then just buy a filter. Who knows. Just ASK.

and this is coming from a thirteen year old who barely knows anything about this. Just please, you guys, stop being so STUPID.

1 year ago #11
Bella And Bettas

I think that you need a bigger tank with at least a heater; the minimum is 2 gallons.
also your betta might be in shock or too cold

1 year ago #12
Fresh Member
Blogs: 1
Forum: 5
Votes: 0

how can you tell when a fish is in shock?

1 year ago #13
fishy friend

If you change his surroundings and/or you startle him. He will probably stay at the bottom of the tank. Mine did that for two days hes fine now! Just please, please get a new tank 2 gallons at least!! with a heater

1 year ago #14
Blogs: 2
Forum: 912
Votes: 26

I doubt the original poster will be taking your advice as the post is 2 years old.

However, fishy friend is right, that is a way to tell if he is in shock. Sometimes as well with bettas their fins will 'clamp' when they get shock from going into too cold water.

8 months ago #15

That's is a helpful article! My fish was dying and I didn't know why. I just bought him two days ago. I added drops and did everything right. But the fish was still breathing very hard and lying on the bottom.

I noticed the " light film" on top of the water. So I thought maybe the water is dirty. After reading the link I see that yes it is dirty. So I did a partial water change, and my fish seems to be back to normal.

Thanks buddy!

By entering this site you declare you read and agreed to its Terms, Rules & Privacy and you understand that your use of the site's content is made at your own risk and responsibility.
Copyright © 2006 - 2016 My Aquarium Club