betta femmina, originally uploaded by altiebassi.

Q: AC wrote,

I just got a betta fish a few days ago and have been keeping him on a heating pad to make sure he doesn’t get too cold. However, I think someone may have bumped the control accidentally, heating my poor fish to about 10 degrees higher than the bowl have been before. I immediately took the bowl off the pad to let it cool to the previous temperature. Since then, the temperature has been constant, but my fish hasn’t recovered. I feel so terribly about this. He’s gotten very lethargic, and now he stays at the top of the bowl, blowing bubble after bubble. Is there anything I can do?
Thanks for your site; hope your fish are all doing well! 🙂

A: I hope your Betta is doing better today. You didn’t mention in your email what the temperature was or what it raised to but hopefully it wasn’t so severe that it caused major harm. There really isn’t a whole lot you can do at this time accept slowly return the water temperature to normal and then keep it stable. I don’t know if staying at the top of the bowl blowing bubbles is a signal of the stress he endured or if he is building a bubble nest prompted by the warm up of the water. In order to determine the level of danger I would have to know what the temperature was and what it went up to.

I have had water temperatures reach the low 90s for short periods of time without major incident. Heat spikes can certainly cause stress and even shock but it’s not always a guarantee of the worst. Just do your best to keep things stable from now on and keep an eye on your betta for signs of stress related illness.

I also recommend using an aquarium grade heater rather than a heating pad. Heating pads aren’t designed for warming water and are unable to regulate themselves. Aquarium heaters are designed to turn off when the desired temperature is met. The use of a heating pad for warming water may also put you and your family at great risk of shock or fire so please use caution and purchase the proper equipment.

Thanks for writing in and I hope your fish is back to his old self soon.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Anonymous says:

    I had sorta the same thing happen. I placed my Betta into a side container while I cleaned it’s tank. I had to warm the water before hand since it was cold in my house. I’ve done this many times before and it was fine. The betta swapped around from the initial shock. Then seemed to stabilize, so I began cleaning the bowl. A few moments later I looked over and saw the poor fishy on it’s side note moving. I quickly dumped the warm water and placed room temp water into the container. The fish kept moving it’s gills so I knew it still had a fighting chance. I added the aquarium salt along with the conditioner and let it sit the entire day. Currently, the fish is moving around a little, though it doesn’t use the upper fin and seems fairly lazy himself. He will not currently eat any food either. I hope that he recovers. I really love my fishy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I did the same at the other anonymous guy, but my two fish (I had a double tank) becamed over excited then began to float on their sides! I knew something was wrong, but the temperature never occured to me until it was too late. Tuna and Candy Cane R.I.P. i love you two!!! ;(

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