Have you got a betta with clamped fins? This is a common problem that can be caused by several things.
In this blog post, we will explore why does betta fish have clamped fins and provide some tips on curing them.
What Are Clamped Fins In Bettas?
Clamped fins are when the betta’s fins are held close to their body and appear “clamped” shut. This can be a sign of stress or illness in bettas.
Clamped fins are often not specific to one problem; many other reasons are responsible for that. In the subsequent section, I’ll discuss possible reasons for clamped fins in betta.
Why does betta fish have clamped fins?
There are many potential causes of clamped fins in bettas, but the most common cause is stress. Genetics, age, diseases, tank parameters, etc., play a vital role along with stress.
#1: Poor Water Quality
Poor water quality is one of the most common causes of clamped fins in bettas.
Bettas are very sensitive to their environment, and even the slightest change in water quality can cause stress.
The ideal tank temperature you should target to maintain is below, and a good filter will help you to achieve that:
- Ammonia & Nitrite Level : 0 ppm
- Nitrate level: Less than 20 ppm
- pH: Between 6.5-7
Another common cause of clamped fins is temperature changes. Bettas are very sensitive to temperature changes, and even a small change can cause stress. For example, if the water in your betta’s tank is too cold or too hot, its fins may start to clamp.
To avoid this, always use a suitable heater to maintain the tank temperature constant throughout the day.
The Ideal temperature for betta fish is 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit; anything more or less may impose stress on their body. In addition, betta fish don’t survive for long in cold temperatures.
#3: Drastic Change In Parameters
A drastic change in water parameters is detrimental for all the fish, not only bettas. For example, a sudden shift in ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates will put your betta under stress which may cause its fins to clamp.
Bettas are very sensitive to changes in their environment, so it’s essential to make sure that any changes are gradual.
If you need to make a sudden change, be sure to acclimate your betta first slowly over some time.
#4: Incorrect Diet
Bettas are carnivores, and their diet should consist primarily of protein. If they are not getting enough protein, their fins may start to clamp.
A good way to tell if your betta is not getting enough protein is by looking at their fins. If they are frayed or have missing chunks, it’s a sign that they are not getting enough protein.
To ensure that your betta is getting enough protein, feed them a diet that consists of live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.
You can also supplement their diet with high-quality pellets or flakes made for bettas.
Clamped fins can also be a symptom of the disease. Suppose your betta’s fins are clamped and show other signs of illness such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and abnormal swimming. In that case, it’s crucial to have a closer look and search for possible infection.
#6: Stress & Bullying
Stress is a significant factor for clamped fins. Betta fish can feel stress for several reasons, including inappropriate water temperature, tank mates, or even their own reflections can flare them up.
Bettas are also very territorial and can become stressed if they feel like their territory is being threatened. If you have more than one betta in a tank, they may start to fight, leading to stress and clamped fins.
To avoid this, be sure to use a tank that is large enough for all of your bettas and provides plenty of hiding places.
#7: Incompatible Tank Mates
Betta is not compatible with all other fish. Betta has long fins, and they hate the fin nippers. When they are together in one tank, the bettas will get stressed, and their fins may get clamped. Also, any fish larger than betta in the tank can be discomforting for bettas.
If you want to keep bettas with other fish, be sure to research which fish are compatible and provide plenty of hiding places if you do so. Betta can be compatible with most bottom-feeder fish, guppies, tetras, etc. If you are a betta owner and looking for a combination, you can look at this article.
#8: Old Age
Old age is another determining factor for why bettas get clamped fins. As bettas age, their fins will start to become thinner and weaker. Also, their immune system will get weak, making them more susceptible to stress and clamped fins.
If your betta is getting old, be sure to provide them with plenty of hiding places and a stress-free environment.
#9: Genetic Defects
Genetic defects are also a possible cause of clamped fins. If your betta’s parents had clamped fins, there is a chance that your betta will also have clamped fins.
Not much can be done for bettas with genetic defects, but you can try to provide them with a stress-free environment to live happily.
Betta Fish clamped fins treatment [How & What to Do]
So, you know the reasons now; if you suspect your betta’s fins are clamped, try to take a systematic approach and take steps to solve the underlying cause.
#1: Check The Water Quality & Adjust Accordingly
If you notice that your betta’s fins are clamped, you should first check the water quality. Regular testing of tank water is a part of routine maintenance, and you should do that once every two weeks. It will help you keep track of the changes in the tan parameters.
Buy a reliable test kit, and test the water. If you notice any vital parameters are out of safe range, you should take proper action to restore them to the ideal range.
#2: Identify Potential Diseases And Treatments
If your betta’s fins are still clamped after trying these things, they may be sick and affected by diseases. What are the most common conditions that cause clamped fins?
Velvet is a parasitic disease that can cause clamped fins in bettas. The parasites attach to the fish’s skin and gills, and they will start to eat away at the tissue.
Poor water condition is the main reason for the Velvet outbreak. However, it can be easily treated with a water change and using a conditioner.
Ich is another parasitic disease that can cause clamped fins. Betta fish may develop white spots all over the body which are caused by toxicity in aquarium water. However, it’s treatable, and follow these guidelines to treat ich.
Anchor worms are tiny parasitic worms that can cause clamped fins in bettas. The worms will attach themselves to the fish’s skin. I have a separate article on white worms and how to treat infected fish; read the article to have to clear idea of anchor worms.
#3: Calm Down A Stressed Betta Fish
Stress is one of the primary reasons why bettas get clamped fins. So if you notice your betta’s fins are getting clamped, you should check if they are stressed.
Several things can cause stress in bettas, and some of them are:
- Poor water quality
- Unsuitable tank mates
- Lack of hiding places
- Bright light
If you notice any of these things, take proper actions to fix them. For example, if the water quality is poor, do a water change and add a conditioner.
If the water quality is good, you can try a few things to help your betta relax and reduce stress. For example, try adding some plants or hiding places to their tank.
#4: Try To Keep Feeding a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is essential for the overall health of bettas. So if you notice your betta’s fins are clamped, try to check if they are getting a balanced diet.
Bettas are carnivorous, and their diet should mainly consist of meat. However, you can feed them live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are some of the foods that bettas love to eat.
Most importantly, add some variety to betta’s diet so that they feel interested in eating.
#5: Make Sure the Tank Glass Doesn’t Work As a Mirror.
Bettas are territorial, and they will get stressed if they see their reflection in the tank glass. So if you notice your betta’s fins are clamped, try to check if they can see their reflection.
If they can, move the tank to a different location or cover the tank with a dark cloth. You can also add some plants or decorations to their tank so that they can’t see their reflection.
Apart from all these salt bathing methods is popular among fishkeepers to treat clamped fin betta. See the below video to know how & what to do during a salt bath.
Betta fish clamped fins following a water change [Reasons & Prevention]
If your betta’s fins are clamped following a water change, it is most likely due to the new water not being the same temperature as the old water.
Bettas are very sensitive to temperature changes, and this can cause stress. Always use a water conditioner when changing the water in your betta’s tank to avoid this. This will help to acclimate them to the new water and reduce stress.
Betta Clamped Fins & Not Eating
Sometimes you may notice that your betta’s fins are clamped and not eating; it is probably because they are sick.
As I mentioned before, poor water quality is one of the main reasons why bettas get sick. So if you notice that your betta’s fins are clamped and not eating, try to improve the water quality and ensure they have free space to swim.
If your betta is already affected by the disease, try to use proper medication to treat the illness.
Betta Clamped Fins & No other Symptoms
If you notice that your betta’s fins are clamped but have no other symptoms, they are probably stressed or becoming older.
As I mentioned before, several things can cause stress in bettas. Try to identify the stressors and remove them from the tank. You can also try to add some plants or hiding places to their tank.
If your betta is getting old, there is not much you can do. Just make sure they are comfortable and have a good diet.
Lethargic Betta Fish With Clamped Fins
If you observe betta fish with clamped fins along with lethargy and not eating, then it might be a case of serious concern. Clamped fin is one of the symptoms that betta fish exhibits before dying.
The most likely cause of lethargic Betta fish with clamped fins is a cool water temperature. Cold temperature reduces their metabolism, and therefore their body function slows down.
Find out the reason, treat the disease, ensure a stress-free living place for your betta, and add entertainment options.
Clamped Fins Of New Betta Fish
If you have a new betta with clamped fins, it is likely that they are stressed.
Moving from one tank to another causes stress to the betta. In addition, the old tank parameters differ from the new tank. Therefore, try to acclimate the betta to the new tank slowly so that they can get used to it.
Betta Fading Color With Clamped Fins
Betta losing color along with clamped fins is a sign of aging. Bettas lose their vibrant color as they grow older, and their fins get clamped. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to prevent this.
A disease called fin rot can also be the reason; before starting the fins to rot, it becomes paler or darker.
Betta Sorority Tank With Clamped Fins
There could be two reasons if all the bettas have clamped fins in a betta sorority tank. The most possible is the water quality issue, and the other one is all are affected by the same illness.
First, you should check the water quality. If it is not good, then you should improve it. Second, you should check if all the bettas are sick. If they are, then you should treat them with proper medication.
Betta with clamped fins is a common problem that many betta owners face. While it can be caused by stress, poor water quality, or disease, there are some things you can do to help your betta.
Ensure they have a good diet, clean water, and a comfortable environment. You can also try to add some plants or hiding places to their tank.
Unfortunately, if your betta is getting old, there is not much you can do. Just make sure they are in a comfortable environment and have a good diet.