Yes, betta fish go blind for various reasons ranging from genetic traits to human error. So, if you’re wondering, “Do betta fish go blind, and can I help my fish see again?” we’re here to come to the rescue.
Here’s the good news: In some cases, you might be able to prevent or reverse blindness.
We’ll walk you through the most common reasons betta fish go blind, tips on care, and ways to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Do Betta Fish Go Blind?
Betta fish do go blind, and the reason varies from fish to fish. Thankfully, full blindness is rare.
Instead, betta fish may lose sight in one eye or partial sight in both eyes.
Some of the most common reasons bettas go blind include:
- An infection
- Diamond eye
- Physical damage
Let’s look closer at these possible causes.
Reason #1: An Infection
Just like humans, betta fish can experience a range of infections. Furthermore, many situations can cause these infections, such as:
Popeye and Cloudy Eye are two forms of fungal infections that impact a betta’s vision. As for parasites, gill flukes are among the most common culprits.
What’s more, if you don’t regularly clean your betta’s tank, they could pick up a bacterial infection from poor water quality.
Fortunately, you can treat your betta’s water for bacteria, parasites, and fungus. So, if you notice any changes to your betta’s eyes or health, consult with your local pet store.
If you catch an infection early enough, you can often reverse or prevent further sight deterioration.
Reason #2: Cataracts
Cataracts are yet another human condition that can strike betta fish. And if you guessed that it happens more frequently when they get older, you’re spot-on.
Betta fish have a lifespan of between two to five years in captivity.
Therefore, if they reach the ripe old age of three and you notice their eyes becoming cloudy, cataracts are likely the issue.
Sadly, cataract surgery isn’t a thing for betta fish. So, once you rule out the other potential reasons why they may be going blind, head below to learn about how to help your betta live safely in their tank.
Reason #3: Diamond Eye
Diamond Eye is a condition where your betta’s scales begin growing over one or both eyes.
You might hear other names for this condition, including moon, snake, and dragon eye. In fact, the dragon scale species of betta fish tend to have a higher chance of getting this condition.
Although there are still many unknowns about Diamond Eye, scientists believe it’s a genetic trait. Furthermore, the scales grow slowly, often taking months or even years to cover your betta’s eyes.
While there are no treatments for moon eye, it doesn’t shorten a betta’s lifespan. So, do your best to keep your betta comfortable if they develop this condition.
Reason #4: Physical Damage
A betta fish suffering a physical injury can also lead to blindness. Examples include:
- Sharp decorations
- Fighting with another fish
- Rough gravel (assuming your betta visits the bottom of their tank)
Before you say, “But I don’t have anything sharp in my betta’s tank!” consider this—betta fish have a terrible sense of depth. Given that, they can easily bump into tank decorations that would normally be safe for other fish.
If physical damage is the reason for your fish’s blindness, the injury likely occurred in their cornea.
How Can You Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Blind?
There are several ways to tell if your betta fish is blind.
For starters, does your betta fish no longer respond when you turn on a light or walk by their tank? Even though betta fish can hear, are they still not noticing you?
If your betta has always had a calm attitude towards environmental changes, kneel down and take a good look in their eyes. Do you see any of the following?
- Scales growing over eyes
- Opaque-looking eye
- Missing or injured eye
- Eyes popping out of their head
If you’re still on the fence about whether your betta is blind, wash your hands and stick your finger in their tank. Even a normally calm fish will react to a finger’s sudden presence.
Should your betta not look at your finger or swim away from it, there’s a decent chance they’re blind.
How Do You Care for a Blind Betta Fish?
Now that you know the answer is “Yes” to the question “Do betta fish go blind?” it’s time to make adjustments to your betta’s tank to ensure their safety.
Some of the best ways to support a blind betta include:
- Put your betta in their own tank if they live with others
- Take out sharp decorations from the tank
- Use a sand bottom (optional)
- Offer them extra space to swim
- Keep water conditions ideal
Isolating your betta will prevent other fish from picking on them. Furthermore, removing decorations will decrease the risk of injury.
However, you don’t have to put your betta in a decoration-free tank. Instead, introducing silk or live plants is a safe and aesthetically pleasing alternative.
Finally, most betta fish spend their lives near the surface of the water. But if you have a betta that sometimes visits the substrate, providing them with a sand bottom is best for preventing scratches from rough gravel.
The Low-Down on Feeding Your Blind Betta Fish
Before we leave you to care for your blind betta, it’s important to know that they may need some assistance eating.
To ensure your betta has access to their food, try the following:
- Place their food in the same spot every day.
- If they have a good eye, make sure your betta is turned in a direction so they can see their food dropping in the water.
- Should they still not eat their food, use tweezers to place the food by their mouth.
Lastly, feeding rings are also helpful additions to the tank to ensure you don’t leave excess food hanging around the water—such a situation can lead to a blindness-inducing infection.