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How To Care For A Betta With Clamped Fins!

The popularity of keeping betta fish as pets continues to skyrocket with each year that passes so we constantly see more and more people reaching out and asking about how they are able to offer the best possible care for their betta fish.

We see a wide range of questions from the community about how to care for betta fish but we have noticed more and more questions specifically about caring for a betta with clamped fins recently.

Due to clamped fins in betta fish being a common issue for beginners as well as such a large number of people reaching out about treating clamped fins in on their betta fish each month, we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over the subject.

Our hope is that we are going to be able to help as many people as possible correct the problem that is causing your betta to keep its fins close to its body as well as point out some very common mistakes that are made on a regular basis that are easy to avoid.

With any luck, we will be able to help you identify the specific reason that your betta has clamped fins as well as how you are also able to correct the issue quickly so your betta can lead a full and healthy life.

Please note that the majority of the issues that we will cover in our article below are very common and do not mean that you are a poor fish keeper.

Everyone has to start somewhere and even experienced fish keepers can have problems with clamped fins on their fish and the important thing to focus on is that you are looking for the answers to help keep your fish happy and healthy.

What Does Clamped Fins Mean In Betta Fish?

A betta fish suffering from clamped fins will keep all of its fins as close to its body as possible and not open them up. Some betta fish will also collapse their tail as well as their fins depending on the specific conditions causing the issue in your fish.

Clamped fins are an early warning sign that there is something wrong with the conditions in your betta’s aquarium that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

If left in its current condition, there is a moderate to high chance that your pet betta will slowly continue to get worse and worse and potentially die.

Although the health and happiness of your betta fish is always the most important factor, clamped fins prevent your betta fish from showing off its beauty too.

The bright colors and patterns of betta fish are in their fins and tail meaning that they are hidden when the betta is suffering from clamped fins due to keeping its fins as close to its body as possible.

Why Does My Betta Fish Have Clamped Fins?

The most common causes of clamped fins in betta fish are related to temperature, water quality, ich, and velvet (gold dust disease). Ich and velvet are less common in most areas with the main causes of clamped fins for a betta fish being water temperature and water quality.

Issues with the temperature in your betta fish’ aquarium such as the water being too hot or too cold is probably the main cause of clamped fins.

Issues with temperature fluctuation as little as 1-2 degrees is also enough to cause clamped fins in sensitive betta fish too so always be sure to use a decent, reliable heater in your aquarium.

There are a number of water quality issues that can cause clamped fins but if you use a good water testing kit you should easily be able to work out what’s wrong as well as how to fix it.

Ich on a betta is usually easy to identify as the fish will usually itch its self on the gravel and decorations of its tank frequently with the symptoms of velvet being very similar to that of ich too with recessive itching.

How Do You Treat Clamped Fins In Betta Fish?

If your betta fish has clamped fins due to water temperature, simply setting a temperature of 75°F/23°C to 80°F/26°C will be enough to stop the issue. If the clamped fins in your betta is due to water quality then you will have to use a testing kit to find the specific issue and treat it accordingly.

If ich is the cause of the clamped fins then aquarium salt can help and if the issue is due to velvet then blocking out the tank lights can help your betta return to health quickly.

The majority of beginners to keeping betta fish usually use a cheap tank and accessories with many using a kit tank that comes with a heater included.

These water heaters are usually unstable and will cause the water temperature to fluctuate drastically. Ideally, you should be trying to upgrade to a decent, reliable heater in your aquarium but if you have to stick with your current heater, try to set it to 77.5°F/25°C.

This should allow for some slight fluctuation in the water temperature while still keeping it within a suitable range for our betta to be happy and to open its fins out.

Betta fish can be more sensitive than most people initially realise so there are actually a number of potential water quality problems that can cause clamped fins in your betta.

Most beginners tend to have a basic water test kit and although these are great for the core vitals of your aquarium water, you really need something like the API master water testing kit for specifically diagnosing issues with water quality.

The master water testing kits are only around $20 to $30 but offer much more information on your aquariums water quality allowing you to narrow down on exactly what issues with your water conditions are causing your betta to have clamped fins.

Once you know the specific issue, they are generally easy to fix but some people will instantly try a half water change without having to test their aquarium water and find some success using this method but it does not solve all potential problems.

Ich is a less common cause of clamped fins in betta but it is still a real issue that you should be watching out for. There are a number of potential causes of ich but most can easily be treated by using an aquarium salt product and slightly increasing the water temperature.

Bad cases of ich on your betta may require a specialist ich treatment to treat the issue and cure the clamped fins on your betta fish.

Velvet is the rarest of the more common causes of clamped fins on your betta but you can often treat it by simply blocking out your aquarium lights or turning them off for a few days while slightly increasing your water temperature.

Some people will also add ground-up garlic to the tank but this is controversial with many people thinking it is a waste of time and some people add a little aquarium salt product to their tank to treat velvet but again, this can also be controversial with most people just dimming the lights and raising the temperature slightly.


That brings our article on treating a betta with clamped fins to an end. The most difficult part of successfully treating clamped fins in your betta is actually diagnosing the correct cause of it. Once you have discovered the cause of the clamped fins it is generally very easy and straightforward to treat for the vast majority of people. This can then allow your betta fish to open up its beautiful fins and show off its bright colors and patterns to the world.