The growth in the popularity of keeping pet betta fish within the fish keeping hobby seems unstoppable right now and it’s looking like there is no end in sight as their popularity just keeps on growing.
As new people get their pet betta fish, they share photographs online on their social media accounts and then that usually gets other people interested in the species and then it just keeps on scaling from there.
With the surge in new betta fish keepers out there, we have also noticed a large number of different questions being asked each month too.
We have noticed many people asking about betta fish flashing recently and although we recently published a similar article going over treating guppy flashing, there are some differences with a betta fish so we decided to publish this article that is specific to a betta fish flashing.
Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible get a better idea of the potential causes of their betta flashing as well as the various things that you are able to try to treat the issue in your fish.
Is It Normal For A Betta Fish To Flash?
The first thing that we need to do is answer the question that we imagine many of you are thinking and that is, is it actually normal for a betta fish to flash?
Flashing is defined as when a betta rapidly swims back and forth and this usually happens in short bursts across a physical surface. Sometimes the betta may just rub up against a surface in its tank to try and itch itself though and it may not swim side to side quickly.
This is not considered a normal behavior in betta fish and it is usually an indication of ich, external parasites, poor water parameters, fungal infections or damage to the scales or skin of the fish.
What Causes A Betta Fish To Flash?
Most people instantly think that flashing in a betta means that the fish has ich and although this is one of the more common causes of flashing, there are a number of other potential causes too.
Here is a quick summary of the most common causes of flashing in bettas and we will cover them in more detail below:-
- External Parasites.
- Fungal Infections.
- Poor Water Parameters.
- Damaged Skin And Scales.
Although it is very rare, some betta fish may be having problems with multiple problems from this list at the same time so always keep that possibility in mind.
One thing that we did not add to our list is body rot as it is usually obvious when this is the problem with your fish as you can see the problems with the fish but our article on betta fish body rot should be able to help if you think that this may be your problem.
Ich is short for ichthyophthirius multifiliis and it is one of the most common problems that freshwater fish, including bettas can get.
The good news is that ich is very easy to treat provided you catch the issue early enough but the bad news is that it can quickly kill your fish if left untreated so you will need to act quickly.
Ich will usually cause your betta fish to turn white and in some cases, you will be able to see the ich on the scales of your betta fish helping you confirm the problem.
You will usually be able to treat the ich on your betta fish with something like APIs Super Ich Cure but you are able to use the temperature trick to deal with the ich if you are not able to use a ich treating chemical in your tank for some reason.
External parasites are another common problem with bettas that can cause betta flashing and although we know that ich is an external parasite, we wanted to give it a dedicated section in the article as it is such a large problem.
There are a number of other types of internal parasites including flukes and worms that can sometimes take hold of your betta fish and cause it to rub against objects in its tank.
There are a number of treatments on the market that can deal with these parasites but just as we covered in our article going over using Melafix for betta fish, the sensative nature of betta fish will limit what you are able to use.
For the most part, you should be looking to use Bettafix, a diluted version of Melafix to treat external parasites on your betta causing it to flash and itch.
Fungal infections are common problems in betta fish and they are usually caused by a weakened immune system in your betta fish or poor water quality.
Fungal infections will normally look like small white patches on the skin of your betta but if you let the infection get out of hand, it can cover the entire body of your betta fish.
You will need to treat a fungal infection in your betta as soon as you notice it and the sooner you do, the better chance you have of saving your fish.
Just like with external parasites, most people should be using Bettafix to treat fungal infections in their betta fish and although it will not be able to treat all types of fungus, it can work well at treating a large number of different common fungal issues with the species.
Poor Water Parameters
Poor water quality is one of the leading causes of death in betta fish and although it does not always result in your fish flashing, it can still cause a number of other health problems that will eventually lead to the death of your fish.
The natural ammonia cycle in your tank is usually enough to cause poor water parameters without correct tank maintinance but water temperature, pH levels, and chlorine levels are also common issues too.
If you get yourself an aquarium water test kit then you should be able to workout any potential problems with your betta fish’ water parameters and then get to work on fixing them.
We have a dedicated article going over using Betta Water Conditioner on tap water for your water changes in your bettas tank that you may find helpful if you are using tap water for your water changes as the chlorine in the water can cause issues.
Changing too much of your aquariums water at the same time during a water change can also cause problems with your fish too and cause your betta to hide after a water change.
Although a partial water change is usually enough to correct many of the water quality issues that can cause betta flashing, you will usually only need to change between 15%-25% of the water at a time to keep everything balanced while correcting the issue.
Damaged Skin And Scales
As well as the other health problems that we have already covered, there are a number of physical injuries that can cause your betta to flash and itch.
One of the most common is when your betta fish’ skin or scales are damaged in some way, usually by being scraped against something in the tank.
The damage to the skin can cause your betta to flash as it tries to remove the damaged tissue and this will usually lead to an infection if not treated correctly.
The best way to deal with a betta that has damaged skin or scales is to leave the fish to heal on its own as in time, the wound should be able to heal but adding a small amount of Bettafix to the tank water can help to reduce any potential infections taking hold on the wound.