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Why Your Betta Fish Fins Are Stuck Together!

Over the last three years, betta fish have seen a huge spike in their popularity and they are currently the second most popular freshwater fish within the fish keeping hobby second only to goldfish with their popularity continuing to grow.

Due to being such a popular fish for people new to fish keeping, we often see people asking for help with their betta on a number of issues with a recent question being about betta fins being stuck together so we wanted to publish this article in the hope of being able to help our readers.

The three most common reasons that the fins of a betta fish will be stuck together are problems with ammonia or nitrate levels in the tank, clamped fins in your betta fish, and fin melt.

Some of these are relatively easy to treat, especially if you catch them early enough but fin melt is a severe type of fin rot that has been left to develop to a stage where it is very difficult to treat.

If the fins of your pet betta fish are stuck together then the most important thing to do is to start treatment as soon as possible as the sooner you start a treatment plan, the higher the chances of your betta making a full recovery are.

Sticking to this strategy can also help prevent fin melt from occurring too as it totally removes the risk of fin rot being able to develop to such a serious stage.

Ammonia And Nitrite Water Levels

The most common reason that the fins of your betta fish will be stuck together or kept close to its body is due to poor water parameters in its tank. There are a number of different water parameters that can cause this but excess levels of ammonia and nitrates will be the most common causes that are both easy to fix helping to encourage your betta to spread its fins.

So many people who are new to the fish keeping hobby use the cheap five dollar water test strips and although they can be accurate, they usually only test five or seven parameters of your water.

If possible, we would highly recommend that you upgrade to a more comprehensive water test kit that tests all water parameters and gives more accurate readings than the cheaper kits.

This makes it much easier for you to keep your water parameters in your tank in line with what your betta fish needs helping to reduce the chances of problems with its fins.

Ideally, you should be doing your tank maintenance at least once per week with a 25% water change while also using a vacuum siphon to clean the substrate in the tank of any poop, discarded food or detritus as this will spike toxicity levels if they are left in the tank.

You should notice that your bettas fins will look healthy after around a week of getting its water parameters back inline and provided you follow the minimum weekly tank maintenance schedule, you shouldn’t have any problems moving forward.

Clamped Fins

A betta fish can appear to have its fins stuck together if it has clamped fins with the two most common causes of camped fins in betta fish being toxic shock or temperature shock.

Both are easy to avoid or fix depending on the situation and your betta fish should open its fins within a week of correcting the issue causing the clamped fins in your betta fish.

We actually have a dedicated article going over how to care for a betta with clamped fins that may be helpful as it goes into much more detail on what you can do to help your fish.

We touched on how you are able to monitor the toxicity levels in your aquarium using a decent water test kit earlier in the article that will help prevent problems with toxic shock.

Picking up a cheap aquarium thermometer can be enough to keep your water temperature within the range suitable for your betta helping to prevent temperature shock from setting in with your betta too.

In some situations, your betta may look like its fins are stuck together due to pine coning too with there being some cross over with standard fin clamping with pineconing.

Our article going over why your betta fish is pine coning should be able to help you if you think that this may be the problem with your fish though.

Fin Melt

If fin rot is left to develop to a level where it turns into what is commonly referred to as fin melt then it can appear to cause the fins of your betta fish to stick together with the fins usually appearing to have melted into each other.

Unfortunately, this is a very serious condition that can cause a wide range of problems while also having a high fatality rate with fin melt also being difficult to treat.

As we covered in our article going over using Melafix for betta fish, we would usually recommend that you always stick to Bettafix instead of using Melafix for a betta due to bettas being labyrinth fish and Melafix potentially causing problems.

In the specific situation of fin melt in your betta, the additional strength at treating the underlying fin rot offered by Melafix is probably worth the risk though as it can be unlikely for your betta fish to survive anyway and the active ingredient in Bettafix is weaker than the one in Melafix.

This really is something that you will have to sit down and think about but in either situation, if your betta fish does survive, it is unlikely that it will make a full recovery anyway.

You are able to book a quick video call with a veterinarian if you wish to have them confirm the diagnosis of fin melt and potentially offer some prescription-strength medication but the chances of the fish surviving at this stage are low.


That brings our article going over why your betta fins may be stuck together and we hope that we have been able to help you. Thankfully, the two more common causes of your betta’s fins looking like they are stuck together are generally easy so the majority of betta fish will usually make a full recovery.