Most fish don’t have to work very hard to swim. Their streamlined bodies and powerful tails allow them effortless propulsion through the water column. But what if your tail is mostly just for show, like a betta?
It’s the equivalent to trying to swim in a ballgown.
For all of you out there who can swim, we propose the following experiment. You don’t need a massive gown, but try to swim using only your arms in a sculling motion. You aren’t allow to use your legs! It won’t take much to make you tired. If you switch and swim using your legs, you’ll notice it’s a lot easier. If you add on extra yards of fabric, you may create the new extreme fitness craze, but please don’t.
Betta tails are pretty useless for swimming. They’re very pretty and put on a colorful display, but you’ll notice your fish primarily uses their pectoral fins to swim. Prolonged swimming can be exhausting for a small fish. This is why bettas are frequent resters. They like hanging out and taking a breather. It is not uncommon for most bettas to have a favorite perch on a leaf or other decor item and simply hang out. Do not assume this means your betta is sick! Yes, increased rest periods may be a sick fish as well, but most fish will kick on the turbo if you come by with food. If your fish is resting more than usual and not hungry, then it’s time to call the veterinarian.
And if you have a “normal” finned fish, like a comet goldfish or koi, excess pectoral swimming is a clear indicator of spinal issues.