Betta fishes are beautiful and quite popular fish species to have in your aquarium, but there’s nothing that worries an owner more than finding their betta fish are not eating their food. And if that’s a problem your betta fish is having then don’t worry, read on for everything you need to know.
Your Betta Fish Not Eating?
A lack of appetite in your fish could just be due to a change of environment, or it could be a result of a serious underlying issue. This is why diagnosing the problem early is important.
Here are a few possible reasons why your betta fish isn’t eating:
You Are Feeding Them Too Much
Maybe the problem isn’t that your Betta fish is not eating enough. Instead, maybe the problem is that you’re feeding it more than it can consume without even realizing it. You may see the leftover food float on top of the tank and assume that it’s the betta fish not eating right.
A betta fish has a stomach the size of its eye, so it won’t be able to eat all the food if you feed it more than the nutritional requirement. If this is the case with your fish, make sure you’re feeding the right amount. You are only supposed to feed betta fish about 1-2 pellets of food or the equivalent amount twice a day.
It’s A New Betta Fish
If you have just gotten a new betta fish, it is not unusual for them to refuse to eat at first. This is because they are stressed from the move and are in a completely different and new environment. This is particularly the case for fishes that are shipped and not directly bought for a shop.
A simple way to deal with this is by giving your fish time to settle. Try feeding them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, and keep the lights turned off for a few days. In case they don’t eat the food, remove it after a few minutes and be a bit patient with them.
Your Betta Fish Just Doesn’t Like the Food
Betta fishes can be fussy eaters. They might just not like the food you’re giving them, and a way to verify this is by trying to feed them a different meal. If the fish takes the new food, it’s likely just being a fussy eater.
This can be a slightly tricky situation to get out of, because the obvious solution would be to just feed them something new that they enjoy. But this can be difficult to handle in the long run, as you will have trouble feeding your fish if a particular food isn’t available.
The best solution to this problem is to give your betta fish a diversified diet to a point where it’s not fussy with food.
There are a few ways to get your fish to eat everything; you can intermix new food with original food, give them a wide variety of foods in the beginning or make them fast for a day or two. After making them fast, you can give them the original food, and they will likely eat it this time around.
Just A Skipped Meal
Do not worry if your Betta fish skips a meal every once in a while; it likely isn’t a big deal. However, to be sure if this really is the case, figure out how often the fish has been skipping meals, and how long it has been going on. Where a skipped meal once in a while isn’t a big deal, your betta fish not eating consistently is a problem. Changed environment, diet, water temperature, etc., are all potential reasons for consistent refusal to eat.
Water Temperature Isn’t Right
The water temperature can actually have a toll on the health of your Betta fish. A lot of their energy depends upon the surrounding environment. If the water in the tank isn’t warm enough, the metabolism of your betta fish will slow down, so it will take more time to digest food and naturally not consume as much. It’s likely to become lethargic in this case scenario.
A simple solution to this problem is to maintain the tank’s temperature at 78°F. You may require a heater to do so. This will provide the right water temperature for your fish to be healthy and active.
They Are Stressed
A common reason a betta fish may not eat is that it may be stressed. You can easily figure this out by observing their behavior and keeping a close watch on them. Stress in betta fish may be caused by a change in environment, living in too small a tank, living with the wrong fishes, etc. Even sudden changes in lights, exposure to change in scenery, bright lights, or too much activity may cause the fish to get nervous.
A solution for this is to make the fish feel comfortable by making sure the lights aren’t too bright, they have enough space to live in, their tank mates are friendly, and they have enough hiding spaces. Add plants and other such hiding spaces in the tank for the fishes.
Your Betta Fish May Be Sick
Lack of appetite can be one of the symptoms of an underlying disease, and you need to act quickly in this scenario as it can kill the fish. Alongside the betta fish not eating, look for other symptoms that may indicate a disease. Swim bladder disease, constipation, velvet, and dropsy are some common betta fish diseases where lack of appetite is a symptom.
If the other situations don’t explain why your betta fish isn’t eating properly, there might just be a disease you’re missing. It is best to get an expert opinion, so make sure you take the fish to a vet if you suspect the onset of a disease, so they can help treat your fish before the situation gets worse.
Your Fish Doesn’t Know It’s Food
Your betta fish may just not know what you’re giving them is food, especially if they are new to the tank. This usually happens if you’re feeding them pellets or flakes. Betta fish with breeders are used to getting fed live, freeze-dried, or frozen diets as this is what their diet would be in their natural habitat.
So, pellet and flake food would be totally new to them, and they may not recognize it as food. The best way to deal with this is to keep feeding them the same diet until they start eating it.
Food Quality Isn’t Up to Par
If you’re getting the food from a pet store, there is a chance that it is cheaply made and not up to par. It will not fulfill the nutritional requirements, which might be why your betta fish refuses to eat it.
Even if the quality is good, it is better to give your fish a varied diet that fulfills all the nutritional requirements. So, try adding frozen, live, and freeze-dried food in their diet, which they will likely enjoy, and it will be good for their well-being as well.
Changed Water Parameters
Bettas can be sensitive to changes in water parameters, which is why their eating habits may reflect worsening water parameters. One of the most common changes in water parameters that can affect said fish is an ammonia spike. However, the addition of chemicals in general may lead to your betta fish not eating.
Naturally, when you change the water of the tank, it will have a difference in pH, ammonia levels, etc. Even if it’s not a negative change, your fish may still react the same way. Let it acclimatize to the new water, and it will likely go back to eating again. If it doesn’t, check the water parameters, and if they are way off, simply change the water.
What Do Betta Fish Eat?
Betta is a carnivorous fish, and in the wild its diet consists of insects, larvae, bugs, etc. Therefore, their food needs to be protein-rich and filled with other nutrients to keep them healthy and active.
When keeping betta fish in your aquarium, make sure you give them a diversified diet with all necessary nutrients. Alongside flakes and pellets, feed them brine shrimp, daphnia, or freeze-dried bloodworm, as they are rich in protein.
Betta fish can survive for a little while on a plant-based diet; however, this diet isn’t recommended since it can’t provide all the nutrients they need. Plus, different fish food brands available in the market have their own mix of ingredients. You need to make sure the food you choose provides the necessary nutrients for your betta fish to stay healthy and grow.
Types of Betta Fish Food
If you’re a new Betta fish owner then you might be confused by all the available food options. Which one should you choose, and what are the different types of betta fish food available?
As mentioned earlier, you should feed betta fish a healthy and diversified diet. Here are the different food options for your betta fish:
There are two different kinds of pellets for betta fish.
Floating pellets are considered a staple food in the diet of betta fish. These are a main source of nutrition and their major food source in captivity. There are different pellet sizes available in the market, and you need to choose a high-quality product with good nutritional value. Don’t forget to read and investigate the ingredients mentioned on the back, and always check the protein value. A rule of thumb is to get pellets with crude protein of 32% or above.
Sinking pallets are another form of pellet you can get. Betta fish in the wild eat from the water surface, whereas these pellets sink to the bottom, so they don’t necessarily mimic the fish’s natural instinct. However, they can serve as a staple food source if you’re dealing with a fussy eater or unique betta fish that likes them.
Flakes are another form of staple food for your betta fish, and can be a main source of nutrition. However, these are a bit trickier to deal with, as it can be difficult to control the amount you’re feeding the fish. Plus, they sink to the bottom of the tank quickly, and if left uneaten they can be difficult to remove from the tank.
Live And Frozen Food
There are a plethora of live and frozen food options that you can feed your betta fish. Here are a few examples to consider:
Bloodworms are one of the most favorite foods of a Betta fish. They come in the forms of little cubes that consist of hundreds of worms. Do not put the whole cube in the tank, as you’ll overfeed the fish. Cut the cubes into little pieces before feeding only some of them to the fish.
Mosquito larvae are an excellent treat to give your betta fish. They have a high protein content, and betta fish love them. Add small amounts in the tank initially, and make sure the fish eats all of them before you add more.
These are aquatic crustaceans with really high protein content. They serve as an excellent treat that can help keep your betta fish healthy.
Even the fussiest betta fishes tend to like Mysis shrimps as treats. They are high in Omega-3s and fatty acids, and are a healthy food option.
How long can a betta go without eating?
Betta fish can go up to 10-14 days without eating. However, leaving them unattended for so long without food is not recommended.
Why won’t my betta fish move or eat?
This may be because the water temperature has dropped too much, and the environment is too cold for the fish. In this scenario, the metabolic system of the fish slows down, and bodily functions start to shut down to save energy. Hence, the fish will neither eat nor move.
How do I get my betta fish to eat?
A great way to get your betta fish to eat is by luring them in with a good variety in diet. You can offer them freeze-dried bloodworms or freeze-dried shrimp, and intermix these meals with pellet food. Most betta fish like the variance in diet, and over time, they come to find pellet food just as delicious.
Are betta fish picky eaters?
Yes, betta fish can be picky eaters. They tend to show enthusiasm towards the food they enjoy and often refuse to eat what they don’t like. So, in order to keep them healthy and active, it is important to keep a check on their diet.
Why does my betta fish always look dead?
If the water is too cold or needs to be treated for contaminants like ammonia or other chemicals, the betta fish may go into physical shock and appear lethargic or even dead. In some instances, their color may appear dull, and they may seem to be floating on the surface. This can be countered by carefully monitoring the water quality and maintaining optimal conditions in your tank.
Clearly, there can be a lot of reasons behind your Betta fish not eating properly. And while this can be a worrisome situation, there’s no need to panic or be stressed. In most cases, this situation can be resolved by small changes without having a bad outcome.
Be it due to a small change or a serious underlying disease, to find why your betta fish isn’t eating it is important that you observe the eating patterns of the fish and get as much information on the surroundings, the water conditions, etc as you can. This will help you diagnose the problem quickly and find a solution for it to keep your fish happy and healthy.
Hi, my name is Adam and I’m an aquarium enthusiast! I didn’t discover the joys of being an ‘aquarium fanatic’ (as some of my friends call me!) until I was in my 20’s. When I first started out I found it difficult to find all the information I needed so I started this website to compile all the useful information I can think of. Enjoy!