Last Updated : June 22, 2021

Why won’t my betta fish eat

Betta fish not eating can be very worrisome for pet owners. Although it is not really much of a concern in most cases, there are times when the problem can be more serious. So, why won’t my betta fish eat, then?

Read on to know the different reasons why betta fish might refuse to eat

Why won't my betta fish eat

Why does my betta fish not eat?

Just to give you an idea and maybe some reassurance, there are actually so many reasons why a betta fish might stop eating. Also, don’t forget that even though you think that your pet is not eating, there is always the possibility that he is still getting some food and you just don’t realize it. But, if you like to be sure that there is nothing more sinister happening with your pet, continue reading below.

Your betta is still mew

If you got a new better, it is actually common for them to initially refuse to eat. More often than not, the fish might only be stressed out because of the move and being introduced to a new environment. It is especially true if your betta fish was shipped to your home instead of directly getting it from a nearby local shop.

Your betta fish is just being picky

In many cases, fussiness is the main reason why your fish refuses to eat. Your betta fish might not like it if you have been feeding it with a specific type of food for some time and you decided to switch to something else. To be sure that this is the problem, you can try to feed your pet with different food. If your better eats the food with no problem, it is very likely that your fish is just being choosy.

The food is freeze-dried or frozen

While it is good for betas to eat freeze-dried and frozen food, there are some that refuse to eat until the food is completely thawed. If you just drop the food into the tank without even letting it soften or thaw first, your fish might simply ignore it.

You also need to remember that there are frozen foods that can expand once it begins to absorb water all over again. When your betta consumes the food too fast, it might continue to expand which can result in constipation and even swim bladder disease in most cases.

Your better doesn’t know that it is food in the first place

One very common reason for betta fish not eating, especially if the fish is new to the tank, is because it doesn’t know that what you are giving it is food. It is especially common with flakes and pellets.

Normally, when betta fish are still with the breeders, they are just fed with a mixture of freeze-dried, frozen, and live food. It is the best diet for betta fish since this is similar to what they would consume if they are out in the wild.

The issue here is that the moment you try feeding them with flake food or pellets, it might be alien to the fish that they will not even know that it is food.

You don’t feed your betta a balance diet or you give poor quality food

Most food selections in pet shops are quite cheap. As expected, cheap food contains cheap ingredients. If your fish doesn’t eat, it might have something to do with the food’s quality.

And even when the quality of the food is good enough, it might also be because he doesn’t get a varied diet at all. There is nothing wrong with giving high-quality pellets to your betta. However, you also need to combine this with freeze-dried, frozen, and live food to ensure that he enjoys a varied diet.

You feed your betta too much

There are times when your fish is eating and you don’t even realize it. The stomach of a betta has the same size as that of its eye. Thus, if you give him excessive food, he won’t be able to consume the food at all. You might notice some floating food above the tank and make you assume that he is not eating it. However, the truth is that you might just be feeding your pet too much.

Change in environment

Betta fish can be very sensitive to their environment. When the water parameters change for the worst, it might have an effect on the way they eat. An ammonia spike is the most common cause of change inside the tank. But, any chemical that made its way to the tank might also be the cause of betta fish not eating.

However, it might not be anything serious. This may also take place after changing the water. Every time you add new water to the tank, its ammonia level, pH level, and others will be different from what the fish has been used to. But once your betta gets used to it, you can expect your fish to return to its normal happy eating.

Water temperature problems

You might sometimes notice your betta fish not eating as the result of the tank’s temperature. Being cold-blooded means that most of their energy depends on the surrounding temperature.

If your betta stays in a tank that is not warm enough, it might lead to a slower metabolism and lethargy. When the metabolism of your betta slows down, the fish won’t be eating that much and it might also take it longer to digest its food.

While you might not see anything wrong with it, cold water may cause temperature shock that can be fatal for betta fish sometimes. Thus, you should never overlook this one.


Finally, the appetite of your betta fish is the first thing to go if your pet is suffering from an illness or disease. But, together with lack of appetite, some other symptoms might show up that will let you know that there is something more serious. Swim bladder disease, constipation, and dropsy are some of the common diseases that may lead to a lack of appetite.

Now that you know the reasons for betta fish not eating, make sure you keep a close eye on your pet at all times.

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