Why Is My Betta Fish Not Eating? 9 Main Reasons (With Solutions)

    It can be scary to realize that your betta has suddenly lost its appetite. After all, we want our bettas to be happy and healthy all the time – but for us to be able to do that, we first need to know the possible answers to the question, “why is my betta fish not eating?”

    There are many possible reasons why your fish might have lost its appetite. It might simply not like its food, but it could also be that it’s sick, or stressed because of a variety of reasons.

    Whatever the case might be, it’s important that we recognize the signs and know what to do if our beloved betta isn’t eating. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article, so read on if you want to ensure that your betta fish remains healthy.

    Why Is My Betta Fish Not Eating? 9 Main Reasons and Solutions

    why is my betta fish not eating pellets

    Before we start, it’s important to point out that a loss of appetite in bettas, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, can quickly lead to death if not treated properly and in time.

    Bettas are known to go on hunger strikes when they’re either sick or stressed, which is why it’s so important that you take action as soon as you notice that your betta isn’t eating.

    With that out of the way, here are the most common reasons why your Betta fish isn’t eating – as well as the main solutions.

    1. It’s Sick

    If you’ve had your betta for a while and it suddenly stops eating, the chances are that it’s sick.

    Bettas usually don’t get sick often, but when they do, it’s important to give them the appropriate medication as fast as possible or take them to the vet to get them diagnosed.


    The exact solution to this issue depends on what your Betta is suffering from.

    There are many different diseases that can affect bettas, and most of them will cause a loss of appetite. Some of the most common betta diseases include:

    • Fin rot – This is a bacterial infection that attacks the fins and skin of the fish. It’s usually caused by poor water quality or injuries. If you notice that your betta’s fins are looking frayed or discolored, it might be suffering from fin rot. You can try using medication such as API Fin & Body Cure.
    • Cottonmouth – This is another bacterial infection, a strain of columnaris, but this time it attacks the mouth of the fish. The symptoms include a white cotton-like growth around the mouth and lips of the fish. You can try giving your Betta aquarium salt baths, but it would be best to go to the vet as soon as possible because this infection can be deadly.
    • Swim bladder disease – This is a condition that affects the swim bladder, which is an internal organ in the Betta’s stomach that helps the fish stay afloat. If this organ doesn’t work properly, the fish might have trouble swimming, keeping itself upright, and eating. Swim bladder disease is usually caused by constipation, so consider giving them high-quality foods.

    2. It Has Parasites

    Parasites are another common reason why bettas stop eating. These are tiny creatures that live off the betta’s blood and skin, and they can lower the Betta’s immune system and make them very sick.


    If you think your betta has parasites, the best thing to do is to take it to the vet. They will be able to diagnose and provide the proper medication.

    • Velvet – This is a parasitic infection that’s usually caused by poor water quality. The symptoms include a gold dust-like coating on the body of the fish, as well as a loss of appetite and lethargy.
    • Ich – This is one of the most common parasitic infections in fish, and it’s caused by a single-celled organism. The symptoms include white spots on the skin of the fish and lethargy. They may also start refusing food. Luckily, since Ich is such a common problem, there are plenty of medications for it on the market, such as Hikari Ich-X, Kordon Rid Ich Plus, and API Liquid Super Ick Cure.

    3. It Doesn’t Like Its Food

    If you’ve just got a new betta fish, it might not be eating because it doesn’t like its food. It’s not uncommon for a Betta to be a picky eater, and it might take a while to find the right food that they like.


    If your betta isn’t interested in the food you’re giving it, try a different type of food and a more varied diet. There are many different types of betta food available, so you’re sure to find one that your fish will like.

    As betta owners, the best way to deal with this is to experiment with different types of food until you find one that your betta likes.

    There are many different types of betta food on the market, such as Betta pellets, freeze-dried or frozen foods like tubifex worms, and live foods like brine shrimp. Here are some of the best foods from your local fish store that your Betta can eat:

    Whatever it is you choose, make sure you give them a balanced diet and avoid poor-quality food. We personally recommend Betta fish pellets that are slow-sinking to prevent them from taking in too much air from the surface.

    4. The Food Isn’t Ready Yet

    If you’re feeding your pet fish dry or freeze-dried food, the main reason why it’s probably not eating is that the food isn’t ready to be eaten yet.

    This is akin to feeding someone frozen meat straight out of the freezer – no matter how good it supposedly is, it will be impossible to eat.


    It’s important to make sure that the fish food is properly hydrated before giving it to your Betta.

    Dry food needs to be soaked in water for a few minutes before your Betta can eat it. This is especially true for pellets and flakes that are bigger than your Betta’s mouth.

    If you don’t soak the dry food properly, your betta might not be able to eat it properly. Over time, they may stop trying to eat completely, leading to eventual health problems.

    5. It’s Stressed

    Bettas are very sensitive to stress, and it’s one of the main reasons why they stop eating. You need to deal with the main cause of their elevated stress levels if you want to fix this issue.


    • Poor water quality – This is by far the most common cause of stress in bettas. If the water in the Betta’s tank is dirty, it can cause the fish to become stressed and stop eating. You can solve this problem by doing a water change and making sure that you clean the tank on a regular basis.
    • Lack of hiding spots – Bettas need to have plenty of places to hide in their tank, just like in their natural environment. If they don’t have enough hiding spots, they can become stressed and stop eating. This is easy to solve: simply add more plants and decorations to the tank.
    • Too much light – Bettas are very sensitive to light, and too much of it can cause stress. If you have a lot of light in the room where the tank is located, it might be causing your betta to stress. The solution can be as simple as turning off the lights or using something like a towel to cover the tank when all the lights in the room are turned on.

    6. It’s Confused

    Bettas are very intelligent fish, and they can get confused easily. If you’ve just moved a healthy Betta to a new tank, it might not be eating because it’s still confused about its new surroundings.


    It can take a few days for a betta to get used to its new home, so give it some time. Once it’s had a chance to explore its new tank, it will probably start eating again.

    7. The Water Quality Is Bad

    As we mentioned before, bettas are very sensitive to aquarium water quality. If there is dirty water in the tank, it can cause the fish to stop eating.

    Dirty aquarium water can also cause other problems, such as ammonia poisoning, nitrate poisoning, and oxygen deprivation.


    Regular water changes and testing of water parameters using liquid test kits like API Freshwater Master Kit can solve this problem. If you use tap water, you should also use a water conditioner like Seachem Prime.

    Of course, if you have a big enough Betta fish tank, you typically don’t have to clean as often. However, setting a regular schedule for cleaning is still a good habit to have just to make sure that your Betta’s environment is always in tip-top shape.

    8. The Water Isn’t Warm Enough

    Bettas are tropical fish that are adapted to warmer climates. If the water temperatures are too cold, it can cause the fish to stop eating.


    You can use a heater like the Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater to keep a consistent water temperature. Bettas are most comfortable at the ideal temperature range of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

    9. It’s Pregnant Or Ready To Breed

    If you have a female Betta who is of the right age and recently had an encounter with other fish, it could be pregnant or ready to breedpregnant or ready to breed. The latter also applies to male Betta fish.

    Bettas usually stop eating when they’re ready to breed, as they use all their energy to care for their eggs and bubble nest.


    If this is the case for your female Bettas, there really isn’t much you can do to help them start eating again. In the meantime, you can set up a breeding tank and wait for the eggs to hatch. The Betta should start eating again once breeding is over.

    What To Do If Your Betta Fish Is Not Eating – Other Tips To Encourage Them To Eat Their Food

    why is my betta fish not eating after water change

    Aside from the tips and solutions outlined above, there are a few other things you can do to encourage your betta to start eating again.

    Here are some other tips that might help:

    1. Add live food to the tank

    Bettas love live food, and adding some to the tank might encourage your fish to start eating again. You can buy live food at most pet stores or online.

    2. Fast the fish for a day or two

    If you’re really struggling to get your betta to eat, you might want to try fasting the fish for a day or two. This will help reset its appetite, and it might start eating again after a day or two without food.

    3. Take the Betta fish to the vet

    If you’ve tried all of the tips above and your betta still isn’t eating, it’s time to take the fish to the vet. They will be able to give you more specific advice on what to do.

    How Long Can A Betta Fish Go Without Eating?

    betta fish not eating for 2 weeks

    Bettas can go for about two weeks without food, but they will start to get weaker after about a week without eating.

    We discussed this in a previous blog post, which you can read right here.

    As mentioned in that article, there are many factors that can influence how long a Betta can go without eating:

    • The size of the tank
    • Whether the tank is filtered or not
    • The Betta’s general health
    • How big the Betta is
    • The type of food that the fish is used to eating

    How Often Should I Feed My Betta Fish?

    As a general rule of thumb, you should feed your Betta once or twice a day. We also discussed this in a previous blog post.

    Aside from the Betta’s size, the amount of food that you give them each time will depend on the type of food that you’re feeding them.

    For example, if you’re feeding them pellets, you should give them three to four pellets per feeding. If you’re feeding them frozen food, you should give them a small piece that’s about the size of their eyeball.

    As a general rule, you should only feed them as much food as they can eat in two minutes.

    Why Is My Betta Fish Spitting Out Its Food?

    how to get betta to eat flakes

    Maybe a Betta fish not eating is not your problem. Instead, maybe you noticed a weird occurrence where your Betta fish seems to be spitting out its food. This can be normal behavior, or it could be a sign of a problem.

    Here are some possible reasons why your betta might be spitting out its food:

    The Water Is Too Cold

    Bettas are not used to cold water. If it gets too cold, it can cause them to lose their appetite and spit out their food.

    The Water Is Too Hot

    At the same time, water that’s too hot is not good for your fish either.

    It’s Sick

    Many times, sick Bettas will still try their best to eat food. If their digestive system isn’t working properly, though, they may end up just spitting their food back out.

    It’s Stressed

    Stress can also cause digestive issues, similar to the above. If you have a new Betta fish that seems otherwise healthy, it may be just stressed from the move.

    It’s Not Used To The Food

    If the fish is not used to the food, it might not know how to eat it. This can cause the fish to spit out its food.

    Make sure that you slowly introduce each new food to your Betta so that they can properly get used to it.

    The Food Is Too Big

    Bettas typically only eat food that they can put entirely inside their mouth.

    The Food Is Old, Live, Or Not Ready

    Bettas can be pretty picky. If there’s anything wrong with the food, like if it’s not fresh or frozen foods are not soaked enough, they may spit it out.

    Additionally, if the food is live, it might be moving too much for the fish to eat.

    It’s Already Full

    Betta fish have no control when it comes to their food. No matter how full they may feel, if they see that there’s food in their tank, they will always try to eat it.

    Occasionally, they may be so full that they’ll end up spitting the food that they just ate.

    It’s In A Playful Mood

    Sometimes, the fish might spit out its food because it’s playing. This is normal behavior and is nothing to worry about, as long as they’re eating normally at other times.

    It’s Bored

    Boredom can also lead to your Betta taking the food in its mouth and spitting it out, over and over again. If your fish is bored, try adding some new toys or decorations to the tank to help.

    What Happens To Betta Fish If They Are Underfed?

    Underfeeding Betta fishes can have a number of negative health effects. Here are some of the problems that can occur:

    • It will stop growing. Lack of proper nutrition can cause the Betta to have stunted growth.
    • It will become skinny. If a betta fish is not getting enough food, it will start to lose weight. The fish will become skinny and its ribs may start to show.
    • It will become weak. Not eating well will make the Betta weak. A poor diet will cause your Betta to start having trouble swimming and eventually die.
    • It will get sick. Similarly, if they don’t get enough food, their immune system will take a hit, making it easier for them to get diseases or parasites.
    • It will die. If your Betta doesn’t eat for 10-14 days, it may die.

    What Happens To Betta Fish If They Are Overfed?

    As you can see, underfeeding Bettas isn’t good. However, overfeeding them has adverse effects as well:

    • It will become obese. Too much food will make the Betta develop too much fat. If this happens, the fish may have trouble swimming and its life span may be shortened.
    • The tank will become dirty. Leftover food in the aquarium can affect the water parameters of your aquarium.
    • It will get sick. Similarly, giving your Betta a lot of food can cause them to become sick. One of the main issues is constipation, which can lead to swim bladder disease.
    • It will die. Constantly overfeeding your Betta can eventually lead to its death.

    Overfeeding is one of the most common mistakes made by betta fish owners. If you want your Betta to be in optimal health, it’s important to only feed the fish as much as it can eat in one sitting.

    If you’re not sure how much to feed your betta fish, it’s best to err on the side of caution and give the fish less food rather than more – as long as it’s not so little that you’re already underfeeding your Betta.

    How To Tell If A Betta Fish Is Sick – Signs To Look Out For

    how to tell if a betta fish is sick

    As discussed above, one of the main reasons why a Betta fish is not eating is that it’s sick. That said, how can you tell that it’s sick in the first place?

    Here are some signs to look out for:

    • Not eating
    • Swimming strangely 
    • Hiding
    • Cloudy eyes
    • White or red spots
    • Swollen belly
    • Gasping for air
    • Frayed fins
    • Lethargy

    Best Food For Betta Fish

    Although Bettas can be picky eaters, they have a voracious appetite and will eat anything from mosquito larvae to human food.

    That said, the best foods for Betta fish are those that are high in protein and nutrients, which are essential for the health of your betta fish.

    Here are some of the best foods that your Betta fish can eat:


    1. What are the most common reasons why betta fish stop eating?

    There are a number of reasons why betta fish may stop eating, including stress, sickness, and dirty water. It’s important to consult with a vet if your fish stops eating, as this may be a sign of a serious health problem.

    2. What are the consequences of overfeeding a betta fish?

    If a betta fish is overfed, it can have a number of negative health effects, including obesity, sickness, and death. It’s important to only feed the fish as much as it can eat in one sitting to avoid these problems.

    3. What are the signs that a betta fish is sick?

    There are a number of signs that you can look for to determine if your betta fish is sick, including not eating, swimming strangely, hiding, cloudy eyes, white spots, red spots, frayed fins, and a swollen belly. 


    Now you know the answer to your question, “Why is my Betta fish not eating?”

    If you think the reason for your betta fish not eating because it might be sick, it is important to take the necessary steps to get your fish the help it needs. Be sure not to overfeed or underfeed your fish as this can lead to nutrition problems.

    Hopefully, this guide has helped you better understand why your betta is not eating and what you can do to help!

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