Why Is My Betta Fish Not Eating?

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Bettas fish are aggressive eaters and they will get very excited every time you feed them. But sometimes your betta fish will refuse to eat. In this case, you are certainly asking yourself: why is my Betta fish not eating?

If your betta fish is not eating, it could be due to a number of reasons. It could be that the water in its aquarium is dirty, or that the temperature is not ideal. It could also be that the betta fish is sick or stressed. If you notice that your betta fish is not eating, it is important to take action right away to ensure its health and wellbeing.

That said, it is essential for owners to be familiar with all the main and most common causes which bring such strange behavior. And to, ultimately, help their Bettas to return to normal feeding activities.

Wrong Food

To begin, here is one of the most ordinary issues which brings to Betta fish not eating- wrong choice of food.

These amazingly colored fish are primarily carnivores, meaning they feed on protein-based meals. Buying fish flakes or pellets without reading the ingredients first can often lead to owners offering their fish inappropriate meals.

For instance, flakes for tropical fish are not universally suitable for all tropical fish. Bettas, as opposed to most tropical fish, do not feed on plants. That is why they will simply refuse eating those meals which are not offer them enough nutritive ingredients.

The best way to test if this is your case is to simply take a look at the ingredients first. If such food does not have a minimum of 40% of protein-based nutrients, it most likely means that you need to change your food as soon as possible.

Try offering your fish the appropriate type of meals and see if they accept them. If they are still refusing food (or even spitting it out!), there may be another reason hiding there.

Expired Food

Some may think- is this reason even worth mentioning? Well, it seems this happens more often than owners realize.

Food which has expired and has lost the usual taste, or even nutrients, is simply not attractive to fish anymore. And they will refuse to consume it. This is not valid just for expiry dates that get passed, but also for food that gets left sitting for a while.

For instance, some owners often buy a huge pack of fish pellets to save either money or trips to the pet store. But having just one or a couple of fish will bring to such food being in an open container for a while and losing the original taste.

The same goes for frozen food. Placing still frozen treats inside the tank without leaving them to soften first will only make your fish ignore them. Literally.

To make sure that expired or old food is the reason for your Betta not eating, a simple test includes offering them a fresh treat. If they accept it, you may be certain that they are healthy and only require new, fresh food.


Stress is a common trigger to make fish reject food (same as for humans).

This happens especially when owners bring home a new Betta. Changing environments is extremely stressful to all fish and it is quite normal for them not to eat until they adjust to their new home.

Even when owners apply all the necessary preparations for a shock-free adaptation, such as cycling tanks and leaving fish on the water surface for a while before placing them into new water, stress is almost inevitable. This is mostly caused by transportation and general environmental changes.

To prove if your new Betta is under stress, try turning off the lights for a day before feeding it again. Also, always check the water temperature. If it is too low (or even too high), adjust it gradually until it reaches the ideal level.

Finally, make sure your new Betta is not being bullied by some aggressive roommates. This can all cause a lot of stress and Bettas will not eat until the issue is solved.

Disease or Parasite

As mentioned earlier, there can be several serious reasons for Bettas not eating. And these certainly include them being sick or having a parasite.

Without getting into too many details here, it is absolutely normal for fish not to feed when not feeling well. There are so many different illnesses that can occur in an aquarium and spotting them on time is the best way to cure them.

Please make sure to check on your fish daily. If you notice other behavioral changes other than not eating, such as swimming erratically (or not swimming), resting at the bottom of the tank or gasping for air at the surface, you may give a call to your veterinarian.


Overfeeding your Betta can lead to several health complications.

The first is also the most obvious, and it includes fish getting constipation. Bettas that are constipated will certainly refuse to eat anymore.

However, overfeeding can have negative effects even if Bettas do not eat too much. Food leftovers sink to the bottom of the tank and in time they start decomposing and producing increased levels of ammonia.

Bettas are extremely sensitive to ammonia spikes (which, by the way, need to be at zero). When the ecosystem of their tanks becomes seriously unbalanced, fish start to really suffer and, consequentially, not eat anymore.

To be sure of the ammonia levels in your tank, try using a simple freshwater test. If levels are increased, a prompt reaction is needed to avoid ammonia poisoning.

Wrapping Up

Even if they are quite the aggressive eaters when healthy and happy, Bettas can also be sensitive to various factors. So, providing them a stress-free environment with all the right conditions and a well-balanced nutritive plan is essential. Otherwise, you are risking of your fish refusing to eat.

If this is already happening, please do not panic. The reasons can be as banal as a wrong choice of food. Getting to know your Betta is really important and it will make life easier both for it and yourself.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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