Betta Fish Not Eating: 7 Reasons & Solutions

Are you a beginner betta fish owner and perplexed by your fish refusing to eat? It can be a worrisome experience! But don’t fret; I’m here to guide you through 7 common reasons why betta fish might not be eating and how to solve these issues.

betta fish not eating

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Dive into the world of betta fish care with me, and let’s ensure your little aquatic buddy thrives!

Why Is My Betta Fish Not Eating?

Observing your betta fish refusing food can be quite disheartening, especially when you’re trying to be a responsible pet owner. To tackle this problem effectively, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause. Here are seven common reasons why your betta fish might not be eating:

  1. New Environment: Bettas can be sensitive to changes in their surroundings, and it might take a few days for them to adapt and feel comfortable in their new home.
  2. Wrong Food: Betta fish have specific dietary needs, and feeding them inappropriate food might not entice them to eat.
  3. Overfeeding: If you’ve accidentally provided too much food, your betta might take a break from eating.
  4. Water Quality: Poor water quality can stress out your betta and affect its appetite.
  5. Temperature: Just like us, betta fish prefer specific temperatures to feel comfortable. If the water is too cold or too warm, they might not eat.
  6. Stress: Stressful factors, such as other aggressive fish in the tank, can make a betta lose its appetite.
  7. Illness: If your betta is sick, it’s less likely to eat normally.

Now that we’ve covered the possible reasons for your betta’s lack of appetite, let’s discuss solutions to get your betta fish eating again.

– Poor Diet

One of the main reasons betta fish might refuse their food is an inappropriate diet. These fish are primarily carnivorous and require specific nutrients to thrive. To ensure your betta receives the nutrition it needs, try the following:

  • High-quality pellets: Choose betta-specific pellets containing plenty of protein and avoid generic, low-quality fish food.
  • Frozen or live foods: Occasionally supplement your betta’s diet with frozen or live brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms to provide variety and essential nutrients.
  • Rotate food: Alternate between different types of protein sources to keep your betta interested in its meals.

Remember not to overfeed your fish, as this may cause health issues and contribute to water pollution. Provide just enough food that your betta fish can consume within a couple of minutes, once or twice a day. If your betta still refuses to eat, continue exploring the other solutions below.

– Temperature

Betta fish are quite sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and an uncomfortable water temperature could be the reason they’re not eating. These fish prefer a stable environment, with a water temperature ranging between 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius).

To maintain the ideal temperature for your betta fish, follow these tips:

  • Invest in an aquarium heater: To keep the water consistently warm, purchasing a reliable heater designed for small tanks is essential.
  • Get an aquarium thermometer: A thermometer helps you monitor the water temperature daily, ensuring it remains within the desired range.
  • Avoid placing the tank near windows or vents: Exposing the tank to direct sunlight or drafts can lead to temperature fluctuations, putting stress on your betta fish.

Once you’ve successfully achieved the ideal temperature range for your betta, observe it closely over the next few days to see if its appetite improves. If not, it’s time to consider other potential reasons behind its lack of appetite.

– Overfeeding

Overfeeding is a common mistake among new betta fish owners, and it can negatively impact your fish’s health and appetite. To avoid overfeeding your betta, try these tips:

  • Measure portions: Only provide a small amount of food, enough that your betta can consume within two minutes. You can use a scoop or a tiny spoon to measure portions consistently.
  • Feed 1-2 times a day: To prevent overfeeding, feed your betta just once or twice a day.
  • Observe their behavior: Keep an eye out for telltale signs of overfeeding, such as uneaten food at the bottom of the tank and an unusually swollen belly.

If you suspect your betta has been overfed, follow these steps:

  • Perform a water change: Uneaten food can quickly compromise water quality, leading to unhealthy conditions for your betta. Conduct a partial water change to remove excess food and waste.
  • Fast your betta: Allow your betta to go without food for a day to let their digestive system recover. Resume feeding the next day with smaller portions.

Monitoring your betta’s diet and providing the correct amount of food can help restore its appetite and maintain good health.

betta fish feeding

– Diseases or Parasite

If your betta fish refuses to eat and displays other unusual symptoms, it may be suffering from a disease or parasitic infection. Some common ailments affecting betta fish include:

  • Ich (Ichthyophthirius) – White spots on the body and fins, and frequent scratching on rocks or other decorations.
  • Fin rot – Fins appearing frayed or discolored, and slowly deteriorating.
  • Swim bladder disease – Difficulty swimming, erratic or uncontrolled movements, or bloated appearance.
  • Parasitic infections – Loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, or visible parasites on the body.

To tackle diseases or parasites affecting your betta, consider the following steps:

  • Quarantine your betta: If your betta shares a tank with other fish, move it to a separate quarantine tank to prevent the spread of illness and to monitor its condition closely.
  • Identify the disease or parasite: Research symptoms and consult forums or a local aquatic veterinarian to diagnose the issue accurately.
  • Apply proper treatments: Depending on the diagnosis, administer specific medications, adjust water conditions, or follow the recommended treatment plan.
  • Monitor progress: Keep a close eye on your betta’s recovery and ensure that all symptoms disappear before reintroducing it to its original tank.

Remember, prevention is better than a cure. Maintaining a clean tank, providing a balanced diet, and closely monitoring your betta’s health can help you prevent diseases or parasites from taking hold in the first place.

– Aggressive Mates

Stress due to aggressive tankmates can lead to your betta fish losing its appetite. If your betta shares its tank with other fish, closely monitor their interactions to ensure they are compatible and non-aggressive towards each other.

To resolve issues caused by aggressive mates, consider these tips:

  • Research compatibility: Before adding new tankmates, diligently research their compatibility with betta fish. Certain species are more likely to coexist peacefully with bettas.
  • Betta-only tank: If aggression persists, consider setting up a betta-only tank to provide your betta with a stress-free environment.
  • Tank dividers: You can also install tank dividers to separate your betta from its aggressive tankmates, giving each fish its own territory.

Reducing stress caused by aggression can greatly benefit your betta fish’s overall wellbeing, increasing the likelihood of it regaining its appetite. Continue to observe your betta and ensure it feels comfortable and secure in its environment.

Best Betta Fish Tanks

– Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality can be a significant reason behind your betta fish’s lack of appetite. Maintaining a clean and stable tank environment is crucial for your betta’s health and well-being. To improve water quality and keep your betta happy and healthy, follow these guidelines:

  • Perform regular water changes: Conduct partial water changes, replacing 20-30% of the tank’s water every week. This helps remove toxins and waste while replenishing essential minerals.
  • Invest in a reliable filter: A suitable, efficient filter can help maintain water quality by eliminating debris, particulates, and waste.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly test ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and hardness levels in your betta’s tank to ensure a balanced water environment. If any parameters are off, take appropriate measures to rectify the situation.
  • Avoid overfeeding: Overfeeding your betta fish not only impacts their health but also contributes to water pollution. Stick to a proper feeding schedule and portion size.

By diligently maintaining proper water quality in your betta’s tank, you can create a healthy environment that encourages a strong appetite and ensures your fish thrives.

– Stress

Stress can have a significant impact on your betta fish’s appetite and overall well-being. Various factors can contribute to stress, such as fluctuating water parameters, aggressive tankmates, a dirty tank, or inadequate hiding spots. To minimize stress and encourage your betta to eat, consider these suggestions:

  • Monitor water parameters: As previously mentioned, regularly test the water in your betta’s tank to ensure stable and healthy conditions.
  • Ensure enough hiding spots: Provide ample hiding spots, such as plants, caves, and decorations to create a secure environment where your betta can find comfort.
  • Reduce excessive light exposure: While some light is necessary for a healthy environment, overly bright or constant lighting may cause your betta undue stress. Limit the amount of light exposure to a balanced schedule, turning off the aquarium lights during the night.
  • Manage aggressive tankmates: Address aggressive tankmates either by separating them, implementing tank dividers or, in some cases, setting up a betta-only tank.

Reducing stress in your betta’s environment can greatly improve its quality of life, potentially leading to a restored appetite and a happier, healthier fish. Keep an eye on your betta and take steps to ensure a peaceful, stress-free home for your aquatic companion.

What To Do if Your Betta Fish Stopped Eating?

If you’ve encountered the issue of your betta fish refusing to eat, it’s essential to remain patient and take action to identify and address the underlying cause. Follow this step-by-step guide to restoring your betta’s appetite:

  • Evaluate the diet: Make sure you’re providing an appropriate, high-quality diet for your betta fish. Consider supplementing their diet with frozen or live foods and rotating protein sources to maintain their interest.
  • Monitor water temperature: Ensure the water temperature stays within the ideal range of 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius) for betta fish.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test the water parameters and perform partial water changes to maintain optimum living conditions.
  • Assess tankmates: Observe your betta’s interactions with other tankmates and address any signs of aggression or incompatibility.
  • Examine for signs of illness: If your betta exhibits unusual behavior or physical symptoms, diagnose and treat potential diseases or parasitic infections accordingly.
  • Provide a stress-free environment: Foster a peaceful habitat with ample hiding spots, balanced light exposure, and a clean, comfortable space for your betta fish.
  • Consult an aquatic veterinarian: If your betta continues to refuse food despite implementing the above solutions, consider seeking the advice of an aquatic veterinarian to identify potential health concerns or hidden stress factors.

By methodically approaching your betta’s lack of appetite, you’ll be well on your way to resolving the issue and ensuring a healthy, thriving pet. Your dedication to their care will not go unnoticed, and your betta fish will be back to enjoying their meals in no time.

betta fish plants rocks

How Long Can Betta Fish Survive Without Food?

While it’s disconcerting to see your betta fish refusing food, it’s important to note that these resilient little creatures can survive without eating for a surprising length of time. Under normal conditions, a healthy betta fish can survive up to 14 days without food. However, this is not ideal, and prolonged fasting may negatively impact their health and well-being.

It’s crucial not to neglect your betta’s dietary needs, as they require proper nourishment to thrive. If your betta hasn’t eaten for an extended period, do your best to identify the underlying cause and take corrective action.

Remember, a betta fish not eating for a day or two can sometimes be nothing to worry about, especially if they’re adjusting to a new environment or recovering from overfeeding. However, if you notice additional symptoms or if this behavior continues beyond a few days, it’s essential to address the issue to ensure your betta’s health and happiness.


In conclusion, understanding the reasons behind your betta fish not eating is crucial in addressing the issue and ensuring your pet’s health and well-being. As a beginner betta fish owner, implementing the solutions provided in this guide will help you establish a healthy, stress-free environment for your aquatic buddy.

By being diligent and patient, you’ll become a knowledgeable and experienced owner, keeping your betta fish happy, well-fed, and thriving for years to come.

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