Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
It’s always worrisome when you have problems getting your pet to eat. Trust me, we had a number of scares with our little ones on a number of occasions. Something I get asked fairly frequently is “Why isn’t my Betta fish eating? Is he sick? Is he dying?” and I thought I’d share some insight into why your Betta fish may not be eating.
Stress / Bringing home the New Betta
Just like you, your Betta can get stressed. This is most common when you first adopt your little one and is actually very common amongst all animals. (Trust me, we had a very hard time getting our cats and Chinchilla to eat the first few days.) Bettas may take up to a week before they eat for the first time in their new home, but don’t worry they can live for at least 2 with no food!
Although this usually comes with your fish being unfamiliar with their surroundings stress can be a huge issue with fish who have unclean tanks or tanks that aren’t the right temperature. I wrote an about how to make sure your Betta is happy which I recommend you check out here.
If you have a loud or busy home, you may want to cover your tank with a blanket every so often so your Betta is not stressed out by everything that walks by it. I recommend putting your Betta in a quiet room that gets a lot of natural sunlight so they can get some rest and follow the day’s natural light cycle. Make sure you only have the tank light on for 8-hours of the day and keep it off for the rest of the day. This with natural light should be more than plenty for your little one to thrive. Tying into this, light may actually encourage your little one to eat as in the wild they eat during the day and sleep at night.
Your Betta Doesn’t Like the Food
This isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when your little one is eating, but think about it like this… would you want to eat the same food absolutely every day? I mean, c’mon I love sushi and I would say that I would eat it every day, but there’s going to come a time where that spicy salmon roll just doesn’t hit the spot anymore. The same thing can be said about all animals. Fish from time to time get bored of their food and may lose interest in it all together. This is common for fish that are fed some of the cheaper quality fish food. (Who knew that fish even care about the taste of their food?)
Live Feed Alternatives
If your Betta isn’t eating because they don’t like the food you may want to just switch the type of pellet you feed them or you may want to invest in some live food to rotate between. Some of the live feed Bettas eat include Clam, Shrimp, Mysis, Tubiflex worms, Blood Worms, Squid, , Krill, Artemia Salina, and Mosquito Red Larvae. Remember, Bettas are carnivores so they are going to need and want more protein than you imagined.
Make sure you’re feeding the proper amount
It can be hard to figure out how much your little one wants to eat, and lots of new fish owners overfeed their little ones. If your Betta eats too much they may end up with bloat or other digestion problems (such as constipation) that will make them not want to eat. This is easily curable by feeding a piece of cooked pea. Your Betta’s stomach is about the size of its eye, so make sure you’re keeping that in mind while feeding. For more feeding information please check out this article.
Your Betta Is Sick
Bettas don’t like to eat when they are sick. I won’t go too much into what kind of illnesses your Betta can have as I already covered that in a previous article, but sicknesses always come with other symptoms. If you notice more than your Betta not eating, definitely check out that list of illnesses and try out some of the remedies I suggest. Most sicknesses your Betta will have are curable with pet store remedies, however, if you’re scared or nothing is working I recommend taking your fish to the vet. They may be able to give you something stronger or will at least be able to properly diagnose why your fish isn’t eating.