Betta Fish Not Eating: Causes and Solutions

Beautiful betta fish swimming among lots of plants in a clean fish tank

Betta fish are beautiful and popular pets. But they can be sensitive to changes in their environment. It’s crucial to ensure the health and well-being of these lovely animals in your aquarium.

I frequently deal with the issue of why isn’t my betta fish eating. I have observed that my betta is not eating for various reasons, so I monitor closely to assess the causes and take action to fix them.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll identify the most frequent reasons why betta fish not eating food. I’ll also offer advice on how to get your fish to start eating again.

Why Is My Betta Not Eating?

I have experienced that 7 out of 10 betta owners report feeling helpless and frustrated when their fish stops eating. The main causes of betta fish stopped eating are stress, illness and diseases, poor water quality, and inappropriate diet.

Based on my journey, let’s first explore the common causes of why my betta is not eating.

1) Stress:

One of the main reasons betta fish lose their appetite is stress, but what causes stress in a betta fish must be identified and treated.

During the betta fish journey, I observed that numerous reasons can contribute to stress.

These various reasons are overcrowded tanks, the existence of aggressive tank mates, quick changes in the environment, unnecessary handling, and loudness.

Betta fish may have less interest in eating food when they are stressed and show laziness.

It is also common that my betta fish isn’t eating after being shipped. The stress of shipping can also affect their eating habits temporarily.

I have also experienced why is my new betta fish hiding and not eating. It could be the reason for stress or accommodating to its new environment.

2) Illness and Diseases:

Diseases and illnesses in betta fish can significantly affect eating habits.

Betta fish do not eat when betta fish experience common health difficulties. These common health issues are infections, parasites, popeye, dropsy, or damage to any part of their body.

I have also observed some symptoms during betta fish’s unwell. These symptoms are abnormal betta fish behavior, betta not swimming or eating, and fin rot or discoloration.

3) Poor water Quality:

Dirty water can make betta fish sick, as poor water quality can lead to various health problems.

Poor water conditions can stress the betta fish, lose their appetite, and cause them to disappear.

I have also concentrated on why is my new betta fish not eating. Normally new betta fish is not eating due to short-term anxiety affected by the change in water chemistry or temperature.

Betta also stops eating due to cold shock.

4) Inappropriate Diet:

Besides other reasons, feeding an inappropriate diet to betta fish can also affect eating habits.

If your betta fish keeps spitting out food, it could be due to the wrong food being too large, hard, or outdated.

Moreover, if your betta fish not eating pellets it can lead to nutritional shortages and reduced appetite.

It is recommended that you should give your betta fish two to four pellets once or twice a day.

Pellets expand in water and are extremely filling for your betta fish. 1 to 2 days a week, freeze-dried food or fresh food can be substituted for pellet feeding.

Bettas are carnivorous and require a high-protein diet. So it should be necessary to identify why my betta fish is not eating pellets. If your betta fish is not eating pellets, it could be because they are too big or not to its taste preference.

According to my observations maximum betta fish can live for 10-14 days without eating food, although this is bad for their health.

So, you should be worried if your betta continuously not eating and monitor closely all possible signs.

Signs Your Betta Fish is Not Eating

1) Weight Loss:

Weight loss is a prominent symptom of a betta fish not eating food. Therefore, it is required to closely monitor why is my betta fish not eating or moving. So appropriate measures should be taken, accordingly.

A healthy and strong betta fish should have a well-rounded body shape. So you should seriously consider any visible changes in weight.

2) Lethargy:

Another indication is that your new betta not eating due to increased tiredness. 

If your new and energetic betta starts to become inactive and betta fish swimming sideways not eating, it may be the result of a drop in appetite. 

3) Changes in Appearance:

A betta fish that is not eating may also display changes in its appearance.

Keep out an eye for any visible alterations in color or finnage. For example, a vibrant and colorful betta fish loses color and may appear dull or faded.

Fin deterioration or changes in fin shape can also occur when the fish’s diet is inadequate.

If you notice these visual changes, it’s a clear indication that your betta not eating or swimming appropriately.

It’s crucial to scientifically monitor your betta’s behavior, appearance, and eating habits regularly to catch any potential problems.

Therefore, I recommend assessing your betta fish health regularly in all respects to take appropriate measures.

How to Assess Your Betta Fish’s Health

Regardless of how big or long its fins are, a healthy betta fish should be moving around and active.

I always focus on why is my betta fish not swimming or eating. As an unhealthy betta fish will have a lethargic appearance and spend little time swimming in the aquarium. Moreover, betta fish is not active or eating.

In my opinion, you should assess your betta fish health closely by following activities.

1) Observing Eating Activities:

The Importance of Prompt Feeding

Several stressed-out bettas will shake at the water’s surface, but those bettas that are not eating and hiding are hungry.

You can observe both hiding and shaking are strong indications that your betta is hungry and starving.

So, you should feed your betta live or frozen items as soon as possible if you see these symptoms.

Also, recheck the diet plan and quantity of food that is given to your betta.

Your betta may become lethargic from overfeeding and lose their appetite. Contrarily, underfeeding can result in malnutrition and several health issues.

Managing Betta Diet and Quantity

A betta fish may have a basic health issue if your betta fish not eating for 2 weeks. This situation needs to be further investigated and possible veterinary care.

Various betta fish may not eat fish flakes or bloodworms due to particular tastes, and offering a diverse diet is suggested.

As bettas have a small digestive system. So, pellets (or overeating) can cause blockages. Because it may cause swelling in the stomach after absorbing water.

It’s a good idea to give the pellet a drop of water, watch it expand for a minute, and then give it to him.

Your betta spitting out food, as betta has a tiny stomach, therefore, betta fish can only eat very small amounts of food at once.

2) Observing Behavior:

One of the best ways to assess why isn’t my betta fish eating is by observing its behavior.

Bettas are well-known for their exceptional behaviors. So it’s essential to pay close attention to any changes in their normal patterns.

Observe how active and responsive your betta is. If you notice betta not eating or swimming and excessive hiding, it could be an indication that your betta is not in ideal health.

3) Checking Water Parameters:

Betta fish parasites can be produced from dirty water, infected tank mates, new additions to the tank, or poor tank hygiene.

These parasites can infect your betta fish and affect the betta’s appetite.

Infections of parasites pose a major risk to betta fish including Ich (white spot disease), velvet disease, flukes, and the role of stress.

Water quality plays a vital role in your betta fish’s health.

Therefore, you can frequently test the water parameters to ensure they are within the suitable range.

Betta enthusiasts need to check and be watchful as the above-mentioned signs for your betta fish are not eating.

In this regard, I have some remedies for all expected issues such as why is my betta fish not eating. You can find solutions in the preceding paragraphs.

1) Reducing Environmental Stressors:

It is important to create a calm and peaceful environment for your betta to address stress-related eating problems.

Place the tank in a silent part, away from substantial foot traffic and possible disturbance.

Moreover, reduce exposure to bright lights, especially during nighttime when bettas need a period of darkness to rest.

It should use cool color lights that mimic natural daylight and gradually dim to create a soothing atmosphere.

2) Ensuring Proper Tank Setup:

Through first-hand experience, I have found that it is important for betta lovers to maintain an appropriate tank setup.

Betta enthusiasts should practice proper tank hygiene when betta fish not eating or swimming.

Betta fish need sufficient space to swim and explore. It is proposed that a tank size of at least 5 gallons provide a suitable room for their comfort and allow them more natural movement.

You should use reliable instruments to confirm that the tank conditions stay constant and suit your betta. These instruments are a thermometer and a water testing kit.

In addition, air pumps are also usually utilized to maintain the oxygenation of the water in an aquarium, which is beneficial for bettas.

Variations in these parameters including inappropriate temperature can cause stress and affect appetite.

3) Providing Hiding Spots:

If you observe betta hiding and not eating and betta staying at the top of the tank not eating. So you should create hiding spots within the tank that can greatly alleviate stress in betta fish and promote a healthy appetite.

Bettas are known to appreciate areas where they can retreat and feel secure.

Plants, caves, or decorations that offer hiding spots within the tank. Betta as well as their tank mate Mollies often prefer well-planted tanks with hiding spots and open swimming areas.

Creating a quiet and calm atmosphere for your betta fish not only boosts a healthy appetite but also increases their quality of life.

1) Identifying Common Betta Fish Illnesses:

Betta enthusiasts need to be aware of common illnesses. These can affect bettas and require immediate treatment.

Common health issues in bettas include fungal or bacterial infections, parasites, and injuries. 

You should also be careful with indications such as changes in behavior, or loss of appetite. Moreover, abnormal swimming patterns, fin rot, or the presence of visible wounds such as ulcers should also be observed.

In addition, your betta may have swim bladder disease. It can be observed if you see odd behavior in it, such as abnormal swimming or floating.

Timely identification of these signs is vital. So that health issues can be resolved and restore your betta’s appetite.

2) Treating Illnesses with Medication:

If you suspect that your betta fish is suffering from different diseases and illnesses. So it’s essential to address it with appropriate medication.

If required you should consult any veterinarian and follow instructions.

I recommend that it is essential to complete the full course of medication as prescribed, even if your betta fish appears to be improving.

This will ensure that the illness is fully eliminated and avoid any possible deterioration.

3) Preventing Future Health Issues:

Prevention is a key to reducing illness-related eating issues in betta fish.

Therefore, you must provide a clean and well-maintained tank. 

Frequently test the water and perform necessary water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite levels at zero.

Moreover, you should also make a balanced and nutritious diet plan that meets the specific needs of betta fish.

Improving Water Quality to Encourage Eating

If you realize your betta isn’t eating, you should test the water as soon as possible. You must also maintain the requisite temperature.

Moreover, RODI water can be obtained from specialized stores to improve water quality.

Based on my detailed analysis, I recommend the following parameters to improve the water quality in your aquarium. 

1) Regular Water Changes:

Regular water change is an essential part of keeping the tank environment clean and conducive to betta fish’s well-being.

The betta’s tank must be cleaned within 1-2 weeks with a 25% partial water change.

You should make a healthier and more appealing habitat for your betta to flourish by removing stored waste, uneaten food, and toxins in the water.

Tap water is ideal for betta fish to ensure chloramines, chlorine, and other heavy metals are removed. It includes a variety of nutrients and minerals that betta fish require to grow.

A water conditioner helps neutralize these substances and makes the water safe for your betta.

During tank cleaning, place the betta in a separate container with conditioned water from the tank.

This helps to dilute any harmful materials and replace the tank with fresh, clean water.

You should use a siphon or aquarium vacuum to eliminate debris from the substrate. Moreover, treat tap water with a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine and chloramine.

2) Proper Filtration:

A filter that produces an excessive water flow can cause your slow-swimming betta to sit near the bottom of the tank and not feed as it normally would.

So, suitable filtration plays a vital role in maintaining optimal water quality for betta fish.

A reliable aquarium’s best filter for betta helps in removing harmful substances such as ammonia, nitrites, and debris. It is also helpful to ensure a stable and healthy environment.

It also stimulates water rotation and oxygenation, which is essential for the well-being of your betta and its appetite.

A properly functioning filter will keep the water clean and free from pollutants. It will also create an inviting space for your betta to eat comfortably.

Moreover, toxic plants for betta fish should be removed from the tank to clean water and reduce spiking pH levels.

A reliable tank heater is used for betta fish because they require a specific temperature range to thrive and stay healthy.

As bettas originate from warm regions, such as Southeast Asia. Where the water temperatures are consistently higher than room temperature. That’s why you should also maintain the temperature.

3) Monitoring Water Parameters:

In my own experience, I have observed that regularly monitoring water parameters. It is important for maintaining optimal water quality and encouraging betta fish to eat. The following key parameters should be considered to improve the well-being of your betta. 

  • Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at zero, while nitrate levels should be kept low through regular water changes.
  • A stable pH between 6.5 and 8 is generally suitable for betta fish.
  • Additionally, maintaining a consistent water temperature between 75°F and 82°F is essential for their well-being.
  • Leftover food can cause ammonia levels in the water to spike, creating an environment in which your betta is less likely to eat.

Providing a Suitable Diet for Your Betta Fish

Betta fish should be fed twice a day in small portions to maintain a balanced diet and prevent overfeeding. However, feeding frequency may vary for each betta fish. 

Providing a varied diet ensures they receive essential nutrients for optimal health and a robust immune system.

They can go without food for up to 1-2 weeks, but this should not be a regular occurrence as it can weaken their immune system and overall health.

If your betta fish is not eating for an extended period, it is important to monitor the situation closely. Here is a proposed diet plan for your bettas.

1) Types of Betta Fish Food:

To ensure a well-rounded and nutritious diet for your betta fish, it’s important to offer a variety of food.

The primary staple should be high-quality betta pellets or tropical flakes to meet their nutritional needs.

These pellets or flakes often contain a balanced blend of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

The best food for betta fish is high-quality pellets or flakes designed specifically for them.

They also enjoy occasional treats like freeze-dried or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia.

To encourage eating, offer appealing food in a calm environment.

2) Feeding Frequency and Portion Sizes:

Making a regular feeding schedule is crucial for maintaining a healthy appetite for betta fish.

It is recommended to feed betta fish small meals 2-3 times a day to maintain their health.

Feeding them once a day is acceptable, but feeding every three days is not recommended as it can lead to malnourishment.

Betta fish can consume goldfish food, but it does not fulfill their nutritional requirements.

Consistency and a balanced diet are key to keeping pet fish healthy.

If your betta finishes its food quickly and appears hungry, you may increase the frequency or slightly adjust the portion size.

On the other hand, if your betta consistently leaves uneaten food behind. Then you should reduce the portion size to prevent waste and maintain water quality.

3) What Do I Do If They Won’t Eat?

With years of hands-on experience, I’ve learned to encourage a betta fish to eat, you should focus on the following:-

  • Check water parameters.
  • Offer different types of food. 
  • Adjust the feeding routine.
  • Create a calm feeding environment.
  • Consider soaking food in garlic.
  • Monitor for signs of illness.
  • Maintaining temperature.

Seachem Garlic Guard can be used to stimulate a Betta fish’s appetite, but individual responses may vary. 

4) Tips for Introducing New Foods:

I have an exciting and enriching experience by introducing new foods for my betta fish.

You can ensure that your betta fish receives the nutrition it needs to thrive by providing a suitable diet. This diet consists of high-quality pellets or flakes and gradually introducing new food.

You should also remember to soak freeze-dried or frozen food in aquarium water before feeding it to your betta.

This helps to prevent digestive problems and ensures they are hydrated.

You should also offer a varied diet with different types of betta fish food. This will not only provide essential nutrients but also keep them engaged and interested in their meals.

In this comprehensive guide, I have shared an in-depth analysis of why is my new betta fish not eating. As per my experiences and expertise, I have provided remedies in detail.

When to Seek Professional Help

1) Persistent Eating Problems:

If you are facing persistent problems then find the underlying reasons for the eating pattern disorder, whether it is brought on by disease, stress, or other circumstances.

These reasons can be made easier for giving recommendations by the professional.

2) Severe Weight Loss or Illness:

If your betta fish is facing severe weight loss or is visibly ill, it’s crucial to seek professional help promptly.

Weight loss can be a sign of underlying health issues or diseases that require immediate attention.

A veterinarian will be able to check thoroughly and conduct diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the weight loss or illness.

They can then recommend suitable cures and medications to address the specific condition. This helps your betta fish regain its health.

3) Difficulty in Diagnosing the Issue:

Sometimes, betta fish may show symptoms or behaviors that are difficult to diagnose or understand.

If you find yourself struggling to identify the root cause of your betta fish’s eating problems. Then seeking professional help is highly recommended.

An experienced veterinarian assesses your betta fish’s condition comprehensively.

They can perform particular tests, and provide accurate diagnoses. They also propose treatment plans based on their findings.


In conclusion, addressing the issue of betta fish not swimming or eating is of utmost importance for their health and well-being.

A betta fish’s appetite serves as a vital indicator of its overall condition. Persistent eating problems can be indicative of underlying issues that require attention.

You need to take care of these problems to keep your fish happy and healthy.

Throughout this discussion, I have explored various causes of why is betta fish not eating and provided expert advice and remedies.

From reducing stressors and creating a suitable tank environment to improving and providing a balanced diet, these solutions offer practical ways to encourage your betta fish to eat.

Early detection of these symptoms allows you to put the recommended fixes into practice and perhaps address the problem on your own.

Take the necessary steps, make adjustments as needed, and never hesitate to seek professional help when required.

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