The struggle of trying to figure out what is wrong with your fish isn’t just, well…a struggle. It’s something that many keepers have gone through and hopefully will never experience again! Luckily for you though (and them!), we’ve compiled this list from plenty tips on how get those fins moving again should they be refusing food in favor of playtime instead. Read more to learn possible reasons why is your betta fish not eating.
Consider How Long It’s Been Going On
The first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is how long the behavior has been going on for. If it’s only been a day or two, there’s a good chance that your fish is just taking a break from eating and will start up again when it feels like it. However, if your betta fish has refused food for more than a few days, there’s definitely something wrong and you’ll need to take some steps to get them eating again.
Is Your Betta Fish Being Fussy?
One of the things you’ll need to consider is whether your betta fish is being picky about its food. While many are choosy eaters, sometimes there’s a real reason behind it! We all know that eating can be more of an effort than playtime for some bettas and they may simply not feel like eating if they’re already tired. If your fish is looking a little under the weather and you suspect that it isn’t feeling like its usual self, consider feeding it or getting it some medicine before offering it food again.
Does Your Tank Have Any Physical Issues?
Another factor to consider is whether there are any physical issues with your betta’s tank. Are there any leaks? Is the tank old and in need of a replacement? Has anything recently changed with the way your betta’s tank is set up or maintained? All of these are things that could be affecting your fish’s appetite.
It Doesn’t Know It’s Food
This one can be a little harder to identify but is definitely worth considering when you think about whether or not your betta fish knows it’s food. Betta fish are actually very smart fish and can easily learn what they need to do in order to eat – even if the food itself comes from something of an unorthodox source!
Making Sure The Food Is Ready/Not Frozen
One of the other things you’ll need to make sure is that your betta fish’s food actually isn’t frozen. Bettas are tropical fish, which means that they live in warm waters where their food can easily become frozen if it stays out for too long. Always thaw out frozen foods before offering them to your fish and unless you’re using a heater in your tank, don’t leave their food out for more than an hour or so. Frozen food is not what your betta fish really enjoys.
Check Their Diet – Maybe The Food Isn’t Good
Another possibility is that your betta’s diet might not be good. Betta fish are omnivorous fish and will eat anything from pellets to live food but that doesn’t mean that all food is created equal. Since they are not picky eater they need a balanced diet. If you’re feeding them a diet of only one type of food, they may eventually start refusing to eat altogether. Try mixing up their food a bit to give them some variety and see if that helps.
The best food for situations like this is usually a good quality pellet food as it contains all the nutrients your betta fish needs to stay healthy.
The last thing you’ll need to consider is whether or not your betta fish actually likes the food you’re currently feeding him/her. In some cases, it’s possible that their taste buds are simply different than what you’re used to, so try changing their food to something they’ll eat more readily.
Another possibility is that you’re actually overfeeding your betta fish. This is one of the most common reasons why fish stop eating and can be easily fixed by cutting back on their food intake. A little goes a long way when it comes to bettas, so remember to only give them as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes. They love betta pellets, and then have no idea when to stop, so be careful when feeding them.
Is It Injured?
Another possibility is that your betta fish might have a physical injury. If you notice any unusual symptoms with your betta, such as fungus or frayed fins, it could be an indicator that something is wrong and they may not be interested in eating out of stress.
If you do suspect that your betta fish has an injury, take him or her to a veterinarian so they can be treated properly.
You Have A New Betta Fish
They are not called siamese fighting fish for no reason. Sudden changes in bettas’ home aquariums can often affect their appetites. If you add a new fish to your betta tank or move your betta’s decorations around, these changes can easily stress them out and make it harder for them to find food.
Another possibility is that there are other fish in the tank with your betta fish that are harassing or bullying him/her. If you have other fish in your tank, try to remove them so that your betta can eat in peace.
Problem With The Aquarium Water Temperature
While bettas are tropical fish, their aquarium water temperature should not go above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a heater in your aquarium, make sure that it is set to the proper temperature for your betta fish and not adjusted too high.
If your tank temperature seems to be fluctuating often, try decreasing the temperature of the room where you keep your aquarium instead. For some reason, bettas are especially sensitive to temperature changes and will not eat if the heater in their tank is on for more than a few days at a time.
Finally, always remember to keep your betta’s water clean and don’t add too many fish or decorations. Your betta fish needs enough space and room in their tank for swimming and eating and if they’re overcrowded, it can lead to all sorts of problems including a lack of appetite.
Water Quality Oscillations
Bettas prefer calm water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.5. If your water quality is constantly changing, it can be hard for them to stay healthy and eat properly.
If you’re having problems with your water quality, try to find a way to stabilize it. This might mean using a filter or adding some stress-relieving plants to your tank. If all else fails, you might need to consider buying a new aquarium.
If you’ve recently done a water change, chances are that your betta’s appetite will take a hit for a few days afterward. This is because the sudden change in water parameters can be quite stressful on their system and affect their overall health.
Wait until the water has fully stabilized before reintroducing food to your betta fish and if he or she hasn’t eaten within three days, take them to a veterinarian for an examination.
A Change In Their Environment
Another possibility is that your betta fish may have developed a fear or anxiety in their environment. If you notice them avoiding certain areas of the tank, it could be because they are scared and feel threatened by something.
While this can happen when you first introduce your fish to his/her new habitat, if it continues after several weeks then your betta fish may have a problem. In this case, you’ll need to take some steps to make your tank more betta-friendly.
Many bettas enjoy hiding in or around certain types of decorations and may not eat if they feel like their environment is getting too crowded. Try to rearrange your fish’s tank so that he/she has plenty of room to swim through the water without feeling confined or restricted.
Some signs that your fish may be stressed include shaking, darting around the tank, and staying at the bottom of the tank. If you see any of these signs, it’s a good idea to take your betta fish to a veterinarian for a check-up.
Finally, stress over stressful events in your betta’s life can sometimes cause them to not eat. This is especially common right after you buy a new fish or if you have recently rearranged the tank.
Some of the most common causes of a betta fish stress are:
- Overstocking the aquarium, which leads to poor water quality and less oxygen
- Improper introduction of new fish into a community tank
- Inadequate tank size
- Bad nutrition or irregular feeding routine
To make your betta’s environment less stressful, ensure that you do the following:
- Add a filter to your aquarium and make sure it is working properly
- Replace old water with fresh water on a bi-weekly basis
- If your tank is overcrowded or too small for your betta, consider getting a larger one.
- Feed your fish at least 2-3 times a day and make sure the food is of good quality
- Avoid rearranging the tank unless it is absolutely necessary
- Do not add any new fish to your aquarium without properly quarantining them first.
If your betta hasn’t eaten at all for two days in a row, try adding some live plants to his/her tank. This will help to create a more natural and relaxing environment for your betta and may encourage him or her to start eating again.
Of course, there are also diseases that can cause a betta to stop eating food. If you notice that your fish has lost a lot of weight, has red streaks on his body, or is covered in white spots, he may have contracted a serious illness and should be taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
If you have multiple betta fish in your tank with the same water parameters, your betta may have developed some sort of bacterial infection that’s causing him/her to stop eating. This is especially common if they are overcrowded or if their water quality isn’t very good.
In addition, bettas that have been in the same tank for a long time tend to develop certain types of bacteria over time and this can make him/her sick. If your betta doesn’t eat for more than three days, take them to a veterinarian for an examination.
If you’ve recently introduced a new fish into your tank, there’s a good chance that he or she may have brought some parasites along with them. These tiny creatures can attach themselves to your betta’s body and feed off of their blood, causing him/her to become weak and malnourished.
If you suspect that your betta has a parasitic infection, take him to a veterinarian for an examination and treatment. Many parasites can be treated with medication, but it’s important to diagnose the problem correctly in order to get the best results.
Swim bladder disease
The swim bladder is an organ that helps fish to control their buoyancy and rise up or down in the water. When bettas contract a bacterial infection, this organ can become swollen and distended due to fluid building up inside of it.
If your betta’s swim bladder becomes infected, he/she will often experience weight loss, lethargy, and a loss of appetite which will cause your betta to stop to eat food. In some cases, the infection can be fatal.
Finally, your betta fish might be refusing to eat because of the medication you’re giving them. If they’re being treated for a disease or infection, they may not feel like eating until they start feeling better.
If your betta isn’t eating because of medication, consult with your veterinarian for advice on how to get them to eat again. In some cases, you might need to discontinue the medication or find a way to make it more palatable for your betta.
There are many different reasons why a betta fish may stop eating, but some of the most common ones are a change in their environment, stress over stressful events, and diseases. If you’ve tried all of the tips above and your betta still isn’t eating, take him or her to a veterinarian for an examination. Chances are, it’s probably nothing, but it would be very beneficial to know for sure if your betta is healthy or not. If none of this reasons are why your betta fish not eating, you should consult a vet.