New Betta Won’t Eat


Q: FP wrote,

Christie, I just bought a crowntail male from a breeder 3 days ago and he won’t eat anything I give him. I have tried Bio-Gold pellets, betta bites and flakes. Is he stressed out from being shipped? I’m afraid he’s going to starve to death.

A: Acclimating to a new environment can certainly be a stressful experience and it isn’t at all uncommon for bettas to refuse food in the first several days. It can take up to two weeks for starvation to occur (so, I’m told… I’ve never tried of course) so there is no need to worry at this time. Personally, I have had bettas go a full 8 days before accepting food.

You may also want to consider what you are feeding. Often breeders prefer to feed a nutritious combination of live or frozen foods to insure your new betta is in tip top condition. It’s very possible that your fish has never seen pellets or flakes and doesn’t yet recognize them as betta food. You can either try offering him live foods like blackworms or brine shrimp or their frozen counterparts. If this isn’t an option for you then I recommend consistently feeding one brand of pellets/flakes until your betta learns to recognize it. Of course, food left to decompose in the tank can lead to serious water quality issues so if your betta doesn’t bite in the first 10 minutes, remove the uneaten food and try again later.

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Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

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