Originally uploaded by john.nathaniel.

Q: AC wrote,

I think my Betta might be going blind. When I drop pellets into his tank he lunges several times before he catches them and sometimes doesn’t catch them at all. I feel bad for him.

A: I get this question more often then you’d believe. I think it is certainly possible for Bettas to loose their eyesight, especially as they age but I suspect a more common problem comes from how their eyes are placed on their heads in combination with non-moving “prey”. I don’t exactly have the scientific evidence to back this up but I too have had problems with Bettas catching their food, especially when I’m feeding pellets or flakes. Instead of dropping the food directly in front of them, try placing it to the side of them where their eyes are located so they are able to easily see it. Also, since Bettas are hunters who are naturally drawn to live prey, their bodies may have been designed to pinpoint movement more so than shape or distance. Your Betta might have better luck with a wiggly worm rather than more stagnant items. If you’re squeamish and live worms aren’t an option, you could try the frozen or freeze-dried variety, which can be dangled tantalizingly with a pair of aquarium forceps.

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