The Fishie and the Pea, originally uploaded by Mean and Pinchy.

Green pea, either fresh or frozen, is often used by betta keepers to alleviate mild constipation sometimes caused by flake, pellet or freeze dried fish foods. While it does little nutritionally for bettas, it is high in fiber and contains added moisture which often lacks from commercial dry fish food.

Serving Size: 1/4 – 1/2 Pea per Betta.

To prepare, take one pea and blanch it by dropping it into boiling water to soften it. After cooking for 30 seconds for fresh peas or 1 minute for frozen, remove and drop into ice cold water until cooled. Peal the skin away and feed a small portion of the inside to the betta.

To save time and keep things simple, I have found that using very hot tap water works fine too, however cooking time should be increased to two minutes or more depending on how hot your water is out of the faucet. Be sure the pea is fully cooled before feeding to your betta.

Pea can be used in moderation to treat mild bloating due to constipation or once per week to add fiber to your betta’s diet as a preventative measure. Most bettas will readily eat the pea but occasionally a individual fish won’t take it. Check back later this week for an article on alternative constipation treatments.

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Reader Interactions


  1. beatgrl says:

    How can you tell if your Betta is constipated?

    • Brenna says:

      The most significant way of telling is if your betta has a swollen upper belly, resulting of lack of moisture in certain fish foods, such as pellets and bloodworms. I never knew what was wrong with my fish before researching, and thought it might have been pregnant! Stupid me!

  2. Miss Moneypenny says:

    Because the poor fella hasn’t “been” for a while. But if he was a mathematician, he could it out with a pencil.
    Here’s what I found concerning the matter.
    Peace! Or should I say Peas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    how do you get the betta to eat the pea since it doesn’t float?

    • Nayeli says:

      You can try hand feeding with a toothpick.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to answer my own question in case anyone else is having trouble. just now I finally got my betta to eat a piece. He had to first get hungry enough to give in and eat it. my strategy was to hold a small piece with tweezers and swoosh it around in the water. I also tapped on his tank. After getting his attention, I held the pea right by his mouth and he finally ate it. It has taken several days to get to this point. I’ve been giving him periodic epsom salt baths too. he is still lying on his side, but we’ll see.

    • MRAYE says:

      “Straw Method” – I mushed the pea up with my fingers and put a small piece on the inside end of a straw. then, held the straw just above the water until I could tell the fish was paying attention. Then I dipped the straw and the tiny piece of pea would drop in front of the fish. And my fish would suck it up. I resorted to this method because I was wasting so many peas because they would just drop to the bottom of the tank.

    • My fish is named Annabeth says:

      i decided to fast my betta for two days, I gave her a pea today and she ate it first try!

    • anonymous says:

      just put the pea into water with the betta pellets so the peas will taste like betta food.

  5. Ash says:

    So my betta, Dragon, has been in a hospital tank taking epsom salt baths. He is no longer floating on his side and swimming around some. But I can’t get him to eat the damn pea. I’ve tried everything! He’s so stubborn!!! Anyway, I’m gonna give that tweezer trick a try, I just don’t want him to hurt himself. On another note, his belly is still white from being now only slightly constipated and his color has paled some. Is it because of the fasting? Or is it something else? Should I worry?

    • Christie F. says:

      Pea is just an aid in treating constipation in bettas. Don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to get him to eat it. The important thing is making sure you don’t overfeed. If the bloating is going down, then that’s a good thing. Color loss could be a sign of stress caused by the salt baths or possibly the fasting if he has gone a long time without food. How long have you been fasting him?

      • amanda says:

        I hv fasted fish for 4 days now, still pretty bloated and belly white. Dont knw wht to do. Going to try the pea thing again with tweezers see if he will eat. Very worried dont know what else to do. Wht goes into a hospifal tank?

  6. Laura says:

    I just feed my betta a 1/4 of a pea and now he is acting like he is really sick, floating near the top?? what is wrong with him I am really scared now, he acts like he is out of it, what should I do???

  7. selene villarreal says:

    I went on vacations and told my brother to give my betta 3 pallets on the morning and 3 at night.. >: / HE DIDNT LISTEN!!.. he gave him more and when i came back i saw he has a big belly not to big but he wasnt like this when i left…. i don’t know what to do, should i stop feeding him or take him to the vet I DON’T WANT TO SEE HIM GET WORST!… please help me!… :’(

    • Christie F. says:

      If he was just overfed a little I’d recommend simply skipping a meal or two. He’ll likely poop some time in the next 24 hours.

      • selene villarreal says:

        well, he was overfed like for about 4 days i think he gave him 6 pallets in the morning and at night… 🙁 i’m just guessing the num, because he said it just what ever came out in the square… so i just leave him without food for about 2 days..??…

      • Perry the betta says:

        I can’t buy peas. Can I just stop feeding her for a few days?

  8. selene says:

    My betta fish still have the belly and i haven’t seen him poop.. I saw that there is like something yellow like pus at the bottom part of the tank its a small piece, does that mean something is wrong?…. 🙁

    • Christie F. says:

      I’m not sure what the puss-like thing is. Are you sure that he is bloated because of constipation or does it look more like fluid buildup? Have you ruled out Dropsy?

  9. selene says:

    Yes, he looks kind of bloated not huge but a bit! I don’t think he has Dropsy, he doesnt look like the fish that has dropsy…. here are some pict, hope you can see them ….. I really dont know how he will look if he is just bloated because of constipation or fluid buildup…. I will buy the epsom salt today in case you do recommend me to add it to the fish tank. Thank you !… 😀

    • Christie F. says:

      He looks only mildly bloated. I can’t yet tell if it is constipation or Dropsy. He doesn’t have the pineconing that bettas often get with Dropsy so that’s a good thing. I suspect you are correct and he just has some very mild constipation. I’d try fasting him for two days to see if he poops. It’s good that you have no substrate. You’ll be able to tell if he goes.

  10. selene says:

    How many days can i feed my betta fish with peas?? twice a day for a week, or how???….
    thank you !

    • Christie F. says:

      Feed pea once or twice per week. Daily feeding is not recommended as peas do not contain the nutrition bettas need. (Think of it as adding a little fiber to their diet.)

      • Jessica Mac Donald says:

        Dear Christie,
        My fish bubbly is swimming on his side & i don’t know what’s wrong my fish i am scared that he might die.What i should do about him swimming side ways?Is that normal?Please help me save my fish

  11. selene says:

    Hi Christie, I have another issue with another betta fish. My betta fish has something that looks like a bubble in his gills… here are some photos to share with you soorrry it wasnt too good but he doesn’t like pictures at all… 😀 Hope you can tell me what it is, because im worry …. by the way my other betta with constipation is FINE NOW…lol

    • Christie F. says:

      Selene, the link does not work or I do not have permission to view it.
      Is it perhaps just a bubble from a water change? Small gas bubbles are released when you do a water change and sometimes they stick to the betta’s body.

  12. shannon says:

    My betta, Lunar is sick. Very worried, his symptoms are no energy, eating sometimes, swimming on side, limited or no interaction with me. seems to be sleeping almost all the time.
    Not sure , what is going on. Just know that , I want to help him.
    Lunar’s mom

  13. B says:

    My little Brother’s betta fish is really sick, He’s bloated, swimming on his side, not eating, I don’t think he’s pooping, and all day unless he’s starteld his floating at the top of his bowl. I’ve done everything I can think of, Please help!

  14. Amanda says:

    Hi Christie:
    My betta, Girardi, is not feeling so hot. I have a very sneaking suspicion that he ate a small guppy that wasn’t feeling well. He is bloated in his underbelly and had a small lump down the shaft of his body close to his tail. He was not swimming very well in the tank yesterday so I put him in the hospital bowl where he is now resting comfortably. In the event he did in fact eat the guppy, will nature take its course and break it down for digestion or is Girardi on track for a fateful ending?
    I’m considering the pea idea to see if that will help him pass whatever may be lurking in his belly, but again, Im not even 100% sure that is the case. I ripped the tank apart looking for the guppy and he’s GONE! That adds to my suspicion even more. I thought of giving him fishy Heimlich last night until my husband called me crazy and told me to let him rest. I though if I could get him to vomit out whatever may be lodged in his tummy he would feel better. Any suggestions?

  15. Emily says:

    Hello! I’m quite worried about my female beta. Her belly is bloated and she is using the bathroom regularly, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have dropsy (no pine coning and I do water changes daily) and I feed her only a little now. I’m not sure if it’s getting bigger, but it does seem rounder than before and I don’t really know what to do. She swims around healthily, eats normal and seems to be really happy. Should I be worried that maybe eggs are stuck inside her? She doesn’t show horizontal stripes and I am not trying to breed them.

  16. Erin says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! My betta was accidentally overfed and was floating in one corner for hours on end. I didn’t feed him for a couple days and then gave him a tiny piece of pea and after 24 hours he’s now happily swimming around his tank!

  17. Stacy says:

    Not sure if my betta has a swim bladder issue or not….after feeding (tropical fish flakes) for the next 24 hours he floats in normal position at the top of his tank…he tries to swim down, but bobs back to the surface…have switched him to a betta food (red flakes and pieces of worm) this has seemed to help some….does this sound like sbd or constipation? Thanks

    • Kristin says:

      Stacy I am having the same isue with my betta, did you find out what was the problem? Please email me back because i dont know what is wrong.
      thank you

      • Rebekah says:

        My fish is having the same problem! If you could tell me if it worked or what happened, that would be great 🙂

  18. Elle says:

    My little guy has been bloated for a 7-10 days. I’m sure he is constipated. He looks fine other than a bloated belly & closed tail. He has really eaten nothing for a week now. For the last 3 days I gave him Betta Revive (just because & I knew it wouldn’t hurt). I just got in from buying some frozen peas; prepared one, put a little bit on the end of a toothpick and… nada! He wont touch it 🙁 Any ideas… cause I’ve run out of them. Please rely!

  19. Christy says:

    My betta has slight tears on his top fin. He is a little bit discolored and sleeps all day. I have noticed that he doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite Ny more and that he has a hard time swimming. The only way I can get him to move is “spooning” him (haha) but I am afraid he is dieing. I put ALOT of food in there at a time because he won’t eat it. He only goes for the huge ones that he has to spit out the eat again that lay down on the plants. I have a half a gallon tank that hangs on my wall with fake plants and no live food. He does not seem to be happy and I want himm happy. He is a year old and his color is kinda turning a weird brownish blue instead of the green blue I bought him like. Also, do fish like light? I read they don’t like mirrors? Is it Ok to have a lamp right by his tank? I dont want him to be lonely but I know bettas are violent. What do I do to make him the happiest betta ever?

    • Cat Ireland says:

      Feed it very little just a few pellets. Don’t make portions bigger than his eyes. Clean out the bowl, get rid of the food that’s left over, it is causing his water to become toxic. Clean everything but don’t clean the bacteria completely off about 50%. They need some bacteria in there.

  20. Christy says:

    I noticed that his stomach does look a little bit bloated. How do i feed my beta worms or shrimp? Where doni get it? Do I cook it? Are they alive? Do they come with instructions? I just don’t want my fish to have to eat pellets all the time and I want to get other foods in there. But I have not been into a pet store since I bought him. And do they hear you? Can they see your face and recognize you? Do they like dark or light? I keep my room light off during the day and he sleeps during the day but around midnight and till about 6 he seems more awake. Is he nocturnal or what? What colors does he like?

  21. Cassie says:

    I’m trying this method with my beta but am finding it difficult because the pea starts to sink before he can get to it. What can I do so it floats longer?

    • Adam says:

      What I do is lace the ailing fish in a hospital tank so it’s easier to swim to the top and easier to see the food sitting on th bottom. Keep the smaller tank clean, could take over a week for some fish to get hungry enough to eat a pea.

  22. Ann says:

    My Betta Brisinger (2 year old) has been swollen for 2 weeks now. His color is fine but his belly is very swollen with no pineconing.. I fasted him for 4 days. I tried the pea treatment but not successful. I gave him one pellet which he ate right away. I am a bit scared tyo do an epson salt bath for fear that he may die from the stress.. He is swimming normally. His pellet food was changed to a diffrent brand about a week before I noticed the swelling. Help. .

    • Michelle S says:

      Hi Ann. We are experiencing exactly the same things with our Betta. He is bloated, but has no pineconing. He’s having trouble swimming in an upright position, but still has plenty of energy. And, his appetite is still very much intact…even ate three tiny pieces of the inside of a pea with no hesitation. He’s been bloated for 2-3 weeks now and as far as I can tell, he is not having any bowel movements. I can’t figure out what else to do for him, but I’m desperate to help him. Did you have any luck with your Betta?

  23. Rankanda says:

    I gave my betta to a freind to to take care of while i was on a holiday for
    2 months. when i got him back he had a swollen belly and red streaks
    on his fins.
    i gave him a frozen pea and epsom salt baths for just 3 days.
    Im not so sure what he has so dont know what treatments to give him.
    he is still pretty active as eats still. its just that i dont find his
    feaces when cleaning the bowl.
    and his belly is swollen still and it has been about 3 months now. he
    is not at all acting lethargic?
    I dont know what to do because im too scared to keep on feeding him
    any advice?
    thanx 🙂
    reply soon!

  24. Nyberg says:

    have a crowntail male betta that is bloated, however he is still very active and ate any portion of pea I offered him. I am a little worried because I have never seen a betta bloated like this before. I gave him pea twice today (morning and night.) At this point all I can do is wait a few days right? Is being active and still hungry a good sign?

  25. Jessica Mac Donald says:

    Can someone please help me with getting my fish better?Does anyone have idea on what i should do?

  26. JEWLEE says:


  27. LuLu says:

    My betta fish was fine when i brought her
    And its been like a week and now her stomach
    Is big and she has a white spot under her belly
    And im scared. Is she going to lay eggs? Or did
    She consepate?

  28. krissy says:

    hi, I have a problem treated my betta with maracyn two for 5 days only. removed carbon and ammoina it was clear what the problem was popeye protruding eyes with the hazt white spot in the middle after three days of treatment it went away he was what i thought perfect health. swimming around eating happy. on the 5th day of treatment that morning he was swollen bloated protruding fins. i had checked all the water levels before treatment all was fine. i checked on the fifth day and the PH was at 7.6 took a water sample to petco it read fine but im still getting what i belive is too high PH ..i did a 40% yesterday morning took all plants out and house he is in a 10g after water change put betta h20 water conditioner stress coat aloe vera 2 rounded teaspoons of api aquarium salt. i put carbon back and filter and ammonia in filter also added a a liitle flow of air bubbles. tank is clean left him through the night today looks like hes going to burst he is so swollen and bloated …he lays on the bottom of the tank..i havent fed him in days its been 2 ..( he wont eat anyway) i did do the pea there is a little couple of peices on the bottom of the tank ( he wont touch) please can you tell me what do? doesthe epson salt dip help. this is the only thing i havent tried or retreating with a different med……it could be he got a airbubble….will he survive this? it doesnt seem to be getting any better.

    • Susann says:

      If you put the carbon fillter back in after the last day of treatment you need to leave it out for a week after the treatment was over..

  29. coolguy123 says:

    try impaling your pea through a toothpick and move it around in the water till it comes near the betta’s mouth. hopefully it will suck it up.

  30. Autumn Sullivan says:

    How long after u feed the betta a pea, when will u be able to feed ur betta regular food, like my waiting time to wait

  31. Kristen says:

    I got back from winter break and my betta is bloated under his chin and is having a hard time swimming. He is doing a lot of floating and I think he is dying. His scales look a bit raised, but he is not bloated all over. I’m trying to feed him a pea, this is very difficult. And I am fasting him. Any other suggestions?

  32. tiffany Montoya says:

    PLZ HELP!!!! My cat has a pet betta fish named flame the last few days jr jas been swimming real slow not eating i see his throat area is very swollen ( not sure if this os his belly) he is a red betta but his swollen area is discolored but it looks like his head is stuck in an upward position because of the swelling hr is not swimming on his side just floating at the top and no spike scales im so sad my cat.knows hes sick and wont leave his tank plz help im an emotional reck …

  33. Kate says:

    I realize this thread is old by now, but I was just wondering if anyone knows how long the pea may take to work? My fish’s abdomen is probably three or four times it’s normal size. I fed him a pea and a half about an hour ago.

  34. Linda Amen says:

    my betta has diarrhea. can see poo stains on his pink plastic flowers. he acts ok, makes bubble nests, but doesn’t want to eat much. help please.

  35. Kenlee says:

    Hey everyone! My fish has dropsy and I want to clean his bowl but I don’t want to hurt my poor boy 🙁 will I hurt him if I catch him in a net while he is so bloated?!

  36. PepperTheBettaFish says:

    Hi! I noticed Saturday evening that my betta fish, Pepper, had a bloated stomach. At first, I thought it was overfeeding, which is probably part of it, but I also think that it might be constipation. I haven noticed him pooping, and I usually see it in the bottom of the tank. I fasted him for one day, this morning I gave him one pellet of food, and I just gave him part of a pea. I plan on fasting him for maybe 1 or 2 more days, whatever one won starve him. Is there anything else I should do? Oh, and in case you are wondering I have been feeding him Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Pellets. He has been acting normal, except for the fact that he is lying in the bottom of the tank a little more. Thank you for any replies!

  37. Carol Melcher says:

    I have 4 male bettas, each in its own 1 gallon condo (not spoiled much). They love peas. I started giving them bits of canned peas when I got each one, as a weekly addition to their regular diets and now they look for them. As far as feeding with a tweezer goes, I found the best way as follows: Go to Ebay and purchase an 18″, round-tipped, stainless steel tweezer. This way you can boil the tweezer if you have to sterilize it, the fish can take food from the tip of the tweezer without sticking himself and you don’t have to have your hand in the bowl because the 18″ usually is long enough so the betta will come to it and you don’t have to go to your betta. Three of my guys will hand-feed from me, but number four says “No way”. (There is always one in every bunch), and he doesn’t like to bottom feed so the tweezer is great for him). No matter the length of the tweezer, ALWAYS get a round-tipped one for safety.

  38. Rachael says:

    I hope someone here can help. My betta has been constipated for over a week. I have fasted him, I have given him Peas, I have changed his food. And he doesn’t seem to be reducing his stomach bloat. He’s behaving completely normal, he looks completely normal aside from a very bloated stomach. He’s making bubble nests, he’s swimming around, he wants to eat anytime I put food in his tank. I don’t understand. How long does it usually take for constipation to clear up?

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