daphnia, originally uploaded by charlieu.

Last weeks article discussed how to prepare a green pea as a remedy for your constipated Betta. Some Bettas are picker than others and occasionally you’ll have one that won’t eat the pea even after several attempts. If you suspect your Betta may be constipated and have already tried feeding him blanched pea to no avail, here are a few alternative treatments.

1. Fasting. Fasting is really the first thing you should try if you Betta isn’t defecating. The most common cause of constipation in Bettas is overfeeding. Simply allowing the waste to pass without compounding the problem with additional food is often all the fish requires. Holding back feeding for two days is usually enough and is safe for adult fish of sufficient weight. Many Betta keepers, to promote good digestion, will fast their fish one day per week as a preventative measure, which seems to work well for many hobbyists.

2. Daphnia. Daphnia are small water fleas commonly found in freshwater environments. They are nutritious and known to act as a mild laxative and a digestive aide. Many Bettas will eat them readily, especially fish raised by breeders who fed live and frozen diets to their Bettas early on. If possible, select frozen or live daphnia which may be purchased at specialty fish stores. They have a much higher moisture content (typically 89%) and are less likely to expand with water in the fish’s gut, which can lead to additional blockages. If you can’t find frozen or live daphnia, most local fish stores will carry the freeze-dried version. Freeze-dried daphnia are high in fiber but have a very low moisture content (about 7%) and should be soaked for about 10 minutes prior to feeding to allow them to expand fully before entering the Betta’s digestive system.

3. Mysis Shrimp. Mysis shrimp can be found frozen at many specialty fish stores. These small freshwater shrimp are readily gobbled up by many Bettas. They don’t have the reputation as a laxative like daphnia and have a slightly lower fiber content, but like the small water fleas, they do have an exoskeleton that offers extra roughage to your Betta’s diet. Mysis shrimp, when used as part of a varied diet, can help reduce instances of constipation in Bettas.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Karen Feege says:

    Hi Christie –
    Is it ok to feed mysis shrimp to fish who have swim bladder problems. ? I alternate my feeding with brine shrimp in am, blood worms in pm and daphnia and mysis shrimp interspersed with the BS and BW.
    Do you think this is a good diet?
    What is the best diet for a fish that has chronic swim bladder.?

  2. Jamie says:

    My Betta won’t eat anything at this point- help! What should I do?

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