Are you concerned that your betta isn’t eating enough? Here are four common reasons that could explain why your betta fish isn’t eating.

1. Change in Environment

All fish, including bettas, are sensitive to changes in their environment. Even subtle changes in water chemistry can stress your betta enough that he’ll stop eating. This is most common when you first bring your betta fish home from the store or breeder. It can take several days or more for your betta to acclimate to his new home and he may eat sparsely or not at all while he adapts to his new surroundings. Even if his new tank is larger and cleaner than the store cup, time is still required for him to adjust to his home.

Temporary appetite loss may also occur whenever you drastically change your betta’s water parameters, such as when you perform large water changes. To avoid environmental stress that may lead to his appetite loss, acclimate your betta slowly to his new environment and keep your water parameters stable by cycling your aquarium.

2. Change in Diet

Some bettas will refuse to eat new foods when they are introduced. Some bettas are picky eaters and prefer one food type over another, but more often the fish simply don’t recognize the new offering as food. Betta breeders, for example, will often feed their juvenile bettas a combination of live and frozen foods to ensure they are getting nutritious, high-quality food that aids in rapid growth. When you then offer your new betta pellet or fish flakes, he may avoid eating or spit out the food not recognizing it as food at all.

Betta pellets and flakes look and taste very different from their live or frozen counterparts. Offer your betta a variety of foods to get him used to trying new things. If your betta won’t eat a particular type of food, remove it from the tank after 10 minutes and try again later. Continue trying to feed that food over several days. If he still won’t eat it after three days, try something else. Most betta fish love foods that are close to what they would eat in the wild and very few will refuse live worms or larvae. If you are too squeamish to feed your betta live foods, or if they aren’t available at your local fish store, frozen is next best thing.

3. Water Temperature

Bettas are cold blooded animals whose metabolism is directly influenced by the ambient water temperature around them. Betta splendens, being tropical fish, require their water temperature to be stable somewhere between 76°F – 80°F (24.4°C – 26.6°C) Bettas kept in warm water metabolize their food faster and need to eat more often to keep their energy up. When bettas are kept in cooler water, their metabolism slows and they require less to eat. Bettas kept in unheated tanks may eat less than bettas kept in heated aquariums.

4. Disease

Appetite loss is a common symptom of many betta fish diseases. If your betta suddenly stops eating, first test your water to see if there has been a change in his water parameters. Next, observe him closely for other signs of illness such as color loss, lethargy, clamped fins, bloating, swelling, open soars, ripped or bloody fins, parasites, fungus or any other symptom that may be out of the ordinary for your betta. Since the average betta keeper doesn’t have the tools to test their betta for disease, diagnosis is usually made by testing the water and observing symptoms. If you suspect your betta is sick, it will be necessary to fix the cause (often environmental stressors) and possibly the disease too before he will accept food again.

53/365, originally uploaded by Tentworms.

Post Rating
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)

Reader Interactions


  1. Michelle says:

    i need help. my betta will not eat and he is getting holes in his fins

    • Lobster says:

      see what the holes look like. If the holes look like it’s being “eaten away”, he’s probably self-biting his tail, if it’s white-ish/blackish, that’s a fungus infection/fin rot. Get the tank he’s in, and do a 100% water change fam. put some stress coat or fungus medication(the one’s at the big chain pet stores aren’t useful. good fungus meds are usually online, or an actual fish store that cares for fish and not $$) in there and make sure it’s clean. If that’s not helping at all, it might be hereditary and your fish might die, which isn’t usually the case.
      If you want a start on what meds to use, I use Mardel: Maracyn Oxy or their Maracyn plus. Healed my severely fin rot betta rescue in a week. Just keep the tank REALLY clean for the next month or so and he’ll be good.

  2. Piet says:

    Hi I got a betta fish last saturday. 2 females. Each of them lives separately on a 5 gallon tank. The problem here is they wont eat anything it has been a week. I tried flakes,pellets frozen food and dried food. I cant find any live foods in our area. I live in the tropics the temperature here is 76-82ºF / 24-27ºC. I do a weekly water change. What can i do to get them interested in eating. I also dried mixing garlic juice with the food it wont work. Can someone please help me i dont want my betta fish to die =( help me please

  3. Valerie says:

    After bringing my betta home, I couldn’t get him to eat for 3-4 days. I began to suspect that he’d been on a live food diet, and didn’t think the stuff I offered him was actually food. What I ended up doing was swish a little freeze dried food with some tank water in a shot glass, and then pour it slowly back into the tank. The current made the food swirl around, and he went after it like mad.
    Since then he’s been plenty content with food sprinkled at the surface, and waits for me in the same spot every day when he knows it’s meal time. He primarily eats pellets, although I do have to crush them first or he’ll spit them out. As he’s getting older/bigger he seems to be able to handle them in larger pieces, and I imagine he’ll take them whole before long.
    Hope this helps someone! 🙂

  4. elizabeth says:

    will you please help me. my betta wont eat, and hasn’t been for at least 4 days

    • mabry says:

      I’m not sure what’s wrong. Have you tried live or freeze dried food?

      • elizabeth says:

        yes.She wont eat ANYTHING, and I’ve tried EVERYTHING!

        • Elizabeth Bucalo says:

          my betta Hickory has not eaten since a day and brought her home and now she looks like she’s dying

  5. Sarah says:

    What do I do? My betta fish was overfeeded 10 pellets at one feeding… (my fault)… now he won’t eat at all for three days straight! Please help! Thank you!

    • dsfg asdfasd says:

      He probably is just constipated. Bettas get constipated quite easily, so try feeding him a boiled, crushed pea, without the shell.

  6. Kat says:

    My Betta will almost never move and will not eat. We know his fins are rotting and his medicine only makes too drowsy to eat so we rarely give it to him. We changed his entire tank and did not keep anything that was in his tank previously. He also lost almost all of his fins and colour. He hasn’t eaten in over a week. He does not have much time left please help me.

  7. Melvin says:

    I’ve had my betta for 2 months now and ever since purchase he hasn’t eaten. I’ve kept him in a 5-gallon tank and I doubt it has anything to do with water quality, I have tried feeding him frozen blood worms, flakes, 4 different type of pellets and dried brine shrimp. What should I do? should I transfer him into a bowl and see if he’ll begin eating?

    • Jack says:

      I just moved my Betta into a new 5gal tank and he isn’t eating! I am feeding him bloodworms but he just sits at the bottom and does nothing! Please HELP!

  8. Jenn says:

    My betta wont eat and is also bloated…what can i do?

    • Kayleigh Brousseau says:

      Take a frozen pea and take off the skin then break it into a tiny peace and do your best to make your betta eat it. It will clear out his system

  9. Andi says:

    My Betta stopped eating. Started about 2 weeks ago. I have had him about 6 months now. He always had a great appetite, ate 6-8 pellets 2x a day. Now the 2-3 pellets he eats he spits back out. He doesn’t seam to have the spunk that he had before either, he seams to have slowed down some but I haven’t noticed any change in his physical appearance. I will try the blood worms & shrimp, any other thoughts?

  10. Jared says:

    Try to not feed your betta too much. Give it’s digestive system a rest for at least one day. And maybe only feed your fish 2-3 pellets a day.

  11. Cathie Ryhal says:

    My beta fish will not eat anything and when he was trying he just spat them out

  12. anny says:

    my betta fish wll not eat it has bin 2 weeks and i have tried flakes and pellets but he just spitts them out when someone walkes in the room he justs hides i moved his tank near my sisters fish please help i am worried thx i will try live food bye

  13. vinay says:

    my betta eats only live food but live food is not available everytime

  14. Kajal says:

    My betta is not eating food since last week and hence losing its color
    And now it is drowsing what to fo someone please suggest
    Dont want loose my betta

  15. Lou says:

    I got a new betta fish a couple weeks ago and I cannot get him to eat still I’ve tried several different pellets different flags dried bloodworms and brine shrimp he doesn’t seem sick to me I’ve not noticed anything what can I do to get him to eat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *