Why is my betta fish not eating food?

In this blog, we are going to discuss why a betta fish may not be eating food.


In this blog

  • Why is my betta fish not eating food?
  • Why is my betta fish not eating?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

Why is my betta fish not eating food?

Bettas are famous for their voracious appetites, and like to eat constantly and continuously.. If your fish stops eating, there may be several reasons. 

First, it may be that the fish is sick or injured and needs to be treated. Second, the fish may be refusing to eat because it is scared or uncomfortable. Let’s find out more about this.

Why is my betta fish not eating?

Betta fish get affected easily if they face any minor inconveniences in their surroundings and may stop eating.In this section we will discuss the reasons in detail. 

If your betta fish is new, they won’t eat immediately

When a new betta fish arrives at home after having been moved or transported, they experience a lot of stress. They are kept in small, plastic bags for long periods of time and often become uncomfortable because of the lack of space and movement restrictions.

It is difficult for new fish to adjust to their new environment unless they are well acclimatized. Some people don’t even realize what acclimatization is all about and put their fish directly into the new water, where the new fish gets a water shock due to the change in the water chemistry and avoids eating.

To avoid this transportation stress, try drip acclimating your betta fish for a few seconds using aquarium water. This process will reduce their stress and make them comfortable in their new environment.

If you don’t acclimate your new betta fish properly before adding them to their new homes they will show signs of distress and skip their meals too. And if you are not aware of the acclimatization process then you can check some acclimatization videos on youtube to know the process well.

A new betta fish starts eating food after 4-5 days, and if they still refuse food then there could be some infections or some other disease which could be troubling them due to stress. 

Stress comes with lots of infections and disease, so it is important to remove all stressors from the fish environment for its healthy life.

Your betta fish may be suffering from some internal disease

If your betta fish suddenly stops eating then there could be several reasons:

Betta fish might be suffering from some internal disease due to some nutrient imbalance. Betta fish are carnivores and prefer eating meaty food in their diets, exactly like their natural habitat. 

If you are not including proteins in their diet and feeding them food that is not designed for them then they may get some internal disease due to a lack of nutrients in their bodies and will refuse to eat.

They sometimes get some parasitic infections too which make them weak and they avoid eating completely. 

This usually happens when you give live food without quarantining them or when you add tank mates directly into the tank without keeping them in a quarantine tank. They come with lots of infections and have the ability to harm your fish.

Your betta fish may be suffering from constipation

The main reason for constipation is overeating. If you overfeed your fish more than they can, they will develop digestive problems and may stop eating due to constipation. It is your responsibility as a betta fish owner to feed your fish the right amount.

Feeding frequency is an important factor when caring for a betta fish. You should not feed a mature betta fish more than twice a day, and you should only feed them what they can finish in 3-4 minutes. If you keep feeding fish out of love, you’ll have to face the consequences.

Constipation is curable and can be reversed by fasting your betta fish or feeding them laxatives like peas or daphnia.

Your betta fish may be suffering from swim bladder disease

Swim bladder organs usually help a betta fish to maintain its position in the water column and if it is not working well or if it is impaired your betta fish will face problems in maintaining balance in the water. 

Betta fish stop eating when their swim bladder organs do not function properly. It is mainly due to overfeeding and constipation. 

It is therefore advised to never overfeed your fish. Overfeeding and underfeeding both are dangerous for your fish and can lead to various other issues in betta fish.

Your betta fish won’t eat if the water quality is poor

Betta fish are known for their hardy nature and have the image of living in harsh conditions too. In the wild, betta fish somehow manage to escape from the poor water conditions, but in a controlled environment like aquariums, they might find it tough to find a place where the water condition is pristine.

If the water is of poor quality in a controlled environment, your betta fish will do two things: either they will jump out of the aquarium or they will stop eating. It is important to check the water quality in the betta fish tank every day to ensure the pH and other organic pollutants in the tank. 

Your betta fish won’t eat due to temperature issues

Betta fish come from warm water regions and prefer the same water temperature in their tank. If you fail to replicate it in bettas controlled environment they might face various issues due to temperature fluctuations like temperature shocks, or premature aging also. 

The first thing you will notice if the temperature in the betta fish tank is too cold or too high is they will lose their appetite and will become lethargic. If you ignore this, your fish will die due to extreme temperatures in their tank.

Maintain the temperature range between 76-80F in the bettas tank to avoid such issues.

Your betta fish won’t eat due to old age

As betta fish begin to grow older, their metabolism slows down and they lose their enthusiasm for eating. Betta fish shouldn’t stop eating altogether as they age. The metabolism slows down and betta fish will not be able to digest its food like before.

Betta fish not hungry

Betta fish are moody, sometimes they don’t eat if they are not hungry. There could be several reasons, either they are napping or simply too full to accept food anymore.

Betta fish have a small stomach and they can eat as per their capacity, if they are full they will not eat. It is completely normal and one should not worry about this. Even we humans don’t eat if we are not hungry or we have not digested the previous food.

Important points to remember:

  • Always acclimate your new betta fish before adding them to their new home.
  • Maintain the pristine water conditions using water testing kits and other testing indicators.
  • Maintain water temperature in betta fish tank. Monitor temperature regularly to avoid temperature fluctuations and shocks.
  • Feed your betta fish the right type of food and especially food designed for betta fish.
  • Never overfeed your betta fish, as it can lead to various stomach upsets like constipation and swim bladder disorder.


If your betta is not accepting or eating food, it may be new and need time to adjust to its new environment. Make sure you acclimate a new fish before adding them to the aquarium. If you skip the process, your fish will become stressed and refuse to eat.

Feed a balanced diet to your betta fish to avoid internal infections, because they refuse to eat when they are suffering from some internal issues.

Quarantine live food before feeding your fish to avoid various infections and even quarantine new tank mates before adding to their tank to avoid the spread of disease to all fish in the tank.

Betta fish refuse to eat due to constipation, so avoid overfeeding your fish. Overfeeding is the root cause of many problems in betta fish. Be careful with overfeeding and underfeeding.

Maintain the water parameters and check them daily to avoid poor water chemistry. Make sure you are not ignoring your betta fish if it has stopped eating. Find out the reasons and try to resolve the issue, so that your betta fish start eating again.

Frequently asked questions

Can you directly add your betta fish to their new aquarium?

No, without acclimating your betta fish never add them to their new aquarium. If you don’t acclimate them they will refuse to eat due to stress.

Do betta fish refuse to eat due to internal infections?

Yes, a betta fish refuses to eat due to various internal infections.

Do betta fish stop eating due to constipation and swim bladder disease?

Yes, betta fish stop eating due to constipation and swim bladder disease.

What needs to be done when your betta fish suddenly stop eating food?

The first and the foremost thing a betta fish owner should do, when they see their betta fish has suddenly stopped eating is to check the water parameters. If the water parameters are disturbed your betta fish will refuse to eat and will try to jump out of their tank.