Why is my Betta fish not eating?

In this article, we will understand the main reasons why a Betta fish would stop eating. We will also discuss some manners to solve these issues and help your Betta fish.

Why is my Betta fish not eating?

There are several reasons why a Betta fish stop eating. They are usually involved with environmental conditions, such as water temperature, quality, and also stressful situations. It is also possible that a Betta fish lack its appetite due to some kind of illness, if it is overfed, or also just because it can be a picky eater.

However, there are some other possibilities. If you changed the food type or the Betta fish is waiting before ingesting the food, in this case with some frozen or freeze-dried foods.

Some Betta fish can be picky eaters

In nature, Betta fish eat live prey that squirms nearby and seem attractive. If your Betta fish is not eating the food you are offering, this could be due to the food you are offering is not appetizing enough for your fish.

Mos Betta fish flakes and pellets have many nutrients needed for a fish.  However, some Betta fish may not see the flake or pellet as food or do not like the taste. Thus, the Betta fish will not feed on them.

This is usually common to new Betta fish or if you are trying to change their diet. They could maybe be used to a diet with live, freeze-dried, or frozen items that seemed more attractive to their feeding habits.

To induce a Betta fish that rejects food, try complementing its diet with some other items. You can opt for some live food like brine shrimp and freeze-dried bloodworms. Combine these items with the fish flakes and pellets. Thus, your Betta may be more open to trying a new item. Usually, Betta fish with a varied diet are happier.

Temperature fluctuation

Betta fish are native to tropical waters. Thus, they require warm water with a temperature between 74 and 82 °F.  For this reason, if the water temperature falls below 74°, some problems could happen. Among these problems is the lack of appetite. This could be caused by a slower digestive process, which would make the fish uncomfortable. Additionally, cold waters may cause stress and thus, a lack of appetite.

To reduce the chances of your fish suffering from water temperature fluctuation, you should have heater equipment in the Betta fish tank. Thus, it would be possible to set a specific temperature and the equipment would keep it stable.

Once the water temperature is stable and appropriate, the Betta fish would probably start eating again.

Water parameters fluctuation

This is the most common reason why your Betta fish has stopped eating. Water quality is one of the most important conditions to keep a happy and healthy fish. 

Betta fish are usually set up in small tanks. Small tanks are the easiest to have issues with toxic substances, such as nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia as they can become dirty very quickly. These chemical levels can be very dangerous to your Betta fish and one of the first symptoms is the loss of appetite.

To keep the water quality, it is essential to avoid overfeeding your Betta fish, as overfeeding could provoke contaminant strikes due to decomposition. Also, to avoid waste accumulation, you should set a water change routine, partial changes weekly or biweekly.

Additionally, it is strongly recommended to keep a good filter in a Betta fish tank. Thus, the equipment would assist in removing part of the waste and also give place to beneficial organisms, such as some bacteria. Thus, the chemical levels could be controlled and monitored using testing kits.

Your Betta fish can be stressed or ill

Another reason why your Betta fish is not eating could be due to stressful situations or some illness. These two motives could easily be mistaken by each other. Thus, it is very important to closely observe your Betta fish determine the main reason.

Wrong tankmates, reflective surfaces, and lack of hiding spaces can result in the Betta fish stress. Also, changes in the tank structure, new fish, too much light, or strong water current could lead to a stressed Betta fish. And consequently, the Betta fish would stop eating. 

To make your Betta fish a bit more comfortable in the case of tank adjustments until they readapt to the area, it is fundamental to keep the tank calm and not too bright. Also, it is possible to add some plants and hiding spots for them to feel safer. Regarding tankmates, it is essential not to have any fin nipper, opt for peaceful calm non-territorial fish.

If you assess and determine that stress is not the issue with your Betta fish, maybe the problem is a sickness. Look closely for some other illness symptoms, such as swimming disorders, breathing issues, or lethargy. Also, you can search for white spots along the Betta fish’s body and fins. Rotten fins and scales loss may also indicate a health problem.

Several illnesses can inflict your Betta fish and they can be caused by different organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, or parasites. Each type of disease should be treated differently. Thus, we recommend visiting the veterinarian for a specific medication. However, there are a few things you can do meanwhile, such as water changes, salt addition, and temperature corrections.

You are overfeeding your Betta fish

Your Betta fish may also stop eating a specific type of food if it is being overfed with many other preferred types. For example, if you complement a pellet diet with live or freeze-dried items, and you offer a lot of the complements, the Betta fish would possibly leave the pellets just because they are not hungry anymore. 

Overfeeding can also lead to health issues, such as constipation and swim bladder disease. Thus, it is crucial to offer only the required amount of food to avoid overfeeding your Betta fish.

Some tips to keep your Betta fish eating

Here are some tips on what you could do to keep your Betta fish eating.

–       Betta fish should have a varied diet, pellets or flakes complemented by freeze-dried or live items.;

–       Keep the fish food new in a sealed package. Old fish food may become tasteless;

–       Set up a water change routine. Partial changes (25% of the water) weekly or biweekly;

–       Test and control water parameters routinely to avoid any chemical strikes;

–       Have a heater to keep the temperature stable between 74 and 82°F;

–       Set the tank up properly, with plenty of plants and hiding spots to avoid stress;

–       Observe and look for sicknesses, take your fish to the veterinarian if necessary.


In this article, we understood the main reasons why a Betta fish would stop eating. We also discussed some manners to solve these issues and help your Betta fish.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why is my Betta fish not eating?

What do I feed my Betta fish?

Betta fish are carnivorous. Thus, it is important to feed them with an animal-protein-rich diet. Brine Shrimp and bloodworms are good options to complement a fish pellet/flakes diet basis. These items can be offered live or freeze-dried.

How many days can a Betta fish go without food?

Betta fish can survive for up to 14 days without food. However, it is fundamental to keep in mind this condition is not encouraged as it can lead to very stressful situations and provoke health issues.

Can Betta fish eat rice?

No, carbohydrates, such as rice, are not recommended to Betta fish as they have no nutritional value for carnivorous fish, such as the Betta fish.

Can you overfeed Betta fish?

In nature, Betta fish usually feed whenever they can find food. Thus, in the tank, if there are lots of food available, they will probably overeat and thus, they can easily have digestive issues, such as bloating, obesity, and constipation. Overfeeding your Betta fish can also result in excessive leftovers that could contaminate the water.

Do Betta fish sleep?

Betta fish do sleep and rest at night. However, their resting/sleeping periods are different from human sleeping behaviour. They have naps throughout the day.

Can Betta fish eat chicken?

Yes, Betta fish can eat chicken. However, only in small amounts and, as it is not part of their natural diet, it is not recommended. Although Betta fish are carnivores, the animal protein in their diet should be from brine shrimp and bloodworms, for example.


Why Is My Betta Fish Not Eating? https://japanesefightingfish.org/betta-fish-not-eating/

Momchil. 2020. 8 Reasons Why Your Betta Fish Won’t Eat (+Tips). https://aquanswers.com/betta-fish-wont-eat-reasons-why/

Sheppard, M. 2021. Why Your Betta Fish Is Not Eating (Simple Checklist). https://www.aquariumsource.com/betta-fish-not-eating/

Betta Fish Not Eating (All Reasons & Solutions). https://www.bettacarefishguide.com/betta-fish-not-eating/