Why is my betta fish overweight?

In this blog, we are going to discuss an overweight betta fish. This blog will help betta keepers to deal with their obese betta fish.


In this blog

  • Why is my betta fish overweight?
  • Why do betta fish become overweight?
  • What should you feed your betta fish?
  • What should be the feeding frequency of betta fish?
  • What disease does betta fish get due to obesity?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

Why is my betta fish overweight?

Obesity is one of the common problems that most betta owners face. Bettas become overweight when they overeat and move less. 

Captive-bred betta fish are less active than wild betta fish due to the convenience provided by the aquarium owners. Bettas will rely on their owners for food and other care in the controlled environment.

In the wild, betta fish chase their food and shed a lot of calories. They get both mental stimulation and physical exercise by chasing insects and other aquatic food in their natural habitat.

In a controlled environment, their movement gets restricted and they spend most of their time resting and hiding. Mental stimulation and physical exercise are rare in a controlled environment.

In the next sections, we will learn more about an overweight betta fish.

Why do betta fish become overweight?

Overfeeding or overeating is one of the major reasons for betta fish to gain weight. Eating a lot of foods that are high in protein or fats, without also including enough balanced nutrients, can lead to obesity in betta fish.

Some betta fish owners don’t know how much to feed their fish and they don’t keep track of what to feed their fish and how much to feed them. If you don’t watch what you feed your fish and how much you feed, your fighting fish will become overweight.

If the tank water is too cold, the betta will not be able to properly digest its food, and this can also lead to lethargy because the betta does not have enough energy to swim. Because of the cold water, they will gain weight and appear fat.

Betta is a tropical fish, and lives in warm waters in their wild habitats and requires a water temperature in the range of 76-80F to survive. Anything below this temperature can be harmful to bettas. It is important to replicate the same environment in bettas artificial habitat to make them feel at home away from home.

What should you feed your betta fish?

Betta fish are naturally carnivorous, but they accept a variety of food in aquarium conditions. It is essential to replicate betta fish diets and provide them with all the necessary nutrients in a balanced amount. 

Betta pellets or betta-specific pellets- It is popular among betta keepers because it provides all the necessary nutrients required for betta fish growth and development.

Live food is essential to betta’s health as it is what they eat in their wild habitat. You can feed them a variety of insects, worms, and crustaceans. 

Freeze-dried or frozen food can also be fed to betta fish if live food is not available. It is easy to store and feed. It doesn’t require quarantining.

You can also feed fresh veggies from your kitchen, but make sure to wash them well before feeding.

Some betta owners also feed chicken and other meaty food they consume. Feeding moderately can avoid many problems related to bettas digestive system. 

What should be the feeding frequency of betta fish?

Feeding frequency is vital to bettas health. If you own a betta fish you show to know when you are feeding your betta fish and how much you are feeding them. If you fail to do so your betta fish will either become overweight or will become underweight, both conditions are harmful to them.

Some betta owners don’t keep a track of what they are feeding and how many times they are feeding their betta fish. The best way to deal with this is to make a weekly chart and track what you fed them, how much protein you fed them, and how much fat you fed them. By doing this you will have an idea about your fish feeding frequency and food intake.

If you feed them betta pellets, make sure you are not feeding more than four pellets twice a day. Pellets expand in the stomach and can upset the stomach if it is fed more than the prescribed amount. If you don’t know how many pellets you should feed your betta fish then you can read the instructions given on the back of the betta pellet bottle.

When it comes to living food or frozen food like insects, worms, or other protein sources, make sure to give it as a treat to your betta fish. It should not be fed regularly. Live food should be fed once or twice a week to your betta fish. By doing this you will maintain the levels of proteins and other nutrients in the body of betta fish.

Make sure to keep the live food in a separate tank for a few weeks before feeding your betta fish to avoid infections. But if live food is not available near you or you don’t have the patience to quarantine it before feeding then you can feed frozen-live food to your fish. 

Frozen live food doesn’t require any kind of isolation, the only condition is it should be defrosted before feeding your betta fish.

Plant-based food can also be fed to betta fish, but they don’t prefer to eat such food, because they are carnivores and prefer meaty food in their diet more. You can train them to eat plant-based food from your kitchen occasionally.

Fasting your betta fish twice a month can relieve them from all the digestive upsets. Fasting is not injurious to betta’s health, but skipping their meals or overfeeding them is very harmful.

Feeding frequency: Research has shown that the amount of dietary protein that betta fish need is around 35%, which can be a mix of plant and animal proteins. Try to keep the fat content at around 5% and anything above that is bad for a betta.

Feeding frequency:

Betta pellets 

  • Every day, 3-4 pellets twice a day.
  • Pellets expand in the stomach, so don’t overfeed, as it can cause digestive upsets.

Live food/ freeze-dried or frozen food

  • Twice a week, as a treat.
  • Quarantine in a separate tank to avoid the spread of infection to betta fish and other tank mates.
  • Defrost or thaw frozen food before feeding your betta fish.

Plant-based food

  • Occasionally, if betta pellets or live food is not available.
  • Wash, boil, and peel properly before feeding your betta fish.

What disease does betta fish get due to obesity?

The most common disease in betta fish is swim bladder disorder and is caused by overfeeding or constipation. It can be cured, and the condition can be reversed to normal if you take action on time. 

Bettas with swim bladder disease can be fed frozen peas. Before feeding, frozen peas should be thawed in the microwave, or boiled for a few seconds to retain their consistency.

If there is no improvement, then see a vet and take further action accordingly. Some betta fish learn to live with swim bladder disorder and live their normal life while other bettas die out of various secondary issues due to swim bladder disorder.

Betta fish face difficulties in swimming due to being overweight and avoid swimming in the tank. Feeding your fish properly can avoid such issues.


Captive betta fish become overweight due to less movement and overfeeding.

Betta fish get overweight when they consume the right amount of calories, but too many of those calories come from fat instead of protein. It would be better to feed them fat in moderate amounts.

Protein is the most important nutrient for betta fish, and ensuring that they get all the essential amino acids from protein is vital for their health. Betta fish need a moderate amount of protein and fat to thrive.

Keep a track of what you are feeding your betta fish and doing this will avoid overfeeding and underfeeding both.

Fasting your betta fish twice a month can help them avoid all the digestive upsets.

The temperature of the aquarium water is important in the metabolism of betta fish. It is important to keep the water temperature consistent with a heater and thermometer.

Frequently asked questions

Can the overweight betta fish swim freely and easily?

An overweight betta fish finds it difficult to swim freely and easily. They will prefer to stay in one place.

Are betta fish prone to getting overweight in colder temperatures?

Betta fish are tropical fish that require a water temperature between 76-80 degrees Fahrenheit to survive. If the temperature is below 76F, they will become overweight.

How much protein and fat do betta fish need?

According to some research, betta fish need around 35% of their diet to be composed of plant and animal proteins. Keep the percentage of fat content at around five percent or less and any content above this is bad for your betta fish.