Why is my Betta Fish Not Eating?

Pets are a big responsibility. Even something as small as a fish requires care and attention to ensure it can lead a happy and healthy life.

Not all pets can communicate with us when they’re feeling a little poorly, so it can be difficult to know what exactly is bothering your treasured fish, and it can be very worrying when you notice that your betta fish has stopped eating. 

For many of us, our first instinct when a beloved pet is unwell is to panic, but there may be several reasons why your betta fish may have gone off his food and not all of them are serious.

Keep in mind that it is always best to seek the advice of a veterinarian if you find that your betta fish is not showing any signs of improvement or seems out of sorts as they are in the best position to help and will be able to diagnose any potential health issues.

It’s really important to take action if you notice your betta fish has stopped eating as without proper food and nutrition your fish can become quite unwell and depleted, and may be unable to swim or lose its distinctive glamorous colors.

Betta fish are very sensitive and complex by nature and must have a varied protein-rich diet to maintain health. In this article, we will explore some of the possible reasons why your betta fish may not be eating and offer some useful advice on things you can try to increase his appetite and ensure he gets the vital nutrients he needs. 

Observation

To find out what may be upsetting your betta fish, it’s important to start by observing him carefully. Observe your fish regularly to see exactly how much he eats on a daily basis.

This is a really important thing to do as you may think that your fish doesn’t eat normally but they may actually just be eating a small amount and leaving the rest of the food to float in the tank.

Try to watch your betta fish carefully when you drop food into the tank to see if he genuinely isn’t eating anything or if you may be giving him a little more food than he needs.

Fussy Eaters

Betta fish are known to be a little fussy with the food they eat. If you’ve been feeding your betta fish a specific type of food a while and recently swapped to a different one, there is a chance he may not like the new food.

You can find out if this is the issue by feeding him different food and changing up his diet a little. If you find that he eats the alternative food without an issue then he may well just be a fussy eater in need of a change.

Your betta fish is likely to have a refined palette and may prefer to have some variety in taste and texture when it comes to feeding. Try out a different brand of fish food, or gradually incorporate a new type of pellet into his diet to see if this solves the problem. 

Overfeeding 

If you notice that your betta fish still isn’t eating after changing his diet or introducing new foods you may actually be overfeeding him without realizing.

Overfeeding can cause digestive problems for your fish and should be addressed as soon as possible. If you are overfeeding your betta fish, you’re likely to notice small leftover bits of food in the tank a long while after you’ve fed him, which suggests that he hasn’t been able to finish everything you’ve given him. 

Thankfully, overfeeding is a problem that can be easily remedied. Reduce the amount of food you drop into the tank each day to see if anything changes. If this is the cause of the problem, you should find that your betta fish will regain his appetite and be back to his original feeding patterns within a few days. 

Water Temperature 

Betta fish are cold-blooded fish that require a consistently warm water temperature in their tank to stay happy and healthy. You may find that your fish is not eating because of a problem with the water temperature.

If the water isn’t warm enough, for example, your betta fish may become lethargic and develop a slower metabolism. If the water is cold it can result in a potentially fatal temperature shock for your betta fish, so it’s worth taking the trouble to make sure it’s just right.

The water should ideally be heated as close to 78℉ as possible to provide optimum conditions for your betta fish. 

Environmental Changes 

Betta fish are sensitive by nature, and this includes a level of sensitivity towards their environment. Changes to the environment may affect their eating habits or lead them to avoid eating. This change may have been caused by a chemical entering the tank or an ammonia spike.

Changing the water in your fish tank can also result in environmental changes as the pH level is likely to have been altered. If this seems to be the problem for your betta fish, he should soon acclimatize to the new environment and return to his regular eating patterns again. 

Underlying Health Condition 

If you find that your betta fish has stopped eating, an underlying health condition may be to blame for his sudden loss of appetite. There will usually be other symptoms to alert you to the possibility that your fish may have a disease or an underlying health condition. 

If you think your fish may be suffering from a disease or health problem of some kind it is essential to contact your veterinarian for professional advice as soon as possible to prevent the problem from worsening or becoming fatal. 

Final Thoughts

There are several possible reasons as to why your betta fish may not be eating. The first thing to do if you notice that your betta fish doesn’t seem to be eating is to spend some time carefully observing his eating patterns, as you may find that you have been feeding him a little more than he needs.

If you are not sure what could be causing the issue or find that it doesn’t resolve, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian for advice.