Betta Fish Not Eating (All Reasons & Solutions)

There’s nothing more worrying than when you notice your betta fish not eating. Although, in a lot of cases it’s nothing to worry about, in some cases it can be something more serious. If you want to know all the different reasons why your betta isn’t eating then keep reading to find out!

As well as learning what’s causing a lack of appetite, you’ll also find out what you can do to fix it.

Why Is Your Betta Fish Not Eating?

Here are all the reasons your betta fish has stopped eating. Just remember, sometimes even if you think your betta isn’t eating, he may be getting some food without you realizing. However, if you want to make sure that something more sinister isn’t happening, then keep reading.

Your Betta Is Being Fussy

In most cases, this is going to be the reason why your betta isn’t eating. If you’ve been feeding him a certain type of food for a while and then swapped, he may not like it. The way to know if this is the case is by feeding him different food. If he eats the food without a problem then the chances are he’s just being fussy.


There are two solutions here, the easy one and the hard one. The easy solution is to just feed your betta food that he likes and get rid of the food he doesn’t. While you may think this is a good idea, it could be more difficult in the long run.

It’s not uncommon for bettas to only like one type of food or brand. The problem is, if you can’t get hold of this food then you’re going to have lots of problems trying to feed him later on down the line.

The far better solution is to start diversifying your betta’s diet until he’ll eat a whole range of food. You can either start by giving him lots of new food until he isn’t fussy, or if you don’t want to spend more money, fast him for a couple of days. Once he’s fasted feed him the original food he didn’t want, and he should eat it.

(Check out the best food you can feed your betta to learn about all the different meals available for him!)

He Doesn’t Know It’s Food

Another common cause when your betta fish isn’t eating (especially if he’s new to the tank) is that he doesn’t know what you’re feeding him is food. This is especially common with pellets and flakes.

When bettas are with their breeders, normally, they will only be fed a mixture of live, frozen and freeze-dried food. This is the best diet a betta can have because it’s what they’d eat in the wild.

The problem is once you try to feed them pellets or flake food, it’ll be so alien to them they won’t even realize it’s food.


In this situation, the best solution is to keep introducing them to the food until they realize they can eat it. Normally it’ll only take 2-7 days for them to begin eating their food. If they still don’t eat it after this time then you may be dealing with a fussy betta.

Just remember, that you should never let a betta go more than 3 days without food. At this point, you’re going to start doing more harm than good. So have backup food you know he’ll eat, just in case.

Also if your betta hasn’t eaten the food within 10 minutes, remove it from the tank. If it’s left in the tank then all it’s going to do is produce more ammonia as it begins to go rotten.

(Live food such as daphnia and bloodworm can also be great choices.)

Red And Black Plakat Betta

Food Is Frozen/Freeze-dried

While frozen and freeze-dried food is good for bettas, some won’t eat it until it’s thawed properly. If you’re just dropping it into your tank without giving it a chance to thaw or soften then your betta may just ignore it completely.

You should also be aware that some frozen food can expand as it starts to absorb water again. If your betta eats it too fast, then it may continue expanding resulting in constipation and swim bladder disease in a lot of cases.


The solution here is simple. Just defrost your food before giving it to your betta. The best way to do this is by taking a small amount of your tanks water and placing the food in it. Once the food is fully defrosted just drop it into your tank and your betta should eat it up.

You Have A New Betta

When you have a new betta it’s not uncommon for them to refuse to eat at first. A lot of the time they may be stressed from the move and being in a new environment. (This is especially true if you’ve shipped your betta instead of getting him from a shop).


The easiest solution here is to give your betta time to settle. Keep the lights off for a couple of days and try to feed him in the morning and evening. If he doesn’t want to eat then remove the food after 10 minutes.

Your Feeding Him Too Much

Sometimes your betta is eating and you’re not even realising it. A betta’s stomach is about the size of his eye, so if you’re giving him too much food then he’s not going to be able to eat it all. You may notice that food is floating at the top of the tank and assume he’s not eating it. But in fact, you’re just simply feeding him too much.


Once again, the solution here is pretty simple. Make sure you’re not feeding your betta too much. You should be feeding him no more than 1-2 pellets of food or the equivalent twice a day. As a rule of thumb, just make sure he’s not consuming more than his stomach size in food.

(Want to know whether your betta can eat goldfish food?)

The Food Is Poor Quality/Not Giving Him A Balanced Diet

A lot of the food you get in the pet store is incredibly cheap. And as you can imagine, cheap food is made from cheap ingredients. If your betta isn’t eating then it may be because of the quality of the food.

And even if the food quality is good, it may be because he’s not getting a varied diet. If your feeding your betta high-quality pellets that’s fine, but you also need to mix it with live, frozen and freeze-dried food to make sure his diet is varied.


The best thing you should do for your betta and any other fish you care for is to make sure they’re getting a balanced diet. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming buying your betta different food. I use betta pellets and freeze-dried daphnia mixed with live food every so often. You only need to buy the food once and it’s going to last a VERY long time.

(Have you ever wondered whether you can give your betta goldfish food?)

Problem With The Water Temperature

Sometimes you may notice a betta fish not eating because of the temperature in the tank. Bettas are cold-blooded which means a lot of their energy is based on the temperature around them.

If you’re keeping your betta in a tank which isn’t warm enough then it’s going to result in lethargy and a slower metabolism. When your bettas metabolism slows down then it’s going to take him longer to digest food and he won’t eat as much.

While you may think this isn’t a problem, cold water can result in temperature shock which is often fatal for bettas, so it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. And if you don’t have a heater for your betta, then here’s everything you need to know about why you should get one.


The best solution to this problem is to make sure that your betta’s tank is heated as close to 78°F as possible. To do this you should make sure that your tank has a heater. Even if you live in a hot country it only takes one cold night to drastically change the temperature in smaller tanks.

Here’s a helpful article explaining more about the perfect temperature for betta fish.

Red betta

A Change In Their Environment

Bettas are very sensitive to their surroundings. If the parameters in the water change for the worst then it may affect their eating habits. The most common causes of change in the tank is normally an ammonia spike. However, any chemical that’s entered the tank may also result in your betta not eating.

But it may not be something bad. This can also happen after a water change. When you add new water to your tank it’s going to have a different pH, ammonia level, etc to what your betta is used to. Once your betta acclimatizes, however, he should go back to eating happily again.


If your betta isn’t eating after a water change then the solution is normally to just try again in a few hours. However, if not, then check the parameters in your tank. If you notice that the parameters are off then you should perform a water change or fix the issues any way you can. After doing this your betta should eat happily again.


Often times, when your betta has a disease or illness his appetite will be the first thing to go. However, along with a lack of appetite, there’ll be other symptoms that will alert you to something more serious. Some common diseases that can cause a lack of appetite include dropsy, constipation and swim bladder disease.


If you think your betta is suffering from a disease then you need to make sure that you’re addressing the situation quickly. if you don’t treat your betta in time then many diseases can quickly become fatal. If you’re not sure what disease your betta is suffering from then check out all these articles that can help you get a better idea.

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As you can see there are lots of different reasons why your betta fish may not be eating. While most of them aren’t going to be a big deal, there are some that are a cause for concern. Here are the main points to remember.

  • If your betta isn’t eating he may be fussy. If this is the case then you should feed him lots of different food until he’ll eat anything you put in the tank for him.
  • Your betta may not be aware he can eat the food you’re giving him. This is often the case with juvenile bettas who have only ever eaten live food. When this happens, keep trying until he begins to eat.
  • Sometimes bettas don’t like freeze-dried or frozen food. Before giving it to him, allow it to soak in some of his tank water so it’s more edible.
  • If you’ve just got your betta then he may be too stressed to eat. Keep the lights off in your tank for a day before trying again.
  • Perhaps your betta is eating and you just haven’t realized it because you’re feeding him too much. Keep an eye on him the next time you feed him and don’t put so much food in the tank for him!
  • If you’ve bought cheap food then your betta may be able to taste it. Only feed your betta high-quality food and make sure he’s getting a balanced diet.
  • Sometimes a small change in water can cause bettas to stop eating. Check your water parameters and see if there’s a problem.
  • If the water temperature is too cold it may slow his metabolism resulting in him eating less.
  • Lastly, your betta may be suffering from some sort of disease. Make sure he isn’t exhibiting any symptoms and if he is, treat him quickly.

Taking care of your Betta can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Click here to read an article with everything you need to know about Betta fish care.

Lastly, as well as not eating you may notice that your betta is spitting out food. If this is happening then here are all the reasons behind it!

2 thoughts on “Betta Fish Not Eating (All Reasons & Solutions)”

  1. Thank you for the knowledge. Can another reason males will not eat be due to mating? I have a male that has made his bubble nest and is gaurding it without eating food. He looks at it and when it sinks chases it aggressively. Any ideas?

    • If you think it’s the bubble nest you can remove it from the tank to find out. My bettas bubble nest sometimes get destroyed when i’m doing a water change and he’s never cared.

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