Although it is somewhat uncommon, I have seen instances where my betta fish has refused to eat food, and this may be due to a variety of reasons.
A betta fish may not be eating because of high stress levels, poor water quality, sickness and illness, general overfeeding, incompatible tank mates, unideal water temperatures, old age, and more. There are certain solutions to each of these problems that may encourage your betta fish to eat more.
Keep reading to find out exactly why your betta fish is not eating and what you might be able to do about it.
Reasons Why a Betta Fish Is Not Eating + Solutions
Right now, I want to take a look at all of the most common causes as to why your betta fish might not be eating, as well as the best solutions for each problem.
High Stress Levels
One of the most common causes for any fish in your home aquarium not eating is general high stress. Stress is something that affects fish more than most other animals. Stress in fish can quickly lead to illness and health issues, and ultimately death. Even the stress of being moved from one tank to another can in some cases be fatal.
There are many things that can cause stress in fish, including moving too much, unideal ideal water temperatures, bad tank mates, improper diet, poor water conditions, and more. There are so many things that can cause stress in fish that it can be really difficult to manage. A stressed out betta fish may not have much of an appetite.
Of course, it can be hard to find a solution to this, because what it really boils down to is that anything that is not considered perfect can cause stress for your betta fish. Therefore, ensuring that you just take good care of the fish, provided with enough space, a proper diet, good water conditions, the ideal temperature, and more, will all help keep stress levels to a minimum.
Water Quality Issues
Another factor that can result in a betta fish not eating is poor water quality. First and foremost, if you don’t have a good filtration unit that performs all three major types of water filtration, including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, you probably have very dirty water. High levels of ammonia, nitrates, and other organic compounds can be extremely poisonous to fish.
For instance, any levels of ammonia are poisonous to fish, and can quickly result in death. If your fish is suffering from ammonia poisoning or anything else of the sort, it certainly will not be hungry. Even if the ammonia levels are not all too high, a build up of organic matter in the water can still cause health and stress issues in your fish, ultimately resulting in it not eating.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to ensure that your tank is very clean. First, you should always be performing a water change on a weekly basis of around 30%. Performance such water changes automatically helps cut down on any organic buildup in the tank.
Furthermore, you should also be engaging in proper fish tank cleaning, at least once per week, if not more often. At the very least, you need to have a good filter that can process at least three or four times the amount of water in the tank every single hour. This will help ensure the best possible water quality conditions.
I’m not about to start talking about all of the different illnesses that can affect your fish. However, there are very common ones such as ich, fin rot, dropsy, constipation, hole in head, and so many others. There are no less than a dozen common afflictions that often affect aquarium fish such as betta fish.
Therefore, you always need to ensure that your betta fish is as healthy as can be. I recommend inspecting your betta fish on a regular basis to make sure that there are no signs of illness at all. If there are signs of illness, whether a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection, you need to take the appropriate steps to remedy the situation immediately.
Most illnesses that affect fish often end up being fatal, often sooner rather than later. Therefore, if you notice that your fish looks sick and is not eating, you need to take action right away. If you manage to cure your fish, it should start eating normally once again.
Unideal Water Temperatures
Remember that betta fish are warm water fish and generally prefer the water to have a temperature anywhere between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, if the water is too warm, it may actually increase the metabolism of your betta fish, therefore causing it to eat more, which in itself can cause health issues.
However, if we are talking about your betta fish not eating enough, it is a low water temperature that is usually to blame in this case.
Very low water temperatures coffee metabolism of your betta fish to reduce greatly, therefore causing it to eat less. You might think that this is not a big deal, but if your betta fish is not eating enough, it’s also not getting the nutrients it needs to survive.
Perhaps one of the most common causes of your betta fish not eating is that you overfed it on a regular basis. Overfeeding is a huge problem with fish, mainly because they just don’t know when to quit. Therefore, if you give your betta fish more food than it can regularly eat, don’t be surprised that it doesn’t eat at the next feeding.
As a rule of thumb, you should give your betta fish no more food than they can eat within two or three minutes at most, two times per day. If you’re letting your betta fish eat for more than 3 minutes at once, especially if you are feeding it twice per day, chances are almost 100% that you are overfeeding it.
A Lack of Routine
A general lack of routine may also be to blame here. Just like human beings, betta fish are creatures of routine and schedule. This means that they get used to eating at certain times of day. In the wild, basic fish generally eat at dusk and dawn.
Insects are generally the most active at sunrise and sunset, as well as other creatures, which is why dawn and dusk are prime feeding times.
Now, at home, you don’t necessarily have to maintain a dawn and dusk feeding schedule, but you should still maintain some semblance of routine either way. If you start feeding your betta fish at random times throughout the day, they might not be hungry.
Bad Tank Mates
If your betta fish is not eating, and you have it housed together with other fish, it could be that the fish being kept together are not compatible with each other. For instance, if there are fish that much larger or faster than the betta fish, they might outcompete the betta fish for food.
Simply put, your betta fish might not be eating because it’s not getting a chance to eat, because it’s being bullied and harassed by other fish. Therefore, you always need to make sure that you are keeping your betta fish with the ideal tankmates, or else problems such as this may arise.
The other issue that may be causing your betta fish to eat less is that it’s getting old. Unfortunately, everything starts to get old and will eventually die. As your betta fish nears the end of its life, it will start eating less and less.
The bottom line here is that there are many different issues that can cause a betta fish to not eat or eat less than it usually does. First and foremost, you should just ensure that your betta fish is healthy and being kept in ideal conditions.
Make sure that you’re always cleaning the tank, performing water changes, and that you have a good filter. Also make sure that your betta fish is being kept with ideal tank mates, that the water temperature is good, and that you’re giving them a nutritionally balanced diet.