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Why Is Your Betta Fish Not Eating Pellets? 4 Common Reasons

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By Lindsey Stanton

Betta tank setup

Betta fish need to eat to grow, reproduce, fight off diseases, and remain healthy. Many people feed betta fish pellets as a primary source of food. However, there seem to be a select number of Betta fish that don’t like eating pellets.

In this article, we’ll explore reasons as to why your Betta fish might not be eating their pellets and what you can do to remedy the situation.



Common Reasons Why Your Betta Fish Is Not Eating Pellets

There are a few different reasons why your Betta fish may be refusing to eat the pellets you’re trying to give them. Let’s go over the most common causes.

betta fish
Image Credit: nicefishes, Pixabay

1. Being Picky

Now, it may sound kind of odd, but you can definitely adopt a picky Betta fish. It may not have been you who made them picky, but perhaps the breeder or pet store. Many breeders and pet stores will feed young Betta fish some pretty high quality foods such as frozen, freeze dried, or even live foods like daphnia and brine worms.

The Betta fish quickly get accustomed to this luxurious diet and they are not quick to give up on that. So, when you bring a Betta fish home and they won’t eat pellets, it may actually be because they are not accustomed to pellets. Bettas can indeed be picky eaters. It may have nothing to do with their health, but simply with the fact that they don’t associate the pellet as food. This is especially true for Bettas that are used to being fed live food, they often associate food as something that swims around.

butterfly betta in aquarium
Image Credit: Rifkong, Shutterstock

2. The Environment

Another thing that may be causing your Betta fish to refuse to eat pellets is the environment in which they live. If you have not set up the Betta fish’s tank properly, which means mimicking their natural environment, they could simply be stressed because of their environment.

Just like people, when a fish is stressed, they may not eat. Moreover, some Betta fish are quite sensitive to changes in their environment. If you bring them home and they are not used to the tank, or if the water parameters are not right, they may refuse to eat anything at all.

3. The Water

Yet another reason why your Betta fish is not eating pellets could have to do with the water, specifically the temperature of the water. Betta fish are tropical fish that prefer fairly warm waters. Their metabolisms are actually affected quite drastically by the water temperature.

If the water in the Betta tank is too cold, it will slow down their metabolism, thus causing them to eat much less of everything.

A pink, red and swhite betta swimming in a planted tank beside a snail

4. A Sick Betta

Another reason why your Betta fish may not be eating pellets is because they are unwell. If the water is too cold, if you have been feeding your Betta foods that they can’t handle, or if you have been overfeeding them, they may not have an appetite anymore.

Your Betta may also be suffering from an infectious or noninfectious ailment.

aquarium plant divider

The Best Solutions to Try

There are a few different things that you can try to attempt to get your Betta fish to eat pellets, most of which are directly related to the causes listed above.

1. Wait It Out

If the cause is that your Betta fish is not accustomed to pellets, they may just need some time to get used to the pellets. If the reason why your fish is not eating is due to pickiness, they will probably start eating once they get hungry enough. To avoid dealing with a picky eater, it’s best to bring along some of the foods they are accustomed to from the breeder or pet store when you first adopt them, and slowly transition them to pellets over a period of about 2 weeks or so.

Elephant ear betta fish
Image Credit: Brad Rice, Shutterstock

2. Try Feeding Other Foods

There are other foods you could try, such as flakes, live foods, or some kind of frozen food. Simply put, your Betta fish might just not like the pellets at all.

3. Unfamiliar or Unsatisfied With Environment

If the cause of your Betta fish not eating pellets is that they are not used to their environment or do not like the environment, you need to acclimate your fish to their new surroundings. You can try adding some substrate, plants, and decorations that they are known to like.

Like all fish, Bettas should not be introduced to an uncycled aquarium. In addition, they do not appreciate strong currents, and do best with a gentle sponge filter.

4. Check the Water 

If the cause of your Betta fish not eating pellets has to do with the water temperature, try making the water warmer to increase their metabolic rate. You should probably invest in a water heater either way. The ideal temperature for Bettas is 82.4°F (28°C).

If you notice any signs of illness such as weird swimming, erratic behavior, lethargy, and any kind of visible signs, that could be the reason why your Betta fish is not eating. In this case, you should bring them to a vet or expert to get an accurate diagnosis. Once your Betta is back to full health, they will most likely begin eating the pellets.

man conducting ammonia test in front of freshwater aquarium
Image Credit: Ladanifer, Shutterstock



Final Thoughts

There are several reasons why your Betta might be refusing their pellets. In this article, we’ve covered the potential causes and the fixes to these causes. We hope that these tips help you get your Betta back to eating their pellets and being problem-free.

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Feature Image Credit: Magdalena Teterdynko, Shutterstock

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