My Betta is not Eating! Help!

kikisesames(9 CA)September 20, 2005

Hello, I've seen some helpful advice in seaching through this forum, and I'm hoping someone out there might have some advice for me. I've had my betta for about a year and a half, he is active and colorful generally looks healthy. However, I've noticed in the past week that he has trouble eating his food, I know he is hungry because he "attacks" the food as soon as it hits the water. The problem is that he can't catch it, sometimes he misses it and sometimes it seems as though he is right under it, but the food escapes him anyway as he lunges for it. He keeps trying to get it, and I watched him stuggle for nearly an hour last night before giving up. I've tried changing pellets, but he won't even try and eat anything other than his Betta bio-gold (he's always been particular) and have even tried freeze dried larve and flakes. Nothing.

He lives in a goldfish bowl, no pump or filter, and I change his water once every 5 days using a combination of Betta water conditioner and Wardley's "Chlor-out" , (although I started changing it every 2 days this past week since I thought the water might be the culprit) And I'm out of ideas. If anyone out there has any advice, it would be completely appreciated. Thanks for reading my post.

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woeisme(z7b NC)

I have often read that bettas in bowls have an average lifespan of 2-3 years. Guesstimating that the fish was 6-9 months at the time of purchase this would put it in range. This is only rule of thumb, but thought it should be brought up. Does the fish have a bloated belly? Are the eyes sticking out a little more than normal? Is the belly sunken in? Are there any physical changes? Do you remember before this started did he poop less or not at all? As far as more water changes , stick to your usual regimen for the moment. Do you add any salt to the water? (I dont know if betta water comes with it in there allready) Also try the link below to see if anything is dead on. Fish disease can be tricky to diagnose sometimes. I am particularly bad at it. The symtoms sometimes are very similar and could be bacterial, parasitic, or almost any other. Sometimes a fish will only show some symtoms until the end after it's been treated for the wrong thing. For the moment an Epsom salt bath wouldn't hurt or just add some to his water. It is safe and sometimes cures. Some use it as a pre-medication before a stronger treatment. It flushes the fishes system.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fish disease spread charts

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 8:58PM
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Epsom salts can also act as a laxative for congested fish... also bettas love plant life and he can nibble on this if nothing else... I notice my fish will not eat pellets but prefers softer foods... did anything change from his eating to not eating? Also bettas need higher heat then can be provided in bowls without heaters unless your house is hotter.. but since you say he goes after the food it seems to be something mechanical, ie can't see the food, can get it past his mouth ie mouth problems parasites so on.... an old remedy for many types of fish ailements was to add salt to the water, aquarium salt not table, perhaps a bit of this.... try some plant such as anachiris which are easily munched on, and perhaps stick some food there so he can identify it and it won't float away.. observe if you can what might be going wrong, I sometimes use a magnifier it is hard as woisme suggest... here is something I found and yahoo links... best to you... (ps I used to feed certain fish as a young child by stringing them on little thread just to the last tip of thread and dangle it before fish, (raised live foods for certain fish) well best of luck... sherry

A: recovering Betta is not eating

From: Joel
5/1/2002, 3:17 pm

SandySue has not rated this answer.
This answer's grade is: A+ (details)


> I recently inherited a sick male Betta from a
> friend. She kept him in a one gallon Mini-Hex
> tank rather successfully for ten months. She fed
> him Hikari Betta Bio Gold pellets exclusively. She
> sporadically cleaned his tank, however she always
> did a 100% change of water (I guess he was lucky
> to go 10 months without an illness or death). On
> April 22, he was listless and would not eat. His
> tank was a mess with yellowish-orange algae
> covering his gravel. Her remedy was to do another
> 100% water change - only this time she replaced
> all of his gravel and his plant too! We did not
> think he would survive but much to our surprise he
> is still alive to date. He has no obvious signs
> of illness other than the fact that he is not
> eating: his fins are fine, there are no white
> spots or lesions on his body, his activity level
> has increased back to his normal level. We have
> tried feeding him from a fresh pack of the Hikari
> pellets and frozen brine shrimp.
> I did some research on the Internet and found your
> wonderful site. This is what we have done: we
> purchased an Eclipse Hex 5 system on April 24. The
> next day, we set it up with five pounds of coated
> gravel, a new silk plant and tap water that had
> been treated with "Ammonia Clear" to get rid of
> the Ammonia, chloraine and Chlorine. We allowed
> the system to run just that way until the morning
> of April 30. We then transferred him and most of
> his tank water, rocks and plant into the new tank.
> He adapted to his new surroundings quite readily.
> Once he was in the new tank, we turned on the
> light which increased the water temperature from
> 74F to 82F(both tanks were at 74F prior to the
> transfer). The pH of the new tank is 7.0 and the
> ammonia level is zero. I do not know what the
> nitrite and nitrate levels are, but I will
> purchase test kits tomorrow morning and begin
> monitoring ASAP. The plan is to monitor the water
> quality for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates and
> to do partial water changes as necessary to
> establish a stable system.
> How long can he go without eating? It has already
> been 10 days. Do you have any advice or
> suggestions on what else to do? Or have we done
> too much already....
>Wow!!! This is a tough betta. I think you derserve credit for saving this guy from such a bad situation and providing him with a more condusive enviroment. From you "story" of this fishes past, I fear that the last 100% water change performed may have been to much for him. 100% water changes can cause what is called pH shock that fish often don't recover from. Old, dirty aquarium water often will have a low pH value and the GH (general hardness) will drop. A fish being slowly adjusted to this condition over several weeks typically is not a shock to the fish although it's not good for them. When a 100% water change is done the fish is instantly put into a very differant water parameter that is a major shock to the system. All fish seem to have a hard time getting over this shock, I am un aware of a treatment to correct it. What I do is keep the fish by it self, do frequent partial water changes and make sure the water quality is good. I'd offer food often but be sure to remove all uneaten food as to not foul water quality. I'd also get a heater to maintain a more stable temperature. You should turn the lights off at night but it is harmfull to the fish if the temperature drops every time you do this. I don't suggest adding any medication, often times medication can complecate the problem or cause harm to your biological filter (formilin kills benificial bacteria). A fish going two weeks without eating is not a good thing but fish often can go this long without any serious affects. If it's not eating after 3 weeks I'd be doubtful that it will recover.Sorry I don't have more positive suggestions. Your already doing about everything you can to help this poor guy, I think the damage was done before you took over his care. keep it up and hopefully he'll make it.
Good luck.....

This person one can email with questions...

If you see some odd signs on your fish, like he's asking for cigars ;), you might want to check this chart that show the signs of a betta and if it is healthy or not.


Betta is a pig when it comes to eating Betta is not eating or ties to eat its food, but spits it out
Is active and swims regularly Doesn't swim around and might lay on the bottom or stay at the top
Acts normal Tries to scratch him self, like darting around and running into things
Is colorful Is pale and/or losing color
Fins and tail are spread out Fins are clamped together, rotting and decaying
Body is smooth and clean Body has open sores, white patches or spots
Eyes are normal Eye(s) are swollen and big
Scales are normal Scales are puffed up and look like a pinecone
Belly is normal Belly is swollen or has a large lump on it

If one of the things in the UNHEALTHY columns happening to your fish, then you probably have a sick betta! Don't worry, help is on the way! Just go to the diseases page. If there is something wrong with your betta that isn't on the list, please e-mail me.

If none of the things in the UNHEALTHY are happening to your fish, then hurray! Your betta is a healthy dude! Great job! :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 9:02PM
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    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 9:10PM
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kikisesames(9 CA)

Thank you for such quick responses, I am on my way to the pet store to pick up some epsom salts, and to see what they have in the way of plants and soft foods. Your help is so greatly appreciated, I cannot thank you enough!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 5:56PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

One thing I didn't mention above because you keep the betta in a bowl. When fish won't eat from illness, one way to encourage eating is to raise the water temp. Of course to a safe level no more than 85F. And do it gradually. I think that bowl betta keepers use a heating pad. Allthough IMO it isn't ideal for long term, and caution is advised trying it(watch the temp. with a close eye so that it doesn't spike and shock or kill the fish). I guess it is a viable alternative to an aquarium heater. The reason for raising the temp.- It speeds up the fishes metabolism causing it gain back a lost appetite.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 9:56PM
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I just moved and before the move I put my betta in some fresh water and now he's not eating? I have him in just a 1 or 2 gallon fish bowl, no plants, and some rocks, I also replaced the rocks. I am feeding him tetra betta pellets and he has eatin them before and I have had him for about 6 months. please help

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:44PM
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Bought two female betta fish. We have them in a fishbowl! The first day all they did is fight!! They don't seem to be eating!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 9:50PM
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@ Kirsten. I really don't think two Beta should be in the same bowl whether it be male and female, two females and ESPECIALLY not two males. If u want to keep them in the same bowl u might want to have a partition where they can't see each other!!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 7:01PM
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My male betta blue crown is in a 1 and 1/4 gallon tank.
stopped eating 8 weeks ago. I put in 2 pellets and then after and hour take them out and put in new. I know he has not eaten them. tried krill, shrimp, veggies and he swims away or spits out the pellets. no waste either. he is active. he can see. river rock in the tank and a ceramic fish house. a leave to rest on. tank is cleaned every two weeks when I start to see Algae had the moss balls in but took them out. fish is 3 years old

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 4:41PM
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