Betta Fish not Eating Pellets or Swimming, Floating Sideways, Laying at Bottom

Betta fish not eating

Betta fish are great to watch. It can however be hard to tell what is wrong with them when there is a change of behavior. Explore the causes of new betta fish not eating pellets and flakes, swimming, spitting out food and swimming sideways in new tank.

Betta Fish not Eating Causes

When your pet is not eating, it is obvious that something is not right. Betta fish not eating can be as a result of a number of factors. These include:

Dietary Changes

Breeders tend to offer juvenile betters frozen and live foods that are of high quality, nutritious and those which will promote rapid growth. Once you bring your betta home and offer them pellets and flakes, they may spit it out or fail to eat it at all.

Some bettas are sensitive and will refuse to feed on new foods introduced to them too. These picky eaters will prefer a specific food type to another while at times they may simply not be eating because they do not recognize what has been offered as food.

To counter this, offer various types of food to your betta so he gets used to trying new foods. In case they fail to eat specific food, you should get it out of the tank and try again later. If after several days he still won’t eat it, try another type.

Environmental Changes and New Tank

Fish are sensitive to environmental changes and these may affect their feeding habits. A slight change in the water chemistry could stress them enough to stop them eating. If you just noticed your betta fish not eating as soon as you bring them from the breeder, this could be the reason.

Betta fish require time to adjust to their new settings and a temporary loss of appetite is common. The same may be observed when the water parameters are drastically changed. To avoid this kind of loss of appetite, try and acclimate your betta to their new environment slowly. To keep the water parameters stable, keep cycling the tank.

Water Temperature

Since bettas are cold blooded animals, their metabolism is greatly influenced by water temperatures around them. Tropical bettas require their water to have a stable temperature while those kept I warm water metabolize their food faster and thus require to eat more for their energy levels to remain optimal. Bettas kept in cooler water eat less compared to those in heated aquariums.


A betta’s stomach is quite small and they can easily suffer bloating. This is usually caused by various factors. A low water temperature tends to sow down the metabolism rate thus slowing down the digestion process. Frozen food and flakes tend to expand once they get into the stomach and could therefore see your betta constipated.

Additionally, overfeeding and sensitivity to specific foods could cause the same. Once your betta is bloated, they will stay without eating until the bloating clears. Fasting them for about three days can help clear it up.


Where the factors discussed above do not qualify as reason why your betta fish is not eating, they could be sick. This is more so where they stop eating suddenly. In addition to failing to eat, the fish will also appear lethargic, have open sores, bloody or ripped fins, fungus and parasites. In addition to observing your fish for these symptoms, test the water for any change in its parameters. Where you ascertain illness, fix its cause and treat the symptoms so your betta can resume eating.

New Betta Fish Not Eating

Like noted earlier, a change in environment can cause a loss of appetite. This could be the reason for a new betta fish not eating. It is for the same reason that a betta fish may not be eating after water change.

This should not be too much of a worry as with time, the fish will resume eating once they get acclimatized to the new environment. Where they stop eating after a water change, upcycling could help solve the problem.

Betta Fish not Eating or Swimming and Laying at Bottom

The four most common signs of illness in bettas are loss of appetite, lethargy, change in color and clamped fins. As such, a betta fish not eating and in addition lays at the bottom of the tank without swimming or moving and also tries to hide has enough signs that all is not well.

Test the water for any toxins such as nitrates and ammonia. Also check on the water pH and if necessary have a water change. If there are more than one fish and the rest seem okay, you may have to move the fish with these symptoms to a sick bowl or tank until they get better.

Betta Fish Not Eating Pellets or Flakes

My betta fish is not eating pellets or flakes. What is wrong with it? At times, bettas will spit out pellets and flakes. The reason for this is simple. When the pellets are too huge for them, they become cumbersome and end up being spit out. To counter this, you could try breaking the pellets down before feeding them to the fish and see if it helps.

Additionally, some bettas may have preference for other foods other than pellets and flakes. To ascertain if this is the case, you can try feeding them frozen or live worms and see if they eat. If these do not help, check if your betta could be sick.

Why is my Betta Fish not Eating and Floating Sideways?

Betta fish have a gas filled sac inside them known as the swim bladder. This helps in maintaining buoyancy in the fish by raising and lowering them in water. When a betta suffers swim bladder disease, the organ’s functionality dwindles.

Since the condition is caused by constipation and overfeeding, it is common for your fish to not eat and float. When swimming is may appear to be swimming sideways or listing. To restore normal functioning, fast your betta for three days so the constipation can clear.

Betta Fish not Eating Solutions

Above, we have discussed what could be wrong if your betta fish is not eating. Once you have scrutinized the conditions and rectified as may be necessary, what do you do to avoid a similar scenario? Here are some solutions and tips to bear in mind.

Feeding Frequency

It is recommended that adult bettas are fed once a day. You can however feed them twice but ensure the required daily intake is fitted into the two feeding sessions. Fries require very little food and can be fed twice a day.


It is important to feed bettas just enough food so they can finish it up. Feeding them too much of it gets them full to a point where they won’t eat any excess supply. As a result, the uneaten food rots in the tank pollutes the tank. This encourages the proliferation of bacteria that cause sickness.

On the other hand, overfeeding may lead to bloating which could give them additional problems. Feed your betta as much food as they can eat in two minutes and nothing more. Remember to always remove any uneaten food from the tank.

Skip a Day

It is recommended that once every week, your betta stays without eating. With this one day in every seven days, your betta gets to rest his digestive system and also clears it up.

Food Variety

There are many options to settle for when it comes to betta food. These include mosquito larvae, live worms, frozen live food, live brine shrimp, freeze dried live food and betta bites. Avoid feeding your fish flakes, pellets and cubes as most of the time your betta fish won’t eat them. Where you notice your betta fish not eating, try and play around with the variety and see if it helps.



  1. Hi! My fist garie is one year old and has not been eating for the past week. There is a little bench by the toy castle and he will not move off of it unless you shake the bowl. He is not active and I’m worried that he is gonna die. I have a 3 gallon tank and a heater I use on accession. Last time I had a filter my Betta got sucked in and died. I’ve tested the water and no numbers came but they said it was good. He looks healthy but I don’t think he is. What do i do? I change the water every 2 weeks and keep the temp 75-80

    • Hi Garie,
      I am wondering if you realized the reason your fish doesn’t eat because my fish has the same problem.

  2. This is a very late reply but I purchased an Azoo Mignon Filter 60 on amazon and never had any issues of it sucking up my my fish. Just turn the flow of the filter all the way down and stick a foam sponge where the water flows out. That way it is gentle on your betta when he swim (he wouldn’t be fighting the water movement which would tire him out).

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