Betta fish not eating

Why Do Betta Fish Spit Out Their Food?

There are many reasons why betta fish may spitting their food. In today’s post, I will be discussing why do betta fish spit out food? What are the possible reasons and how can we prevent them?

1. The food is too big

Betta fish spit food out when it’s too big to swallow. As you may have heard from many betta keepers, their stomach is roughly the size of their eyeball. In many cases, they’ll need to spit their food and take small bites instead of consuming it completely. You may think they are spitting. But In reality, they may actually break the food into small pieces.

2. Your Betta is too small

If you’ve just purchased your betta recently, he may still be young. Breeders usually feed young betta fish live food for faster and healthier growth. It is possible that your betta is not be eating pellets or flakes because they have never seen pellets or flakes before. Another possibility is that the food is too big to fit in your young betta’s mouth. If you think either one is the case, you should try mixing up the food until you find something your betta likes. Once you find out what your betta eats, slowly introduce other foods into his diet.

3. Food quality is poor.

In reality, many betta food packages you get in the pet store are incredibly cheap in quality. If your betta doesn’t eat, you may need to check the quality of the food. If you are interested in knowing what betta food products I personally use and recommend, I have pinned them in the comments and description. It is also best to vary their diet by providing live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods to them. Don’t forget to check your food’s expiration date. I can’t believe how many times we overlook the expiration of food as small containers last for a long time. I use betta pellets and freeze-dried daphnia mixed with live food for my betta fish.

4. You Have A New Betta

When you have a new betta it’s common to see them refuse to eat. Especially if you receive your betta through shipment and travel for a few days in a tiny package, your betta may be stressed. It’s common for new bettas to refuse to eat, so you don’t need to worry too much for the first couple of days. The easiest solution here is to give it time to settle. Keep the lights off for a couple of days and feed him once a day. If he doesn’t want to eat, remove the food after 10 minutes.

5. It May Be A Parasite

Although betta fish rarely have parasites that prevent them from eating, these parasites can make them unable to swallow food, so instead, they’ll just spit it out. If you think your betta is suffering from a parasite, you should move him to a quarantine tank so your betta won’t infect other fish in your tank. Parasite issues can be identified by symptoms like abnormal swimming, lethargic, and lack of appetite. We have a full blog on this topic with treatment steps. Check it out, if interested.

6. Food is hard or frozen

I have also observed that betta fish spit food when it is difficult to bite. It is best to check the hardness of your pellets by squeezing them in your hand. If you can’t break your pellets with your hand, it’s hard for betta fish to eat as well. It’s better to soak them for a couple of minutes before feeding. Also any frozen food must be kept at a normal temperature for sometime before feeding to your betta. Usually, I leave frozen food in warm water for a few minutes before feeding my fish.

7. Your betta is stressed

If there aren’t enough hiding places, or aggressive tank mates, your betta may spit out his food due to stress. The best thing you can do is add more hiding spots for him to feel safe. As well, you should remove any fish that could bully him.

8. Your Betta Is Ready To Breed

If your female betta doesn’t eat, it may be because her belly is full of eggs and ready to breed. I have seen females lose interest in food when they are full of eggs and looking for mating, but it is not common for all females. In such a case, just keep your betta comfortable by raising the water temperature to around 80°F, they should settle down and eat after a couple of days.

9. May be digestive issues

If your betta fish is spitting food and has a bloated belly, he is likely suffering from digestive issues. This is common for betta fish especially when beginners overfeed them. If you think it’s constipation, you will see other symptoms such as your betta not being able to stool, bloated belly and not swimming well. If your betta is constipated, it’s best to fast for 2-3 days to help him move his bowl. I have in-depth post of betta fish constipation, including treatment steps to refer to.

10. Fussy Betta

Some betta fish are just fussy and play with their food or may not even know you feed them to eat. Aside from the food being too big, this is probably the most common reason why your betta spits out food. If this is the case, keep feeding him what you have. He might not eat it at first, but the more hungry he is, the more likely he will try it. Keep in mind that if your betta does not eat food within 10 minutes, you should remove it from the tank so that it won’t spoil the water conditions.

What should I do if my betta fish is not eating?

If your betta is not eating, here are some things you can do.

Test the water for temperature, pH, and ammonia levels. Make sure the water is clean and uncontaminated. If you suspect your betta is overeating, adjust the feeding schedule. Feed small portions of food twice a day, and remove any uneaten food after a few minutes.

If you just got a new betta fish, give it a few days to settle in. If you are buying your fish from a breeder, ask what kind of food they ate before you bought them. Try changing the type of food you feed your betta. Bettas enjoy a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, freeze-dried worms, and live food. If you suspect your betta is sick, quarantine it in a separate tank to prevent disease spread. Monitor its behavior and treat it with aquarium salt or appropriate medicine based on sickness. Reduce any stress factors that might affect your betta. Avoid overhandling, provide hiding places, and make sure the tank is big enough for your fish to swim comfortably.

If you notice your betta fish spitting food out, then in most cases, there is nothing to worry about. But make sure your betta is not suffering from constipation or parasites. If you think it’s either of these conditions, you should start treatment right away. If you want to know more about what betta fish can eat you should definitely check out this video on the best food for bettas! It will give you in-depth detail on various betta fish food types including what to buy and what to avoid!