When you bring a pet into your home, you take on the responsibility of taking care of them throughout their lives.
Even if you live a busy or hectic life, you still need to take the time and give the effort to making sure your pet is happy and healthy.
This is especially true for pets who can’t communicate with you at all. Dogs and cats let you know when they’re hungry or feeling a bit under the weather.
On the other hand, pets like goldfish and betta fish won’t tell you something’s wrong. It’s your job as a pet ‘parent’ to observe your betta fish and figure out what’s going on.
One of the most worrying instances for any pet owner is when their pet isn’t eating as they usually do. Without the proper food and nutrition, your betta fish can become sick, ultimately leading to the inability to do basic things, like swim and float, as well as losing the beautiful colors of their scales and fins.
Here are a few tips for beta fish owners if your pet isn’t eating.
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Observe Your Fish
Before you can make any assumption about your fish’s eating habits, you need to observe your fish see exactly how much it actually eats.
Some fish eat more than others, so while you may be thinking that your fish doesn’t eat normally, they could just be eating a little and leaving the rest of the food to float.
Generally speaking, you should only feed your fish an amount that they can eat within two minutes of dropping it in. Anything more than that would be overfeeding them.
Watch your betta fish carefully when you drop the food in to see if it really isn’t eating, or if you’re just giving it a little bit more food than it can handle.
Finding Out the Why
Once you establish that your betta fish is indeed not eating at all, you need to figure out why. Your fish could not be eating for a variety of different reasons.
As a first option and the best course of action, you should take your betta fish to your local vet and see if they can diagnose any issues. Trusting your vet with this situation is important because not only do you get an expert opinion and diagnosis, you also save a lot of precious time from trying to figure out what’s wrong yourself.
If you find that you can’t get to a vet any time soon, then it’s a good idea to research and try to help your betta fish yourself. Luckily, betta fish are very resilient, and as long as you don’t put it off for a whole week or two, it’s likely your fish won’t be too affected by the wait.
Change Up Their Food
Betta fish are a little bit picky when it comes to their food, especially if you feed them fish flakes. If they don’t like the taste, they spit it out immediately.
If this is the case and you notice that your betta fish is just eating a little and spitting the rest of the food out, it may just mean that it’s time to try a different kind of food. Your little friend just has a refined pallet and prefers some different tastes in their meal.
A good tip you can use to easily fix this problem is to mix up their food. Trying out a different brand of fish food, or adding more of a variety to your fish’s diet by including small vegetables and pellets should do the trick.
Digestive System Health
If you notice that even after changing up your betta fish food it still isn’t eating, this may point to an underlying health condition. Most problems that affect a fish’s health revolve around their digestive system.
Because fish don’t have a real stomach like humans do, their digestive system is constantly working to gather nutrients from food and get rid of waste from the body. If your fish’s digestive system is backed up or not functioning properly, this could give your fish a stomach ache of sorts and cause them to avoid eating.
You can tell if your betta fish is having stomach and digestive problems if they don’t eat as they normally do. Having trouble swimming up and down their tank also points to health issues.
A good way to free up your fish’s digestive system is to introduce them to food with more fiber in it. Small vegetables like peas in small amounts can help do just that.
Give your fish just one or two cut up peas without the skin to add more fiber into their diet and help clear their digestive tract. After a week of this, you fish should be feeling great again! You can continue to add peas and other fiber-rich vegetables into your fish’s diet once in a while to promote and maintain good digestive health.
If you see that your betta fish isn’t eating despite changing their diet and adding more nutritious foods to their menu, over feeding may be the culprit. Over feeding can also cause digestive problems and can strain your fish’s system.
Surprisingly, under feeding your fish isn’t nearly as problematic as over feeding it, so it’s important to feed them only as much as they need to be healthy.
A good way to tell if your fish is being overfed is if you find left over bits of food long after you’ve actually fed your fish. This points to the fact that your fish can’t eat as much as you’re giving it.
An easy solution for this is to simply cut back on how much food you drop into the fish tank. You can also try skipping one or two feeding times to help your fish’s digestive system sort itself out.
If over feeding your fish really did cause them to stop eating altogether and you practice using better feeding amounts and habits, your fish should be back to their original feeding patterns within a few days.
Figuring out why your betta fish isn’t eating can be difficult to do on your own, but with your vet, you can add another player who’s on the side of good health for your fish. If you ask your vet for help, you give your fish a better chance of having a fast recovery.
You and your vet can work together to figure out why your betta fish isn’t eating. After your vet diagnoses the cause, you can then follow his advice on how to remedy the situation. In this way, you can give your fish the love and expert help they need to lead a happy and carefree life.