TOPIC: betta spitting out his food

Q: My one betta fish usually spits out his food. I am worried he is not getting enough to eat. What should i do?

above question submitted by Nicole, Blackwood - New Jersey

Well, I wish I had that problem, it would help me lose a few pounds LOL :)). The Holiday season has been especially harsh on my waist line... Actually waist line is not the proper way to call it, it looks more like a waste THICK line LOL... Well, the least I can say is that I for one, am not 'waisting' away!! LOLOLOL...

But this column is not entitled "All you ever wanted to know about Faith (and weren't afraid to ask)" so I'd better focus on the real stars of this site: the bettas :)))).

There are 3 main reasons why a betta might want to spit out his food:

  • he is overfed. Granted bettas are aquatic piglets, but even a piglet has its limits! If a betta has already a round belly, he might be too full to eat some more. Feed your fish once a day and only as much as he can eat in about 5 mn. Having said that, I have a nagging feeling at the pit of my stomach that this is not your case ;) (or is it just cause I'm hungry, all of a sudden? ;P ) so let's move on...

  • he doesn't like his food. Hey, I'm picky too when it comes to what I eat (although judging by my current waist THICK line, one wouldn't be able to tell LOL) and there's nothing wrong with being selective. Bettas can be a bit snobbish when it comes to culinary pleasures. What are you feeding this lad? Flakes? (as IF a betta would lower his royal self to eating such peasant staple food!) Pellets? Many a fine betta will be quite offended if you try to put pellets on their gourmet menu. Some will eat it, but if they have ever had the chance to taste REAL betta food, then you are in big trouble (cause bettas have sensitive taste buds and they seem to also have a real good memory). Freeze dried food? Most normal bettas will eat it just fine, but some are pickier (mine are especially spoiled and will rarely condescend to eating freeze dried food, now that I have been feeding them frozen foods).

  • he is under the weather. Sick bettas will eat less, or stop eating altogether. You need to see if he exhibits any signs of being sick - see my betta health section. If he does, then that's why he is spitting his food out, if he is otherwise acting normal and not showing signs of sickness, then this is not why.

Wait. I just thought of another reason why a betta might spit out his food! :

  • he has a cavity :)))). Everyone knows that having a bad tooth can make it hard to chew... Lucky for you, I know a real good betta dentist. Granted, he is expensive (not a lot of competition in his field LOL), but he might help your fish. (Warning #1: Bettas HATE the sound of the drill. Your betta may try to jump out of his bowl if you even as much as mention the word "dentist" around him (frankly, the same word has about the same effect on me, it makes me want to jump out of my skin LOL), so be very discreet about your dental betta plans...) (Warning #2: please disregard this entire paragraph which is only due to my delirium comicae - a serious, but not terminal condition ;P ). (in other words, I was only pulling your leg, silly!) :)))

What you can do: 

  • make sure he is not sick - that's the #1 priority, if he sick, treat him, if not proceed to next bullet:

  • make sure to not overfeed - if you are, cut down food , maybe even let him fast for 2 to 3 days and then start feeding again, in smaller quantities. If you are not overfeeding, proceed to next bullet:

  • feed better food. If you are feeding flakes or pellets, time to move up in the betta culinary world! Try feeding him frozen brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms. Most bettas will gobble them up faster than it took me to type this (granted I am not that fast of a typist, but still!).

  • make sure your betta has stimulation. Another betta, in a separate bowl, or a mirror or even TV will help stimulate your betta. An active betta is more likely to be happy and a happy betta is more likely to have appetite (duh, people function quite the same way!) 

OK, I'm done. You can take off that silly looking bullet proof vest now (granted bullets were flying all over this page, but not THAT kind of bullets!). Goodluck with your fussy betta and all this talk about food made me (once again) hungry, so off to lunch I go (and down the tube my waist line goes LOLOL)...