Betta fish spitting out food here is what you can doIs your Betta Fish spitting out food? Believe it or not, this problem is pretty common among the Betta community.

The likeliest culprit behind a Betta spitting out food is inadequate portion size, where the problem can be easily fixed too. Unfortunately, fish food not being bite-sized isn’t the only reason why a Betta can spit up food.

Take a moment to go through our Betta-centric article that highlights all possible reasons why your fish isn’t cooperating during mealtime and what you can do to help your finned friend.

Why Does My Betta Spit Out His Food?

The most common cause a Betta Fish spits out food is that it’s too large to fit in your Betta’s mouth. Betta fish have tiny stomachs, no bigger than their eyeballs. And if you’re feeding your fish commercially prepared food, it’s possible for Betta pellets too big in size to be the problem.

If your Betta spits out the pellets after you’ve made them bite-sized, there could be other factors at play. Here are the rest of the reasons why a Betta Fish can spit out food:

– The Betta Is a Juvenile

The majority of Siamese Fighting Fish you see for sale at aquariums range between the age of four to eight months. That’s because aquariums wait for the fish (especially the males) to develop their signature graceful fins.

However, there are times when Bettas you purchase at the store can be juveniles, no bigger than approximately half an inch. In which case, the reason why a Betta spits out pellets is that it’s not used to eating commercial food.

Juveniles (or Juvies) are used to eating live foods, like mosquito larvae, grindal worms, among others.

It is key to know that when you start feeding a juvenile fish pellets or flakes, they don’t recognize it as food. It’s best to wait for your Betta fish to mature a little and reintroduce commercial food when they’re at least five months of age.

– The Betta Is a Picky Eater

If your Betta Fish keeps spitting out food no matter what you do, you may have a fussy eater on your hands. Anyone who has ever observed an adult Betta going after its food may have difficulty believing there can be anything such as a picky Betta. The reason for the latter is that the species can be voracious eaters.

Nonetheless, there are several reports by fish parents complaining of their Bettas spitting out pellets, flakes, peas, etc. Note that if your Betta doesn’t take to commercial food or vegetable snacks, it’s best to go back to the basics, i.e., live food.

– Diet

Bettas love live food like brine shrimp, blood worms, mealworms, daphnia, etc. Nine times out of ten, feeding even the fussiest of Bettas live food options will get chowing down in no time.

Although, fish parents should be advised that feeding Bettas protein-rich live foods for extended periods can lead to health concerns. For example, too much protein in your fish’s diet can lead to problems like obesity and bloating.

Try introducing flakes or pellets (in small quantities) mixed with the live food to avoid such issues. This will help your Betta get used to the taste of fish food until you can completely switch the food options.

– Parasites

The one thing all pet parents, including fish owners, dread is parasites. However, these annoying pathogens are a part of fish care and maintenance.

While internal parasites are much rarer than the external (and more observable) variety, Betta fish can become infected through new fish that haven’t been quarantined.

The most common symptoms of internal parasites are weight loss and lethargy. However, the longer the infestation lasts, the more it can affect your Betta’s health. Such parasites can sometimes put your fish off food entirely due to general malaise.

If your Betta is exhibiting lethargy and weight loss, along with spitting out its food, then it’s likely your fish is dealing with a parasite infestation.

There are treatments available for such problems that fish owners can get over the counter. However, we recommend taking your Betta to the nearest qualified aquatic veterinarian for a thorough inspection, diagnosis, and proper treatment.

Self-medicating in such situations can cause more harm than good. What’s more, a quick trip to the vet will help you land the right medications and decrease recovery time.

– Digestive Problems

A Betta Fish with digestive problems like constipation can also spit out food because there’s no space in its tummy for food. Constipation is a pretty common health concern in Bettas, and it generally results from a protein-rich diet. Additionally, the species is sensitive to overfeeding, so while your Betta may gobble down all the food, it ends up interfering with its elimination process.

You can ensure your fish has constipation by watching out for related symptoms. One of the most prevalent signs of constipation in Bettas is a bloated belly. Observe your Betta from the sides and the top.

If you can see the scales around the belly sticking out a little, you’ve got a bloated Betta on your hands. Bloat combined with the absence of fish poop and lethargy is more than enough to diagnose a fish with constipation. Treating constipation in fish depends on the severity of the problem. If you’re looking to learn more about helping your fish get back to its regular elimination schedule, scroll down.

Betta fish are likely to spit out food that’s too big to fit in their mouths in an attempt to nibble on it or break it down to size. Try cutting the pellets into several portions and see if your Betta goes back to eating normally. If yes, then you can go back to observing your delicate Betta flit around the tank in peace.

– How Do You Treat Constipation in Bettas?

Fish owners have the option of treating Betta Fish constipation in two ways. We’ll be highlighting both methods in detail. Nonetheless, before we begin, here’s a protip.

Note that it’s always best to help your fish with constipation by first trying out the boiled-pea method. If that doesn’t yield results, you can opt for the Epsom salt technique. With that out of the way, let’s get started on the step-by-step tutorials for both.

  • The Boiled Pea Method

One of the tried-and-tested ways of curing constipation is increasing your Betta’s fiber intake. Dietary fiber helps soften the stool to make for easy elimination, and here’s how you can incorporate it into your fish’s diet.

Start by cooking or blanching the pea in boiling water for about 20 to 35 seconds if the pea is fresh. If you’re using frozen peas, cooking for 60 seconds is best to ensure it softens up enough. After boiling the pea, soak it in a bowl with water. This will help cool the pea down and make it ready for peeling. Next, remove the pea skin and cut it into two or four portions to make it easier for your Betta to eat.

Feed your Betta half the pea. After that, don’t feed your Betta anything for 24 hours. Once 24 hours are up, and you notice your Betta’s belly looking less bloated, it means the treatment worked. Note that, if your Betta still looks the same, feed the other half of the pea and repeat the fasting process for another 24 hours. Once your Betta recovers, you can go back to feeding it as usual. Ensure you select a reputable brand of fish food and avoid giving your Betta too many protein-heavy food items.

  • The Epsom Salt Method

Epsom salt helps relieve constipation by increasing the amount of water in the intestines and softening up the stool to make it easier to pass. Here’s how you can utilize the ingredient to help your Betta.

If your Betta is the only occupant of your fish tank, you can cut down on effort and treat the tank with Epsom salt. However, if you have other fishes, you’ll need to prepare a quarantine and revival tank for the procedure. Two water containers with a one-gallon capacity should work fine for this.

To prepare the quarantine or bath tank, fill the container with water (the same temperature as your aquarium) and add the required amount of water conditioner to dechlorinate the water. Next, add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and stir until the salt dissolves completely.

Prepare the revival tank with a ratio of 3/4 aquarium water and 1/4 (treated) Epsom saltwater. Ensure the water is the same temperature as your Betta’s tank. You can use a thermometer for this. Gently scoop your fish out of the aquarium (with a net) and place it into the quarantine tank. Start a timer for five minutes and keep a close eye on the Betta.

  • Losing Balance

Note if your Betta shows signs of losing balance or its gills stop moving, immediately take it out of the salt water and place it into the revival tank. Not all Bettas have trouble with salt baths, additionally, if your fish seems to be doing okay, wait out the full five minutes and then transfer it to the container with the salt/aquarium water.

Allow your Betta to rest in the revival tank for another five minutes. The purpose of this step is to help your fish acclimate to regular water and help reduce the chances of stress or shock.  Transfer your Betta to its original tank after the five minutes are up. Keep observing the fish and watch for signs of any salt water-related problems.


Betta fish spitting out foodBettas can spit out food for various reasons, and not all of them are troubling. Still, betta-lovers should stay on top of their game by taking note of the following instructions:

  • The most common cause a Betta Fish spits out food is that it’s too large to fit in your Betta’s mouth. If you’re feeding your fish commercial food, the pellets may be the wrong size.
  • At times, Betta Fish can be fussy eaters, and this causes them to reject food items they don’t like. You can remedy this situation by adding Betta favorites like bloodworms to their diet.
  • Another cause for Bettas not keeping their food down is parasites. Watch out for symptoms like lethargy and dull coloration. If your Betta is exhibiting these signs along with spitting food, have your fish checked by an aquatic veterinarian.
  • Bettas can also spit out food due to digestive concerns like constipation. Fish keepers can resolve this problem by feeding the fish boiled pea to increase their fiber intake.

Bettas spitting out food is enough to scare well-meaning fish keepers. However, the reasons behind such strange behavior aren’t always as terrible as you imagine. To sum it up, Bettas spitting up food should be monitored closely in case a trip to the vet is called for.

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