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Old 01-09-2013, 02:40 PM   #1 
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Location: Elma, WA
Betta fish won't eat anything except blood worms!

Hi. I wrote a couple days ago that my new Betta fish, Swimmers, wouldn't eat at all. I have tired 2 different pellet foods: Tetra BettaMin floating pellets and Betta Bites pellets, and he doesn't eat them at all. Eventually, they fall to the bottom.
A friend at a local feed store gave me some freeze dried blood worms and told me to see if he would eat them. He ate a pinch of them that I put in the fish bowl, but so far, this is the only thing he will eat.

Is it safe to just give Swimmers freeze dried blood worms exclusively? Do you think he will start to eat normally once he is in a bigger fish tank with a filter and heater? I recently got one today and am going to set it up this afternoon.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:49 PM   #2 
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No, freeze-dried do not have enough nutrients, need to be rehydrated before feeding to prevent bloat, and should only be given as treats. I personally prefer frozen to freeze-dried. Don't give him any more of the bloodworms until he eats the pellets. A healthy betta can survive 2 weeks or more without eating, so don't worry if he won't eat them at first. He will get hungry eventually. Just put one or two pieces, and if he does't eat them within a few minutes take them out. Don't let them sink to the bottom and pollute the water.

Also consider getting a healthier pellet to feed. New Life Spectrum, either the Small Fish or Betta formulas are considered top notch by a lot of people on the site. Otherwise, check the ingredient list, as a good food should have fish and/or shrimp as the first ingredient, and should not include ethoxiquin (not sure on the spelling...) as it is a low level pesticide used as a preservative that is bad for your fish.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:15 PM   #3 
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Location: Massachusetts
Pellets are highly nutritious whereas frozen and freeze-dried foods are generally fed as a treat. Feeding ONLY these foods can result in malnutrition which leads to lower immune system which leads to sickness. The betta may not recognize the pellet as food, or the pellet is too big. Things you could try (in order):

1. Crush the pellet into smaller pieces
2. "Trick" your betta by putting in food that you know he likes, wait for him to eat it, and then immediately put a pellet in directly above his mouth...sometimes they will eat it assuming its the same thing they just ate
2. Soak the pellet in garlic juice...this makes the food smell irresistable
4. Fast your betta for a few days so he becomes hungry, then feed a pellet. If not, fast again for another few days...eventually he WILL eat it.

Last edited by Viva; 01-09-2013 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:53 PM   #4 
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Well yes it is an issue with new bettas, especially since you do not know what they were feeding them before hand. Thus the food training begins.

Like said by Viva there are a few things you can try (this is the order I use when feed training new bettas):

1. Asking the store what they fed them if it is a type of pellet or flake, that way you can feed them the same and eventually train them to eat something healthier order of healthy foods (live> frozen> pellet > dried > flake). If it was only freeze dried worms then you will have to skip this option

2. Switching food brands. I have yet to see a betta reject Spectrum life betta pellets and omega buffet pellets, they are yummy in their tummies. You can see if they spit it out, it may be because the pellet is too big and you can crush it smaller for them and see if they eat it then.

3. Tricking the betta (if the betta is smart he will catch on >_> little spoiled critters!)

4. Dipping it in garlic juice, however it gets a little messy in the water

5. Fasting the betta and see if he eventually eats it out of hunger and gets used to it. However there are cases in which bettas are very stubborn and you might be forced to use the next options.

6. Frozen food: I recommend mysis shrimp for regular feeding, they are very nutricious and yummy and cheap as well! Problem is that they dirty the water quickly. (frozen blood worms as a treat) My method of feeding is cutting the shrimp cube in a very very small piece and thawing it. Then I proceed to feed the shrimp one by one, with my finger or a chopstick. They will associate your finger or chopstick with food so if you want them to follow your finger, then don't use a chopstick. I use a chopstick because I'm allergic to blood worms anyways-

7. Live foods: Big daphnia or brine shrimp are other options if the betta has rejected all of above. No betta that I know of has rejected these. Their main problem is keeping them and they are sometimes quite expensive to buy on a regular basis.

Just like humans a betta benefits from a varied diet :) Mine eat pellets, frozen blood worms, frozen mysis shrimp.

Last edited by asukabetta; 01-09-2013 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:20 PM   #5 
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I had a rescue betta that wouldn't eat anything except those freeze-dried bloodworms. Turns out that's what Petco uses as their staple food... go figure. What I did was put in a couple pieces of bloodworm with two or three small pellets. He ate them, because he assumed they were bloodworm... silly betta!:) Eventually I was able to increase pellets & decrease bloodworms. He eats pellets fine now.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:00 PM   #6 
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I finally got Swimmers to eat something other than blood worms! I went down to the pet store and got some flake betta food. He loves it.
I did notice that he would eat a piece and then spit it out, and then he would eat what he spit out again. Is this normal? I thought it looked a bit odd.

I am just happy that he is eating something. It took him 6 days to eat something. I guess he just doesn't like pellet food.
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