Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
I disagree that a healthy fish won't starve itself to death. The majority of fish will transition to pelleted or flake foods. But there are some species of fish (particularly marine), and some individuals (often wild-caught fish) that will starve themselves to death if not provided with live foods.
Personally, I like to make the transition from live to frozen. Then from frozen to pellets or flakes. I find it makes the process easier with particularly stubborn fish. I use a pair of long 'aquascaping' tweezers to target feed my fish. This is useful when first introducing frozen foods, as you can move the food around to simulate live prey and this can stimulate a predatory response. I also teach my fish to associate a tap on the glass with food, so all I need do is tap on the glass and all my fish come to the front of the tank.
If you can get your fish accepting a range of frozen foods, such as enriched brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and mosquito larvae, that should provide him with all the nutrients he requires. So you may not even need to transition to dried foods.
Otherwise, have you thought of trying a gel food such as Repashy? I know your fish is a hybrid, but none of my smaller wild bettas have taken pellets readily. They tended to chew on them and spit them out. They preferred flake food, but this caused issues with bloating. So I switched to gel food.
I'm not a fan of live blackworms as a sole food source. I think they're a great tool for conditioning fish for breeding, but fed on a regular basis, they can cause obesity. My earlier wild bettas were fed a diet consisting almost solely of live blackworms, and they were massively obese compared to my present fish.
Good luck. It's going to take both persistence and time.