Why Is My Betta Fish Spitting Out Food?

Last Updated on January 10, 2022

Betta fish are one of the most popular types of pets. They’re easy to care for and come in a variety of colors, which is why they make great for starter pets. However, many betta owners don’t know that their betta fish might spit out food occasionally.

Although this could be concerning at first, it turns out that this behavior is pretty common among pet fish and there are many reasons for it — some of which we’ll explore in this article. Keep reading below to find out why betta fish spitting out food is not a rare thing.

Why does my betta fish spit out food?

Your betta fish is so cute and you love to feed him all the time. Every time you try, he spits out his food before it can be consumed. 

Most of the time, the reason behind this is nothing to worry about. But this doesn’t mean that you have to let your guard down. Here are some possible reasons why your pet tends to spit out its food.

Your betta may have a digestive issue

One of the common reasons why bettas spit their food is because they have a digestive issue such as constipation. This is very common to bettas and the most obvious signs to look out for is if their stomach is bloated and they’re not defecating regularly.

The usual culprit on why bettas have constipation is due to overfeeding. 

Even if you offer them the best and expensive food there is, giving them too much will do more harm than good. Generally, it is recommended that you feed your betta only two to four pellets, once or twice a day in order to avoid overfeeding them.

If you opt to feed them live food such as bloodworms, you can give at least three to four blood worms twice per day.

Maybe they are just juvenile

If you have just recently purchased your betta from a store, most probably your pet is still a juvenile. Young bettas are normally given live food as part of their diet and starting off with betta pellets or flakes at home could be new for them.

In fact, young fishes may not even realize that what you are giving them is food. The best solution to this is to slowly introduce them to a new diet to save you the heartache of not accepting the food you are offering.

Another reason for your fish spitting out food is that the food is too big for them to swallow. In cases like this, you could try mixing up food until your betta fish starts eating or just feed them small amounts at first.

He is being fussy

A betta spitting out food could sometimes be simply just because they are being fussy. Notoriously known for being picky eaters, you need to pay attention to the type of food they like and don’t like.

The advice in cases like this is to not force your betta to eat. The hungrier they get, the higher the chance that they will eat what you’ll offer.

Keep in mind though to clean your tank and remove any leftovers if your betta fish won’t still eat within 10 minutes. Leaving leftovers to decay in your aquarium will cause the water parameters to change due to an ammonia spike.

Your betta is sick

If you notice any changes in your betta’s behavior such as lack of energy and trouble swimming then it may be because they are sick. Now, this is something to worry about and should be prevented at all costs. 

Parasite in their stomach is a possible cause and may stop your betta from eating properly even if they’re hungry. Although this is rare, it is still best to take precautionary measures and move them to a quarantine tank. This is so that they won’t contaminate the water tank and spread it to other fish.

What should I feed my betta fish?

To prevent your betta from spitting any food you give them, here are some suggested meals you can give them. This is to offer them a variety of foods and provide them with a healthy diet.


Tetra 77019 Betta Floating Mini Pellets for Bettas, 1.02 oz

Image of Tetra 77019 Betta Floating Mini Pellets for Bettas. Click on the image for more information.

Pellets are one of the most common and go-to foods for betta fish. Easily purchased in stores, there are plenty of brands to choose from that you can add to your betta’s menu. 

There are types of pellets that expand when soaked in water which could cause digestive issues and bloating. If this is the kind of brand you have, try soaking them first in tank water before being fed to your betta to avoid indigestion.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze Dried Bloodworms Fish Food - 2 OZ Tropical Freshwater Betta Fish Aquatic Food

Image of Freeze Dried Bloodworms Fish Food. Click on the image for more information.

If you want to save some money, one of the benefits of giving freeze-dried foods to your betta is that they are inexpensive and are free of bacteria and parasites. Same as the pellets, it is best to soak freeze-dried food in water first to increase its moisture and avoid digestion problems. 


Tetra 77161 Color Natural Color Enhancing Tropical Fish Flakes, 2.2 oz

Image of TetraColor Tropical Flakes with Natural Color Enhancer. Click on the image for more information.

There are special and specific flakes made only for bettas which can give your pet the necessary nutrients they need. Betta flakes can also be considered as their main food but remember to always clean your tank regularly after feeding them as this could be messy.

Live and Frozen Food

Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz

Image of Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms. Click on the image for more information.

Did you know that betta fish are also carnivores? If you still haven’t fed them live and frozen food like brine shrimp, larvae, and bloodworms then your betta surely is missing out a lot! If you want, you can also decide to give this kind of food as a treat to teach them tricks!

Related: Best Food for Betta Fish to Keep it Full and Well

Final thoughts

Owners may be worried if their pet won’t swallow their food and spit it. Typically, this behavior is nothing serious and is just because of your betta’s personality or the type of food you are feeding. 

If your pet is still eating and showing interest at feeding times, they’re just fine and there’s usually nothing to worry about. Give your betta a high-quality diet that includes plenty of protein and a tiny amount of vegetables for variety, making sure he has small pieces which are easy enough to chew on.

Related: How Much to Feed a Betta Fish

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