Hi. Finley’s mom here to admit my first mistake to hopefully prevent someone else from doing the same.
When purchasing Finley, I also had to buy him food, of course, and I wanted to get him the pellets (because wow I do NOT want to touch a worm!), but I also wanted to do right by my fish. I read a little on my smartphone quickly while standing in the pet store, trying to figure out what to do for him, then asked the sales clerk what they do to care for the bettas – seemed like a smart idea at the time.
I was told that the bettas were fed 3-4 bloodworms every 48 hours. I asked why “48 hours” when the package of bloodworms in my hand said 2-3x daily and the clerk said that the more the fish eat, the more they poop, and therefore the more water changes they need, so they only feed the fish every other day so that they don’t have to change the water as often. I was horrified, obviously, but also grateful to hear the truth. According to the clerk, the betta fish at the store I went to only eat every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and every other Sunday. This information led to my first mistake as a fish mom.
Not wanting to force Finley to eat only pellets if he was used to bloodworms, I got both. Of course, I fed him immediately when getting home, then began giving him a hearty meal 4x per day to let him know he’s home and safe and will be well-fed. Within a day or two, Finley developed an enormous belly. I was overfeeding him. I didn’t take a picture of it (I didn’t yet know how awesome Finley is and that we’d be blogging), but here is a pic of one similar from FishForums.net:
I had no idea what was wrong with him and immediately went online to figure it out.
This was the article I read: Bloating and Constipation by NippyFish.net
It says that giving a betta a cooked pea can help to get the bowels moving since it is a high fiber food. So, I got Finley a cooked pea, cleaned some tweesers with rubbing alcohol (and rinsed them with safe water), tore the pea in half to expose the inside, and held the halved pea in the tank with the tweesers. He ate it! (Well, he didn’t eat the whole pea; just a few him-sized bites.) I also gave him some tough love and made him skip breakfast the next day. He was better in about 24 hours.
Now I’m careful about how much I feed him. I always make sure he is well-fed, but I also check his belly often to make sure he doesn’t eat too much. It was a really scary, but also a great learning experience.
Through learning about this, I also found out that many brands of the betta pellets are too big for their mouth, which is why they spit it out multiple times (they’re trying to break it up). So I’ve also starting breaking up his pellets for him. More about that in the next post, Making Betta Pellets Betta-Sized.
*Update* I now regularly give Finley a cooked pea to aid his digestion and keep his diet more varied/natural. Chasing him around the tank with tweezers was not really ideal though, so I created a DIY Pea-Holder that works great.
Please help make GoodBetta even betta!
Have a great day!