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Why is My Fish Not Eating? 5 Reasons Why



Why is My Fish Not Eating? 5 Reasons Why

Raising fish in your home aquarium can be an extremely satisfying experience. There is something sweet about seeing the colorful aquatic animals swimming around in the tank. However, being an aquarist isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. You need to create a comfortable tank for the fish so that they can thrive inside it. Even if you are doing everything that you can think of, it is possible that your fish may refuse to eat food.

If your fish are refusing to eat food, there could be a couple of things that have gone wrong. Perhaps you are providing it with the wrong type of food.

Otherwise it is also possible that the conditions in the tank are not suitable for the fish. These animals are extremely sensitive and might stop eating if they’re not adjusting to the environment. It is also possible that the fish is under stress or is sick.

Inspecting your aquarium, changing the fish food, adjusting the tank environment and observing your fish will help ensure they start eating again.

If you’re worried about your fish who have stopped eating, read ahead to understand why this is happening and what can be done to resolve the situation.

Summary of Reasons Why Fish Stop Eating

Have you noticed that your fish has stopped eating out of the blue? Sometimes the reason why these aquatic animals stop eating food is simply that they’re being served the wrong type of food.

Fish can have varying preferences depending on their species and type. This makes sense since different aquatic animals have different nutritional requirements. Therefore, if your fish have stopped eating since you changed the food, perhaps that is the cause.

Sometimes, it might be a good idea to mix up the food you give to the fish in the tank. If they’re refusing to eat, it could be out of pure boredom with what they’re being served.

Another major reason why a fish may stop eating is that there is something off about the tank conditions. Fish are very sensitive to changes in the environment so regardless of whether it is the pH level, the temperature or the lighting. You need to inspect the tank and ensure that everything is suitable for the fish.

Finally, if your fish is ill, it may refuse to eat food. You need to figure out what is wrong with it exactly. Sometimes parasites take hold of the fish and at other times fish catch infections.

You should thoroughly observe the tank and determine the reason why your fish have stopped eating. Keeping an eye on the symptoms of the fish gives you the best chance to catch an underlying issue that has reduced the appetite of the fish

Top 5 Possible Reasons Why Your Fish Is not Eating or Experiencing Loss of Appetite

1. Temperature of your Aquarium

The Temperature of your Aquarium is very important to maintain a healthy environment for your fishes.

The main reason is that your fish cannot maintain body temperatures. The fish body relies on the temperature of the Aquarium in order to maintain its optimum body temperature.

Different types of fish have different levels of temperatures where they are most comfortable. This can become complicated if you aren’t aware of what types of species of fish you are keeping.

When your fish live in an aquarium where the temperature is not suitable for them, they will start to act in a different manner, many times going towards starvation and not eating their food.

Another reason is when the aquarium temperature becomes too warm, it starts to create hyperactivity in the behavior of the fishes. This can lead to suffocation as the dissolved oxygen levels decreases.

2. Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be another major cause of fish not eating their food.

While they are pregnant, female fishes normally tend to feel more insecure, they experience changes in their behavior and their bellies swell up. Due to this, they normally reduce to stop eating food completely.

Many fish tank owners, mistake the swollen belly for Dropsy disease where the fish also swells up.

It is best to contact a veterinarian to do a complete check-up of your fish and identify what is happening. If it is a female and her belly is swollen up, it is most likely that she is pregnant.

But in order to be sure, it’s best to contact a veterinarian.

3. Not feeding the right food

Fishes are ultimately living creatures and just like us, they do have a taste for food and they possess food habits as well. Although, their habits aren’t complicated as ours, feeding the right food to the right type of fish is important.

Different kinds of fish have different tastes for food. Some fish are carnivorous and they actually like eating earthworms and bloodworms. While many others are fine eating pellets and softened vegetables.

It is important to research and know what type of food your fish likes to eat.

Make sure you’re feeding your fish the right food and that you’re keeping their diet balanced.

Foods like Pellets and Flakes once opened lose their nutrients due to exposure to moisture and oxygen. Make sure to store them properly in an air-tight container.

When food goes bad, your fish likely won’t eat them.

Next thing is to feed different foods to your fish. Have variety in the diet for your fish. Don’t just feed pellets or flakes because they are easy to feed.

Take some time off and also feed vegetables at least once a week. If you have carnivorous fishes, feed frozen blood worms, live worms, or frozen dried food, a couple of times per week. They will love it.

4. Water conditions

Fish are delicate animals that react quickly to changes in the water’s conditions. Ammonia and nitrites, for example, can quickly poison fish and kill them. Therefore, it’s important to keep a close eye on the water quality in your tank and to perform regular water changes to keep the levels of these and other toxins low.

When the water quality changes dramatically, such as when a fish dies, pH levels rise rapidly. The fish may lose interest in food if their pH level fluctuates unpredictably or if hardness, carbon dioxide, or phosphate levels suddenly drop.

If a serious pH imbalance isn’t diagnosed and treated, your fish can die. If you notice that your fish seem off, check the water quality and make sure the pH levels are stable.

Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all by-products of decaying items like plant leaves, a body, or leftover food that can pollute the aquarium.

If these chemicals build up in the tank, the fish will become increasingly unhappy and stop eating.

It’s important to replenish the aquarium with fresh water on a weekly basis in all of these situations. Every week, replace 10–15 percent of the aquarium water with fresh water.

Also, check the water frequently and install a filter if you don’t have one yet. Remove dead or decaying items as soon as possible, and do not leave uneaten food in the tank.

5. Illnesses & Parasites

Your fish getting sick is probably the biggest reason why they are not eating. If you notice that your fish are not eating for several days in a row, then most likely, your fish is suffering from some kind of diseaes.

The most common types of fish diseases are dropsy, swim bladder disorder, constipation, or fungus infection.

Dropsy is the most common form of fish disease that many aquarium owners face. It’s essentially the swelling of fish abdomen that makes your fish look round.

While many times, your fish can also suffer from Fin Rot where the fins of the fishes get affected.

In all these cases, you’ll find that your fish is not eating properly or completely avoiding food.

At this point of time, you should immediately start treating your fishes.

The first step involves moving your affected fish to a quarantine tank with similar water conditions of the original tank. You can use antibiotics and salt for temporary treatment, and in the mean time, you can contact a veterinarian to treat your fish disease.

What to Do If Your Fish is Not Eating?

It can be quite stressful when the fish in your tank stop eating. Whenever this happens, it is important that you observe the tank and the fish to determine what went wrong.

Adjust the environment, change the type of food that you’re offering to the fish and check if your fish is feeling well. Notice for any symptoms that the fish exhibits and work to resolve the issue.

What Kind Of Food Should You Give To The Fish?

Feeding your aquarium fish the right food is critical to their wellbeing. Depending on the species you are dealing with, the type of food you should serve can vary.

You’d be surprised to know that freshwater species and saltwater species prefer different types of food. Before you grab any fish food in the supermarket, read the label and do some quick research,

It can be overwhelming to pick the right food in a pet store, but over time you will learn how to navigate it.

Some of the most popular food for fish is dry food which comes in flakes, granules and pellets. Other than that, some fish may also love to consume frozen shrimp, bloodworms and krill. You need to give them the right diet and refrain from overfeeding them. Once you do this, they might stop refusing to eat it.

So Why is My Fish Not Eating?

Fish stop eating food when they’re being served the wrong type of food. They are highly sensitive creatures that can’t tolerate tank conditions that aren’t suitable to them.

Moreover, these animals also tend to stop eating if they are ill. Observing the tank and fish gives you the best chance in identifying why your fish are not eating.

There are many reasons why fish may not be eating, but some of the more common causes include poor water quality, a lack of food, or being harassed by other fish.

Fish can also become sick or stressed, which can lead to a loss of appetite. If you notice that your fish are not eating, the first thing you should do is check the water quality and make sure that the tank is clean and well-filtered.

Finally, if your fish are still not eating, it is possible that they are sick or stressed. In these cases, you will need to consult a veterinarian for advice on how to treat the problem.


The fish in your tank may have stopped eating because of multiple reasons. It is up to you to scan the environment of the fish and observe them for any symptoms that suggest an illness.

In the meantime, you should ensure that all the tank conditions such as water temperature, pH level and lighting are suitable for fish. If they appear to be sick due to parasites or infection, try to cure their underlying illness and they will begin to eat again.

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