Yes, betta fish do poop, everyone poops! You may not witness your betta pooping but you will see it accumulating at the bottom of your tank. A lot of time it’s mistaken for uneaten betta pellets because betta fish poop tends to be clumpy and more round than long and stringy.
Just like other pets, bettas gravitate towards pooping in the same general spot. You’ll often see most of their waste in one location unless you have a strong current or other tank mates disturbing the bottom of the tank. They are also quite picky about being in a safe place when they poop, often near a planted area for privacy (ha!). This can make take cleaning easier too.
How Often Do Betta Fish Poop?
Bettas will poop as often as they need to just like you and me. If you feed them in similar quantities and they eat regularly, they will poop regularly too. The frequency may decline or even stop for periods of time if they refuse to eat, are constipated, or sick. Don’t worry too much about monitoring their bowel movements unless you see something abnormal (i.e. stringy poop, white poop).
Where Do Betta’s Poop From?
Betta fish poop comes out of their butts (figuratively of course)! Betta fish gobble up food using their mouth and mash it up using their teeth. Then it’s swallowed and ingested into their stomach where digestion occurs before passing into their intestine. In the intestine, nutrients are absorbed from the broken down food. Any leftover matter is the waste, which is passed through the intestine and out the anus; located in front of the anal fin and behind the ventral fins.
Betta Fish With Hanging Poop
One instance where you may see your betta fish’s poop is when it’s stringy, stuck, and hanging down from their anus. This is generally a sign of overfeeding and constipation as long as it’s brown and not white. White, long and skinny stringy poop may be a sign of internal parasites. Healthy betta poop is brown and globby. Larger than normal globs can also be a sign of constipation like the photo above from cooneyms on Fishlore.
Remember, a betta’s stomach is about the size of their eye, so only feed 2-4 pellets 1-2 times daily. Fasting one day a week can also help to promote digestive health for betta fish. In the wild their access to food may vary, however, in captivity you should be feeding them regularly. Because of their natural instincts, they may eat every time you feed them and too much.
How To Help A Constipated Betta
If your betta fish isn’t pooping, and they have a bloated stomach, he or she is probably constipated. This is a common ailment because uneducated owners tend to overfeed their bettas. Some betta food canisters also have misleading instructions, which can lead to overfeeding and constipation. Avoid flake foods as that can increase a betta’s susceptibility to constipation.
Prolonged overfeeding and constipation can cause a betta’s digestive tract to expand and press on the swim bladder. This causes buoyancy and swimming issues (SBD – swim bladder disorder). You have to treat this or it can cause a lot of problems.
Follow These Steps:
- Ensure tropical water temperatures of 76-81 Fahrenheit. Colder temperatures slow down their metabolism.
- Fast (don’t feed) for 1-3 days, and depending on the severity of constipation up to 7 days.
- Place a mirror near the betta’s tank or another betta to encourage them to flare. Betta fish often poop when flaring.
- If fasting doesn’t help, try a Pea Diet: Place a frozen pea in hot, hot tap water for 2 minutes. Transfer to cold conditioned water until cool. Feed 1/2 frozen, thawed and peeled pea per day. He or she should poop within 24 hours.
- Feed thawed Daphnia which also helps digestive health if your betta refuses the peas.
Relieving constipation is focused on increasing fiber in their diet and moisture in foods. Some brands of food lack both, especially flakes and freeze-dried variations. Peas can also be used every 7-10 days to encourage digestive health.