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Why Do Fish Spit Out Food

why do fish spit out food

Do you ever wonder why do fish spit out food? As pet owners, we often worry about our beloved fish spitting out the foods we give them. It may feel that they are sick or not feeling well, but whatever the reasons behind it are difficult to determine. In this article, we take a look at various reasons why fish are spitting their food. Please check out below.

The Fish are Full

If you are asking why does my betta fish spit out food, there are various reasons for it. It is natural for the fish not to eat or spit out their food if they are not hungry. Once a fish is already full, they will likely still eat but eventually spit their food after. Some fish are very harsh eaters who always eat food even if they are full but eventually spit out the food because they are not hungry.

Having a schedule of eating will help in minimizing overfeeding of fish. It will also help give the fish an idea of their feeding time. When you do this timing schedule, the fish will eventually wait for their time to eat. The plan will also allow them to have enough time to digest the food properly.

The Fish Dislike the Food

Just like humans, fish are also picky when it comes to the food they eat. It is understable that they will not eat or spit out the food if they do not like it. These animals also will choose which is delicious and tasty.

If they do not enjoy the fish you give them, they will likely spit them out. If it happens, this situation needs your intervention as a fish tank owner. You might find ways to change the meals you give to them by providing something different.

Food Boredom

If you are giving the same food over and over again, your precious fish will experience food boredom and will likely spit the food you are giving to them. Fish will feel bored with the foods they eat, especially if it is not tasty and delicious or you tend to repeat the same food for a long time.

Food boredom only happens if you are not changing your meals. This situation is why they need to change their meals from time to time. There are so many varieties of fish foods available, and it is up to you to find the food they like to prevent boredom.

Rotten Food

If you are overfeeding your fish, there is a chance that some excess foods will remain in the water. After some time, this food will become rotten under the water. The moment the fish eat the food again, it will definitely not taste good, and they will spit it out eventually.

The bacteria will start decomposing these excess foods, which makes them become soggy and rotten. And these foods will not taste the same as the fresh food and will eventually be disliked by the fish. For this reason, it is highly recommended not to overfeed the fish to prevent rotten foods inside the aquarium.

fish dislike the food

The Fish Having Mouth-Related Issues

Any issues that may happen related to the mouth can bring problems with the eating habits of the fish. When their mouth starts to develop tumors, ulcers, and any deformities, they will have a hard time eating, making them spit out some of the food they eat.

There are also times that there is gravel stuck in their mouth, making it challenging to indulge in their meals. If it feels like this situation happens, it is advised for you to check on the fish’s mouth to make sure of its condition. If it is, I advise you to give more delicious and tasty food.

The Fish Comes with Gill Issues

In case you do not know, gills are an integral part of the fish during the eating process. Actually, the fish needs to flex their gills when they eat. It closes out when fish will try to swallow the food they are eating so that it does not come into the air passage.

However, the presence of parasites on the gills will prevent the fish from flexing this part of the body, leading them to spit out their food. There are signs that the gills are infested with parasites, such as the presence of spots, slimy coats, and of course, the parasite.

The Fish is Infected with Illness

The moment you see your beloved fish stop consuming the food you are giving to them, it is likely that they are infected or having a serious illness. But some sick fish will also be tired of chewing their food, which leads them to spit it out.

If you feel that they are spitting their food because of an immediate illness, medication is necessary for treating the fish. You may also look for other symptoms such as very lethargic behavior and slowly swimming.

Poor Water Quality in the Fish Tank

As an aquarium owner, you need to maintain the water quality of your fish tank. Failure to do so will mean causing a lot of stress and even illness to your pets. When the fish is feeling stressed, it tends to affect their eating habits and sometimes make them spit their food.

Just Playing

Not all spitting of the fish’s food indicates that some issues are happening to the fish or its surroundings. There is also a possibility that the fish is only playing with the food, the reason for spitting it.

When the fish is only playing, they will take the food in or out of their mouth. If you see it from happening, it is normal for you to think that it has to have some issues, but the fish is actually fine. Just check if the fish are showing some symptoms of illness and infection; if not, the fish is only just playing.


If you ask why do fish spit out food, there are various reasons for this situation from happening. Some of these reasons include physical issues, water quality issues, and poor food quality. The fish also tends to play with the food, which makes them appear spitting it out from their mouth.

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