Feeding Blind Betta

pakals

I just got a blind betta today. Wasn't really planning on it, but fortunately, I already have a 10g shrimp tank with the appropriate parameters for him (which isn't ideal for the shrimps' sake, but I couldn't abandon him to probable death). He's in a quarantine tank for now.

He lost his vision to bilateral popeye, which seemed to be caused by poor water conditions. His eyes aren't swollen anymore, but one appears to be infected, or else it has a pretty opaque cataract over it. I plan on treating him for bacterial and fungal infections to see if that improves his eye any.

My chief concern right now is feeding him. The poor thing is half starved and from what I observed of his behavior in his previous tank (I was able to watch him for a couple days before I brought him home with me), he can't see most of his food. He still eats when he does find it, but he ends up missing a lot of it. He does seem to see better out of one eye than the other, but not as well as a healthy betta should be able to.

I have frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp that I imagine would smell stronger than pelleted foods and would be easier for him to find, but from what I researched, neither would suffice nutritionally as a staple. I'm thinking that coating his pelleted food in garlic juice could work, since that's often recommended for fish that are refusing to eat.

I wanted to seek the advice of more experienced fishkeepers, though. I've kept aquariums successfully for several years now, including bettas, but I've never had a blind fish before, and I want to do everything I can for this fellow!

Quarantine tank has 7.5 pH, 78 degrees F, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and since it's a new tank, 0 nitrate. It has a sponge filter that's been running in my shrimp tank as backup for almost a year, so it should have a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria.

The tank he'll be moving to after quarantine has very similar parameters. 7.5 pH, 78 degrees F, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and I maintain it at 10 ppm nitrate. Both this tank and the quarantine tank are 10g.

Any advice or questions are more than welcome! While I am looking forward to the challenge this will pose, I want to minimize mistakes for his sake.
 

BigManAquatics

My guess is you will have to feed him pretty much by hand most of the time. Just maybe pick a spot in the tank and try wiggling fingers there everytime you feed him and put the food in front of him. Or maybe try a pipette so you can almost put it in his mouth if he has real problems finding it.
 
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JustAFishServant

I know this is an older thread but I believe I can help. I have a half-blind and fully blind betta. My boy, Captain Redbeard, is easy to feed. He has a cataract on his right pupil likely from damage as a youngster and it isn't curable. He eats fine, all I have to do is place food in front of his left eye or use smelly food he can locate easy. This doesn't seem to be your issue though.

Years back my old boy, Ghast, started losing his sight at age 5 and became completely blind at 6. I thought I'd have a hard time feeding him but he could still smell perfectly fine. I soaked his food in either garlic or bloodworm juice and he found his food with hardly any intervention at all. I did use my finger to tap his head and help him find it initially but after that, he'd eat just fine, no issue.

2 weeks ago I rescued a pink dumbo girl with extraordinarily long fins and no eyes. She was emaciated as the last folks didn't know how to feed her. I first stuck pellets or frozen to to end of a toothpick and placed it above her mouth til she found it but it didn't hold onto the food. Now I'm using small tweezers and it's infinitely better. I can even give her worms or plankton without it falling off (she doesn't like brine shrimp). Overall I highly suggest tweezers or a small eyedropper to feed blind bettas. With tweezers you simply hold the food loosely until they suck it up. With an eyedropper you squeeze it until the food just barely sticks out of it and they get it that way. It makes feeding so much easier for blind fish :)
 
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ChitaBetta

I have a half blind Betta myself (when she was eating properly):

I taught her that a splash on the water surface would be where the food was going to be. Fish have something called a lateral line, so they can detect/feel movement in the water.

She was still able to see my finger semi-well, so I would point to the food I was feeding her.
I did have to put it pretty much in-front of her face most of the time and she could see it better on one side of her face compared to the other..

My Betta would never eat anything except pellets, so for me it was probably easier to feed her than feeding her frozen/fresh.
 
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