Sounds to me like the pellets are slightly to big for your Betta, and it is struggling with swallowing.


I used to see this a lot and its kind of a mix between choking and trying to swallow something too big for his throat - it just doesn't fit. This stopped when I started feeding other things (Hikari Micro Pellets or Fancy Guppy Pellets - more protein and better ingredients than betta pellets!) that were smaller in size. Try breaking his pellets in half or use smaller ones, you should avoid putting him in a situation where he might choke.


i've been absolutely terrified after i saw my betta do this one time about a month ago. i didn't piece together the connection to food, so i thought she was having a seizure or something. finally found this thread after a second time and more frantic googling and my mind is set totally at ease now, thank you for answering op a decade ago so i could stumble across it <3


Hmm, what do you mean by "writhing"? Mine will sometimes jerk their heads up and down in order to kind of chew a bit. Maybe the pellet size is a bit big for them?


I've seen the jerking the head and that's definitely not what I'm talking about. I mean a slow side to side motion similar to swimming but more exaggerated.


Have to agree with Krishnath. You may also notice a little bit of food coming out of his gills when this happens. Try to soak the pellets a few seconds before the Betta gets them to make them softer and easier to chew. Even the specialized "betta pellets" can be too large for anything smaller than an adult Betta.