Why Is My Endler Not Eating? {A Complete Guide To Helping Endlers Eat Again}

Are you concerned that your Endler’s Livebearer is not eating? Could it be bloated, infected or dying? In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of Endler’s Livebearers that refuse to eat.

Why Is My Endler Not Eating? Endler’s Livebearers are competitive eaters with an insatiable appetite. Sometimes we overfeed them. Other times they get bloated, bullied, a parasitic infection or simply wish to be fed a different variety of foods from what you are offering. Feeding times, locations and amounts can be altered to help them eat again. 

What Should I Feed My Endlers?

Your endlers originally derived from tropical streams in Venezuela and northern South American regions where the following foods became their staple diet:

  • larvae
  • insects
  • algae
  • plant debris

Our goal as aquarists is to create an ecosystem that best mimics the natural environment that our marine life are used to in the wild. Your endlers should have a large appetite for their small bodies. If flakes and pellets aren’t working, try to go back to their origin foods in the list above.

What Do Endlers Eat?

Endlers are omnivores that eat almost anything you offer that is edible and can fit into their mouths. Try crushing up veggies or shrimp pellets or blended flakes and keep this a part of their steady diet. Add the following foods a few times a week for variety:

  • brine shrimp
  • daphnia
  • bloodworms
  • larvae
  • shelled peas
  • spinach
  • kale
  • zucchini 
  • broccoli

Why Is My Endler Not Eating?

If you have an isolated endler that is not eating while the rest of the group devours everything you offer at mealtimes, then we may have a problem with this one particular fish.

The reasons below may help explain why your single endler is not eating:

  • Bullying
  • Bloating/Constipation 
  • Parasitic Infection
  • Overfed
  • Dying


A dominant endler in the pecking order may decide that one particular endler who is diminutive, shouldn’t eat. This endler may get picked on, chased away and will end up retreating on it own to starve and eventually die. Remove the aggressor, redecorate the tank and see if your weakened endler resumes eating.


Sometimes a bloated or constipated endler will have to give up eating. White stringy poo can be an indicator of constipation and a bloated belly may also be evident.

Remove the shell of cooked peas and offer this to your endler. If this is also refused, you may need to resort to medication.

Parasitic Infection

A bloated endler may have swollen kidneys, be full of liquid and a parasitic infection could have taken over. If your endler is getting thin, spitting out food or refusing to eat, then it’s time to medicate this fish in a quarantine tank or medicate the entire tank. Your community fish may also be infected.

Look for medicines that contain:

  • metronidizole
  • lavamasole
  • praziquentil


It’s easy to overfeed an endler who always seems to be hungry. What we may not notice is that this endler could be nibbling on plant matter, algae and bits of food or diatoms off driftwood. If you consider this, but add in 1-2 meals a day, we may an overfed endler who doesn’t want to eat.

It’s fine to take a couple days off feeding this endler. You can also decide to create a new schedule with only one meal every other day until you see an improvement in its appetite.


Sadly, a lack of appetite is one of the tell-tale signs that a fish is dying. If you notice these symptoms alongside the refusal of food, then your endler is in grave condition.

  • lethargic/sluggish
  • excessive hiding
  • pale or discolored
  • cloudy eyes
  • white spots
  • wounds or bruises
  • rotting fins
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How Do I Get My Endler To Eat?

Variety and changes are needed to spark the appetite of an endler who is not eating. Here are some more tips to create a new situation for your endler to resume eating:

  • New feeding schedule
  • New feeding location
  • Finely crush the food
  • Dip food in liquid garlic
  • Allow for algae growth
  • Offer insects and larvae
  • Scatter brine shrimp
  • Give it frozen daphnia
  • Change the brand of food

Feeding Schedule

Change the time when you offer meals to your endlers. Switch from morning to night. Go from 2 meals a day to 1 meal. Skip a day.

Location, Location, Location

Use different locations to feed your endlers. Keep this location specific for the endlers who are not eating and away from tankmates. Use a tank divider if there is too much competition during feedings.

Crush It

Consider how small the mouth of this endler is. Crush the food very finely. Use an algae wafer and crush it to tiny bits. Do the same for flakes and pellets.

Liquid Garlic

Have you ever tried dipping their food in liquid garlic? Not only does it helps to boost their immune system, the irresistible taste could draw them in to continue consuming it.


Algae is naturally available in large amounts in an endler’s natural habitat. Allow for sections of algae to bloom.

Remove a rock from your tank and place it in a jar next to a window with lots of direct light. Once the algae blooms on it, set the rock back in the tank for your endler to enjoy.

Insects and Larvae

Insects, mosquito larvae or any other critters may end up being too appetizing to refuse. They are rampant in and around South American streams where endlers originate.

Daphnia and Brine Shrimp

Daphnia and brine shrimp usually ignite the appetite of picky eaters. We hope it does the same for your endler on a hunger strike.

Switch Brands

In the end, we have to go back to flakes and pellets as the main staple for endlers out of convenience, cost, ease and the fact that they contain a blended source of complete nutrition for an omnivorous endler diet. Some brands tastes different from others. Switch brands to see if this helps.


We hope your endler is not being bullied or infected with a parasite that is causing it to not eat. The suggestions offered in today’s article are meant to understand the problem and offer support to see if there is anything we can do to help your Endler’s Livebearer resume eating once again.


Thanks for visiting Helpusfish.com and see you again soon for another article on any aquarium life that interests you. Bye for now!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.