If you have Betta fish, you likely already know how enjoyable these gorgeous fish can be to raise. However, if you aren’t experienced, you may be curious about what types of foods they can be fed. As carnivores, they can eat bloodworms, along with a variety of other foods.
Interested in learning more about how often you can feed your Betta fish bloodworms – as well as other options for treats? Here is everything you need to know about feeding your bettas these wiggly, squiggly delicacies.
What Should Bettas Eat?
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our article about how to increase the lifespan of your Betta fish. In addition to other actions such as cleaning your tank regularly, providing proper tankmates, and engaging in good preventative care, providing a nutritious diet is one of the best -and easiest! – ways to keep your Betta fish healthy.
Betta fish are carnivores and are relatively easy to feed. The main thing you need to keep in mind is that a Betta’s stomach is about the size of its eyeball – don’t feed your Betta any more than this at once, as it can not only make your fish sick but also contaminate your tank.
Betta fish should be fed varied diets. Aquatic worms should make up the core of your Betta fish’s diet. Good options include bloodworms, which we will talk about in great detail, as well as brine shrimp. You can also feed Betta pellets, gels, and glassworms, also known as tubifex worms. All of these are available at most commercial pet stores.
Betta fish can also be fed frozen or live insects – some good options to consider include fruit flies and daphnia. These can also be found at most pet stores, as can frozen meats like mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and frozen beef heart. Be careful about feeding too many rich meats or fatty beef heart, as these can fill your tank with dirty oils and proteins.
Betta fish will even eat small amounts of vegetables. These are a great way to add fiber and extra vitamins to the tank, but you will want to monitor your betta carefully at feeding time to make sure he eats them. Otherwise, they will sully the water quality in your tank. Some good vegetables to consider include zucchini, peas, lettuce, spinach, or other options cut into small pieces.
What Are Bloodworms?
The term bloodworm can refer to a few different kinds of worms. The most common ones are Glycera, which are worms that are usually found in saltwater, and Chironomidae, bloodworms that are tiny red larvae from midge flies.
Both of these types of bloodworms can be fed to fish, but what you need to know is that bloodworms are not actually worms. These creatures are usually larvae and can be sold freeze dried, frozen, or live.
Bloodworms are the larvae of the midge fly are usually a vibrant red in color. This bright color is due to the red iron-porphyrin protein in their tissues and blood. They do well in polluted waters with low oxygen content because they have high levels of hemoglobin. One of the primary foods in the aquatic environment, bloodworms are eaten by just about every type of meat-eating creatures, including fish, turtles, salamanders, crabs, shrimp, frogs, and snails.
Glycera worms are bristle worms, typically found in the seabed of saltwater environments. These creatures can grow up to 14 inches long and have a venomous bite.
Bloodworms can be fed to fish that are living with your bettas – you can give them to any carnivorous or omnivorous species such as mollies, guppies, discus, loaches, and eels.
Can I Feed My Bettas Only Bloodworms?
Bloodworms are good for Betta fish, but they shouldn’t be their sole source of nutrients – or the only thing that you feed them. Bettas require a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of diverse nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Mix up what you are feeding your Betta fish each and every day – including bloodworms – so that you don’t force your fish to eat the same foods day in and day out.
How Often Should You Feed Your Betta Bloodworms?
You can feed your Betta fish bloodworms on a regular basis. Many Betta owners feed this type of food to their fish twice a day – once a day is also acceptable. Three times a day may be too often, because you will want to make sure you are not overfeeding your fish.
Try to stick to a good feeding schedule when it comes to giving your Betta fish bloodworms. You will want to feed them once or twice a day and only feed about as much as your fish can eat in one feeding.
To feed your frozen bloodworms, fill a shallow container with some tank water and put the bloodworm cubes inside to thaw them out. Once they have thawed, you can strain out the food and add it to your tank. Do not include the juices when you feed the thawed bloodworms to your Betta fish, as this can contaminate your tank.
How Many Bloodworms Can You Feed Your Betta?
Try to keep portion sizes of bloodworms small, especially when you have just started to feed bloodworms to your Betta fish. A good rule of thumb is to feed about one or two worms at a time. The stomach of your Betta fish is not very large – only about the size of a pea – so you will want to avoid dropping a whole bloodworm or cube into the tank.
Instead, cut a cub into small pieces and place a chunk in the tank. If you want to ensure that your Betta fish accepts the treat, you should first place it in a cup filled with tank water. This way, you will be able to get about two worms out of feeding time instead of giving them to your Betta fish to nosh on all at once.
What Are The Best Bloodworms For Betta Fish?
There are several types of bloodworms that you can feed your Betta fish. Bettas love live bloodworms, which can be purchased from places like Petsmart, Petco, or even Amazon. They are usually sold frozen in small cubes – one cube will have hundreds of bloodworms. Live bloodworms are high in protein.
Although live bloodworms are the most nutritionally dense, you can also feed your Betta fish freeze dried bloodworms, too. These are high in calories but don’t have a lot of nutritional value besides that. You can use them to replace a meal perhaps once or twice per week. These can also be purchased at Petco, Petsmart, or Amazon – and an added advantage of these is that they tend to last a bit longer than their live counterparts, requiring no cold storage.
Freeze dried bloodworms typically are sold in small plastic tubs. These are rated as Grade A or Grade B. Grade A is more expensive, but it’s worth the price as they don’t contain any particles from non-bloodworm species.
These freeze dried worms have a tendency to float in the tank. If you need them to sink, you should soak them before adding them.
Live bloodworms can be more challenging to find and don’t keep as long in storage as frozen or freeze dried bloodworms. They must be used within just two or three days. These usually come in a plastic container as well, but you must rinse them before feeding them to the fish. If you are feeding several other fish in addition to your bettas, these are a good choice because you will be able to use them up quickly.
Keep in mind that although live bloodworms are more nutritious, they can carry pathogens. You need to make sure you purchase bloodworms from a reputable source – don’t use ones that you harvest yourself from the wild!
If you plan on breeding your Betta fish, you should use live bloodworms. These will help encourage your Betta’s natural behaviors and influence the breeding process.
Frozen bloodworms can be stored for up to six months in the freezer. They come in multiple forms, including thin sheets and frozen blocks. These don’t usually contain parasites or any risk of disease, but they don’t encourage the natural hunting instincts as well as the live ones.