If you have betta fish or are thinking about getting one in the near future, you may have asked yourself what the best foods to feed it may be. This is one of the most common questions that new fishkeepers ask, and it’s a good one. The diet of your Betta fish will play a major role in its overall health and wellbeing, and you can’t always find out the information you need to know just by reading the label of a fish food.
Bettas can be picky eaters, so it’s important to pay close attention to what your fish are consuming. These fish need a well-balanced diet that are rich in protein and other nutrients.
Some people believe that plants can survive solely off the roots of plants – this is a myth! Do not think that you can feed your Betta diet solely of roots.
Instead, you may want to consider feeding your Betta a variety of foods such as those we will describe below.
- Dietary Requirements Of Betta Fish
- Betta Fish Pellets
- Freeze Dried Betta Fish Food
- Betta Fish Flakes
- Live And Frozen Foods
- Can Betta Fish Eat Human Food?
- How Often Should I Feed My Betta Fish – And How Much?
- What Should I Do If My Betta Fish Won’t Eat Or Spits Out My Food?
Dietary Requirements Of Betta Fish
Betta fish are carnivores. In the wild, they eat insects, so in captivity, you should seek a diet that is filled with protein and high-quality foods. You will need to provide your Betta fish a diet that is comprised of nutrients such as:
Betta fish have very short digestive tracts that do not process artificial flavors or fillers well. They cannot tolerate additives like wheat or corn, which are frequently found in flake and pellet foods. Feeding your Betta fish too many artificial foods can cause them to bloat and become constipated. They do not receive any nutritional benefit from fillers, so it’s important to instead feed protein-rich foods that will help improve digestion.
There is really no secret involved in feeding your Betta fish. Each Betta fish will have unique needs, and it can take some time for you to figure out what exactly your betta wants to eat. However, they require great nutritional value, so you want to make sure you aren’t feeding your Betta fish the exact same foods every single day of the week.
Betta Fish Pellets
Pellets are common foods for Betta fish, but you need to read the labels carefully to determine whether these will actually be good for your Betta fish. The best Betta pellets will have few fillers and more high-quality ingredients to help keep your fish healthy. Some pellets contain fillers that actually expand when they are exposed to water, which can cause your fish to bloat unnecessarily.
If you have these foods and wish to feed them to your Betta fish, there is a quick hack you can incorporate. Soak the pellets in water before feeding them to your Betta fish. This will help hydrate the pellets and will make them easier for your Betta fish to digest.
Freeze Dried Betta Fish Food
You can also feed your Betta fish freeze-dried foods. These will be similar to the natural foods in your Betta’s diet in the wild. They aren’t quite as good as live or frozen foods, as they often have added fillers to replace some of that was lost during the process of dehydration.
As with pellets, it can sometimes be helpful to soak freeze-dried foods in water before feeding. This will prevent any constipation or other digestive issues. The major benefit of feeding freeze dried foods versus frozen or live foods is that they are usually free of bacteria and parasites – something you won’t find with live food. These foods are also easy to find and relatively cheap. They store well and do not need to be refrigerated.
Betta Fish Flakes
Fish flakes are designed specifically for bettas, and will be different from other types of fish food. You should not feed your Betta flakes designed for other tropical fish because these flakes won’t have the nutrients (particularly the protein) that your Betta fish requires. Betta flakes should form the staple of your Betta’s diet, but remember – you should remove any excess after feeding so that they don’t dirty the tank.
Live And Frozen Foods
Live foods are a great option for adding variety to your betta fish’s diet. Unfortunately, these can be hard to come by at your local pet store, and it can be even more difficult to produce them in your own home. However live foods are essential for raising healthy fish.
A good alternative to feeding live foods is to feed frozen food. This will give you more time and also help you save money while also improving the health of your fish. Just remember to cut these foods up into small pieces. You will need to divide them in portions and keep unused pieces frozen. The following options are also available in freeze dried forms at many times.
You should make sure you feed the bettas other foods besides pellets. Because Betta fish are carnivores, they will get aggressive during feedings if they don’t have access to enough protein.
It can be hard to source live or frozen foods, as they can carry diseases and parasites. Don’t feed your Betta fish foods that you caught outdoors, and instead make sure you are feeding them from reputable places.
1 Mosquito Larvae
Mosquito larvae are a great option for Betta fish food. They can be difficult to find during the winter months, as larvae and mosquitoes are more commonly found in the spring and summer months in warmer climates. You can purchase a starter culture of mosquito larvae and harvest your own, or you can find an online store that sells them and purchase them there.
2 Brine Shrimp
Brine shrimp are crustaceans that betta fish absolutely love. They only grow to about one centimeter when they are fully developed, but they are packed with all the nutrients that bettas need to live, including vitamins, amino acids, and proteins. It’s easy to raise your own brine shrimp at home. You can also purchase them at most fish stores in your area.
Bloodworms, also known as glycera, are the larvae of the midge fly. These small organisms are generally found in the small ponds and pools of water in the wild, where Betta fish love to eat them. They don’t have amino acids, but are high in iron, which is also good for Betta fish. In addition to feeding them live, you can also feed freeze-dried or gel bloodworms.
4 Wingless Fruit Flies
Wingless fruit flies, also known as vinegar flies, are great sources of nutrients for Betta fish. You are probably quite familiar with these flies, which are the ones that are found in your kitchen when you leave fruit out! Because bettas like to eat insects, they will go crazy if you feed them fruit flies. It’s not recommended that you feed your bettas fruit flies that you catch yourself, as these can carry diseases. Instead, you should feed them specific wingless fruit flies or breed them and harvest them in small containers.
6 Mysis Shrimp
Mysis shrimp, also known as opossum shrimp, are yet another great option for feeding betta fish meaty foods. They have a strong exoskeleton that is rich in fiber, but they also help bettas digest protein-rich foods. If your Betta fish happens to be picky, you can feed it mysis shrimp to encourage it to eat a greater variety of foods.
Many people feed betta fish peas. While these shouldn’t be a core staple of your Betta fish’s diet, they are a great solution for when your fish become bloated or constipated. Peas have lots of fiber, which can help encourage movement in your Betta’s digestive system. Peas can totally clean out your Betta fish and get its system moving again!
Just keep in mind that if you are feeding peas, you should never feed them frozen. You will need to boil the peas so that it becomes soft and mushy. Then, you must remove the outer layer of skin, which is too tough for your Betta to chew and to digest, even when it’s boiled down. Cut the pea into quarters so your fish does not have a hard time eating it.
8 Other Options
You might also include foods such as white worms, glass worms, daphnia, fairy shrimp, copepods, and moina.
Can Betta Fish Eat Human Food?
Yes, bettas can eat some human food – but only to a certain extent. They can eat limited amounts of vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, or zucchini, but you should always boil these first to soften them up. You should avoid fibrous vegetables like carrots or beans, as they will be too difficult for your Betta fish to swallow.
In general, you should avoid human food unless you are already feeding it to some of your betta’s tank mates. If other species in the tank prefer human foods, though, you don’t have to worry if your betta steals a nibble!
Bettas are carnivores, so you might think you can feed them meaty foods that you like, too. However, this isn’t recommended. First of all, land-dwelling meats that we prefer to eat, like cows and chickens, aren’t typically found in an aquatic ecosystem! Therefore, your Betta may not be designed to digest those sorts of foods.
You may be okay feeding your Betta fish small amounts of seafood. If you are feeding your Betta fish seafood out of a tin, make sure you choose one that is unflavored and has as few additives as possible. You should also select an option that is packed in freshwater or brine so that it’s close to what your fish would find in its natural habitat. Never give your Betta fish seafood that has been packed in oil, as the delicate digestive system of the fish will not be able to handle it.
How Often Should I Feed My Betta Fish – And How Much?
Betta fish have small stomachs – they are only about the size of the fish’s eye. Therefore, you need to be careful not to overfeed your fish. The directions on many betta fish food bottles will tell you to feed your bettas much more than you actually need to. Instead of feeding your fish according to those standards, you should only feed as much as your fish will consume within five minutes.
This rule applies only if you are feeding your fish once a day. If you are feeding twice or more each day, feed only as much as your fish will eat in the minutes. Feeding any more than this will lead to contamination of the tank.
Still confused about how much to feed your betta? Aim for two to four pellets once or twice a day, or two to three pieces of live from frozen foods once or twice a day.
You can feed adult bettas once a day, but fry should be fed twice a day. This may not seem like a lot of food, but remember that pellets will expand as they get wet. A betta fish’s stomach is not large, and you don’t want to overfeed your fish, as this can cause digestive problems.
Clean up any excess food that falls to the bottom of the tank. This will prevent the buildup of ammonia and other harmful issues in the tank. Do not feed your Betta one day during the week. This will give the digestive tract enough time to profess any extra food and it will help address problems related to overeating. Did you know a betta fish can even become obese?
If you’re headed out on vacation or are going to be gone for a couple of days, resist the temptation to feed your Betta fish a wholloping dose of food. This can lead to problems. A Betta fish can actually survive for up to fourteen days without food, so you don’t need to overcompensate by adding a ton of extra food.
What Should I Do If My Betta Fish Won’t Eat Or Spits Out My Food?
There are several common culprits that might be behind your betta fish’s lack of appetite. This could simply mean that your fish is not hungry or that he has experienced some type of stress. Tank cleaning, the introduction to a new home, or changes in water temperature can all cause this stress. Don’t worry too much – as long as the conditions have returned to normal, your Betta fish should resume his normal eating patterns within a few days.
You might want to check the water temperature of your tank. Cold water – water which is outside the recommended range of 76 to 81 degrees – can cause your Betta fish to behave lethargically. This can also slow the metabolism of your fish, meaning it will require fewer feedings. It’s not a bad thing, but you will need to adjust your feedings accordingly.
In addition, the metabolism of your Betta fish will naturally slow as he ages. They will be less active and need fewer feedings. Again, this is perfectly normal.
Just keep in mind that there are some abnormal conditions that may be related to your betta fish’s lack of appetite. If your Betta fish is showing other signs of disease, like lethargy or discoloration, it might be time to address his lack of appetite by administering appropriate treatments.
Betta fish can also simply be picky eaters. If you notice that your fish is spitting out his food, you might want to try a different kind of food. You may need to incorporate a different brand in your feeding regimen.