What Do Betta Fish Eat?
Well now you’ve gone and done it. You decided to bring home that sports car colored betta fish from the aquatic showroom of the pet store, and now you are getting that “feed me Seymour” stare of doom from your new finned friend. So, what do betta fish eat anyway?
they seem to only enjoy eating things that they really have no business at all trying to eat.
Well, lucky for you, bettas aren’t picky at all about what they decide to chow down on. Unlucky for you, they seem to only enjoy eating things that they really have no business at all trying to eat. Especially if the would be morsel is 3 times their size. Think they do it just to spite you?
You just wait and watch! You come home from the pet store with a brand of betta specific fish food that promises it’s like the fillet mignon of betta cuisine, and then you find your betta completely still and staring at you as if you just ran over it’s bicycle. Hmmm. More on Betta bicycles later then.
So what is there to do about feeding this over entitled betta fish? Well, first off all bettas are not created equal. Some bettas like some foods, and other bettas like other foods. Only time and experience will give you the proper know how when it comes to preparing your betta’s preferred happy meal.
Let’s start by getting some of the basics out of the way.
Betta Learn How Often to Feed A Fish
the generally agreed upon frequency is once per day.
The vast majority of readers here will have fully grown adult bettas at home. So for them, the generally agreed upon frequency is once per day. It will not hurt if you feed your betta fish twice in one day. Depending on whom is doing the feeding, sometimes it works better for your schedule to feed once per day. Some people need that extra betta interaction and opt for the double feeding routine. Whatever floats your betta boat.
Also, if you decide to go the 2 feedings a day route, it’s really best to cut the amount you feed per feeding in half. Betta obesity is on the rise. Actually, all kidding aside, you really do not want to overfeed your betta fish. Overfeeding is harmful and, in extreme cases, can be deadly. More on overfeeding later.
Betta Learn How Much to Feed A Fish
It is astonishing how many people believe that feeding “extra” food to their betta fish will make them big and buff in the long run. Bettas aren’t body builders. Although, they do flaunt themselves around like them more often than not… that’s beside the point.
Did you know that a betta’s stomach is roughly the size of it’s eye?
Did you know that a betta’s stomach is roughly the size of it’s eye? That comparison is really good to keep in mind when its feeding time. Over feeding your betta fish is never good in any situation. Most bettas actually do know when too much is too much though, and will stop eating when full. However, this is not always the case, and can vary between feedings of the same betta.
In the event that your betta “knows” when to stop eating, your betta will lose interest in the food and let the food drop to the bottom of the tank. Where it will decompose, rot and make a mess. An unhealthy, polluted environment mess that you need to clean up.
You need to clean this up because, if left alone to rot, this will end up breeding all sorts of nasty bacteria that will eventually harm your betta fish. Your “being nice” to your betta fish just sent him to the infirmary. Overfeeding your betta fish is bad in any situation. Wasn’t that mentioned before?
The general rule of thumb is to feed your betta fish only what he or she will eat in 2 minutes on the dot. If after the 2 minutes are up and there is still food floating, pick it up and out of the aquarium.
Why Overfeeding is Bad not Betta
Overfeeding pretty much any living thing is generally not a recommended practice, and can cause many of the same problems as what happens when you personally over eat. How do you feel after overindulging? Betta fish get bloated too. Bettas can also get constipated. In the betta world though, these issues can be more than uncomfortable. Betta bloating and constipation can quite easily be very deadly. Apologies for the gloom and doom betta talk but, these are serious conditions with possibly morbid outcomes.
Betta bloating and constipation can quite easily be very deadly.
There are types of betta fish that, when overfed, will develop swim-bladder problems. These are not the same type of bladder problems that make you rush to the restroom. Swim-bladders are what the betta fish use to maintain depth in their aquarium. Double Tail betta fish are notorious for developing these problems if overfed. You will have a good idea if your Double Tail Betta has been overfed if you see that he/she can’t swim down too long from the top of the tank. This condition is serious and can take weeks to recover from, if the betta recovers at all.
Overfeeding will either cause your betta fish to eat itself to death, or let the food drop and rot at the bottom which will cause pollution and more betta death. Ok, again, maybe this is all a bit more morbid than has to be but, the point that overfeeding your betta is bad has to be driven home. You, most likely, thoroughly understand that by now… right? Ok, moving on.
One last thing that sadly needs mentioning because of the mass misconception of the usefulness of live aquatic plants and mechanical filters, these things are not “made” to clean up unnecessary overfeeding messiness. Having extra food fall to the bottom of the tank will not fertilize the aquarium plants. Please try to only feed what your betta will eat in that 2 minutes and pick out the rest before it falls!
Betta Than Good to Skip a Meal
If you decide to skip a day, make sure that you do so no more than once per week.
Skipping a day’s feeding occasionally can be actually really beneficial to your betta fish. If you decide to skip a day, make sure that you do so no more than once per week. Meaning, feeding your betta 6 out of 7 days a week. These are like little betta versions of fasting, or detoxing, or whatever you personally relate “not eating for awhile” to.
Taking a break from eating is a good thing if the betta is healthy. This break lets your betta’s digestive system take a rest and can then spend is digestive time cleaning itself out. If you find that you yourself don’t have the “stomach” to let your betta fish go a whole day without food, you can opt to feed a smaller sized meal for a day instead.
One thing to note along these lines is that just because you “can” skip a feeding, doesn’t mean that you can start to think it’s OK to forget altogether. Betta fish need both their general routines and their routine feedings. Also note that these feeding guidelines all have to do with feeding a regular and healthy betta fish.
Now that we have gone over all the do’s and dont’s, lets get into the “meat” of it!
What Is Betta to Eat?
Betta fish are carnivores in nature. In their homeland, or rather, homewater of Thailand, they get their fill feeding on mosquito larva. In the wild, they do like nibbling on other things as well, but mosquito larva is the betta fish’s steak dinner. That’s not exactly something on the domesticated betta’s menu however. Lets see what else will suffice.
Bettas Eat Live Brine Shrimp
While this diet is actually feasible, it is, however, very costly over time. It’s good to note though, that they do really enjoy brine shrimp as you can add them to your shopping list of betta treats. One thing to be extra careful of when feeding live food to your fish is that bettas often won’t stop eating until everything wiggling has been eaten. Overfeeding your betta is something that you have to be very careful about in general, but the risk is more commonly a greater problem when it involves feeding live food. Many betta owners have lost their fish due to overindulgent fish fed live food. Everything in moderation, including feeding a fish.
Bettas Eat Live Worms
Live worms are on the list only to answer the question “do bettas eat live worms”. While indeed they do, it is strongly advised that you do not feed live worms to your betta, or only feed them very sparingly. One of the biggest reasons to skip the live worms is that they tend to harbor some really bad bacteria. If you decide to go ahead in feeding live worms to your betta, please wash them thoroughly beforehand. There are many betta owners who feed live worms regularly without an issue. There are also many betta owners who have lost their bettas due to bacterial infection caused by feeding live worms. You really have to call the shots on this one. It’s better to be informed beforehand though, that’s why this information is here.
Bettas Eat “Frozen Alive” Food
These types of Betta Foods are generally accepted as preferred by both betta enthusiasts and bettas alike. These flash-frozen-while-still-living foods fall on the pricier side of betta foods, but are readily eaten by bettas and generally quite nutritious. There has been some concern about parasites involved with this type of food, but not really enough concern to disqualify this wonderful food alternative. It is however, still something to be aware of. It’s a really good idea in general to keep some ParaGuard handy in your betta first-aid box just in case. You do have a betta first-aid box, don’t you?
Bettas Eat Freeze Dried Live Food
Freeze dried live food is different than the “frozen alive” food above because the freeze dried food has had all of the moisture taken out of it. Freeze Dried food is also not frozen when purchased. It’s a dry and hollow betta food. Dry, hollow bugs… anyway, Bettas readily eat these too.
There is a big caution sign with freeze dried foods however. The chances that your betta will suffer bloat, constipation and advanced impaction are more than great with these foods. Sometimes the freeze dried bugs and be over-cooked, rock hard and razor sharp. Feeding bettas these extra hard and sharp bugs can cause internal lacerations. It’s common to find a few “bad ones” in a store bought container full of the good ones. Just be observant and use your best judgment.
Otherwise, bettas really enjoy these foods. Common types of freeze dried betta foods are blood-worms and brine shrimp. We know from reading above that bettas love brine shrimp. Having some of these on hand for “special occasions” is a great idea and will add variety to your betta’s diet.
There is a brand called the “San Fransisco Bay Brand” that puts out a phenomenal freeze dried brine shrimp. If you feel like spoiling your fishy, you couldn’t do wrong with their shrimp. All of my betta fish go nuts over that stuff!
Bettas Eat Betta Pellets
These would be your standard “made for bettas”, betta specific, betta food pellet. There are many different companies making these “made for bettas” food pellets. To most bettas whom have never seen anything but, they love these pellets. New life spectrum betta pellets seem to be something that even the most picky of eaters will chow down on. That brand isn’t always available in brick & mortar stores though. New life spectrum has antarctic krill as its primary ingredient, and that is a fantastic source of protein. Omega one betta buffet pellets is another brand of fish food that comes highly recommended. It’s protein content and omega fatty acids provide a rich and nutritious meal for a betta fish. An interesting thing about the Omega brand betta pellet is that it incorporates salmon skins that are reported to add a color boost to your betta. I’m not sure how to go about testing that myself, but it’s interesting to think about anyway. In many betta owners homes you will find a jar of one of these in their betta cabinet. You do have a betta specific cabinet, don’t you? The price for these is often just right, and they almost always provide the proper nutrition your betta requires.
Bettas Eat, But Shouldn’t, Standard Fish Flakes
The standard, name brand fish flakes advertised with goldfish and guppies on the packaging shouldn’t ever be used as a betta food staple. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these fish flakes, they were not formulated with bettas carnivorous needs in mind. Yes, they will suffice in a pinch, but please do not malnourished your hungry betta fish with these as the primary, or even secondary, food source. Truth be told, many bettas will suck in, and then spit out these, less than ideal, flakes of un-tastiness.
Bettas… Look At Freeze Dried Food Cubes
There exists a betta food product on the market that consists of freeze dried worms tightly compressed into a cube shape. You would most likely just stare blankly at this interesting food cube too if you were a betta fish. Aside from the passive dangers of freeze dried bugs for bettas in general, there is really nothing bad about this food thing. Try them if you wish. Play with them as building blocks if you are bored. Good luck getting your betta to eat them.
Betta Not Be Hungry Anymore
And that, as they say, is a wrap on the general nutrition needs of a betta fish. Try to remember that a bettas stomach is tiny. Bettas that overeat because they are over fed will suffer because of it down the line. If you are feeding something like betta pellets, 2 or 3 per feeding is a good place to start. Betta pellets don’t always come in the same shape and size though, so you have to use your best judgement sometimes. Remember that the bettas stomach is only about as big as its eye. Leaving the 2 or 3 pellets of betta food in the aquarium for about 2 minutes, and then picking up what is left over, is a common practice. Please remember to remove any uneaten food so as not to let it rot at the bottom of the aquarium. All in all, there’s nothing too difficult about feeding a betta fish. As long as you are mindful of how much you feed, how often you feed and the variety of food you feed; your betta will be well fed, happy and healthy.
Before you head off to feed your betta fish, it may be a good idea to save this article for later somewhere you won’t forget it. Maybe share it with a friend online if you know he/she will enjoy it?
Thanks for visiting and a big “High Fin” for reading this far!