One of the nice things about bettas, beyond their impressive, varied beauty and charming little personalities, are their eating habits. Betta fish feeding is not complicated or even particularly expensive. You will find that there are a ton of live food and other possibilities to explore.
Feeding Your Bettas Properly
At the same time, there are also a few things you want to keep in mind with feeding them properly. This includes how often you should feed betta fish, the best foods for betta fish, and how much you should be giving them per serving.
We’ve got you covered on all of these fronts, as well as many others. Whether you want to optimize the diet of the bettas you currently own, or if you’re planning to purchase bettas in the near future, there are a few important things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Why Is This So Important?
Betta fish are pretty hardy fish, at the end of the day. They can handle a decent temperature range, and can go along well enough with a wide variety of potential roommates. This is provided you’re giving everything your betta will need to be comfortable and happy.
A big part of betta fish care comes down to making sure they are getting the very best diet possible. So much of a betta’s health is tied into what it is eating, as well as how often it is eating. You want to give them a good variety of foods, and you want to also be sure you’re giving them the best food possible.
Maintaining a reliable feeding schedule is also crucial to their health. Not eating enough, as well as overeating, can leave your betta stressed out, prone to illness, and just not very happy in general.
To that end, we’re going to break down the essentials. You’re going to need to know what your bettas like to eat, when you should feed them, and why it’s important to give them a nice variety of snacks.
What Do Betta Fish Eat?
Two things about bettas and diet:
- Betta fish are omnivores. This means they can enjoy a varied diet of meat, live animals, and vegetation.
- However, while you can feed them non-meat/live foods, they shouldn’t rely on that. They need a lot of protein. To that end, insects and larvae are widely considered to be among the best foods for bettas. We’ll get into that shortly.
Pellet-based products should only be used sparingly. Furthermore, anything you purchase in this arena should contain 40% or more in protein. Ideally more.
Also, make sure you’re purchasing betta fish food that is designed with bettas in mind. In this regard, we mean that the food takes into account that bettas are traditionally surface-eaters.
We’re going to offer some specific betta food suggestions shortly. For now, let’s take a closer look at exactly what needs to be in the betta food you purchase.
What Should I Specifically Look For In The Best Betta Fish Food?
A shorter digestive tract, which is what you have with bettas, means less time to process food. This in turn means that stuff with a lot of filler material, such as corn and wheat, are not going to be ideal for your bettas under any circumstances.
Unfortunately, cheap pellet and flake products abound. Pay close attention to the ingredients when buying something new. You can also keep in mind that you definitely tend to get what you pay for with betta fish food. As a general rule, it is wise to stay away from the particularly cheap products.
Among other things, poor diet from low-quality food can lead to bloating in your betta.
Avoid foods that are NOT designed with bettas in mind AT ALL COSTS. We cannot say this often enough! In addition to bloating, you can also give your betta a bad case of constipation.
Ideal ingredients for betta fish foods are pretty easy to spot:
- Protein: This is far and away the most important ingredient in any betta fish food you might purchase. This isn’t the only thing your betta needs, but it’s at the top of the list for sure!
- Fat: This is why some owners prefer feeding their betta live whenever possible. Fat is almost as important as protein.
- Fiber: The short digestive tracts means your betta needs to process stuff quickly. A good amount of fiber is going to be essential to that end.
As you may have guessed, you also want to feed your bettas food that contains plenty of vitamins, as well. Some of the vitamins to look out for includes A, E, K, D3, B1-3, B5-6, B12, M, H, and of course vitamin C.
This may seem like a lot to keep in mind. However, when it comes to the options for feeding your bettas, you’re going to find that it’s actually easy to find reliable retailers offering quality products.
Furthermore, when you know specifically what betta fish like to eat, shopping won’t be a challenge. Everything we’re going to cover below, as we get into other topics like how often you should be feeding them, will give you a clear idea of the many foods available for bettas.
A Few More Things About What Betta Fish Eat
Before we discuss frequency and schedule in feeding your betta fish, let’s take a closer look at your options, keeping in mind all of the ingredients we listed above. Protein should be the most prominent ingredient, and it should be the first one listed on any product you buy.
One more thing: Bettas can be very picky eaters! Don’t panic, but remember that the happiest bettas tend to be the ones who enjoy the most varied possible diet. This extends to choosing among your options for freeze-dried betta food, fish flakes, and live/frozen options.
At the end of the day, you’re probably going to opt for a rotating mix of at least two of those categories, if not all three. Even so, each has its own strengths, weaknesses, and specific products to check out.
Option 1: Freeze-Dried Betta Fish Food
Many consider freeze-dried to be the most important of the three options we’re going to discuss. Why? Because it represents the best compromise between live/frozen and flake products. These foods can give your bettas a formidable range of the ingredients we’ve discussed.
Freeze-dried betta food also benefits from being free of any potential parasites
However, freeze-dried betta will contain at least some filler. This is because as a freeze-dried food, it has been stripped moisture for safe transport and packaging. All you have to do to offset much of that filler is to rehydrate the food with aquarium water. This only needs to be done for a few minutes.
Do not feed your betta solely freeze-dried food. While important for their diet, feeding them exclusively freeze-dried food can lead to some of those bloating and constipation issues we discussed earlier.
This is where the value of a balanced diet becomes apparent. We’re to cover the basics of live/frozen and flake foods. Before we get to that, here are some of the top freeze-dried betta fish foods on the market:
- San Francisco Bay Brand: One of the most popular freeze-dried options on the market, San Francisco Bay Brand offers simple feeding instructions, plenty of delicious and beneficial ingredients, and an extremely high concentration of protein. It’s a winner across the board.
- Tetra BloodWorms: Tetra is one of the largest brand names for aquarium foods and products to be found anywhere. Part of that is because they really do seem consistently committed to high-quality products. Containing relatively few fillers and other undesirable ingredients, their BloodWorms freeze-dried product is a perfect treat for bettas.
Option 2: Betta Fish Flakes
While fish flakes are not everyone’s first choice, and while you should definitely avoid feeding bettas flakes that are designed for other fish, there are specially-formulated options available that can make for a good supplement to betta’s diet.
Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes is widely considered the very best flake food for bettas you’re going to find.
Just keep in mind that some bettas flat-out will not eat flakes. If this is the case, don’t worry!
You should also make sure to remove any uneaten flakes from the tank after feeding.
Option 3: Live/Frozen Betta Fish Food
If you want to recreate the natural environment and lifestyle for your betta as closely as possible, sourcing live/frozen betta fish foods from reliable vendors will be very effective to that end. The highest offering of vitamins and minerals, as well as the least amount of potential filler, means giving your bettas the full culinary benefits they require.
Some of the top live betta fish options include:
- Brine shrimps
- Fish meal
- Shrimp meal
At the same time, don’t forget that live or even just frozen food sources can also come with bacteria and various parasites. Make absolutely certain you are feeding your betta from the most reliable sources, but understand the threat of parasites will always be prevalent.
Do not feed your bettas any live foods you have caught yourself. This measure can be fraught with peril. Using reliable vendors means trusting individuals who have gone out of their way to source the finest and safest products possible.
Click here for a complete list of live betta fish foods you can try.
How Often Do You Feed A Betta Fish?
Knowing how much to feed your betta fish is important. Knowing this will make it easy enough to establish and maintain the best schedule for feeding your betta fish.
Overfeeding can cause health issues, pollute your aquarium’s waters, and even increase the bioload that is being forced upon your tank’s filtration system. The directions on any products should be fine, but you still want to keep an eye on your bettas.
If you notice any odd behavior, such as poor appetite or lethargy, stop feeding your betta the product in question immediately.
Many experts suggest one or two small feedings per day. This can be done anywhere from five to six days in any given week. You don’t have to give them a lot. They will only need enough food to last them for a minute or so.
Why 5-6 days per week? What about the other day or days? At least once a week, if you do feed your betta flakes or freeze-dried foods, don’t give them anything at all.
No, this is not going to be cruel to your betta. Not in the least. Trust me, when we promise you in no uncertain terms that fasting just one day a week will not cause any discomfort for your betta. What it will do is give them a little extra time to process what they’re eating. In our opinion, combined with a balanced/varied diet, this is one of the best ways to avoid bloating or other overfeeding issues.
Remember, and this is true of many types of aquarium fish: Overfeeding doesn’t have to be something you do deliberately. Because of their tracts, many aquarium fish need to be fed only very small amounts of foods. This is true of bettas. Treats should be administered even more sparingly.
Suggested Betta Fish Feeding Schedule
Let’s wrap things up with our suggested betta fish feeding schedule. Tweak this schedule as needed, but you’ll find that many owners stick to something along these lines: (Per betta fish)
- Mondays: 3-4 pieces of live/frozen or even freeze-dried betta foods. Once or twice per day.
- Tuesdays: 2-4 betta fish pellets. Once or twice per day.
- Wednesdays: 2-4 betta fish pellets. Once or twice per day.
- Thursday: 3-4 pieces of live/frozen or even freeze-dried betta foods. Once or twice per day.
- Friday: 2-4 betta fish pellets. Once or twice per day.
- Saturday: 2-4 betta fish pellets. Once or twice per day.
Start with one serving per day, if you have any concerns. Also, make Sunday the day you fast your betta.
Conclusion: A Closer Look At How Much You Should Feed Your Betta Fish
A couple of points to consider with the schedule we’ve outlined for you above:
- By “pellets” we refer to individual pellets in the product you purchase. Confer with the instructions of whatever you have purchased when creating a schedule along the lines of what we’ve mentioned above.
- By “pieces”, we mean enough to hit the sweet spot for how much bettas should eat in a single feeding. You should try to hit approximately 1.8 grams worth of food per feeding. This is true of anything you’re feeding them. Some bettas will need more. Some will need less. Nonetheless, you can always start with the minimum of 1.8 grams per feeding.
One of the frustrating aspects of knowing how much to feed a betta fish is that there really isn’t a universal truth for every betta. The numbers and routines we’ve suggested here should be taken as guidance. You may try the above schedule, and find that it works for you flawlessly.
On the other hand, you may have to make some tweaks. One of the most important general rules about betta fish care is to make certain you are paying close attention to them as much as possible. This is particularly true when it comes to adapting them to a feeding schedule.
We hope this guide has been helpful!