Deciding on the right fish food for your Betta can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. There are so many choices. How are you supposed to choose the right one? There’s pellet food, flake food, freeze-dried, frozen, and even living food. Should you feed your Betta plants and vegetables, or meat? What is best for your Betta?
This ultimate guide for Betta food will walk you through all the ins-and-outs of choosing and feeding your Betta the best foods for a healthy, nutritious diet.
What Bettas Eat in Their Natural Habitat
In their natural habitat of South East Asia, Bettas are generally carnivorous. Their diets consist mainly of insect larvae and small insects. Although Bettas do eat vegetation occasionally, they can’t live off of a diet of just plants. There is not enough nutrition in that kind of diet for your Betta.
Bettas have short digestive tracks, which is one indicator of a carnivorous diet. They need a diet high in fiber and protein. They get their fiber from the insects they eat, which have themselves eaten foods high in fiber.
What Makes up a Well-Balanced Diet for Your Betta
The best diet for your Betta will include fiber and protein in its diet. Fiber works to keep its digestive tract healthy and moving, while the protein works to keep them strong and healthy.
In addition to fiber and protein, your Betta needs other things in their diets as well:
- Foods containing enough moisture to aid in their digestion
- A variety of vitamins
- Phosphorus, which helps cell growth
- Carbohydrates for energy
- Fats, for storing energy
- Calcium for strong bones
Buying high-quality food products will provide your Betta with all these things it needs to remain healthy and live a long, full life.
The Top 5 Types of Food for Bettas
When you go to the pet store, you will find five different kinds of Betta food:
- Flake food
- Pellet food
- Freeze-dried food
- Frozen food
- Live food
Feeding your Betta a diet rich in a variety of the five main foods, will ensure your fish is getting all the proteins, fiber, vitamins, and nutrients your fish need. A balanced diet will strengthen your Betta’s immune system, keeping it strong and helping it fight off any future illnesses. Providing a well-balanced diet will also go a long way in keeping your Betta from getting bored with meal times.
Feeding your Betta flake food tends to be a less nutritious choice than other choices. It can be challenging to measure and ration out the correct amount you feed your Betta every day. You want to make sure you don’t overfeed your Betta.
Flake foods tend to sink a lot faster than the other types of fish foods. The uneaten food that sank too quickly will sit on the bottom of the tank and rot, which in turn will degrade the water quality, eventually affecting your Betta negatively.
One other thing to consider, flake foods do not resemble your Betta’s natural diet in the least, and if your Betta is a fussy eater, it may reject flake foods. For these reasons, flake foods are not as popular a choice when feeding your Betta.
However, there are some cases where Bettas won’t eat pellet food. In these cases, flake food is a good alternative for your Betta. If you plan to feed your Betta flake foods, you need to choose a brand that is made specifically for Bettas. Don’t buy your Betta tropical fish food. They are full of plant and vegetable fillers, perfect for omnivores, but they fall short in providing the nutrients your Betta needs.
You might also be interested in: Types of Betta Fish
What Are the Best Flakes for Bettas?
If you prefer to feed your Betta flake foods, here is a list of the top Betta flake foods you can purchase for your Betta.
Omega One Betta Food
These gourmet wild salmon flakes are made especially for Bettas. With color boosting nutrition, these flakes are rich in the essential Omega fatty acids 3 & 6. The natural beta carotenes found in salmon will enhance your Betta’s coloring, taking it to the next level.
The Omega One Betta Food flakes will not dissolve in the water, which reduces tank pollution. Additionally, the starch content is significantly less than that of other fish flakes, reducing fish waste and keeping the tank cleaner for longer periods of time.
Min Crude Protein 43% / Min Crude Fat 12% / Max Crude Fiber 2% / Max Moisture 8.5% / Max Ash 8% / 100% Made in the USA!
- COLOR BOOSTING NUTRITION: These delicious wild salmon Betta Flakes are rich in critical Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and are 100% meal free. Natural beta carotenes in salmon provide extreme color...
API Betta Fish Food
API Betta Fish Food is specially formulated to support healthy growth, in addition to keeping the tank water cleaner and clearer. Offering your Betta a balanced and complete diet, API Betta flakes also offer color-enhancing nutrients that will give your Betta’s coloring a boost. With nutritional proteins that aid in digestion, these flakes produce 30% less ammonia. Less ammonia and waster are released when your Betta consumes the proper amount of nutrients.
Tetra Tropical Betta Crisps
Designed specifically with your Betta in mind, these flakes will provide a well-balanced diet and keep your Betta healthy and happy. With fewer fillers than their competitors, these flakes provide 44% crude protein and 12% crude fat. Enhanced with color boosting ingredients.
TetraBetta Flake Medley Fish Food
Tetra BettaMin Tropical Flakes provide your Betta with the balanced nutrition needed to support a healthy immune system. Your Betta will love these small thin red flakes coupled with freeze-dried brine shrimp. Patented ProCare ensures your fish receives precise amounts of the Omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to the nutrients and vitamins that your Betta needs to stay healthy. Color enhancing technologies bring out your Betta’s natural colors, making them more vibrant.
Tetra BettaMin Select-A-Food 1.34 Ounces, Fish Flakes, Variety Pack
Tetra BettaMin 3-in-1 Select-A-Food is perfect for providing daily variety for your Betta. Packed with nutrition and color enhancing nutrients, these flakes are sure to please your Betta and keep them from getting bored.
The multi-section canister offers three different Betta foods in one convenient container. Your Betta will enjoy the flake foods daily, in addition to the mini floating pellets, and then for an occasional treat, feed your Betta the freeze-dried shrimp pieces.
- BETTA FORMULATION: Nutritionally balanced diet is an ideal daily staple food for your Siamese fighting fish (betta splendens) and other top-water feeding tropical fish.
Pellet foods are the most common food Betta keepers use. Pellets are usually made of higher-quality ingredients. Pellets are also much easier to measure the amount you are feeding your Betta than flake foods. They are also more natural-looking, possibly resembling insect larvae to your Betta.
When you choose a pellet brand, make sure that your chosen brand has at least 30% crude protein. The other ingredients should include dried meats with little to no fillers.
What Are the Best Betta Food Pellets?
There is a multitude of Betta food pellets on the market today. With such an assortment, it can be hard to narrow down your choices. One thing to keep in mind when choosing the right pellets for your Betta is always to choose one with natural ingredients. Although, try to avoid a lot of plant matter in the pellets. Your Betta doesn’t need it. Instead, look for high levels of crude protein. The following are several brands we recommend.
Aqueon Dry Fish Food - Extruded
Formulated especially for Bettas, the Aqueon pellets are full of the nutrients needed to support a healthy immune system. The pellets are the perfect size to ensure you never overfeed your Betta.
With natural ingredients and no artificial colors, Aqueon takes a more holistic approach to feeding fish. The coloring for the pellets comes from the formula’s actual food ingredients, which help bring out your Betta’s natural coloring.
- Protein (min) – 37%
- Fat (min) – 8%
- Fiber (max) – 3%
- Moisture (min) – 8%
- Phosphorous (min) – 1%
Omega Sea Betta Buffet Pellets
One of the most beneficial pellets you can buy to feed your Betta is Omega Sea Betta Buffet. With fewer fillers than other leading pellet brands, they pack a whopping 40% crude protein. Because they are made from salmon, they are also full of the vitamins, nutrients, fat, and fiber needed to keep your Betta healthy and enhance their natural coloring, as well.
- COLOR BOOSTING NUTRITION: These delicious wild salmon Betta Pellets are rich in critical Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and are 100% meal free. Natural beta carotenes in salmon provide extreme color...
Ocean Nutrition Attisons Betta Pro
Ocean Nutrition is perfect for people who might have a fussy eater on their hands. Not as large as other brand’s pellets, the smaller size of Ocean Nutrition will entice your fussy Betta to try them and like them.
These pellets are rich in crude protein, 36%, with minimum fillers. Containing several different types of meat, these pellets come with plenty of vitamins and color boosting nutrients.
Tetra Betta Floating Mini Pellets
These Tetra Mini Pellets will provide your Betta with a well balanced, highly palatable, and nutritionally rich meal. ProCare ensures precise amounts of the vitamins and nutrients needed to support your Betta’s immune system. They are also rich in proteins and Omega-3 fatty acids to encourage energy and growth. The natural color enhancing nutrients will improve your Betta’s natural vibrant colors.
Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets
The smaller Hikari pellets are perfect for Bettas that have difficulty eating larger pellets. Although they were designed to be eaten by juvenile Bettas, they are still good for adult Bettas.
These pellets are packed with 38% crude protein, and full of digestion aiding moisture. They do, however, contain a small number of fillers. The fillers won’t hurt your Betta, but they will not provide any nutritional value for your Betta, either.
Freeze-dried food makes an excellent addition to your Betta’s diet. Packing more nutrition than either pellets or flakes, they will provide your Betta with a well-balanced meal. However, because they are freeze-dried animal meats, they lack moisture, which is needed for easy digestion.
In many cases, crude protein for freeze-dried Betta foods will exceed 50%. Along with the increased amount of protein, they also contain fiber and roughage that is good for the digestive system.
When used in conjunction with a diet of pellet foods, you can rest assured that your Betta will get all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to build up a healthy immune system.
You can’t deny that live foods hold more nutritional value than any other food. After all, it’s what Bettas eat in their natural habitat. Your Betta will love a diet of small invertebrates, insects, and insect larva.
If you plan to give your Betta live foods, you should also incorporate some pellets and freeze-dried foods in its diet, as well, to make sure your Betta is getting a well-balanced diet.
A diet of only live foods might tend to get a little costly in the long run. Another thing to consider is handling and storing live foods. You also need to be very cautious about parasite infections. Make sure you are buying your live foods from a reputable source because if they haven’t been properly taken care of, there’s more of a chance they could be infected.
Feeding your Bettas live foods that are infected with parasites will cause them to become ill and possibly even die.
On the upside, live foods will bring out the natural hunting behavior in your Betta. The best live foods for your Betta include:
- Small insects
- Brine shrimp
- Mosquito larvae
Bloodworms, but only as an occasional treat!
An excellent substitute for live foods is frozen food. It’s less expensive to buy and keep, and it includes most of the nutrients your Bettas need. One of the things to keep in mind when deciding between live foods and frozen foods is the hunting factor. With live foods, your Betta’s natural instincts will come out, and they will start hunting their food. They can’t do that with frozen foods, obviously. But, with frozen food, there’s a slightly less chance of your Bettas being contaminated as there is with live foods.
Before feeding the frozen food to your Betta, you will want to defrost the food in a cup of the tank’s water. Frozen food is too difficult for Bettas to eat, possibly causing some damage. Be careful of overfeeding your Bettas too much frozen foods. All they need is a small amount in the mornings in addition to the evenings.
Choosing the Best Betta Fish Food
When shopping for Betta food, you need to educate yourself on everything your Betta needs in order to stay strong and healthy.
Choose Foods with High Protein
Being a carnivore, the most important staple in your Betta’s diet is crude protein. As we have stressed in this guide, it is important to choose a Betta food with a high percentage of crude protein. Don’t choose anything that has less than 30% crude protein.
You should check the list of ingredients to see the protein content levels before buying. If it doesn’t give you the percentage or level, you can look at how many animal products are listed among the ingredients. When the bulk of the food’s ingredients are all animal-based, it’s probably a higher quality food.
Avoid Foods with a lot of Fillers
In addition to looking at the protein levels, you should also pay attention to the number of fillers that are on the list of ingredients. A lot of fillers are listed under the name “fish meal” in the ingredients list. Fish meal can contain a variety of things, possibly even some meat. However, because you don’t know exactly what makes up the fish meal, you want to avoid it.
In order to avoid unnecessary fillers, check the list of ingredients for anything that is not meat-based. Small amounts of fillers are to be expected in Betta food, but make sure the fillers don’t make up the majority of the ingredients.
Avoid Foods that are Plant-Based
Bettas are carnivores, so you will want to avoid any Betta food that contains a lot of plant fillers, as well. The Betta’s body has not been made to easily digest plants. It is important to choose a food that has been specially formulated for Bettas, rather than common tropical fish food. These kinds of foods were made with omnivores in mind.
Avoid Ingredients that are Unidentifiable
If there are a lot of long, unpronounceable ingredient names in the list of ingredients that you are not familiar with, don’t buy it. The most beneficial foods for your Betta are the ones that have basic meat-based ingredients. Large amounts of chemicals will not be healthy for your Betta in the long run.
Avoid Pellets and Flakes that are Low-Quality
Cheaper is not better when it comes to the quality of your Betta’s fish food. You can identify low-quality pellets and flakes by their low prices and the list of ingredients. Again, look for unidentifiable words and fillers. You may be tempted to buy the cheaper, lower-quality Betta foods, but your Betta will not be as healthy and happy as it should be, and it could end up costing your more money in the future.
What to Do When Your Betta Rejects its Food
When your Betta starts spitting out its food, that could be a warning sign, at the very least, it could be because the food is simply too big for it to eat. Try cutting or grinding up the food before feeding your Betta. If you reduce the food’s size, your Betta should not spit it out.
If you find your Betta spitting out frozen food, you should make sure you have fully defrosted the food in a small quantity of its tank water before you try giving it to your Betta again.
Another possibility for your Betta’s food rejection could be digestive trouble, usually in the form of constipation. Treating constipation is easy. You can try fasting your Betta for two or three days and then try feeding it some daphnia.
Or, you could have a fussy eater on your hands. If this is the case, you can try fasting your Betta for two days and try giving it the food again. Just remember to remove any uneaten food from the tank in order to avoid it sinking to the bottom and rotting. This will negatively affect the water conditions and eventually make your Betta sick.
If Your Betta Stops Eating
Not eating is usually a sign that something is wrong with your Betta. If you notice your Betta is not eating, you need to start ruling out stress factors, constipation, swim bladder disease, or food issues.
Your Betta needs a diet rich in protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and nutrients. In order to get this well-balanced diet, you need to avoid the cheaper, lower quality foods.
You should also consider feeding your Betta a variety of foods, such as pellets for everyday meals, supplemented with either frozen or freeze-dried foods, and live foods a couple of times a week.
Although flake foods are fine, you don’t want that to be the only food your Betta eats because most of the time, this type of food is filled with plant matter, which does not hold any nutritional value for your Betta. If you feed your Betta the flake foods, you should supplement your Betta’s diet with another type of food that we have recommended to give them a well-balanced diet.
In summary, the best food you can feed your Betta will be live foods. But you have to be careful about buying them from a reputable source. You don’t want to buy contaminated food that could cause your Betta to fall ill or possibly even die. Live foods also bring out your Betta’s hunting instincts.