Unfortunately, many betta owners purchase their new fish, but don’t research their nutritional requirements. This means many pet betta aren’t receiving what would be considered optimal nutrition.
Bettas are carnivores; their natural prey is insects. Any diet that falls short of what your fish would eat in the wild isn’t considered nutritious. The challenge is that many food products out there aren’t natural or have fillers in them.
Numerous brands of tropical fish foods are on the market, but which are the best foods for betta fish? We’ll explain all of that below with our expert recommendations on which foods to feed your betta fish.
Best Foods for Betta Fish
As mentioned earlier, bettas are carnivores, and their natural diet is insects. To meet your betta’s nutritional needs, the betta fish food product that you give them should contain the following:
- Animal-based protein (This should be the first ingredient listed on the label).
- Vitamins (particularly vitamins A, D3, E, B, and C).
Finding a quality diet is easy once you know what to look for. To begin with, there are four food options that you can choose from:
- Pellet food
- Frozen food
- Live food
Pellets for betta fish are widely available on the market. However, their quality varies among the different brands. The advantage of betta pellets is that they make feeding easy. They’re bite-sized, dissolve slowly in the water, and float. As bettas have up-turned mouths, this makes it easy for them to eat.
When choosing pellet food, look for a brand that contains high-quality protein. Some brands choose to go for plant-based matter because it’s less expensive. Look for a brand that contains things like krill, insects, or other animal-based proteins. Also, it should have more protein content than fillers. Fillers include things like:
- Corn flour
- Middling flour
- Wheat flour
- Potato flour
Remember, bettas do not eat much, so avoid buying a large bag to save money. Regardless of the expiration date on the package, the contents will lose quality when repeatedly exposed to oxygen or moisture.
When feeding pellets, hydrate them first before feeding them to your fish. Pellets will expand when they become wet. Failure to hydrate them may lead to them expanding inside your fish. If this happens, it may lead to bloating. The following are high-quality betta pellets:
- Ultra Fresh Betta Fish Food: Betta Pro Shrimp Patties
- Aqueon Nutrinsect Fish-Free Fish Food, Betta Pellets
- UTH Fish Food Fresh Fairy Shrimp
$20.58 ($20.58 / Count)
Frozen food for betta fish is an excellent option. Unlike freeze-dried food, frozen food retains all of its nutrients. Frozen food is also easy to store. Finally, frozen food contains the organisms that bettas would normally eat:
- Mosquito larva
- Wingless fruit flies
- Mysis Shrimp
Only thaw enough frozen food for what you need. Never refreeze thawed food as it may spur bacteria growth. The following are high-quality frozen foods:
- Piscine Energetics Frozen Mysis Fish Food
- San Francisco Bay Brand Frozen Freshwater Multipacks
- San Francisco Bay Brand Mini-Bloodworm Cubes
Bloodworms Good for Bettas?
Blood worms should be offered as a supplement but not as a staple diet.
Of all the food options, live food for betta fish is the healthiest. Live food consists of the same selections as previously described for frozen foods:
- Mosquito larva
- Brine Shrimp
- Wingless fruit flies
- Mysis Shrimp
While live food is considered the healthiest, it’s only under the proper conditions.
Live food poses a risk of carrying parasites that can then be transferred to your fish. For this reason, I recommend that you only use live food that has been purchased from a reputable tropical fish store like Chewy or Aquarium Specialty.
As an alternative, you can also raise your own live food.Among the easier live foods to raise are
$13.99 ($7.00 / Count)
$28.99 ($0.14 / Count)
🐠Here’s a full guide to growing
Some betta owners make their own betta food. Homemade food may save you money, but it shouldn’t replace a quality food brand. Such brands will provide your pet with everything it needs, and homemade food can act as an occasional treat or to supplement store-bought food.
The following are some ideas for homemade food:
1. Gather three ounces of aquarium water in a cup.
2. Add one teaspoon of powdered spirulina and mix.
3. Add ½ teaspoon of flake food and ½ teaspoon of ground
4. Mix the solution and let it sit for a few minutes before serving it to your betta.
Powdered Egg Mixture
1. Add four ounces of distilled water to a cup.
2. Add a tablespoon of ground legumes.
3. Add two tablespoons of powdered yeast.
4. Add three tablespoons of powdered egg.
5. Blend the contents until they are thoroughly mixed.
6. Add three drops of fish liver oil.
7. Add a few pinches of ground flake food.
8. Mix the solution.
1. Fill a jar with water.
2. Add chopped-up lettuce to the jar.
3. Place the jar in direct sunlight. Leave it there for a few days.
4. When it’s ready, the water in the jar will turn green from algae growth.
5. Add samples of the water to your betta tank.
Betta Fry Diet
In a small dish, add the following:
1. Six tablespoons of liquid infant formula.
2. One teaspoon of Brewer’s yeast.
3. One teaspoon of cornmeal.
4. Mix the ingredients together till a paste is formed.
5. Put the paste into a small dish and place it in the aquarium.
6. Feed the fry twice daily and remove the dish as needed.
Feeding Schedule for Betta Fish
Knowing what the best foods are for your betta fish’s health is important. However, knowing how much to feed and when to feed is just as important. Also, what do you do when they don’t?
How Often Should I Feed My Betta?
Bettas are small fish, and they aren’t fast swimmers. Because of this, they don’t need a lot of food. Follow the feeding schedule table below according to the type of betta fish you have.
|Adult betta fish||2 servings daily|
|Adult betta fish in warm water||3 servings daily|
|Breeding betta fish||3 servings daily|
|Fry||3-5 servings daily|
*Serving size is the size of your fish’s eye.
How to Tell if Your Betta Fish Are Hungry
Determining whether your betta is hungry can be tricky. In the wild, bettas are opportunistic feeders, which means they’re always eating because they never know when they’ll get their next meal.
For this reason, it’s easy to overfeed your betta as they’ll eat even when they’re not hungry. When feeding your betta, the portion size needs only to be the size of their eyes. Keeping this in mind, the following are signs that your betta may be hungry:
One reason bettas become lethargic is to conserve energy when there isn’t enough food.
If you see your betta exploring areas in the tank that it normally ignores, they may be searching for food.
Bettas may act aggressively when food is available to them, or they may behave aggressively toward their tank mates.
When hungry, bettas sometimes leap out of the water when they expect to be fed.
What To Do If Your Betta Fish Aren’t Eating
There are a variety of reasons why betta fish may not be eating. The most common ones are as follows:
Stress is the most common reason for bettas not having an appetite. Common causes of stress include:
Changes in the environment: It may take your betta time to acclimate to a new tank. Also, it may take time for your betta to acclimatize to the tank if you have made changes to it.
Improper lighting: Betta fish don’t require bright lights, nor do they need the lights on all day and night. Try turning on the lights only at certain times, like when viewing them.
🐠Bettas can’t see in the dark, and their sleep should be optimized with proper lighting.
- Temperature: 76 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- pH: 6.8-7.5
- Hardness: 6-12 GH/100-200 ppm.
Additionally, dirty water can also be a problem, so consider doing a water change if the aquarium water has gotten especially dirty.
Lack of solitude: Bettas require plenty of hiding places to feel secure. The tank should have plenty of plants or other decorative items where your fish can hide.
Diseases and Parasites
A lack of appetite may be a sign of disease or parasites. Examples of this include:
- Fin rot: The fins of your fish will appear ragged.
- Swim bladder disease: Your fish will have difficulty staying upright.
- Ich: A parasite, ich, will appear as white specs on your betta’s fins.
A Finicky Eater
Some bettas can be picky eaters. As an example, some bettas don’t like flake food. Try experimenting with the different foods mentioned in this article to see if that makes a difference.
What Are You Serving Up for Your Betta?
We hope that you enjoyed this article. As you can see, betta fish require a high-protein diet, and ordinary tropical fish food won’t address their nutritional needs. Getting a high-quality diet for your betta isn’t difficult, and you have many options if you follow our guidelines above. We would enjoy hearing your comments and be sure to share this article with your betta owning friends.