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Best Food for Betta Fish: When & How to Feed Them

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).
  • Fats
  • Fiber
  • Phosphorous
  • Carbohydrates
  • Calcium
  • 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
  • Homemade

Betta Pellets

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:

04/24/2024 03:32 pm GMT

Frozen Food

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
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • 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:

Are Frozen Bloodworms Good for Bettas?

Blood worms should be offered as a supplement but not as a staple diet. Blood worms lack certain amino acids that bettas need.

Live Food

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
  • Bloodworms
  • 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 brine shrimp. The following are high-quality live foods:

04/24/2024 05:22 pm GMT

🐠Here’s a full guide to growing brine shrimp for fish food at home.

Homemade Food

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:

Spirulina Mixture

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 bloodworms.

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 fish2 servings daily
Adult betta fish in warm water3 servings daily
Breeding betta fish3 servings daily
Fry3-5 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.

Seeking Behavior

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.

The wrong water parameters: Check to see that the water is at the correct temperature and the pH and hardness are at the correct levels. For bettas, the water parameters should be as follows:

  • 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.

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  1. Great article! Really explained everything that needs to be done for a Beta. We have two in a divider tanks and one is not eating. Probably still stressed out but will buy brine shrimp to see if it helps. Also we have no toys so pretty boring if you ask me. I will get a leaf for resting and maybe the log he can swim around. Thank you again for all the great info

    1. Glad we could help, Susie! Best of luck with your bettas :)

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