Is your betta getting the diet that it needs to thrive?
With all of the different kinds of tropical fish foods on the market, how do you know which is the best betta fish food? To answer these questions, it’s helpful first to understand what a natural betta fish diet looks like.
Bettas are carnivores and need a diet rich in protein, with a combination of pellet food and live or freeze-dried foods. Learn more about betta fish nutrition and how to meet their dietary needs below, including our recommendations for the best foods to feed your hungry betta.
What Is the Best Food for Betta Fish?
Betta fish are carnivores who, in their natural environment, prey upon insects and their larva. This is why they have upturned mouths—this adaptation allows them to eat insects and larvae that land on the water’s surface.
Betta fish nutrition consists of a high-quality diet rich in protein.
To feed your betta, there are quality commercial betta foods that come in pellet or flake form. You can also supplement their diet by offering them live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. Both frozen and freeze-dried foods should be fed in moderation.
When looking for a commercial diet for your betta, it’s important to examine the ingredients. Some manufacturers of betta diets will use plant-based ingredients, such as soy or wheat. Plant-based ingredients are less expensive than protein-based ones, but protein-based is best for betta fish nutrition.
Another thing to look out for is products that use lower-quality protein, such as fishmeal rather than whole fish. Fishmeal is what fisheries dispose of when processing fish for the market. It has no value.
Look for a betta diet that contains “whole fish” products at the beginning of the ingredient lists.
The following are some recommended brands of betta diet:
Besides providing quality ingredients, this product is made to enhance the colors of your betta. The diet comes in pellet form and offers a balanced diet that includes 37% crude protein. The remainder of the diet includes a mixture of crude fiber, crude fat, and vitamins.
The main ingredients include:
- Atlantic krill
This product also comes in pellet form, and it’s made to be easily digested by your betta to promote maximum nutrient absorption. It contains a minimum of 45% crude protein. Additionally, it’s designed to produce less waste so it helps preserve water quality.
The main ingredient includes:
- Whole sardine
- High omega-3 DHA
- Kelp and spirulina
- Atlantic krill meal
- Herring meal
This product contains a minimum of 43% crude protein and is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Additionally, it’s 100% meal free and contains beta carotenes to enhance your bettas color. It’s also designed to reduce waste and minimize the impact on water quality.
The main ingredients include:
- Whole hearing
Fluval Bug Bite provides a nutritious diet that promotes healthy scales while enhancing disease resistance and pigmentation. Some of the main ingredients include:
- Black soldier fly larva
- Fish protein
- Green peas
A quality commercial diet should form the basis of your betta’s diet; however, you can also supplement it with live food, which would include:
- Brine shrimp
- Mosquito larvae
These food items can be purchased at a tropical fish store. I discourage you from using any live food that‘s wild-caught as it may contain parasites or harmful substances, such as pesticides. Alternatively, you can raise your brine shrimp.
Frozen foods are another way that you can diversify your betta’s diet. The difference is that frozen foods are easier to keep and more convenient. Frozen diets are available that contain the same food items previously mentioned under live foods.
When feeding frozen foods, follow the directions on the packaging. First, let the frozen food dissolve by placing it in a cup containing water from your betta tank. You can then pour the contents of the cup back into the tank.
Doing this will make it easier for your betta fish to eat it. Just dropping the frozen diet into the betta tank without letting it thaw first can cause a problem for the betta.
Freeze-dried foods are an alternative to live or frozen diets, and they offer selections such as
Additionally, freeze-dried foods will have more nutritional value loss during the manufacturing process. Other concerns include the fact that freeze-dried foods can expand in fish’s digestive tract, leading to bloating or constipation.
To avoid this problem, treat freeze-dried foods in the same way as frozen foods by letting them soak in a water sample from your tank before offering it to your fish.
How Often And How Much Should You Feed Betta Fish?
When it comes to feeding betta fish, a common problem is overfeeding. If you overfeed your betta, you’ll compromise the water quality. If you’re feeding pellet foods, you only need to feed two or three pellets per day. When feeding freeze-dried or live food, you only need to feed it once or twice a week.
Can Betta Fish Eat Tropical Fish Food?
Although bettas will eat almost anything you feed them, that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Betta fish are mostly carnivorous, so betta fish nutrition needs to contain a protein-rich diet.
Tropical fish foods that are mostly plant-based with fillers will not meet your betta’s nutritional needs. Tropical fish food that’s protein-based will meet the requirements of betta fish nutrition.
What to Avoid When Feeding Your Betta Fish
Here are the most common mistakes when feeding betta fish:
The Five-Minute Rule
There’s a standard rule in keeping tropical fish that you shouldn’t feed more food than your fish can consume in five minutes. Betta fish will continue to eat food even though they may not be hungry. Because of this, they can develop obesity.
As mentioned earlier, feed your betta only two to three pellets daily. When feeding freeze-dried, live, or frozen, only feed two to three times a week.
Using Fish Food Blocks
Fish food blocks can be obtained at tropical fish stores and are used to feed fish when you’re away, say on vacation. The problem with food blocks is that they’ll create issues with water quality.
A healthy betta fish can go without food for two weeks. If you cannot find someone to feed your betta while you’re away, it‘s better that you let it go without food.
Remove any uneaten food from your betta’s aquarium. Leftover food will compromise the water quality by creating ammonia build-up, which is toxic to your fish.
Overuse of Freeze-Dried Food
Freeze-dried foods should be offered as a supplement, not a main course. Overfeeding with freeze-dried foods can lead to constipation or bloating.
Reusing Frozen Foods
It’s a mistake to thaw frozen foods and re-freeze them again. Doing so will cause the acceleration of bacteria growth.
How to Train Betta Fish to Eat New Food
If you’re going to try to improve your betta fish diet by following the suggestions in this article, then congratulations! But what if your betta fish seems hesitant to eat the new food offering?
Here’s what I suggest:
Introduce the new food gradually. Instead of going “cold turkey,” divide your pet’s meal into two portions. The first portion will consist of your pet’s current diet. This will make up most of the diet.
The second portion will consist of the new diet and make up the remaining part of the meal. Each day, decrease the amount of the current diet while increasing the new one.
Also, your betta fish may feel more secure in eating the new diet if you minimize any disturbances around the tank. The main thing is to keep experimenting until your fish accepts the new food.
For more information on how to keep your betta fish healthy, please visit our other betta resources:
- Why Is My Betta Fish Turning White? Causes and Treatments
- Betta Fish Tumor: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment
- How to Clean Your Betta Fish Tank
A Betta Diet is a Better Diet!
We hope that you enjoyed this article. All too often, bettas are fed an inappropriate diet. Many tropical fish flakes lack the protein content needed by these fish. Make a difference in your fish’s health by providing them with the correct diet. We’d enjoy hearing your comments below, and please share this article with your betta-loving friends!