How Often Do You Feed A Betta Fish? (The Complete Diet)

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how often to feed betta fish

Betta fish, also known by Betta splendens or the Siamese fighting fish, is undoubtedly a fantastic creature of God. They have colorful fins and lively personalities. Looking at these fish swimming calmly can elevate your mood significantly. 

Betta fish are a popular pet choice among new and old fish keepers because of the color these fish bring to any place they are kept. 

However, there are many things you need to consider if you decide to keep them as pets, like how often to feed betta fish, what to feed them, where to keep them, how often to clean their tank, etc.

If you learn these things before setting betta fish’s aquarium, you will be successful in keeping your pet fish very happy. And they will swim gleefully in the aquarium, swaying their colorful tails. 

So, without further ado, let us dive into the details of keeping your betta fish happy and healthy with the right amount of food at the right time.


What Do Betta Fish Eat?


Betta fish are carnivores and need a high protein diet naturally. Therefore, they are fond of eating protein pellets, brine shrimp, blood worms, larvae, insects, planktons, or any small fish with nutrition. In addition, they enjoy eating the insects that fall in the water from land and are floating on the surface.

I suggest that if you keep betta fish as a pet, you feed them food closest to their natural diet. Their diet is basically rich in animal protein. In captivity (your aquarium), they thrive and stay happy on various diets.

image of a betta fish

Many online stores and shops are available that sell floating pallets for bettas. Floating pellets are a good idea because they allow your fish to come to the surface and feed there.

You can give the pellets to them daily but, if you feel like treating them a bit now and then, then I suggest that you keep some of the following things in stock:

  • Krill
  • Brine shrimps or any shrimp (dried or frozen)
  • Blood worms
  • Small insects
  • Fish flakes
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Larvae of different insects (ideal larvae are of insects that are found close to the fresh waters)

I know that you might think that feeding your betta fish live food is a good idea, but I assure you that it is not because there is a huge risk of parasite breakout in live food, which can seriously hurt your pet. So instead, try sticking to dried or frozen food.

Related guide: What is a minnow fish? and discover how to identify?


 Best Betta Fish Food: Dietary Requirements


The crucial thing to remember when buying food for your betta fish is to never compromise on the quality of their food as I told you that they like to eat protein-rich food, which is revealed from their upturned mouths.

Betta fish can’t survive eating plant-based food and especially not plant roots (which most stores will tell you just to sell their products).

image of a blue betta fish in tank

So the best thing for your pet is a variety of carnivorous food like frozen or dried worms, live food, larvae like mosquito larvae, shrimps, blood worms, protein pellets, fish flakes, etc. these things are high in animal protein.

Their dietary requirement is that you specifically buy food meant for betta fish because they can’t thrive on any other fish’s diet.

Since bettas are the absolute favorite pet fish for many people worldwide, many betta food manufacturers claim that their product is best for bettas, but the only way to be sure is to read the ingredients.

Bettas require protein, and fish involves protein. So, ideally, their food should be made with real fish.

However, real fish is expensive, so what most companies do; they use the leftovers of fish from the fishery to create betta feed. Even though this is not the best option you have, but it is still better than plant-based feed.

Before buying every betta feed, you should make it your habit to read the ingredients. If you see that there is even a tiny amount of plant in the feed anywhere on the list of ingredients, avoid it because bettas don’t survive for long on plant-based feed. Instead, opt for whole fish products and pellets with more protein content.

Related reading: Bluegill fish 101 – complete guide & tips


Human Foods You Can Feed Your Betta Fish With?


Usually, human foods are not ideal for feeding our pets, especially fish pets. Most of our foods are not suitable for betta fish, and you can completely rule out any processed foods like sausages or salami because such food can make your pet sick or kill them.

Also, the preservatives in human food don’t do the bettas any good. However, there is some natural human food that you can feed them (but only sometimes) you can’t 100% put fish on human food.

Mostly, it is suggested to give bettas their food which should be meat-based. And sometimes, as a treat, you can give them human food, but it should be closely related to their own food and full of protein.

The safe human foods that you can give your pet bettas are:

  • Boiled peas: bettas easily eat shell-less boiled peas, but remember to remove the skin as it is difficult to digest.
  • Lettuce: it has a lot of vitamins, so it is nutritious and easy to digest.
  • Cucumber: it also has a lot of vitamins. But ensure to give it in less quantity and small pieces for ease indigestion.
  • Spinach: some betta fish like to eat spinach while others don’t. It is just a preference of taste. You need to boil it before giving it to the fish lightly.
  • Sweet corn: boiled kernels are also favorite of some betta fish. However, they don’t have many nutrients, so they should be given as occasional treats.
  • Meat: you can feed meats like chicken, beef, pork, or mutton to them in small quantities. But, the meat should be boiled entirely before feeding.
  • Seafood: Bettas love seafood. They can eat seafood like shrimps, scallops, tinned tuna (without oil), etc., but the seafood should be thoroughly cooked before feeding them.
  • Crackers: you can feed your pet little pieces of unsalted crackers as treats.
  • Fruits: feed them any fruit except citrus fruit because their bodies can’t handle the acidity.

How Often Should You Feed A Betta Fish?


You should feed your betta fish once a day and just a few pellets of their food. Because it is easy to overfeed them, keep an eye out on their bellies that they don’t become swollen, as it can lead to constipation and other health issues.

When you bring home your bettas, feed them just two staple foods, protein pellet, and dried/frozen worms. Once they get acquainted with the environment, you can introduce more variety to their diet.


How Much Should You Feed Your Betta Fish?


The recommended amount of feed you should give your pet betta should be between 2-4 food pellets once or twice per day.

This is because the pellets expand in water, and 2-4 are enough to fill their stomachs. So ideally, you should feed four pellets to one betta fish. But if you are feeding them twice a day, divide them into 2 and 3 pellets.

When you use dried or fresh food, you can substitute them for the pellets (once or twice a week) by feeding them one or two pieces per serving of the frozen or dried food.


How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?


Bettas are sturdy fish, and they can survive pretty long without food. They can live 10-14 days without food. But, it is not a good idea to leave your fish for so long without food, because it can affect their health for the long term.

Even if you have to go away for a few days, you should hire a fish sitter or leave the fish prepared to survive and not get sick because of getting stressed.


Betta Fish General Health: Common Concerns


You can tell when your betta is healthy or sick with some common signs that they show.

image of a red betta fish

Your betta is healthy when it:

  • Is alert
  • Is active
  • Is lively
  • Has vibrant colors
  • Has un-frayed fins
  • Reacts aggressively if it senses danger

However, your betta pet can possibly be sick if it:

  • Has lost its vibrant colors or appetite
  • Has spots or fungus on the body
  • Has cloudy eyes
  • Has unnatural frayed fins
  • Is listless
  • Has labored breathing
  • Is erratically swimming
  • Has lost weight
  • Is bloating
  • Has elevated scales, etc.

The health issues in bettas are usually of three types; parasitic, bacterial, or fungal. So, all their diseases are curable if you treat them at the right time.

If you notice any of these issues with your betta or any other thing out of the ordinary, then I suggest that you consult a vet as soon as possible. Because if you keep ignoring these factors and they get out of hand, you can also lose your pet.


What Happens If You Overfeed Or Underfeed Your Betta Fish?


Overfeeding

Overfeeding any fish can cause severe health problems for them. Similarly, bettas can get constipated and bloated because of overfeeding.

Their bellies also turn white or get bladder disorder which means that their immune system is compromised, and they become prone to diseases. In addition, if the leftover food is left in their tank, it can increase the ammonia levels of water, which can also kill your pet.

If you have overfed your fish, I suggest you give it a thawed pea as it will clear its system. Afterward, you should avoid feeding them for a few days.

I know that we all get the urge to feed our fish as much as possible out of love, but you are actually killing them with all the excessive feeding. Even if your fish doesn’t die, they live in an unhealthy environment because of the leftover food and waste product.

Underfeeding

Just like overfeeding is harmful, underfeeding your fish is also detrimental. If you do not give your pet enough food and leave them hungry for days, this will result in a colorless and bony beta with no fat near its tail and concaved sides.

In addition, they may clamp their fins, and their body will become tapered, which means that it will be thin near the caudal peduncle and large from the middle where they have their organs.

An incomplete or inadequate diet can lead to a weak immune system and the ability to fight other diseases.

So, I suggest that you give your betta balanced diet on a regular basis. You should neither overfeed them nor underfeed them.

More reading: Bass fish 101: facts, habitat, bass spawn


What If Your Betta Fish Won’t Eat?


Sometimes it so happens that your betta stops eating. It can be because of several reasons, maybe they got bored of the same food, perhaps their environment is super polluted, and that is why they don’t want to eat, or perhaps they are sick and hence are not eating.

image of a orange betta fish in the tank

But, if your betta has stopped eating, you can try adding new variety to their diet, introduce new foods to their feed. You can also get your pet examined by the vet or try cleaning their tank. One of these things is bound to help, and soon your fish will start eating again.


My Final Verdict:

Bettas are beautiful and charming fish to keep as pets. They are an excellent idea to keep as they can meet all your stress away. They are easy to keep and don’t require as much care as other fish. But, still, they need some love and care from their keepers.

So, now, if you are thinking about keeping a betta, you can refer to our guide and learn as much as you can about bettas.

Here, you can learn what bettas eat, how often you feed a Betta Fish, how much they eat, what environment they need to survive, etc.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – How Many Pellets Do I Feed My Betta Fish Per Meal?

The recommended number of pellets to feed your betta fish is 2-4 pellets twice per day. The recommended number of pellets is less because they expand in water and are fulling for the little bettas.

You can occasionally feed them more pellets or different food as treats, but only once or twice a week.

#2 – How often do you feed a baby betta fish?

Baby bettas (from the age of 4 to 6 months) should be fed the food specifically intended for the baby fish. You should feed baby fry at least 4-5 times a day but in significantly less quantity to not overfeed and get sick.

Just a few sprinkles 4-5 times a day are enough for them.

#3 – Can I feed a betta fish goldfish food?

Yes, you can feed bettas goldfish food. But, not all the time, you can feed them goldfish food only occasionally and not as the main food diet.

#4 – What Can You Feed a Betta Fish Besides Fish Food?

Here is a list of all the things you can feed a betta fish: 

  • Krill
  • Peas (shell-less)
  • Brine shrimps or any shrimp (dried or frozen)
  • Spinach
  • Blood worms
  • Small insects
  • Sweet corn
  • Meats (chicken, beef, pork, and mutton)
  • Fish flakes
  • Fruits (not citrus fruits)
  • Crackers
  • cucumbers
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Larvae of different insects (ideal larvae are of insects that are found close to the fresh waters)

#5 – Can you feed a betta fish tropical flakes?

No, you shouldn’t. The flakes that you should feed your betta fish are made explicitly for them. You shouldn’t feed them any other fish’s flake food because it might not provide them with enough nutrition.

Flakes specifically made for bettas can be used regularly for feeding them, but other fish food shouldn’t be your number one choice.

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