Many aquarists feed their betta fish bloodworms as they’re a great source of protein. However, bloodworms for betta fish are not without their risks and can actually do more harm than good if fed in large quantities.
Bloodworms are the larval stage of non-biting midges, and they are one of the most popular food choices for betta fish. Although they can be healthy in moderation, overfeeding bloodworms can lead to constipation, swim bladder disorders, ammonia spikes, and parasitic infections.
If you’re interested in learning more about the pros and cons of bloodworms for betta fish, as well as the best type of bloodworms to feed your pet, our guide will provide you with all the information you need.
What Are Bloodworms?
Most bloodworms available at pet stores are midge fly larvae from the Chironomidae family. Bloodworms from the genus Glycera are also sometimes used for fish, particularly as bait, though these are a little harder to find as they can only survive in marine water.
Both varieties are safe for bettas to eat, but Glycera bloodworms do have a venomous bite, so they aren’t as popularly used for aquarium fish.
This video does a great job explaining how to properly feed and store bloodworms for betta fish:
Bloodworms For Betta Fish – Are They Good For Them?
Bloodworms can be a good addition to your betta fish’s diet as they are rich in protein and highly palatable. Most betta fish love the taste of bloodworms, so they can be a great way to tempt picky and sick fish to eat.
Live and frozen bloodworms are also commonly used to condition betta fish for breeding due to their high protein content.
However, bloodworms should not be the main component of your betta’s diet as they lack a lot of essential nutrients that your fish needs to thrive. In addition, they can lead to health issues like constipation if fed in excessive numbers (more on this later on!).
Types Of Bloodworms For Betta Fish Consumption
There are three main types of bloodworms that are safe for betta fish to eat. Each variety has its pros and cons, so it’s important to be aware of these so you can select the right betta fish bloodworms.
Frozen bloodworms are a happy medium between live blood worms and freeze-dried bloodworms, so they are the best choice for your betta fish. They are more nutritious than freeze-dried bloodworms and carry less risk of parasites, bacteria, and disease than live bloodworms.
Frozen bloodworms come in blister packs that you store in your freezer. You can store them for up to six months, so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling before you’ve had a chance to feed them to your betta.
Before feeding frozen bloodworms to your fish, split the frozen slab into smaller pieces and thaw it in some tank water.
Freeze-dried bloodworms are the cheapest and most convenient type of bloodworms for bettas as they don’t involve as much preparation as the other types. They are ideal as an occasional treat for bettas, but you’ll need to soak them in a little tank water first to soften them up.
Bloodworms that have been freeze-dried are easier to store and have a longer shelf life than other types of bloodworms for betta fish. You can keep them in an airtight container for up to 12 months after opening.
Betta freeze-dried bloodworms that have never been opened can last for years, so they are by far the most long-lasting type of bloodworm you can use for your fish.
However, freeze-dried bloodworms don’t have much nutritional value as the freeze-drying process removes most of their nutrients. In addition, freeze-dried bloodworms come in two grades: grade A and grade B.
Grade A freeze-dried food is of a higher quality than grade B, so it’s the best type of freeze-dried bloodworm to feed your betta.
Before you buy freeze-dried bloodworms online or from your local pet stores, check the product’s grade so you know the quality of the bloodworm farms they’re sourced from. Make sure they contain only bloodworms and no filler ingredients!
Live bloodworms are the last type of bloodworm you can use for betta fish. One of the biggest advantages of feeding your betta live bloodworms is that they trigger their natural hunting instincts, which provides them with enrichment and mental stimulation.
Betta fish and other tank mates love to chase live bloodworms around the tank and gobble them up!
Live bloodworms have the most nutritional value, making them a great option for picky eaters, sick fish, and conditioning male and female bettas for breeding.
As you probably already know, this carnivorous fish species thrives on high-protein foods, so live bloodworms can be healthy for your betta every now and again.
However, there are a few downsides to feeding your betta live bloodworms. Firstly, you can only store them in your fridge for a week or two until they need throwing out as they will gradually die off.
In addition, most pet stores sell live bloodworms in large amounts, so you’re unlikely to use up all of your supply in time.
Live food is often pricey, so feeding your betta live blood worms may not be the most cost-effective option unless you own multiple fish tanks.
Lastly, live bloodworms are most at risk of being contaminated with parasites, diseases, and bacteria as they have not been treated, unlike frozen and freeze-dried worms.
Best Bloodworms To Get For Your Betta
Feeding your betta bloodworms every now and again can be a good way to add variety to their diet, but you need to make sure you choose reputable brands that use high-quality bloodworms.
That’s why we’ve researched a wide range of products and compiled a list of some of the best bloodworms for bettas.
Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Bloodworms
One of the most well-known and respected brands of fish freeze-dried foods is Hikari, so you can rest assured that Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Bloodworms are of a high standard.
These aquarium bloodworms are made using pharmaceutical freeze-drying techniques, so they are almost as fresh as live bloodworms without the risk of bacteria and parasites.
Another great feature about these betta freeze-dried bloodworms is that they come in a container with a patented ratcheting dispenser top. This allows you to feed your betta a healthy amount of bloodworms without accidentally overfeeding them.
It also keeps the bloodworms fresher for longer so they don’t lose their nutritional value.
Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Bloodworms are multi-vitamin rich to help prevent stress and provide your betta with a varied diet. And last but not least, they contain oxygen absorbers that reduce oxidation once opened.
This increases the longevity of the product and prevents waste from oxidation, which helps you save money as a result!
Omega One Freeze Dried Bloodworms
Omega One offers a huge selection of top-notch fish food products, and Omega One Freeze Dried Bloodworms are no different. They contain full-bodied bloodworms that are packed with minerals and vitamins. No other ingredients or fillers are added – only bloodworms!
When fed as part of a varied diet, Omega One Freeze Dried Bloodworms are a great source of protein for your betta fish.
Zoo Med Can O’ Bloodworms
Another great bloodworm product for your betta is Zoo Med Can O’ Bloodworms. Suitable for all tropical fish, these bloodworms are cooked in the can to eliminate contaminants and lock in nutrients.
You can feed your betta these bloodworms straight from the can or freeze them to increase their longevity. Bear in mind that these bloodworms come in a liquid, so you’ll need to refrigerate them after opening.
How Many Bloodworms Can Betta Fish Eat?
While bloodworms can help provide your betta with a balanced diet, they should not be fed all the time or in large amounts. The average betta should eat between one to two bloodworms at a time, though this may be more or less depending on the size of your fish.
What Happens If Betta Fish Eat Too Many Bloodworms?
Most betta fish will happily eat bloodworms to their heart’s content, so you need to limit how many bloodworms you feed them, otherwise, it can lead to bloating, high ammonia levels, swim bladder disease, and constipation.
Feeding your betta fish too many bloodworms can affect your betta’s digestion and result in constipation or bloating. Bloodworms are notorious for causing digestive issues in large quantities.
As bettas are already prone to both bloating and constipation, you need to be careful when feeding your betta these aquatic “worms”.
Swim Bladder Disease
Another side effect of feeding too many bloodworms to bettas and other aquarium fish is swim bladder disease. Swim bladder disease in fish species tends to develop from a primary secondary health issue like constipation or bacterial infections.
It affects your betta fish’s ability to regulate their buoyancy, which causes them to float upside down or sink to the bottom of the fish tank.
If your betta is already constipated from eating freeze-dried, live, or frozen bloodworms, they are at a higher risk of swim bladder disease.
Overfeeding your betta bloodworms can lead to an ammonia spike in your fish tank, especially if you don’t remove the uneaten food quickly. Ammonia spikes happen when the beneficial bacteria in your tank cannot eat the ammonia rapidly enough.
Elevated ammonia levels can lead to ammonia poisoning, which can be disastrous to the health of your betta and other tank mates in their aquarium.
It’s important to remove uneaten bloodworms from your fish tank as quickly as possible, as well as perform regular water changes to keep your water chemistry stable.
Check your water parameters at least once a week with an aquarium test kit, which you can find online or at your local pet store. It’s also a great idea to vacuum the substrate with a gravel cleaner to remove rotting food, fish waste, decaying matter, and fallen insects.
Higher Risk Of Parasitic Infections
Live bloodworms can contain parasites, bacteria, and diseases that can be spread to your betta fish, so feeding your fish too many bloodworms will increase the odds of them getting sick.
Frozen bloodworms can also transmit diseases to aquarium fish, but the risk is much lower.
Using freeze-dried blood worms is a better choice to feed betta fish bloodworms safely, but they are much less nutritious. It’s far easier to simply reduce the number of bloodworms you feed your betta – just one or two at a time is plenty for this carnivorous fish species.
How Often Should You Feed Bloodworms To Your Betta?
Offering your betta fish a range of high-protein foods is key to a healthy diet, but bloodworms should only be offered every now and again as a tasty snack. A betta fish eating bloodworms should only happen once or twice a week at most.
Feed your betta fish one to two bloodworms at a time no matter whether you’re using freeze-dried, live, or frozen bloodworms. Make sure you remove uneaten food from your fish tank with a net to prevent an ammonia spike.
Can Bettas Eat Bloodworms Every Day?
Betta fish should not consume bloodworms every day as they contain too much fat and protein. Only feed your betta blood worms once or twice a week as a treat.
While it’s vital to feed your betta a variety of protein-rich foods to keep them healthy, bloodworms are far too rich to be a main staple in their diet.
There are much better foods to give your Siamese fighting fish regularly, including betta pellets, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, black worms, and daphnia.
Reasons Why Your Betta Fish May Not Be Eating Bloodworms
Although most freshwater and saltwater fish adore eating bloodworms, some bettas may not be overly keen on this meaty food. This could be due to a number of reasons, which we’ll go over below.
Betta fish can be picky eaters, especially when introduced to foods they’ve never eaten before. If you feed your betta bloodworms and they seem uninterested, it may be because they’re being finicky or a little wary about trying an unfamiliar food.
Freeze-dried blood worms tend to be the least palatable to bettas as they have had most of their nutrients removed, so you might have more luck feeding your betta live or frozen bloodworms.
You can buy frozen bloodworms from most local pet stores, but you may need to purchase live worms online or from a specialty fish store.
However, as long as your betta is eating other food, it isn’t normally a cause for concern if your fish doesn’t consume bloodworms. All betta fish have different preferences when it comes to food!
If your betta fish refuses aquarium bloodworms and other food, it may be a symptom of an illness or disease. It’s not uncommon for betta fish to lose their appetite if they’re suffering from a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection.
Check your betta over for signs of illness like lethargy, cloudy eyes, inflamed gills, rapid breathing, lesions, and torn fins. You should also test your fish tank water parameters to make sure there are no ammonia spikes.
Can You Breed Bloodworms For Betta Fish Consumption?
Yes, you can breed bloodworms. Some aquarists prefer to breed their own bloodworms to reduce the risk of the larvae carrying disease, bacteria, and parasites. However, this can be quite a time-consuming, expensive, and challenging project.
That’s because you’ll need a greenhouse, outdoor pond, or similarly sized enclosure to encourage the adult midge flies to swarm and lay eggs. You’ll then need to collect the eggs and place them inside a dark, cool container to raise them into larvae (bloodworms).
Bloodworms only stay as larvae for a few weeks before they grow into midge flies, so they will fly away if you don’t have an area set up for them.
Raising bloodworms from chironomid eggs is less difficult as all you need to do is store them in a cool, dark container with damp soil and manure. Continue to add manure every week until the eggs hatch into bloodworms. You can then feed the larvae to your betta fish.
Due to the amount of work and effort involved in breeding bloodworms, it’s much easier and cheaper to feed your betta store-bought bloodworms as a tasty snack.
Although it’s fine to feed your betta bloodworms every now and again as a treat, you should make sure your fish’s diet includes other meaty food sources like betta pellets, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae.
Use a good mixture of freeze-dried, live, and frozen food to ensure your fish gets all the nutrients they need to thrive!
Bloodworms are too rich in protein and fat to be the main part of your betta’s diet – feeding too much of them can lead to constipation, swim bladder disorders, and ammonia spikes in the fish tank.
One or two bloodworms a couple of times a week at most will allow your betta fish to gain the benefits of this food without putting their health at risk.
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