Owning a betta fish (Betta splendens), aka Siamese fighting fish, is quite popular as they’re some of the most beautiful fish to have in aquariums. However, many betta fish owners struggle to find the best and definitive answer to this question “how often do you feed a betta fish?”
Even though you can find various answers from different sources, we’ve compiled all the information you need so you’d get the best answers.
Whether you have young or adult betta fish, feeding them twice a day is a must. Feed your betta fish once in the morning and once in the evening. Avoid feeding them more than twice a day (unless they’re fry) as their digestive tract is tiny.
Even though every betta fish food container shows the recommended feeding amounts, the quantities presented are often quite misleading. Overfeeding and filling your fish tank with food will cause severe health problems to your fish, but it’ll also increase the bio-load on your tank’s filtration system resulting in a high pollution level of aquarium water.
Answers to other frequently asked questions about betta fish can be found here.
How Often Do You Feed a Betta Fish?
It’s recommended to feed your betta fish two times a day. You’ll avoid overfeeding your betta but you’ll also keep your fish alive and healthy, and aquarium water clean.
How Much To Feed A Betta Fish
Besides learning the feeding frequency of betta fish, there’s another question many people don’t know an answer to, which is “How much to feed your betta?” The food quantity-wise answer primarily depends on how bloated your betta looks.
If your betta looks normal, you can continue with the same feeding routine, and if it’s bloated, you should take care of it so cut down on quantity.
It’s essential to know that bettas’ feeding time lasts for about two minutes since their digestive tracts are very small. Because of their small digestive tracts, bettas can’t process fillers like corn and wheat and may not react very well to these.
Betta fish in the wild tend to eat quite irregularly. Therefore, skipping a meal won’t harm your fish, but you should always observe your fish to better learn how frequently you should feed a betta fish. Taking good care of your fish is crucial, and you should help your betta get rid of the piled-up toxins in its body.
To do so, you should give it a break from food every once in a while.
Your betta needs to clear its system from toxins before having another meal and to give your bettas a meal break, all you have to do is give it food only once a day or even skip an entire day. After taking care of the toxins, you can get them back to their usual feeding routine.
What Can You Feed A Betta Fish?
In the wild, bettas survive on insect larvae, worms, shrimp, and other invertebrates, which classifies them as carnivores. When feeding them in captivity, you must know how frequently you should feed a betta fish, but you also need to know that you need to provide them with protein-rich foods. In addition, you need to provide your betta with moisture and fiber as it takes care of its digestion.
Carotenoid-rich foods like blood worms and color enhancing flakes are also good for bettas. The color pigments get passed onto the fish that eats them. Boosting the vibrancy of their scales and fins.
All betta keepers need to ensure that their pets get food rich in protein, fiber, fat, calcium, vitamins, carbohydrates, and phosphorous. Freeze-dried foods, live or frozen food, pellets, and fish flakes have all these ingredients.
However, make sure you don’t purchase flakes made for other tropical fish. Many pellets and flake foods meant for different types of fish contain fillers that may cause constipation and other digestive issues to your betta. In addition, they don’t provide any nutritional benefits and they contribute to more waste in your tank.
Best Food for Betta Fish
Here we’ll mention some of the best foods available for your betta fish:
Fish flakes are packed with vital Omega 3 and 6 nutrients that fish require for maintaining their overall health. Additionally, fish flakes also contain beta-carotene found in salmon. Beta-carotene is a natural color enhancer that provides betta fish with vibrant colors that made them famous worldwide.
Even though fish flakes are the most common fish food, they’re not expensive, making them a perfect solution for any budget.
When feeding flakes to your betta for the first time, give them only a small amount of flakes and keep a watchful eye to see if your pet eats the flakes or not, and that way, you’ll learn how frequently you should feed a betta fish with flakes.
Bloodworms (Frozen Food)
In case there’s enough space within your home to freeze, store, and hold bloodworms, your betta will be thrilled as bloodworms are a fantastic treat your fish will appreciate. Besides you’d need to store them in your home, bloodworms are a great source of energy, unlike any other food, and they’ll help your pet grow and live a healthy life.
Before feeding your fish with frozen bloodworms, the only thing you need to do is to defrost the amount needed for a meal. Even though frozen bloodworms aren’t as cheap as some other food types, you can easily store them for a long time. Never give your betta frozen food as it can cause severe problems to their health.
You can find bloodworms in various sizes, and they’re great for other fish in your fish tank. Bloodworms are usually given as a reward or treat, but not as regular food. They’re the perfect meal replacement or if you want to improve your betta’s vitamin intake.
Like with any frozen food, you may also buy and store freeze-dried foods for your pet. This food type is the best for all types of saltwater and freshwater fish because they’re rich in protein, and protein is a vital nutrient that all fish require to stay healthy.
It’s possible to freeze and defrost dried foods, but do it in small batches so you’d have the right amounts you need every time.
Betta Fish Pellets
The most common betta fish food available in today’s market is betta fish pellets. They come with different high-quality ingredients that will help take good care of your fish and give it a healthy diet so it could live longer. The best pellets available have fewer fillers, so that’s something you should go for.
Some betta fish pellets can expand once they’re soaked in aquarium water. Therefore, be careful when feeding your betta with pellets as you don’t want them to grow in your pet’s digestive tract. Soak them outside the tank water and let them expand first before releasing them into the aquarium for your betta to eat.
How Many Pellets Do I Feed My Betta Fish Per Meal?
Once you’ve selected a diet for your betta fish, you must store the food container properly and replace it every six months because, believe it or not, we’ve never seen a betta finish an entire food container within six months.
Since numerous pellet sizes are available, here’s a tip on how many pellets you should feed your betta per meal. Theoretically speaking, the amount of pellets that can fit inside your betta’s eyeball is the amount you should feed your fish per meal. Depending on the pellet brand you bought, this could be from two or three and up to six or seven pieces.
There’s no need to soak most of the pellets in water before feeding your fish because soaking them in water decreases the pellet’s nutritional value. However, if the pellets you bought are expandable when they come into contact with water, disregard this rule.
What Can You Feed a Betta Fish Besides Fish Food?
Contrary to popular belief, betta fish can eat other types of food including some human food. However, there are numerous small things you should keep in mind. Like humans and most animals, taking good care of betta fish requires them to have a diverse diet.
Therefore, when it comes to feeding your betta with human food, it all depends on the quantity, frequency, and type of human food you provide them with.
As a responsible betta fish keeper, you’d want to ensure you feed your pet with best and most appropriate foods like something they’d get outside their tank and in their home habitat. Therefore, serving your betta with small portions of steak leftovers isn’t the best idea for your betta’s health.
Most people feed their bettas with human food when they run out of regular betta fish food, which shouldn’t be standard practice. Feeding your betta with human foods is similar to giving it commercial food, meaning you have to use food with little to no fillers or additives.
Moreover, the human food you feed your betta has to provide your fish with nutrients their diet recommends so they’d live longer in your tank. Human food should never become a replacement for betta’s traditional food, and it should be considered a treat or a supplement to their regular diet.
Human food you can feed your betta fish with:
- Sweet corn – remove the outer skin, and serve your betta with a single boiled kernel.
- Shrimp and tuna – raw shrimp is the best choice for your betta, but make sure it’s not seasoned. You can give your betta fish raw tuna if it’s not saturated in oil.
- Mango – feed your betta with a tiny piece of mango every once in a while. Even though mango is a delicacy to betta’s, it can be fatal if left in the tank for too long. Therefore, it’s vital to remove any mango leftovers from the tank within 30 minutes.
- Softened and leafy greens – you can feed your betta with spinach, lettuce, and cucumbers. Boil the cucumber until it becomes soft, and make sure to slice lettuce and spinach to tiny bits so your betta can easily nibble and digest them.
- Peas – it’s a known fact that bettas enjoy eating a pea every once in a while. Peas are full of fiber, making them excellent for relieving your fish from constipation and bloating. Keep in mind that the pea has to be mushy and cut into very tiny pieces. Also, remove its outer skin so your betta can easily chew through and digest it.
In addition, it’s essential to scoop out and remove any leftover human food pieces from the aquarium within 30 minutes. That’ll help keep your fish tank clean and bacteria-free.
Human food you shouldn’t feed your betta:
- Citrus fruits – these food items will lower the pH level in your fish tank, making the tank water more acidic. The oils found in citrus fruit are also highly irritating to fish gills and the mucus membrane.
- Plants – since bettas are carnivorous, feeding them with plants won’t let them thrive. They’ll most likely die out from lack of protein and starvation. It’s a misconception that bettas can live off of roots and plants.
- Stringy fruits and vegetables – these include bananas, beans, and carrots.
- Farm-grown animal meat – when thinking of meat types that you should feed your betta with, you have to first consider your betta’s natural home environment and what kind of meat your fish would eat in the wild. Terrestrial sources of meat are all too high in fat for fish to eat. Therefore, cow, chicken, and pork meat won’t do any good to your fish and they’ll live a shorter life. Avoid feeding your betta with any farm-grown animal meat whatsoever.
- Bread – feeding your betta with bread is the most common misconception as bread doesn’t have any nutritional value for your fish whatsoever.
What Do You Feed A Baby Betta Fish?
You should feed a baby betta wish with different items making its diet diverse. These items include foods like live white worms, live blackworms, live tubifex worms, live mosquito larvae, etc. Nonliving foods you can feed fry bettas include frozen brine shrimp, crushed pellets, freeze-dried tubifex worms, etc.
How Often Do You Feed A Baby Betta Fish?
If you’re unsure how often do you feed a betta fish as a fry, you should consider some facts. The feeding frequency of fry betta fish differs from when they’re adults. You need to feed baby betta fish with more fats and protein than the adults require and feed it three to five times a day with tiny meals.
In addition, you can provide fry bettas with food for any baby fish up until they reach four to six months of age.
How To Feed A Betta Fish When On Vacation
You can feed a betta fish when on vacation in several ways. You can place a feeder fish in the tank or get an automatic fish feeder for your tank. Additionally, you can put a food block into the tank that will dissolve in water over time, or you can ask someone to keep your betta fed on your behalf.
What is a Vacation Feeder?
The easiest way to keep your fish fed while on vacation is to use vacation feeders. Vacation feeders are available in sizes that’ll cover you for a weekend (2-day), 7-day, and 14-day vacation.
There are two basic types of vacation feeders. One type has the food within a gel, while the other has the food embedded in a calcium block. Both types will dissolve when they come into contact with tank water while slowly releasing food particles to your fish.
Why Won’t Your Betta Fish Eat?
Sometimes your betta might not eat its food, and it can be pretty worrying. In other cases, your fish might be eating without you realizing it. Nevertheless, here are some of the situations to consider:
Your Betta Is Fussy
If you’re feeding your betta a specific type of food for a while and then swap it, your pet may not like the new food, and chances are it’ll ignore it.
Your Pet Doesn’t Know It’s Food
Another reason your betta might not eat (usually when it’s new to the tank) is that it doesn’t realize that food is the thing you’re putting into the aquarium. This usually happens with flakes and pellets.
If your betta doesn’t recognize a new source of food, try mixing in some of its old food. Over time, you can switch over to the new formula entirely. With your betta none the wiser!
You’re Feeding Your Pet Too Much
Sometimes it happens that your betta fish is eating, but you do not realize it happens. A betta’s stomach is no bigger than its eye, and if you give your fish too much food, it may struggle to eat it all. Ultimately, it comes down to knowing how frequently you should feed a betta fish and the right amounts of food it needs.
Can I feed a betta fish goldfish food?
Yes, you can feed a betta fish goldfish food as they can eat it and digest it. However, don’t provide goldfish food to your betta frequently, as it doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients for betta’s diet.
Can you feed a betta fish tropical flakes?
No, you can’t feed a betta fish tropical flakes for other tropical fish because they lack the protein that bettas require in their diet.
How many days can a betta fish go without food?
Betta fish can go without food for 14 days. However, don’t leave your fish without food for longer than five days. A weekend trip should be fine, but you should find someone to keep your fish fed and manage your tank if you’re planning a more extended vacation.
Now that you know how frequently you should feed a betta fish, you can focus more on its diet diversity. Even though betta fish is predatory, not all meat is suitable for your betta, so refrain from giving it farm-grown animal meat. Fry bettas require various foods in their diet and more frequent feeding than their adult counterparts do.
Before you get your first betta in your fish tank learn everything about their feeding habits, requirements, and overall diet, as only then you’ll become a responsible betta parent.
If you don’t have a betta already, it’s time to get one now!
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