Betta fish are carnivores and require foods rich in protein. In the wild, this means they eat small crustaceans, insect larvae, insects, worms, and even tiny fish. In the home aquarium, betta fish can eat a wide variety of foods such as Betta Pellets, Betta Flakes, Bloodworms, Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, Mysis Shrimp, Tubifex Worms, Mosquito Larvae
New betta owners should stick with a quality pellet formulated especially for betta fish and save special foods as treats and supplements. Experienced fishkeepers may wish to incorporate richer foods into their betta’s diet more often. Many specialty fish foods are available in freeze-dried, frozen, and live forms.
Betta fish are opportunistic feeders that can eat a bunch of things you may never expect. That’s good, as it means these fish are generally easy to feed and care for. However, it also leads to some strange ideas about what is appropriate to feed a betta.
How Much Should I Feed My Betta Fish?
A betta fish’s stomach is about the size of his eye, so consider this when dropping food in his tank. That should mean around three pellets or an amount of food he can eat in about two minutes.
It may take a little while until you can estimate this correctly with different types of food. Eventually, you will learn to gauge how much your betta eats so you aren’t given him too much.
Consider the type of food you are feeding as well. If you are offering foods that take him longer to consume, or if your betta is a slow eater, give him a little more time.
How Often Should I Feed Them?
Many betta keepers like to feed their fish twice per day. That’s fine, as long as you can keep the portions under control and avoid overfeeding. I prefer to feed bettas once per day, as I feel the potential harm caused by overfeeding is greater than the concerns about underfeeding.In the wild, Betta fish are carnivorous. They love to eat meat of all kinds. They will eat pretty much any kind of meat that they can wrap their mouths around. This includes all kind of insects and insect larvae, daphnia, brine shrimp, blood worms, and other such creatures too.
They are fairly hardy and prolific eaters, or in other words, they don’t hold back. They like to eat quite a bit, especially when it comes to live foods like insects.
Now, some Betta fish do occasionally chow down on plant matter, but not very often. If you see a Betta fish eating plants, fruits, or veggies in the wild, it is probably because they have not been able to catch enough live prey.
Those chemicals and preservatives will not do your Betta fish any good and can very well make them really sick. There are some foods that you can feed your Betta fish, ones that you might eat yourself, but you can’t feed them exclusively human food.
For the most part, you should be giving them special Betta fish food or other things that they would normally eat, like the worms and insects we discussed above. That being said, there are some human foods that you can feed them.
Just keep in mind that the majority of the Betta fish’s diet needs to be meat-based, so any human food you give them needs to be done occasionally as a treat, not as a meal or meal supplement.
Betta Fish Feeding Tips
Never overfeed your Betta fish because that can cause some really serious issues in terms of their health and the water quality (we have covered overfeeding dangers in more detail here). The stomach of a Betta fish is roughly the size of one of its eyes. They don’t have much room in there. You should feed them no more than they can consume in a 2 minute timeframe, twice per day.
Make sure to feed your Betta fish anywhere from 75% to 90% meat based foods. They are carnivorous and should not be consuming too much planted based foods.
Some Betta fish can be really picky eaters and might not eat what you give them. If they are being picky, try some freeze dried treats like blood worms and daphnia. Now, we always recommend freeze dried foods because they are sure to be free of bacteria and parasites. However, if you have a really picky eater in your tank, you might have to give the Betta some live food to really get it interested in its dinner.
While Betta fish can eat some human foods, for the most part, we would recommend sticking to their regular diet.
What Are Some Human Foods You Can Safely Feed Your Betta?
Boiled peas with the shell removed can be eaten by Betta fish. Make sure to remove the skin because it is hard to digest. A couple of boiled peas are actually shown to help relieve digestion issues in Betta fish.
Cucumber and lettuce are also good things to feed your Betta fish. They have lots of vitamins in them and are easy to digest. Just don’t give them too much of either of these things and make sure to cut them into really little pieces.
Some lightly boiled or microwaved spinach will work too. Some Betta fish don’t like it while others do. It is a matter of tastes here. Just make sure to lightly cook it first because it can be hard for fish to digest.
Boiled kernels of sweet corn is another treat that most Betta fish will like. Keep in mind that corn is virtually void of nutrients, so it can only be fed to Betta fish as an occasional treat.
Meats like chicken, beef, and pork can be fed to Betta fish in very small quantities. Now, most people are against this simply because it is unnatural for a water-dwelling creature to eat a land-based animal, but it is not technically harmful.
Make sure to boil the meat all the way through and add absolutely no spices. The only downside is that our meat is often made with antibiotics and steroids which are probably not so good for Betta fish to consume.
Betta fish will definitely enjoy some fresh fish pieces and other types of seafood. Little chunks of shrimp, oysters, scallops, and other such creatures make for good treats no doubt.
The upside here is that these foods are all animal protein-based, which means that you can technically substitute fish food with these meats on occasion.
On a side note, if you are giving your Betta canned tuna, make sure it is not packed in oil. Oil is not good for fish, nor will it do you any favors in terms of water quality.
Never feed your Betta fish any kind of citrus fruits. Their bodies just cannot handle the acidity.
While you can feed your Betta fish a little piece of an unsalted cracker every now and again, it is not recommended due to additives.