Betta Fish are the most commonly found aquarium fish among aquarium enthusiasts around the world and it's really no surprise as to why, they are in my opinion one of the coolest and best looking aquarium fish around.
The Betta Fish’s Dietary Needs
Let's first take a look at what do betta fish eat other than fish food;
What Type Of Food Do Betta Fish Eat?
This is pretty simple because betta fish have a very simple diet. Betta fish are carnivorous animals and they eat mostly small insects and insect larvae. This means that they require a lot of protein to stay healthy. In fact protein is the number one source of food that beta fish require. Keeping that in mind, beta fish aren’t big fans of plants or other herbs because they aren’t herbivores. More info here on the ideal Betta environment.
So if you are going to be feeding your betta fish flakes or pellets, you need to make sure that they have a high protein content as opposed to grains or vegetables. All of that being said, betta fish will eat virtually any type of food that you provide for them which makes them very easy to take care of, not to mention that fish food usually isn’t too expensive. You can always try making your own homemade fish food, it's quite straight forward and cost effective.
Another common question is whether other fish can eat Betta food? we have answered that here.
What Do Betta Fish Eat - Popular Food Options
Finding your Betta fish favorite foods is really a case of testing to see what works best but these are some of the popular options out there;
One of the most common types of food that a betta fish will eat is the classic fish flake. Against everything that you may think, fish flakes are not made of artificial materials or chemicals. In fact fish flakes are dried parts, or rather flakes if you will, of other old fish. Don’t worry because this is natural, fish eat other fish in nature all of the time.
Betta fish really like to eat fish flakes and they are healthy too. They contain nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, B, and E and are quite healthy for your beta fish. Watch out because some brands may use artificial colors or flavors which are not healthy for the fish. The best alternative is to find a brand of fish flakes that contains no artificial preservatives or colors.
Fish food is probably one of the best kinds of food that you can feed your betta fish, mostly because live food is what fish naturally eat when they are not in captivity. Don’t worry because you don’t have to go fishing or digging for any special foods to feed your fish.
Everything you need and all kinds of live fish foods are readily available in most pet stores. Betta fish love to eat fresh bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp larvae. These foods are all very nutritious for your betta fish and most likely their favorite food too. The only problem with feeding you beta fish live food is that you will always have to give them the live food.
Once the beta fish start eating live food they will not readily go back to other forms of food, and if you try switching from live food to something else then your beta fish may not eat anything at all.
Freeze Dried Food
Freeze dried food is probably the most convenient type of food that you can feed your fish. This is because freeze dried food is the same as the live food because you can get bloodworms, daphnia, or shrimp larvae that has been dried out.
This means that your betta fish will love the food, but it isn’t any inconvenience to you. You can store the freeze dried food just like you would store fish flakes and they don’t need any special care to keep from going bad. This kind of food is really convenient because the foods are just as healthy as live food but don’t need any care to be kept alive.
If you are using frozen blood worms then you should always break the chunks into smaller pieces, that or thaw out the bloodworms and only feed your fish one or two at a time because over feeding the beta fish is a big concern. Also throw out any unused and thawed worms because they go bad quickly.
Betta Fish Pellets
Betta fish pellets are a good option for your beta fish because unlike normal fish pellets, these ones have been specifically made for betta fish. They contain only ingredients which beta fish are known to like and they have nutrients and vitamins specifically designed to keep betta fish healthy. Betta fish pellets are really easy to find and aren’t very expensive either.
Mosquito larvae is the best food that you can feed your fish because that is what they normally eat in the wild and they manage to stay healthy and live for a long time while eating mosquito larvae.
The only thing to keep in mind is that you will need to buy the mosquito larvae from a pet store to ensure that they are safe for the beta fish to eat. Not only are mosquito larvae hard to find and to collect by yourself, but they can also be full of bacteria that may be harmful to your fish.
My Betta Fish Is Spitting Out Its Food
Betta fish may sometimes spit out their food, but it isn’t as big of a problem as you may think. When betta fish spit out their food it is mostly just because the chunks of food are way too big. Betta fish will usually bite off chunks and then spit the rest out before eating the smaller chunks.
What To Do
If all of the food is being spit out you can always try breaking the food into smaller pieces to make it more attractive to the fish. You can also try soaking the food in some water before giving it to the fish to make it softer and more palatable for the fish.
It's also a good idea to make sure you a good aquarium thermometer to monitor the temperature of your tank.
My Betta Fish Isn’t Eating Its Food
One thing that is very common for beta fish is to not eat at all in the first week after being purchased. Betta fish need some time to adjust to their surroundings before they feel comfortable enough to eat the food that you give them.
It's Probably Constipated
Another thing that may cause your betta fish not to eat is being constipated. The constipation comes from over feeding the fish in the first place. Therefore the best way to avoid this is to give your beta fish a one day break from eating once every week. To take care of constipation as well as your beta fish not eating you can try feeding it the inside of a frozen pea; they usually look at it as a treat.
Just cut up a thawed frozen pea into small parts and put it in the fish tank. There are a few other factors that can cause your beta fish not to eat including the tank size, water quality. If your fish is not eating even in ideal conditions then it may very well be sick.
Other Tips For Feeding Your Betta Fish
One of the things that you need to realize is that the beta fish has a stomach that is about as big as its eye, or in other words it’s as big as a very small pea. This means that betta fish can’t eat very much at all and it is also very easy to over feed them.
You should never over feed your betta fish even if they are begging you for food with their feed me dance because it can make them sick. Over feeding a betta fish can cause bladder infections and can even cause the stomach of the fish to burst, killing it in the process.
This also means that you should never actually follow the feeding directions on the packaging of your fish food because it is most often wrong. The feeding directions on packages often tells you to give your fish a lot more food than they need; only feed them as much as your common sense dictates.
Adjusting To New Foods
Another thing to keep in mind with betta fish is that they may take up to 30 days to adjust to new food. This means that if you switch foods you will most likely have to mix it with their old food and slowly change over to the new food in order to give the fish time to adjust.
All of that being said the betta fish is a very picky eater and it may take a fair amount of trial and error to get it right. If your beta fish doesn’t eat one type of food you can always try feeding it different foods.
Steps To Feeding Your Betta Fish
The first step in figuring out how to feed your betta fish is to choose a routine; routine is essential if you want your fish to eat right. You should choose a time of day to feed your fish where you have at least 10 minutes to observe the fish in order to make sure that they are eating right.
You need to make sure that your betta fish is eating its food and you also need to be sure to remove all extra food so that your fish don’t overeat because that can make them very sick and even cause death. You also need to choose one day of the week where your betta will fast and not eat because it helps to clear out the digestive system and prevent constipation.
Stick To A Schedule
Also be sure to feed your betta fish at the same time each day because that will give them a routine and routines are always easier to get used to than frantic schedules. Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be waking up your betta fish to feed them if they are sleeping.
How Much To Feed
The next step is to choose how often you feed your beta fish. Most people feed them twice per day but you can also choose to feed them 3 times per day, in which case you will want to make sure that the portions are smaller.
Always feed the fish at roughly the same times per day and never over feed them even if you think that they are hungry. Fish will mostly always eat so you need to be sure not to give them too much food. After you have figured this out you need to figure out how much food to feed them.
If you are feeding them 3 times per day then you should not feed them more than 2 pellets or 1 bloodworm at each feeding. If you are feeding the beta fish twice per day then you should give them no more than 3 pellets or 2 bloodworms. And if you are feeding the beta fish once per day then you should give the no more than 4 pellets or 3 bloodworms.
Keep Track Of Feeding
Just remember to keep track of how much you have been feeding them and how many times per day that you have been doing so. Of course you also need to choose what to feed your fish which will rest partially on trial and error as it will take you some time to figure out exactly what your beta fish’s favorite food is.
Can Betta Fish Eat Goldfish Flakes?
No, it's not advisable because Goldfish have a completely different diet than Betta's. Most Goldfish flakes contain a low amount of protein and a Betta needs a a lot of protein in order to stay healthy so we wouldn't recommend trying this as honestly no good will come from it and the same applies to all Goldfish foods, not just flakes.
So to summarize: can betta fish eat goldfish food? = NO!
Tips If Your Betta Fish Still Aren’t Eating
If your betta fish still aren’t eating then there are always some other tips that you can follow including things such as:
- Crushing the pellets to make them smaller and much easier for the fish to eat without spitting them out.
- Soaking the food in water or light garlic scented water in order to induce their appetite.
- Try giving them a different type of food that they might like more.
- Try not giving the fish any food for 1 or even 2 days to make the fish hungry and want the food you give it even more.
We have covered another post here, that covers information on the average Betta Fish life span and some tips on how to increase it.
We hope you have found this article and you should know have a great understanding of what do Betta Fish eat, feeding tips and know how to look after them properly. We have also recently covered a post on the Best Betta Tanks which you might also find helpful.