Betta Fish Feeding – 14 Facts You Should Know

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Betta fish are surely one of the first choices among many tropical enthusiasts. They are small but surprisingly beautiful, hardy but sensitive.

When it comes to their feeding, you certainly know that the best ratio to follow is offering your pets a basic plan of high-quality commercial food which is based on at least 40% protein.

Indeed, these little carnivores require plenty of protein to stay healthy, as well as tasty treats to remain interested. But there are so many other questions that remain open, so we have prepared a list of the 13 most important facts you should know about Betta fish feeding.

What do Betta Fish Eat in the Wild?

Betta fish are the most amazing little hunters. They will happily chase down any live insect, as well as their larvae. When available, they mostly choose tasty and meaty meals. These also include brine shrimp and small worms.

When there are no protein meals in their vicinity for several days, they can occasionally look for survival meals across algae roots. These can keep them alive for a while, but they surely lack the nutrients which these fish need to thrive.

How Many Pellets to Feed a Betta?

The best commercial choice of food for pet Bettas is protein-enriched pellets. How many pellets to feed your fish depends entirely on its size. More precisely, on the size of its eye.

Indeed, Bettas are really small creatures and their stomach is usually proportional to the size of their eyes, so this is always an excellent thumb rule to follow. You can feed your Betta twice a day, offering it 2-4 pellets as one meal, depending on how large your specimen is.

Can Bettas Eat Goldfish Food?

Generally, they can. Goldfish food will certainly not harm your Betta fish, but it will also not provide the required nutritive values. With goldfish being omnivores, their food is simply not suitable for fulfilling the needs of carnivorous Bettas.

Therefore, goldish food may be an excellent first-aid meal when you run out of protein-based pellets are not willing to head to the store. In the long run, the well-being of your Betta can become compromised.

How Long can Betta Fish go Without Food?

If you are departing for a vacation or a business trip and have to leave your Betta unattended for 4 days or less, this is absolutely fine and harmless. These creatures are active hunters and are learning to not have plenty of daily food available.

However, all that exceeds such time without food can make your pet head into a survival mode. It can perhaps survive up to 10 days or more, but its body will not be able of functioning properly, and there may be serious health consequences afterward.

Why Betta Fish is Spitting Out Food?

There may be several reasons hiding behind such funny behavior. However, the most common one is related to the size of the meal. Indeed, if this is too large for your pet to swallow, it will spit it out several times, making the main part softer as well as simultaneously biting off tiny chunks from it.

Other reasons may include the incapability of eating. If your Betta is suffering from constipation or some internal parasite, it may refuse to eat food by spitting it out.

And finally, if you have a really young Betta which is still not used to feeding on commercial food, spitting it out is sometimes their way of telling you that they are not ready for the switch yet. To verify that, try offering your pet a live treat and see how it reacts then.

Why is My Betta Fish Not Eating?

Your Betta fish may not be eating for perfectly normal reasons such as simply not being hungry or not liking your new choice of pellets. This can be simply verified by waiting for a day or trying a different treat.

However, there can often be more serious factors making your fish refuse food. For instance, if your pet is under stress or if it is suffering from a parasite infection or some other disease. In such cases, you will have to closely monitor your pet and look for other visible signs of discomfort.

Adding to that, Bettas are not able of digesting food when their water is too cold, so please make sure to check the temperature first.

Can Betta Fish Be Overweight?

Sadly, it is not uncommon for Betta fish becoming overweight, especially among first-time keepers. Obesity can seriously compromise the health condition of any fish, so it is really important to keep a close eye on your pets.

If you notice their stomach being bloated (fish gain fat around their organs instead of muscles) or being incapable of swimming normally, this may be a sign that it is time for a more rigorous diet.

Can Betta Fish Die from Overfeeding?

Yes, that is unfortunately highly possible. Betta fish can die from overfeeding because of two main reasons. On one side, if your pet decides to ingest all the extra food around its tank, this can lead to constipation and bloats, which are both extremely dangerous if not treated on time.

On the other side, if your fish does not accept the extra food and decides to leave it to sink to the bottom instead, this can lead to ammonia spikes, consequentially causing their death. Offering the right amounts of food is essential.

Do Betta Fish Need to Eat Every Day?

Betta fish do not necessarily need to eat every day, unless they are noticeably young and still developing. What is necessary is to feed them as regularly as possible, to maintain a healthy routine.

You can feed your healthy adult fish either twice a day, once a day or even every other day, as long as you are doing it constantly. On top of that, some owners like to occasionally fast their pets for a day, to ensure their bowels are moving properly.

Do Betta Fish Eat Aquarium Plants?

Betta fish eat aquarium plants only if they are starving and there is no other source of food around. Plants do not offer the right nutritive values to these fish and they really do not tend to eat them otherwise.

However, healthy Bettas may often seem as if they are feeding on plants when they are really not. In fact, they may be nibbling on plants while trying to swallow tiny meaty creatures from their surface, or even out of pure boredom.

Can Bettas Eat Fruits and Vegetables?

Although fruits and vegetables are not part of their diet and do not offer any nutritive value to Bettas, occasional treats are welcome. For instance, fibers that are found in peas can perform miracles to constipated Bettas.

Make sure to boil and peel them first though, and never offer an entire pea unless you have a remarkably large specimen. Additionally, a tiny chunk of mango seems to be a real tasty treat to these fish.

Can Bettas Eat Meat?

Betta fish are carnivores and enjoy meaty treats. If you are providing them occasional brine shrimp, bloodworms or similar, this is absolutely safe and can be offered either live or frozen.

However, if you are thinking of offering your pet some land-based meat, this needs to be done carefully. Firstly, make sure to choose only such meat which is extremely low in fat, such as chicken or turkey.

Secondly, always cook such meat first, and never ever use condiments. And finally, remember, your Betta’s stomach is of the size of its eye, so every meal has to be cut accordingly.

Can Betta Fish Eat Bread?

You should never feed your betta fish bread, not only because it poses a health risk to your fish, but will also pollute the aquarium water. Bread contains lots of additives, which for use humans is ok to consume, but a small betta fish can die from these chemicals.

The yeast that is used to make bread can also cause a huge bacterial bloom in your tank, which can lead to cloudy water and other water parameter issues.

Why is Your Betta Not Eating?

Before starting to worry, please check your water parameters first. If the temperature levels are warm enough and there are no visible spikes, your Betta may be refusing food either because of inappropriate food choices or because of health complications.

If you have only recently added a Betta into a new tank, it may still be adapting to the new environment or being under stress. Also, if you have switched to different pellets, your pet may simply not like your new choice of meal. If you are certain these are not the appliable reasons, start looking for signs of illness or constipation.

If your Betta fish is not eating for several days and you are still not sure why it would probably be best to consult your local vet.

Wrapping Up

Although Betta fish are extremely adaptable in the wild, they can sometimes become rather picky when it comes to food choices in captivity.

These creatures are natural little hunters and love chasing their food around the tank, so please always try to include plenty of live treats to keep them happy.

Other than that, commercial pellets are the best and simplest basic choice for providing them all the necessary nutrients to thrive.

Always make sure to offer them tiny amounts of food in relation to their tiny stomachs and try keeping a stable feeding schedule. Your fish will be grateful.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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