The Betta fish is one of the aquarium keepers’ favorite residents because of its vibrant color and unique nature. Especially, the distinctiveness of its personality makes it tough to ignore. They require special attention while you are taking care of them. And the betta food is a major concern for many people nowadays.
To keep a Betta fish healthy, you must understand some aspects of their diet, such as how often should you feed your Betta fish. In this article, you will get all the answers even the latent questions which may arise in the future. Get ready to dig down the topics!
how often should you feed your Betta fish
At first, you must understand how frequently you should feed a betta fish to avoid any kind of malnourishment or illness.
If you give your betta only a small amount of food, it’ll have faded color or no color at all on its fins. I’m sure you don’t want a colorless betta with a tapered body and next to zero fat on its tail. That’d be horrendous.
It’ll also have a bad attitude and be prone to sickness. Many avoid feeding betta too much so it won’t bloat, but starvation isn’t the answer either.
Excessive starvation could lead to organ failure and eventually death.
The opposite case is just as bad. Betta fish have small stomachs, if you overfeed it then it’ll get obese and would also could become constipated. Often such fish get sick and die.
You really need to know how often you should feed your betta if you want to save your precious fish from such a sad fate.
Below I have discussed about the ideal way to feed your betta, depending on their age:
Baby Betta Fish (Betta Fry)
A baby betta needs more food compared to adult betta fish. Because of their increasing growth, you need to provide more fat and protein. From the time they are fry until they are 4-6 months old, you should feed them with food which is specially made for baby fish.
While feeding them, make a schedule of 3-5 times a day, but always remember that they cannot consume a big proportion of food at a time. So the thing you have to do is just simply feed them a very little amount.
Teenage Betta fish (Juvenile Betta)
If your betta fish is now nearly 2 or 3 months old, it has now become a growing fish. And thus, you need to change their food habits a bit..
So while feeding them, divide the food into two portions and feed them twice a day. You should feed them in small amounts every time.
Typically they are more active compared to a baby or an adult betta fish. Which does not mean that you have to overfeed them. They’d gain a lot of weight if they’re overfed and it’s highly possible that they’ll fall sick.
For your convenience , you can make a routine. Morning and evening will be the perfect time to feed them.
Matured betta fish
Generally, a full grown betta fish need more food than young betta fish. You can feed them 1-2 times a day. I’d suggest feeding them 2 to 4 pellets each session.
Pellets may seem small but they expand when they’re in water. You could occasionally swap from pellets to frozen dried food or fresh food once a week or so.
Betta fish with spawn
During their spawning time, you need to be extra careful while feeding. You can feed them three times a day. Ensure that the duration gap needs to be 4 to 6 hours from the previous mealtime. Also, do not forget to adjust the temperature between 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit which is ideal for breeding.
How much should I feed my betta fish?
In general, Bettas need around 1.8 grams of food each day, although this may vary according to their age, size, or diet plan. Whereas, some bettas will happily take more than 1.8 grams, so don’t worry about sticking to the recommended amount.
However, it’s an excellent target to keep your betta fish happy and healthy.
Another technique to measure the food quantity is to feed them according to their eyeball size. Interesting? To know the details let’s read out all points carefully.
Betta Fish Diet: What can you feed a betta fish?
In the wild, they’ll search for bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tiny insects. Sometimes they are simply dangerous because of their rapacious nature. That’s why they are referred to as Siamese fighting fish.
Naturally, the betta fish enjoys eating flesh! They have also been known to kill and devour each other.
Betta fish aren’t choosy when it comes to food. They consume a high-protein diet since they are natural carnivores. Make sure to feed them with betta pellets that are high in protein.
and So, here is what I recommend feeding your betta fish at home:
Fish flake food
The most popular form of fish feed is fish flakes. They’re an excellent choice for your bettas. Particularly if it is made by Omega One, a well-known betta flake manufacturer. They’re high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. It is essential to maintain good health for your betta.
Plus, they contain beta-carotene, which is also present in salmon. These are seen to be natural color magic that lets you betta fish getting a classic vibrant color.
Betta Fish Pellets
Betta fish pellets are also considered one of the most prevalent types of fish food available on the market. They contain a variety of high-quality nutrients designed to keep your fish healthy. Pellets with fewer fillers are regarded to be the best.
Live betta food
Live betta food is also a wise option for you though they are a little bit expensive. But if you afford them It can give your betta fish the best nutrient-dense diet. Also, it can even help your fish live longer.
Usually, your betta fish will love to enjoy live foods such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and daphnia, and they are a good source of protein. You can collect them from a pet store or outside of any desolate area.
Daphnia is one of the quickest live foods , so you may feed them to your betta fish on a regular basis. Because of their tiny size and jerky motions, they are also known as water fleas.
Daphnia are planktonic crustaceans that may be found in ponds, swamps, or freshwater lakes.
Brine shrimp may also be produced at your home using a DIY brine shrimp hatchery. A mature brine shrimp is a big meal for a betta fish.
These small crustaceans include vitamins, proteins, and essential amino acids, which work together to give your fish lots of healthy protein. A brine shrimp provides a substantial bite even though it is just a month old.
Bettas also enjoy eating Mysis shrimp. The shrimp’s exoskeleton is high in fiber, which facilitates protein digestion in the betta’s diet.
Furthermore, these little organisms are high in amino acids and moisture, as these are necessary to keep your betta fish strong and healthy.
Frozen meals are the perfect way to give your betta fish a nutritious and quick meal. There are many types of frozen meals available for your betta to enjoy. Insect larvae, such as bloodworms or daphnia; brine shrimp and mosquito larvae all make great snacks!
Frozen cubes come in handy because they can be stored safely until you’re ready to give one a try. Toss it into the tank near your fish so that he doesn’t have too far to swim when his meal is served cold. Simply remove them from their packaging by defrosting them with some water then feed it to your tank!
Frozen foods, such as bloodworms or brine shrimp, are fundamentally the same as live meals, except that they are frozen rather than living.
They’ll last better if you freeze them. They’re high in protein, which is an important component for healthy fish. Before feeding them to your fish, gently thaw them. You can buy and store freeze-dried foods for your betta in the same way that you buy frozen meals.
Betta Fish feeding Schedule(Feeding Chart)
To make things easy for you, I have made an effective table describing the daily feeding schedule for this adorable fish. However, you don’t need to follow this schedule strictly. Let’s see..
|Friday||Frozen, Freeze -dried, Live||2-3 pieces||1-2 times|
|Saturday||Betta fish pellets||2-4 pellets||1-2 times|
|Sunday||Fasting (Give them nothing to eat)||No||No|
|Monday||Betta fish pellets||2-4 pellets||1-2 times|
|Tuesday||Live, frozen, or freeze-dried||2-3 pieces||1-2 times|
|Wednesday||Betta fish pellets||2-4 pellets||1-2 times|
|Thursday||Betta fish pellets||2-4 pellets||1-2 times|
Why won’t my betta fish eat?
First of all, don’t panic. It happens sometimes, a betta can go even 7 days without no food. Now that we calmed your mind a bit, let’s go to see why betta fish are not eating. There could be a few reasons for this, most commonly if you’re betta fish aren’t eating then subpar aquarium conditions or elevated stress could be a reason behind it.
I’ll explore a few reasons for it down below:
Betta are tropical fish, so they’re not used to the cold that much. If you put unheated water, the fluctuating temperature causes thermal shock. Their immune system and digestion may be affected if the temperature fluctuates frequently. Which can cause gastrointestinal and other health problems.
As a result, your betta fish will show disinterest in food. But I have a workaround for that.
To prevent temperature stress that hinders a Betta’s desire to eat you can: set up a different container with an independent heater. You have to make sure the water temperature matches before any change is made.
Here I’ll suggest that you set up a small, 2- or 3 gallon bucket of water and throw a heater inside. Remember to dechlorinate the water by running it through a filter before you make water changes betta are sensitive!
Make sure you’re using a thermometer so that you know how warm the water is. Bettas thrive at temperatures ranging from 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water quality will deteriorate if there is too much leftover food in the tank. Uneaten food at the depths of the water means more harmful ammonia. Fish waste also produces ammonia.
These discharged toxins can contaminate the water and may infect your betta fish with illness or make it lethargic. It may refuse to eat. Having red gills and heavy breathing are also indications of an ammonia spike in your aquarium that resulted in ammonia poisoning.
If the ammonia levels in your aquarium are high, you’ll need to use a liquid test kit and confirm that they’re increasing.
Test strips aren’t good for this sort of thing because their estimations are a little bit off and when it comes to something like this, every little amount counts so make absolutely sure your data is accurate.
Even 0.5 ppm (parts per million) can be detrimental for Betta fish or even kill them sometimes – not exactly good odds considering how sensitive these creatures are.
As a remedy, do the following to clear ammonia poisoning:
Change 10% of the water in your aquarium every hour until you change 40% of the entire volume. Add a water conditioner to act as a detoxifier to remove any ammonia. After adding this, include beneficial starter bacteria 24 hours later for best results.
By changing the water you can take away a big portion of ammonia outside your aquarium. The detoxifier will take care of the remaining toxins while beneficial bacteria will break down future ammonia buildup and keep your aquarium healthy.
One of the most common reasons why your Betta won’t eat is Nitrate toxicity.
A sudden rise in nitrates levels can cause your pet betta fish serious harm if they are exposed long-term; 20 ppm (parts per million) being one example.
If a Betta becomes infected with this, it will usually prefer to stay on the bottom of its tank and show signs like lethargy.
Other symptoms associated with being inflicted by this disease include swim bladder disorder, which causes an afflicted fish to either have difficulty swimming upright or even breathe properly.
If you notice such symptoms it’s important that you act quickly with treatment immediately for best results! Otherwise, if this is left unchecked it can also lead to death.
First of all, you need to test how much nitrate is present in your aquarium. Get a liquid testing kit, it’s more accurate than strips in this case.
The water test will help you determine if the fish was poisoned by gradual intoxication or sudden spike in nitrate. If you consider the readings to be normal for your tank then it’s highly possible that there has been a gradual yet long term exposure.
It can result from higher than usual levels of nitrogen over an extended period–say 20 parts per million (ppm).
However, if you see alarmingly high Nitrates reading compared with your average during any given week, then you can be sure this incident occurred not more than 24 to 48 hours ago.
Regardless, you want your aquarium water to be under 10 ppm nitrate. While the general rule of thumb is to replace water according to the ppm; meaning more ppm of nitrate results in interchanging more water- like removing 80% of the entire volume from 100 ppm nitrate.
Sadly, replacing water altogether is not healthy. I will not recommend removing an excess of 40% of total water volume at a given time, because betta fish might not adjust to the sudden changes and receive shock. I’ll talk about it in the next section.
So, the key here is GRADUAL REPLACEMENT. Interchange not more than 40% of water slowly and systematically and you should see improvements. Vacuuming 30% of the substrate every 3 days also works.
You can also add aquatic plants like hornwort or water sprite to absorb excess nitrates in the water.
Tap water is a big culprit when it comes to high nitrate concentration, you can use RO water instead of tap water for a better aquatic condition, or invest in a good RO/DI filtration system.
There’s another expensive but super effective method- adding a refugium with lava rocks and algae. It has a surreal up front cost but fantastic long term results.
Fish have this ability called osmoregulation. They can regulate the fluids in their body to adjust internal pressure. It’s inversely proportional to the ion content in aquariums.
If you remove a lot of water suddenly, let’s say 50% of the entire volume, your betta will undergo osmotic shock.
During osmotic shock, its organs swell and the betta can’t seem to eat. After repeated osmoregulation failure from these shocks, the whole body eventually becomes swollen which is known as Dropsy.
For this reason, do slow water changes, and keep your nitrate levels low. Instead of a quick 30% removal, remove 5 or 10% of the water every few hours.
Low or no appetite is common in ill fish. A stressful environment often causes betta fish to get sick. Here’s a study that shows the relation between stress and reduced immunity in fish.
A healthy betta has great immunity, so just by keeping it happy you can have it free from many illnesses.
Bad water quality, fluctuating temperature, volatile pH, or even excessive feeding can cause stress in your betta fish.
With a good heater and filter, your aquarium should be in top shape. And, by feeding quality food, you can improve your betta’s immune system. If you’re not convinced then read this study to know more.
Live plants provide hiding places, and to replicate an environment much more authentically, so fish are less stressed around plants.
Bubble nesting male betta
This might sound funny but it’s true! Sometimes, male betta arrange bubbles while looking for a female betta to mate with. At that time it’ll eat less so it can guard that bubble nest, especially if there are other male betta.
You can try getting a female betta for the poor lad, but they prefer red colored male betta more. So an easier way would be to remove the bubble nest, so he can move on, accept his single life, and start eating.
So these are some of the common reasons for your betta fish to avoid eating. I’m sure the solutions I’ve provided will help you get them back on track.
What should you NOT feed a betta fish?
As I mentioned above, flakes are quite healthy for your betta fish. But you can find a lot of brands at a very cheap rate that contains no nutrients. They are extremely dry and even look like cardboard. It soaks water and becomes larger.
So, it fills up their tiny stomach, and your betta will have a hard time digesting it; better to not give your betta such food. Furthermore, avoid feeding tropical fish flakes as they lack protein, it won’t be much good.
Here, my main message to you is, do not compromise while you are buying flakes. Try to purchase the best quality for your fish. Otherwise, you will hamper your fish’s health.
Problems occur due to Underfeeding
Overfeeding your betta fish is one of the easiest ways to harm them. You may seem like you are doing something good for your betta, but overfeeding can prove fatal in certain cases.
Feeding your fish the correct amount of food will help prevent disease and illness. Here are the disease and problems caused by overfeeding.
Constipation and Bloating issue
Fish are constipated when they don’t eliminate waste correctly or as often as they should. This is usually caused by overfeeding and holding in the food for a long period of time, causing it to break down and not be able to pass through the digestive tract.
Betta fish are especially prone to getting constipation because of their tiny digestive intestine. Constipation also causes bloating, which can be very painful and uncomfortable for your fish.
Because of their small size, this means that bloating can occur throughout the body, usually causing an elongated appearance. Bloating is extremely hard on your betta fish’s health and should be avoided at all costs! And to solve this bloating problem, you shouldn’t overfeed your betta fish.
Attack of the Bacteria
Did you know that betta fish are prone to infections and bacterial problems? This is very true because of the small size of their bodies and immune system. Many bacteria will not be able to harm your fish if it was healthy; however overfeeding causes malfunction in processing food and waste, which allows the bacteria to attack your fish.
If you are overfeeding your betta fish, they are more likely to become obese. Overweight bettas have a harder time swimming and moving around because of their extra weight. It will also make it harder for your betta to breed.
Obese bettas can develop health problems easily. Their internal organs can be in a constant state of stress and strain because of the extra weight. Even though your betta fish may look pudgy with a little extra fat, it’s actually very unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs!
Swim Bladder Disorder
Betta fish can develop swim bladder disorder, which is caused by overfeeding. Swim bladder disorder causes your betta to float at the top of the water or stay at the bottom of the water feature instead of swimming around normally. This can be very dangerous because betta fish will not get proper oxygen.
So, overfeeding your betta will cause these health problems and you need to reduce the amount of their daily food as soon as you notice these above-discussed problems.
Problems occur due to Underfeeding
Bettas are constantly seeking out food as it’s a natural instinct for them. If you underfeed your betta, they will try to eat anything that looks appealing to them.
Some things that bettas tend to try and eat when they are hungry include: their own waste, other fish, floating plants, and fish tank decorations (if placed in the water). Also underfeeding will bring the following problem for them…
Become thin and lose the beauty
Bettas do not naturally eat algae, and in fact, they tend to avoid it. So, if your betta didn’t get enough feed, you can expect it to become thin over time due to lack of nutrition.
Underfeeding your betta will also lead it to become paler and duller in color. It will also lose its soft fins, as they tend to fall off when the fish is underfed.
Become aggressive towards other fishes
If you have several fishes living together in a tank, you would not want your male betta fish to bite another small one because it’s hungry. A hungry betta fish is driven by the need to eat. It will try and swallow anything that appears edible including fish it lived within a single tank.
Immune system issues
Underfeeding your betta for a long time could lead to health complications. It has been seen that fishes that are underfed tend to have issues with their immune system and they may get sick easier than other healthy fish living in the same tank.
Underfeeding your betta fish can lead to diseases such as Neon Tetra Disease and Gill Disease.
Some Quick Tips for Ensuring Proper feeding
Before taking any unwise steps, there is some exigent context that you must know about your betta fish:
Stomach size matters!
It is necessary to know the actual size of your pet animal’s stomach to avoid any undesired food problems or overfeeding issues.
You may find it interesting that the actual stomach size of your betta fish is roughly the size of their eye. So, there is no doubt that they have a very small stomach with a short digestive system.
Like humans, your betta fish also has a bit of stretch in their stomach, so that they may over-eat a little. But sometimes, it can cause them distress and put them in danger.
Provide essential nutrition
When it comes to nutrition, Betta fish are typically resilient and don’t require high nutritional needs. The amount of food your betta fish consumed at each meal-time is also important to consider. Being an owner of a betta fish, you must have a very clear concept of nutrition.
Some people say that Betta is “very fussy” when it comes to feeding time, while others say they eat whatever they get.
Avoid excessive food
Betta fish should only be fed what it requires. Your betta fish will become sick or unable to move just because of overeating. Even death can happen due to overfeeding.
Also, keep in mind that bettas prefer extremely clean water. If you overfeed your betta fish, do not forget to use an aquarium vacuum cleaner. It will help you to remove all of the wastage from the tank and maintain the water quality.
Give your Betta fish a break!
It is a wise step if you sometimes skip a meal from your rigid betta fish schedule.. You know, every creature including human beings sometimes needs a break to give a quick rest to their stomach. By doing so, it gives the digestive system a rest and allows toxins to be released.
Changing up feeding habits occasionally skipping a meal is beneficial to Betta Fish.
All you have to do is simply feed them once a day, miss a day, and then resume your usual schedule. Many individuals choose a day like Sunday to fast their fish for the day. Simple, isn’t it?
The Best Way to Feed Your Betta Fish when you are on a Vacation
Bettas may survive for up to two weeks without feeding before hunger kills them. Meanwhile, if you have to be gone for an extended time, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a family member, friends, or your neighbor to feed your fish.
Though, you shouldn’t be gone for such an extended period. But what if you are out of options. In that case, if your budget permits you, a high-quality auto fish feeder is an excellent answer to solve your issue.
Frequently Asked Questions about Betta Fish Feeding
Several common questions may appear on your mind about Betta fish feeding. Here, I’ve tried to answer some important queries among them. Please have a peek below.
What time should I feed my betta fish?
You should feed your betta fish twice a day with small portions of food. Provide these feeds at the same time every morning and night, or 12 hours apart from each other to help you get into a routine. Fasting them for 24 hours once per two weeks (14 days) is also beneficial for them.
Can betta fish eat cooked rice?
Yes, Betta fish often enjoy the taste of rice, but it’s not the best course for their diet. Rice also provides very low nutritional value and feeding excessive amounts of rice may cause digestive complexity for your small buddy.
Can you feed betta fish earthworms?
Yes, you can feed earthworms to your betta fish! Moreover, earthworms are an outstanding source of protein for betta fish. So if they’re in ample supply near where you live or available for purchase at the bait store, give it a try.
Can betta fish skip a day of feeding?
Of course, skipping a day of feeding in a while won’t cause any harm to your betta fish. Rather it has many health benefits which will help your betta fish to fight against various diseases regarding digestion.
Can betta fish die from overfeeding?
Yes, it can happen. Though It’s always important to make sure your betta fish has food, you should also be aware of the consequences of overfeeding. If you feed it too much or give it a diet that is not suited for its species’ lifestyle and natural habitat conditions, then this can lead to an imbalance in its lifestyle which could eventually cause death.
Will betta fish stop eating when they are full?
The Betta Fish has a very interesting sense of awareness when it comes to food intake. The stretch receptors on the stomach warn the brain and signals you’re full after eating enough. However, they won’t stop eating until your stop feeding them.
How do you know if your betta fish is hungry?
When your fish is eating plants, becomes aggressive towards other fish, and constantly swimming to the top of its tank in an attempt to get food, you should give them some food because they are probably hungry.
How many days can a betta fish go without food?
Betta fish can live 10-14 days without feeding but you shouldn’t leave them hungry for so long unless you have to due to any problem.
How many pellets do I feed my betta fish a meal?
In the market, you can find various pallet sizes that can confuse you. The pellet ranges are available from 2 or 3, while 6 or 7 can be used, it is totally up to the brand. To fulfill their appetite you can easily measure by looking at their eyeball size, as I mentioned before. You don’t have to soak the pellets before giving them to your fish.
Dry pellets are easily consumed by all fish, and soaking them may reduce the nutritional value.
It’s also worth noting that not all betta fish are created equal. To discover what works and what doesn’t, you’ll need to constantly observe your betta at first.
Always remember, keep track of how much and how often you should feed your betta, and whenever you are buying, try to get the best quality food for them. The sort of food you feed a betta fish determines how often it should be eating. This is essential if you want your fish in your aquarium to have a long and healthy life.