Fascinating Fish Feeding Facts Explained: What Do Betta Fish Eat?

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Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Before you feed any food to your fish, learn about what do betta fish eat?

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The actual name of the betta fish is the Siamese fighting fish.

It would be possible for betta fishes to lead a long life in the tank if you properly care for them, which would include providing them a better environment to live in and picking the right food for them. So what do betta fish eat living in a tank?

These active fishes are native to southeast Asia especially Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Betta fish have been domesticated for more than 1,000 years.

Currently, they are the most popular and visually impressive natural freshwater fish available on the market. Betta fishes are tolerant of poor water quality and low levels of oxygen. Thus, these fishes can even survive for a short period of time without water and can inhale air, if it's moist. Betta fish are strictly carnivorous. Many people even feed betta fish natural content like plant roots, which they may survive on but they cannot survive on plant roots for a long time. There are different types of fishes and you need to take care of them by adding fillers to their tanks. The fillers will make their tank look aesthetic.

Their diet would mostly consist of natural small crustaceans, zooplankton plants, and other types of small plants, insects, and their larvae. Betta fish is not a very friendly or social creature. It likes swimming alone and would fight with each other (even with the opposite sex). They generally prefer warm water which should be slightly acidic. This is why they frequently fall ill in cold waters as it can suppress their immune system. They are known to live for two to three years in the wild but in captivity, they can even live for more than nine years. Many owners have even claimed about bettas living in their teens.

Surprising even for the owners! Betta fish is regarded as the national aquatic animal of Thailand. Due to the increasing pollution and habitat destruction, these fishes have been listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are even very likely to become endangered. So what do betta fish eat? After reading about all you can feed your betta fish in the tank, you will also like to read about how long do betta fish sleep and how long do betta fish live.

Can betta fish eat human food?

Talking about what do betta fish eat, betta fish food generally needs to schedule a large amount of protein in their diets to thrive and survive. Betta fish are mostly insectivores and would survive on bloodworms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and even other tiny crustaceans and fishes. You can also schedule to feed your betta with betta pellets and fish flakes. But in case you run out of this food you can feed your betta fish human food.

Here are some safe human food items you can feed your betta fish human food. The betta fish food you can feed if you run out of supply.

Pea: pea would be an excellent source of fiber for bettas. Pea encourages the fiber content in the body. Fiber has many advantages. One of the advantages of fiber is it prevents constipation and bloating and would also relieve digestion issues once you feed your betta fish pet. Make sure you boil them till mushy and cut them into small pieces after removing its shell. Then you can gently put it down in your fish aquarium and let them enjoy the delicacy.

Cucumber: cut the cucumber into small pieces, blanch them and remove all their seeds. Then you can give it to your fish. Cucumbers are rich in nutrients and are even known to cure swim bladder infections.

Sweet corn: you can also feed them sweet corn. Boil them properly and remove their outer shell. Make sure you just give one boiled kernel to a single fish as more of it can tend to be harmful to your pet.

Leafy greens: you can boil some lettuce and spinach and give it to your bettas. These vegetables are easy to digest and are rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Fruit: except for citrus fruit, you may treat your bettas with different kinds of fruit including mangoes, melons, pears, apples, strawberries, and cantaloupe.

Brine shrimp and worms: Brine shrimp has many advantages. The brine shrimp is one of the most nutritional items you can provide your betta fish with. Brine shrimp are an incredibly efficient and energy-rich source of betta food. In fact, the amount of protein in brine shrimp can be up to 60% of their dry weight. Since bettas are used to feed on small marine creatures, you can give them frozen worms or unseasoned shrimps. This betta food contains animal proteins and could be very beneficial for your pet betta fish.

Chicken meat: a finely shredded and softly boiled chicken would be a delicious meal for your pet betta fish. You need to make sure it doesn't contain any spice or sauce. Although it is not advised to feed your pet fish with chicken frequently. As too much animal protein can cause obesity, high cholesterol levels and can even lead to organ failure.

There are special three pellets available. This pellet is a formula that costs less and also that this pellet has the optimum power of three in one pellet. It is recommended to feed your betta fish two to four pellets, once or twice per day.

Can betta fish eat ants, flies, and other insects?

Yes, why not! Betta fish is a natural carnivorous marine animal. These fishes are in fact, insectivores. It means they are used to eating worms, insects, larvae, and crustaceans in the wild. They need a high amount of proteins in their diets. Since ants contain a lot of proteins they can be a suitable delicacy for these fishes. It is mostly advised that you should feed them with small black ants.

You can also feed them with other selective numbers of insects. But you need to keep the following points in mind before feeding your betta with any insect variety: biting or stinging insects can hurt your pet fish and can even be fatal for them. These tiny insects can even get stuck in their throats and can choke them to death. Pesticides surviving or resistant insects can be toxic for your pet bettas. Water insects may contain parasites or bacterias that may infect your fish.

Given all the prerequisite knowledge you would need before feeding your pet betta fish with insects, here is now a list of insects that you can safely treat your bettas with.

Fruit flies: these are great live insects you can feed to your pet betta fish. These are easily available at pet shops and you can even raise them easily in the jar.

Daphnia: daphnia looks similar to freshwater shrimps found in ponds. Daphnia is found in small pools of water. Due to their high nutritious value, they are considered the best insects for the fish. They are also easily available at pet stores and you can easily breed them in an aquarium too.

Blood worms: it is a type of midge fly that is red in color due to the presence of porphyrin. They are highly rich in iron and even contain some amount of protein.

Shrimps: Mysis shrimp can be a safe insect choice for your bettas. They are rich sources of a lot of essential nutrients that even include amino acids. They can also eat ghost shrimps.

Earthworms: you can easily buy earthworms from pet stores or find a few of them in your backyard as well. Earthworms are rich sources of proteins. These worms should be cut into pieces before feeding them to your fish.

Microworms: you can easily harvest a batch of micro worms in 4-5 days. They are a great source of a variety of nutrients for your pet fish.

Mosquito larvae: mosquito larvae are another safe and healthy choice for your pet betta fish. They are easily available and can be found in large quantities. They are safe and rich in nutrients required by your dish. They can make up a large percentage of your fish diet.

Bettas can also eat snails, shrimp, and basically anything and everything that is present in your tank.

Overfeeding Betta Fish

You need to store and treat them well. You need to keep on having water changes, not per day but every week for these species to keep them healthy. Also, you need to keep them fed resulting in bloating of the fish's stomach. The fed fish will be active, and the bloating will let you know about its digestive system.

There are different foods to choose from for their diet like fish flakes, once to twice per day. Fish flakes and other fish food or betta food will be found in the pet store for your tropical fish. It is important to give frozen foods to tropical fish since it has much nutrition for the live fish. There are chances to result in uneaten food in the fish tank they live in. Uneaten food must be filtered out of the water of the fish tank for them to live clean. It will cost their health if they live in unhygienic conditions.

Live betta fish is often receptive to overfeeding in general. This can lead to many health problems in them including constipation, obesity, or even swim bladder disease. You are only advised to feed them at least once. Feed them with an amount of food that they can finish in just three to five minutes and remove the leftover food from the tank as it may even pollute the water.

There are a few ways through which you can easily know if you are overfeeding your pet betta fishes. Your betta fish has a lack of interest in eating the betta food. They are avoiding eating more betta food. Generally, after overfeeding, they would go on a fast for one or two days. There are layers of sludge and pieces of uneaten food floating in the aquarium and also, the water in the tank is more cloudy than usual and needs to be changed more often. Your betta fish is showing signs of stress and anxiety that may include tilting over or change in its general behavior. It may have a bloated stomach, the fish’s stomach may be swollen more than usual.

Betta fish must be fed a healthy and wholesome diet in the tank.

Can they eat regular fish food?

Their digestive tract is a bit unique, and this digestive system is also a drawback. Since they are carnivores, they have a small digestive tract. Thus due to the small digestive tract, have difficulty in processing carbohydrates-rich food such as wheat or corn, which are common in most of the commercial fish food available in the market.

They can be provided with special betta pellets. Proper betta pellets are rich in animal proteins and thus are a more suitable diet for betta fish. Here's is a list of risks involved in feeding your pet betta fishes with regular fish food.

Lack of proteins: since bettas are carnivorous marine animals, these marine animals would require a lot of proteins in their diet. Most commercial fish foods are made for an omnivorous variety of fishes. Thus it doesn't contain the required amount of protein for your pet betta fish. A lack of protein in the diet of your fish can have very poor effects on its health. This could even trigger them to attack other fishes in the aquarium.

Reduced size: due to the low value of protein in the fish food, your betta would not receive the required nutrients properly. This can even result in a lack of growth in them, especially in the beginning years. They would remain small and would not grow properly.

Your fish may stop eating: betta fishes are very selective about their diets. If they are not provided with good quality foods they may even avoid eating. This could even lead to stress and anxiety in them and would bring changes in their looks and behavior. It would further lead to many health problems, some of which may be fatal.

Dietary problems: the common fish food contains a lot of carbohydrates-rich materials which are hard for betta fishes to digest. This can lead to constipation, a bloated stomach, and other digestion-related problems.

Why do they spit up food?

Most owners would get concerned when their pet bettas would spit out their food. It may or may not be that concerning. Most of the time the betta would spit out its food only because it has bitten off far more than it can chew!

As long as it is feeding properly and showing interest in its food you don't need to worry at all. But sometimes it could be happening due to some other reasons as well. This may include constipation. It could also be due to a bloated stomach. It is very easy for you to recognize these conditions and act accordingly to find an effective cure for them. A change in diet can also serve as an effective cure for it.

Why isn't my betta eating?

Betta can commonly go for at least two weeks without eating anything. It is even very common for them to avoid eating for a day or two, especially in stress. There could be many causes of these stressful episodes including being introduced into a new tank or changing the water.

There could be a variety of reasons for your betta fish to stop eating, here are a few of them.

It's unaware of its food. If you're giving it a new type of pellets or flakes, maybe it doesn't know that it is food. It may take three to seven days until they realize it.

Food is dried or frozen: While dried and frozen food are considered best for bettas, some of them won't feed on it until it becomes warm/wet enough for them.

The fish is being fussy. Betta fishes are very selective in their diets. If you feed it with some type of food for a while, it may refuse to eat it.

The fish is new: when you bring in a new pet fish, it is very common for them to refuse to eat. They may be stressed about the change in their environment. The best solution to this problem would be you should give it some time to settle.

You might be overfeeding it: the size of the stomach of beta fish is similar to its eye. Thus they require a very little amount of food. So many a time when your pet fish isn't eating, this would mean you're feeding it too much.

Water temperature: betta fishes are cold-blooded thus they prefer warm water. If the water is preferably cold, they may have a slow metabolism. This will slow their digestion as well and thus, they would eat less.

Poor food quality: maybe the quality of food is the actual problem. The food you got for it is of cheap quality and is low in nutrients. That is why your pet fish is trying to avoid it.

Ideal Betta Diet

For your pet bettas to live their life to the fullest, you need to take extra care about their diets. You should also avoid overfeeding them. Feeding them once or twice daily should be enough. Since all betta fishes are carnivores, they would require a high amount of proteins in their diet. They would also require a lot of other nutrients in order to stay fit and healthy.

You can provide them with flakes; they are cheap and are easily available. Also, they would provide your pet fish with enough amount of nutrients required by it. You can also feed them pellets which may be used as daily sources of food for them. You can also feed them insects and food that we have mentioned earlier.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do betta fish eat then why not take a look at do betta fish need a heater or betta fish facts.


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