Feeding Facts Explained: How Often Do You Feed A Betta Fish?

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Ritwik Bhuyan
Feb 20, 2024 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Oct 14, 2021
Edited by Jade Scott
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Red and white colored Betta fish swimming in an aquarium.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.6 Min

The Siamese fighting fish, or betta fish, is a very popular fish for your homes and is renowned for its beautiful fins and bright coloration.

It is imperative to feed your betta fish with the best diet suited to its needs as the diet is different from common fish usually found in homes. It's better for an owner to first research the betta fish, specifically on what to feed it and how often to feed, before getting one for your aquarium.

Let us get a brief idea of the needs of a betta fish first. In the wild, betta fish eat insects and insect larvae. It is a carnivore, feeding on a diet full of protein. The betta's main diet should consist of high-protein betta pellets that are easily available in pet stores. Pellets are available for other species of tropical fish out there, so it is important to choose the right pellets for feeding your betta fish. The right betta pellets and fish flakes are necessary to give the correct nutrients to your betta fish. The betta food should be given in the right quantity. For special occasions, frozen food and freeze-dried fish food can also be given such as brine shrimp or bloodworms. However, you should know a betta fish can survive 14 days without eating, so remember not to overfeed the betta fish.

A betta fish might sometimes skip a meal once or twice, but it is nothing to worry about, as it might just be the conditions of the aquarium are not suited for the betta fish. Also as the betta fish grows old, it is normal to see it eating less food. A betta fish can eat frozen foods and pellets its whole life and can be given some treats of bloodworms and brine shrimp occasionally. A betta fish needs to be fed at least twice a day. Eating infrequently caused by giving a large meal may lead to overfeeding the betta fish. Not keeping the quality of the aquarium along with overfeeding can cause a dangerous gastrointestinal condition that can even kill your betta fish pet. A betta fish should be kept in temperatures between 75.2-82.4 F (24-28 C) (similar to their wild counterpart) to have an optimal life with no illnesses regarding food. A betta lives the best in these conditions. It is best to take your betta fish to a vet if the need arises.

Feed your betta fish twice per day with food being given six to eight hours apart. If the temperature is a little warmer or the betta fish is currently breeding, the diet can be increased to three times a day, considering the health of the betta fish. Live food is sometimes preferred by the fish, but should not be given regularly. A baby betta fish needs more protein in its diet. Babies of the betta fish can be fed fish food meant for baby fish of any breed, not just betta food. The diet should be spread across smaller meals with feeding being three to five times per day.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read the answers to how often to feed fish and when do catfish spawn here on Kidadl?

How many pellets to feed a betta fish?

Pellets constitute the main diet of a betta fish and the choice in quality determines what you feed your betta fish. The perfect pellets for a betta fish contain fewer fillers and higher quality ingredients to help with the protein content and nutrients of the fish. Some fish pellets even enlarge in size after they come into contact with the water in the tank.

It is better to soak the pellets that expand in water first before adding them to your pet tank. This is important to do before feeding as some betta fish attack the pellet food right after it is added to the tank. This is similar to a betta fish attacking the food of insects and insect larvae that betta live on in the wild. If the owner is a natural beginner, it is better to give pellets as the main diet for the tropical fish. However, most betta fish won't like the fish flakes given as they sink to the bottom of the tank and look like their waste. Pellet food too submerges to the bottom of the tank like flakes, but rather looks like insects that the betta fish thrive on in the wild. Around four to six pellets of food a day should be enough to feed your betta fish.

However, the amount of pellet food depends on the manufacturing company and should be checked before feeding the betta fish to eliminate overfeeding the fish. Younger betta fish needs fewer pellet foods in their diet and as they grow older, gradually increase the pellet content for a healthy life. Once they reach the end of their life span, a betta fish might stop feeding on foods altogether. While choosing the pellets, look for the right ingredients that give the maximum protein and nutrients to your betta fish. The better pellets will contain brine shrimp, bloodworms, or other kinds of fish that betta fish eat. The betta's container needs to be replaced every six months. A betta fish can also eat dried pellets too, so it is not necessary to soak them before. However, it depends with respect, on the brand.

What can you feed a betta fish?

A betta's diet needs to be mixed with various kinds of foods depending on its happiness. Being natural carnivores, a betta fish will eat all packaged fish food, frozen food, and live food.

As we have already learned, pellets constitute most of the foods of betta fish. However, bettas are more inclined towards live foods, so it is better to give them their treats for their health. Bettas eat on the surface, however, even if your flake is meant to sink, bettas will catch the flake on the way towards the bottom. Live food to be given to your pet betta fish can contain bloodworm and brine shrimp. Daphnia is another tiny planktonic crustacean that can be given as live food to the betta fish. Insects and insect larvae can also be given to the pet as this is similar to what betta fish usually eat in the wild.

If natural live food is not readily available for your pet, you can also buy frozen food or freeze-dried food. Both living and frozen food can be found in any pet store near you. Betta's freeze-dried or dried food should not be used regularly as it lacks the basic healthy nutrients required to maintain the natural health of your pet bettas. This food can even cause constipation and other digestive problems. 0.06 oz (1.7 g) of live food can be given to your bettas daily. Bettas can go for two weeks without food, but after that, they will die of starvation.

Multi colored Betta fish swimming in an aquarium

When do you feed a betta fish and at what times do they eat?

Small meals should be provided to the bettas daily in the tank to keep the feeding schedule intact and for a healthy lifestyle.

Two small feeds can be given to the betta fish to eat daily; once in the morning and the second at night should be good enough. The gap between each feeding should be 12 hours, so maintaining that will be a good idea for a healthy life. It will help maintain a feeding schedule for the betta fish. You can also let the betta fish fast for a day every two weeks. It helps in keeping the digestive tract clean and eliminates health risks like constipation. However, the number of meals a day will be greater in babies of the betta fish as they need more nutrients to grow.

For a betta fish, two or three pellets in the morning and the same amount at night should be sufficient. It is imperative to know not to overfeed the betta fish. Their stomach and digestive tract are the same size as their eyes. Overfeeding can lead to health issues and also make the tank full of waste when the fish rejects the extra food given.

What can you feed a betta fish besides fish food?

The health of a betta fish entirely depends on what it eats and the condition of the tank it calls home. Fish food available in the store near you should be perfect for your fish, but it is important to sometimes mix it up for a more balanced diet.

In place of fish food, there are many options to feed your fish, both for herbivores and carnivores. Some alternative feeding items besides fish food are green leafy vegetables, seafood, egg yolks (hard-boiled), rice, peas, or pasta. These human foods can be good for the betta fish. Letting your fish try flies and worms occasionally will be great, along with earthworms too. Earthworms provide proper nutrients to the betta fish and are quite filling. However, meat should be avoided as it contains fibers that betta fish might not be able to digest. Fats present in meat are also not ideal for betta fish. If you run out of fish food, feed your betta fish with shrimp, fish, or worms. Mosquito larvae can be given too as betta fish love those. Soft vegetables like peas are great for nutrients and can be given by boiling and removing the outer layer and cutting the peas into small pieces.

How often do you feed a baby betta fish?

Fry (babies) of betta fish should be fed more food to compensate for their growth. However, make sure not to overfeed your beautiful fish.

Along with breeding fish, baby fish needs to have food filled with more protein and fat than adults. Two to three very small meals a day should be good for the babies. Overfeeding will be bad for the health as it can cause bloating and constipation. It is better to provide the babies with a mixture of different food including worms and pellets. The best pellets will have fewer fillers to help the health of your betta fish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how often do you feed a betta fish then why not take a look at why do fishes die when taken out of the water or Betta Fish Facts.

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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