How to Feed a Betta the Best Betta Food
If you house a Betta fish, feeding your little friend a proper diet should be a priority for you. You see, many things can happen if you don’t. Polluted water, disease, constipation, starvation, abdominal bloating, and even death, are a few things you may run into.
Now, we know, if you’re new to the hobby, you may not know exactly what we mean when we say “a proper diet”, and that’s exactly why we’ve designed this page. To start off, we’ll explain the four basic rules of feeding Betta fish, then we’ll get into specific detail about which foods we consider to be the best betta foods.
Let’s just jump right into it, shall we?
4 Basic Rules of Feeding Betta Fish
Rule 1: Feed your Betta fish 1-2 times per day, but not everyday of the week.
For one day each week, it’s best to not feed your Betta fish. This gives their digestive system a chance to rest and clear out any blockages that may be forming.
Rule 2: Never over-feed your Betta fish.
Fish are just like dogs, they will continue to eat and eat if there is food infront of them. The important thing to realize is that a Betta’s stomach is only about as big as their eyeball, so you really have to control your portion sizes. If you feed them too much, they may over-eat, leading to obesity a long list of illnesses. And if they don’t end up eating everything that you put into the tank, it’ll decompose, polluting the water, and producing ammonia, therefore altering the chemistry of the tank’s water, leading to a need for a water change or more illnesses.
Rule 3: Feed your Betta fish different forms, brands, and products until you find the ones that your particular Betta enjoys.
It may sound funny, but when it comes to food, fish have preferences, just like humans. So don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods.
Rule 4: Feed your Betta fish a variety of foods and food forms.
You shouldn’t just feed your Betta the same food for every meal day-after-day. By doing that, your Betta fish is bound to become nutritionally deficient. We find it best to feed Bettas a flake or pellet food for every feeding, except two. For two of the feedings throughout each week, feed them a live, frozen, or freeze-dried food, or even just a different flake or pellet.
What’s the Best Betta Food?
When it comes to picking out a food for your Betta’s diet, you should understand that there are five different types of food, and each type has it’s own “best foods” within it – there are the best foods in pellet form and the best foods in flake form. For your convenience, we’ve listed below the five different types of food. To see what we consider to be the best foods for that type, why we consider them to be the best, and some other useful information, just select a type from the list below.
Best Pellets & Flakes
The best pellets and flakes for a Betta fish are ones that are high in protein – to match their carnivorous nature. If you take a look at the list of ingredients that make up a significant portion of the pellets and flakes on the market today, you’ll commonly see the word “fishmeal” as the first ingredient. Although having fishmeal as the first ingredient on the Ingredient List does indicate that a protein-based ingredient is the largest portion of all the ingredients, there are more nutritious ingredients out there than fishmeal.
You see, fishmeal is essentially the dried up parts of fish that are not considered human-grade. It is lower in nutrients than the ingredient of a specialized “meal” like “halibut meal” is. And “halibut meal” is lower in nutrients than the ingredient of a whole-fish ingredient like “halibut” is. So, realistically, the most nutritious food for a Betta would be one with the first ingredient of a whole-protein ingredient like “halibut”, then “halibut meal”, then “fishmeal”.
The two pellet foods that we rank as the best pellet foods for Bettas (Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets and Ocean Nutrition Betta Pellets) and the flakes that we rank as the best flakes (NutraFin Max Color Enhancing Betta Flake Food) do not have fishmeal as the first ingredient, therefore, they are all healthier, more nutritious options for a Betta than a good portion of the products on the market. These three pellet and flake foods have ingredients that start like this:
- “Whole salmon, halibut, shrimp” – Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets
- “Pure bring shrimp embryos” – Ocean Betta Pellets
- “Krill” – NutraFin Max Betta Flakes
Pellet foods should be submerged in a cup of aquarium water for 5 minutes before feeding them to a Betta fish. When some pellets are submerged in water, they expand 2-3 times their normal size. If you don’t submerge them in water before feeding your Betta, the pellets will expand in their stomach – leading to constipation, bloating or even swim-bladder disorders.
Flake foods require no special procedures. All you need to do is drop the food into your aquarium. Of course, if the flakes are too large for your Betta to consume, you can crush them up between your fingers.
- Pellet and flake foods are less messy than live and frozen foods.
- Pellets and flake foods have a long shelf life, are inexpensive, and convenient.
Because pellets and flakes are manufactured, companies will add fillers for many different reasons – the most popular being to bind the food together. These fillers have poor nutritional value, so in some cases, the foods may not be as healthy as other options like frozen food or live food.
Best Freeze-Dried Foods
- Because freeze-dried foods are sterile, there’s no risk of introducing bacteria to their aquarium when you add the food.
- Freeze-dried foods have a long shelf life, are inexpensive, and convenient.
- Freeze-dried foods lose part of their nutritional value during the freeze-drying process.
- Frozen Mosquito Larvae
- Frozen Brine Shrimp
- Frozen Mysis Shrimp
- Frozen Bloodworms
- Frozen Tubifex Worms
There are two things you need to keep in mind when feeding Betta fish frozen food:
- Frozen foods need to be stored in a freezer. When it’s time to feed the Betta, you need to take enough food for that feeding out of the freezer and thaw it. After it is thawed, add it to their aquarium.
- Leftover food that has been thawed needs to be disposed of, not refrozen. Refreezing thawed food promotes harmful bacteria growth.
To thaw frozen food, fill a small cup with aquarium water, add the frozen food to it, then microwave it for a few seconds. After it is thawed, pour the mixture into your aquarium.
- Since they are frozen versions of live foods, they are close to what Bettas would eat in their natural environment.
- Frozen foods are less expensive than live foods.
- Frozen foods take more time for you to feed because they need to be thawed before they are put into your aquarium.
- Live Mosquito Larvae
- Live Brine Shrimp
- Live Black Worms
- Live Bloodworms
- Live Vinegar Eels
There are two things you need to keep in mind when feeding Betta fish live food:
- Live foods need to be rinsed before feeding. This reduces the risk of harmful bacteria entering the aquarium that the food is added to.
- Do not feed your Betta insects that are caught outside. Only live foods that are cultured yourself, or ones that are purchased from a highly-reputable store, should be fed to them. Otherwise you can introduce harmful contaminants into your aquarium.
- Since they are carnivorous, live foods are their natural food source.
- Live foods are highly-nutritious as they have not lost any of their value from protein-degrading processes like freezing, drying, or sterilization.
- Live foods encourage their natural predatory behavior.
- Live foods are the most expensive form of food.
- Live foods can make them ill if the food is cultured in a contaminated source.