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What to feed your betta fish? Bettas are carnivores and need easily digestible foods high in protein. They never require vegetables, however, there are times when they can be beneficial. There are several types of food that are good for bettas. You may find that your betta takes to new food right away or it may take some time. Be patient and bon appétit.

This is not necessarily a complete list of betta foods but contains items most used by aquarists, breeders, and hobbyists. What’s best to feed your betta is often up for debate, but few will disagree with variety. Offer your betta several types of foods to ensure a well-balanced diet and be sure never to overfeed. Remember, a betta’s stomach is only as big as his eyeball and they shouldn’t be fed more than that amount at any given time.

Good luck and happy eating!

Flake Food

Description: Dry flakes created for fish. Usually includes fishmeal, yeast, shrimp meal, algae meal, plankton, kelp, vitamins, preservatives, and protein fillers such as wheat meal, soybean meal, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Package: vary

Benefits: Contains well-balanced meals, is convenient, easy to store, available at all local fish stores, inexpensive.

Drawbacks: Not all flake foods are created equal: some contain more fillers than fishmeal, fillers can cause mild to severe digestive problems in some fish, vitamins are depleted after the package is open for 2 months, does not closely replicate betta’s natural diet.

Pellet Food (Betta Bites, Bio-Gold, etc.)

Description: Dry pellets created for fish. Usually includes fishmeal, yeast, shrimp meal, algae meal, plankton, kelp, vitamins, preservatives, and protein fillers such as wheat meal, soybean meal, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Package: vary

Benefits: Contains well-balanced meals, is convenient, easy to store, available at all local fish stores, inexpensive.

Drawbacks: Not all pellet foods are created equal: some contain more fillers then fishmeal, fillers can cause mild to severe digestive problems in some fish, does not closely replicate betta’s natural diet, prep time includes 10 minutes of soaking before giving to the betta.

Freeze-Dried Food

Description: Greatly varies, usually one type of food source including bloodworms, daphnia, tubifex, or brine shrimp.

Package: vary

Benefits: Nutritious, convenient, easy to store, available in most local fish stores, inexpensive.

Drawbacks: Freeze-dried foods have a low moisture content and may cause digestive problems in some fish. Only feeding one type will not offer a complete nutritional diet.

Frozen bloodworms or bloodworms in gel

Description: Red Mosquito larvae.

Packages: Comes in frozen cubes, flat frozen wafers (flat-packs) or in packages mixed with gel.

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, found in most fish stores, can be used daily, similar to betta’s natural diet, most bettas love the taste.

Drawback: Bloodworms in gel only stay good for a few days once the package is opened.

Frozen/live brine shrimp or brine shrimp in gel

Description: Sold as baby brine shrimp or adult, can also be cultivated live.

Packages: Comes in frozen cubes, flat frozen wafers (flat-packs) or in packages mixed with gel.

Benefits: Baby Brine shrimp are high in fat and good for fry. Adult brine shrimp are very nutritious. Both are easily digestible, found in most fish stores, similar to betta’s natural diet, most bettas love the taste.

Drawback: Baby Brine Shrimp are less nutritious for adult bettas and should only be given as a treat once or twice a week. (Note: Adult brine shrimp are nutritionally equivalent to bloodworms). Brine shrimp in gel only stay good for a few days once the package is opened.

Frozen/live daphnia or daphnia in gel

Description: Type of zooplankton.

Packages: Comes in frozen cubes, flat frozen wafers (flat-packs) or in packages mixed with gel.

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, found in most fish stores, can be used daily, similar to betta’s natural diet, can be used as a mild laxative, can be used to encourage non-eating/sick bettas to eat. Live cultured daphnia rarely carry diseases like some other types of live food making them a safe choice for feeding.

Drawback: Daphnia in gel only stay good for a few days once the package is opened. Cultures collected from ponds/wild may harbor parasites: only purchase from reputable sources.

Frozen or live glass worms

Description: Phantom Midge Larvae.

Packages: Frozen or easily kept live.

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, can be used daily, similar to betta’s natural diet, most bettas love the taste, easily kept live in cold water for up to three weeks.

Drawbacks: Not carried in all fish stores, live glass worms will hatch into adult (non-biting) midge flies if not used up in a few weeks. Some live foods can carry bacteria or parasites.

Frozen/live or freeze-dried tubifex worms

Description: Type of black worm, also comes in a red variety.

Packages: Live, frozen, or freeze-dried.

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, found in most fish stores, can be used daily, similar to betta’s natural diet, most bettas love the taste. Frozen and freeze-dried tubifex has been treated to kill any bacteria or parasites that may have been present in the worm.

Drawbacks: Live tubifex is notorious for harboring bacteria and parasites and should always be avoided. Freeze-dried foods may cause bloating or digestive problems in some bettas.

Frozen Mysis shrimp

Description: Not actually a shrimp, it is considered a kind of zooplankton. “Mysis relicta” is the freshwater variety.

Packages: Flash-frozen in cubes. Usually in 8oz or more.

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, high in animal fat which is great for conditioning, desirable for even the most finicky betta.

Drawbacks: Can be hard to find in stores (easily purchased online), more expensive due to online shipping, require some prep time because of their size (must be cut into small pieces).

Frozen beef heart

Description: Just as it sounds.

Packages: Comes in frozen cubes, flat frozen wafers (flat-packs). Also can be bought at butcher shops and some supermarkets.

Benefits: Very high in protein, can be mixed with other foods in blender. There are many beef heart recipes for fish online.

Drawbacks: Not all local fish stores sell it. If buying beef heart from a market there is some prep involved including fat trimming and sometimes de-veining.

Live grindal worms

Description: Related to the earthworm, only much smaller.

Packages: Live cultures (do-it-yourself).

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, can be used daily, most bettas love the taste, very easy to grow at home, inexpensive after the initial cost.

Drawbacks: Will require setting up a small tub with soil, worm food, and a starter culture so some leg-work is involved.

Live flightless or wingless fruit flies

Description: Flightless are fruit flies with wings too large to use, wingless have no wings.

Packages: Live cultures (do-it-yourself).

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, can be used daily, most bettas love the taste, very easy to grow at home, inexpensive after the initial cost.

Drawbacks: Will require setting up a small container with various contents suitable for growing fruit flies.

Live white worms

Description: Related to the earthworm, only smaller.

Packages: Live cultures (do-it-yourself).

Benefits: Very nutritious, easily digestible, most bettas love the taste, very easy to grow at home, inexpensive after the initial cost.

Drawbacks: Will require setting up a small tub with soil, worm food, and a starter culture so some legwork is involved. White worms have higher fat content and should be fed occasionally. Must be kept at low temperatures.

Peas

Description: Frozen or Raw.

Packages: Found at your local grocery store or farm stand.

Benefits: Roughage is used once a week or as needed to relieve constipation.

Drawbacks: No other nutritional advantage.

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