Betta fish are an excellent option for a home or office aquarium. They’re easy to take care of, they’re more active than most pet fish species, and they’re beautiful. Betta fish are carnivorous so they must be fed meat-based foods. They shouldn’t be fed the dry, vegetable-based pellets that are fed to most tropical fish. By understanding the betta fish’s diet and learning how to feed it properly, you can keep your fish alive for a long time.
Pick the proper diet for your betta
Bettas are carnivores. Your betta’s diet should consist of pellets specifically made for feeding betta, as well as a variety of other carnivorous foods. Frozen brine shrimp or blood worms are good options.
- Check the ingredients of betta specific pellets and flakes. The first three should be protein based. Experts say that protein in the pellets should be no less than 40%.
Feed your betta regularly
Betta fish vary in eating habits from each other, so experiment to see how much food your Betta eats. Set up routine feeding times, for example, once in the morning and once at night. If you stick to this routine, you may even find that your betta waiting for you when it’s time to eat!
- Take care not to overfeed the fish. A betta’s stomach is only about the size of their eye. Overfeeding can be a problem in some betta fish, as some fish will eat as long as you feed them (which can be fatal). A good feeding schedule is 3 pellets in the morning, and 3 at night. Soaking the pellets in water for a few minutes before feeding is recommended since the pellets will otherwise expand inside your betta’s stomach, which can cause unhealthy bloating and digestive blockage. Overfeeding can cause bloating and bladder problems which can be fatal, although this is not as serious as a similar condition referred to as dropsy
Clean up any extra food that your betta does not eat
Similarly, watch your betta to see if he/she spits up any food. This could be a sign that your betta is a picky eater, or it could also mean that the pellets are too big for the betta’s mouth. Ironically, most big fish food companies don’t realize that Betta fish have smaller mouths than, say, goldfish or others.
- You can cut the pellets in half with a small razor blade or such to allow it to fit in the betta’s mouth easier. If it still refuses to eat, try another brand of pellets or dried food.
Turn feeding time into a little enrichment exercise
Put a straw in the tank and watch your betta to see if he/she gets used to it. If he/she does, and you have leftover betta food he/she won’t eat, place one of the leftover pellets in the tank. Place the straw over it so that it is inside the straw. Hold the straw over the fish and wait for him/her to find it. After your betta finds it, he/she will follow it. You can then slowly lift the straw up to the top of the tank until the food pops out and your betta will eat it.