Feeding Betta Fish: A Complete Guide (Feeding Chart Included)

 Bettas are among the easiest pet fish to keep in a home aquarium. They are easy to care for, beautiful and active. Despite their simple maintenance needs, it is essential that you learn everything there is to know about feeding Betta fish. Your Betta will remain healthy and happy if given the proper nutrition.

Feeding Betta Fish
Feeding Betta Fish

 Get it wrong and you risk making your fish sick or, worse, dead. It is therefore crucial that you learn all about the types of food and eating habits that are suitable for Bettas. Read on to find out what Bettas eat, when to feed them, and how to avoid mistakes like overfeeding.

This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.

What Do Betta Fish Eat?

 Bettas are carnivores. In the wild, they feed on insects and insect larvae, which are rich in protein. Some of the insects they live on in nature are brine shrimp, deer fly larvae, water fleas, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae. It is important to try to recreate these natural foods for your Betta to provide them with the nutrients they need.

 Therefore, you should feed them protein-rich, meat-based fish food in their aquarium. Avoid feeding them only plant-based fish food intended for tropical fish. Bettas are carnivorous, whereas omnivorous fish benefit greatly from plant-based diets. If you only feed them foods that don't provide them with the nutrients they need, they will end up emaciated or dead. So while adding plant roots to your Betta's diet may be a good idea, you shouldn't rely on them alone.

Whatever you do, try to create the kind of diet they have in their natural habitat by looking for carnivorous fish foods that contain the right nutrients.

The Ideal Dietary Content For Your Betta

 Betta fish have a short digestive tract and they cannot process fillers, such as wheat and corn. Unfortunately, these fillers are in many flake and pellet foods, leading to bloating and other digestive issues, including constipation. Fillers have no nutritional value for your betta, and fish foods high in these fillers should be avoided. A balanced diet that will ensure your betta is healthy and thriving should include:

  • Protein.
  • Fiber.
  • Fat.
  • Carbohydrate.
  • Calcium.
  • Phosphorus.
  • Vitamins H, E, M, D3, B12, B1, B3, B6, B5, B2, K, A, C. 

 The ideal food for your betta should contain no fillers and should contain meat-based protein as the first ingredient listed in the ingredient list on the container. Never give your betta fish goldfish food or tropical fish flakes that aren't made specifically for bettas. These foods do not contain the nutrients your betta needs and could make it sick.

What Food Should You Feed Young Betta And Betta Fry?

 Betta Fry should be fed live food such as brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, microworms and daphnia. As they mature into young Bettas, you can introduce other fish foods such as pellets.

How Often Should You Feed A Betta Fish?

 Two feedings per day, one in the morning and one in the evening, are recommended for Betta fish. That's enough to keep your Betta happy and well-fed, as long as you provide the right foods. Feeding your pet fish once a day may also work in some cases. For example, adult Bettas can do well with one feed per day. On the other hand, baby bettas need at least two daily feedings of small portions due to their growing needs.

 Bettas enjoy eating just like other fish do, but that doesn't mean they always have to. Once per week, you should fast your pet fish. Don't worry about starving them because a Betta can go up to two weeks without food! A one-day fast allows their digestive system to rest and fully digest food. Additionally, this technique can minimize the bad impacts of overfeeding your Betta. Once the fast is over, you can resume feeding your fish twice a day.

How Much Should You Feed A Betta Fish?

 It is important to always feed your Betta enough good food. Too much or too little can cause problems, so you need to be careful about how much food you use to feed betta fish. When feeding your Betta pellets, feed 2-3 medium sized pellets each time. This serving twice a day is more than enough for a betta fish. If you are giving freeze-dried, live, or frozen foods, give 2 at each meal.

 Avoid adding excess food to the aquarium as this can adversely affect the water quality and make it dangerous for your fish. Uneaten food remains settle on the bottom of the water tank and increase levels of nitrite and ammonia, which are toxic to fish. If you find that you have fed your fish too much, drain the water or remove the excess food to avoid this.

What To Feed A Betta Fish?

 Feeding your betta fish the right foods will maintain its health, improve its color, extend its life, and make it an overall happier fish. Bettas are carnivores, which means that their natural diet consists mainly of eating small animals, such as insects and snails. Fortunately, there are many products available to guarantee that your betta eats a balanced, nutritious diet. Here are some of the food choices that are perfect for your pet:

Betta Fish Flakes

 You can buy flakes specially formulated for betta fish. Never feed your betta regular tropical fish flakes, as they do not contain the protein requirements that betta fish require. Also, if you choose to feed your betta flakes, remember to remove excess or sunken flakes right after feeding your fish. You may also find that some betta fish do not eat flake food.

Live Foods

 Your Betta will be happy to receive the same foods it would feed on in the wild, namely insects and their larvae. By providing these live foods to your Betta, you are giving it all the nutrients it gets in its natural habitat. When buying live food for your Betta, look for the same ones found in the wild. Here are some live foods that most Bettas enjoy:

- Blood Worms

 One of the most popular natural foods for wild fish is bloodworms. Most fish will eat bloodworms when fed to them, so this is a live food you should consider, especially if you have a picky Betta. These worms are bright red, thanks to their high iron content. They are also high in protein and other minerals that help betta fish thrive.

 Introducing these worms to your pet fish's water tank not only provides them with food, but also gives them a chance to use their natural hunting instincts. Since bloodworms are so popular with fish, they are easy to find at pet stores and are also inexpensive. However, although your fish may like them, do not make them the main food in the diet as they lack the essential amino acids that Bettas need.

- Mosquito Larvae

 Betta fish that grow in their natural habitat feed heavily on mosquito larvae. So it's a great idea to add them as live food to your pet's diet. You can find them at a local pet store or online. Or, you can get a starter crop so you can harvest them at home.

Mosquito larvae may not be easy to find in the winter, but they are active and available in abundance during the warmer months.

- Brine shrimp

 Brine shrimp provide betta fish with many essential nutrients, including protein and vitamins. In the wild, betta fish feed a lot on brine shrimp, so it's a good idea to bring them to the tank water. Fortunately, brine shrimp are fairly easy to find at pet stores. But, as with other live foods, you need to be careful with the supply so you don't feed your fish anything harmful.

It also means that no matter how fun it may seem, you shouldn't feed your Betta any kind of insect caught outside.

- Mysis Shrimp

 Although named as such, these insects are not considered true shrimp. They are larger than brine shrimp, they will reach a length of about an inch, while brine fish can only reach a third of an inch. Mysis shrimp are also known as opossum shrimp because the females carry their fry in a pouch at the base of their legs.

 These macroscopic crustaceans have more protein than brine shrimp and are therefore a better option in terms of nutrition. They also have a fiber-rich exoskeleton that aids in the digestion of protein foods.

Unfortunately, although they are more nutritious, live Mysis shrimp are not as readily available as brine shrimp.

Frozen Food

 When you can't find a reputable seller for live Betta foods, frozen foods are your best option. It contains most of the nutrients found in live foods and contains no indigestible filler. You will likely find frozen fish food sold in cubes. Once you've purchased them, store them in the freezer until ready to feed them to your fish.

 Before feeding your Betta frozen food, thaw it and let it sit on a plate for about 20 minutes. Please take note that one frozen food cube may be too much to feed your Betta all at once. Depending on the size of the cube, divide it into portions and feed a small amount of around 1.8 g per day to your fish. For another day, store the rest in the freezer.

If you end up with excess food after thawing, do not put it back in the freezer. Get rid of it as it may have been exposed to bacteria that could harm your Betta.

Freeze-Dried Foods

 You can also feed your Betta freeze-dried food, although it may not be of the same quality as live or frozen food. However, it's a good option because it enables you to include your Betta's natural food in the diet. Manufacturers dehydrate and incorporate fillers into freeze-dried foods to maintain stability during storage. This keeps them in a consumable state for a long time and free from pests and bacteria.

 But these loads and the lack of moisture in the food can pose risks to your fish. If you give your Betta too much of this food, it may end up becoming constipated and bloated. This is because dried food absorbs moisture in your fish's stomach and expands, causing bloating. To avoid this, always soak freeze-dried foods in water before feeding them to your fish.

 Since freeze-dried foods are stripped of important nutrients during processing, you can soak them in a vitamin solution to boost their nutritional value. Also, give your fish little freeze-dried food. Look for freeze-dried foods for your Betta that don't contain a lot of fillers, as these put a strain on your pet's digestive tract.

Betta Fish Pellets

 Pellets are a popular form of betta fish food found at any aquarium supply store. Remember to look for pellets that contain lots of high quality protein and little filler. Also check how much the pellets expand when exposed to water. If you feed your betta pellets that expand too much when wet, you risk causing bloating and other digestive issues because the pellets will swell in your fish's stomach.

When feeding your betta, first soak the pellets in tank water to hydrate them, especially if you have a greedy fish that attacks food as soon as you put it in its tank.

What Food Is Best For Your Betta?

 The most nutritionally sound food option for bettas is live food, but this is not a practical option for most people. Frozen foods are nutritionally secondary to live foods, but storage and portioning can become an issue. Freeze-dried foods tend to cause constipation due to their lack of moisture and some may have lost the nutrient profile of the live animal. The most affordable choice for nutrient-dense foods that won't break the bank is pellets for the majority of people. Flakes are a nice occasional treat, but most flake foods lack the nutrient profile needed for daily feedings.

Foods Bettas Can't Eat

1. Omnivorous Foods: While it may seem like a good idea to feed your betta the same food you feed your other fish, most community and omnivorous foods do not contain the protein levels necessary for bettas to stay healthy. health.

2. Herbivorous foods: Bettas should not be fed foods like seaweed wafers, as these will not provide the necessary protein for bettas and they have the potential to cause constipation and other digestive issues. health since bettas are not made to digest these foods.

3. Fruits And Vegetables: While many fish and invertebrates enjoy fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, bettas don't need these foods. The exception to this is that constipated bettas can be fed a bite of cooked, peeled peas to help get things moving.

4. Plant Roots: You've probably seen vase and plant kits marketed as self-contained betta environments. Unfortunately, bettas cannot live off plant roots and are unlikely to eat them. If allowed to survive on plant roots, your betta will die of nutrient deficiencies or starvation.

What Happens If You Overfeed Your Betta Fish?

 Without the proper knowledge about how much and how frequently your Betta fish should eat, it's simple to overfeed them. Also, the fact that these smaller fish will likely eat more as long as they are supplied doesn't help. If you happen to overfeed your Betta fish, one of these issues may occur:

Constipation And Bloating

 Betta fish have a very short digestive tract and a stomach that is as small as their eye. Since betta fish will continue to eat even after being satiated, they are at an increased risk of constipation. A constipated Betta will show signs such as bloating, curvature of the spine, puffy eyes, and stringy poop.

 Constipation can be dangerous for a Betta and can lead to death if not treated quickly. If your fish is constipated, fast it for a few days or more, depending on the severity of the condition. Also add more fiber to their diet and watch the amount you give them to prevent this from happening again.


 Undigested food and excess food are stored as fat in the bodies of bettas. So if you overfeed your Betta it will become obese over time. Obesity poses a health risk to Bettas, so it is important to avoid it. As long as your fish doesn't look emaciated, you can rest assured that they are getting enough food.

 But if they seem bloated and not due to temporary constipation, it is a sign that they are becoming obese. Fast them to use up their stored fat and gradually reduce their feed size.


 When you overfeed your Betta, it's likely that some of the excess food will settle to the bottom of the tank. These particles will produce toxins and promote the growth of bacteria as they break down, exposing your fish to disease. Therefore, avoid overfeeding your Betta because even if he does not eat too much, he may be exposed to a dangerous environment.

Swim Bladder Disorder

 Constipation in Bettas can lead to swim bladder problems. Your fish will struggle to maintain their balance in the water due to this condition. For this reason, they may prefer to stay at the bottom of the tank or float near the surface of the water. If your Betta remains at the bottom, it is dangerous because it will have difficulty breathing. Bettas are labyrinth fish, meaning they take in oxygen from the air as they swim to the surface of the water.

 To help your fish cope, lower the water level in the tank or add plants to increase the oxygen supply. Treating the constipation will eliminate the swim bladder disorder if it is the only cause.

What Happens If You Underfeed Your Betta Fish?

 Betta fish can survive for 2 weeks without food, but that doesn't mean they aren't at risk of being undernourished. If you give your Betta too little of the nutritious food it needs, the following problems can occur:

They Will Become Thin

 The head of an underfed betta fish will appear larger than the rest of the body, and the fish will appear bony. Their sides will be concave and the fat usually stored near their tails will be absent.


 Bettas that don't get enough food eventually lose their color and look pale. This is an indication that your Betta fish feeding routine needs to be boosted.

Weakened Immune System

 Undernourishment means your Betta is not getting enough of the nutrients it needs to thrive. This leads to malnutrition and leads to weak immunity. If your undernourished Betta gets sick, it will be at a higher risk of serious consequences than well-fed Bettas.

How To Handle A Betta Fish That Won't Eat?

 Bettas are notoriously picky eaters. So if your betta fish isn't eating or doesn't seem interested in food, don't worry. A lack of appetite is often caused by stress. For example, if you recently cleaned out your betta's tank, moved it to a new home, or introduced new tank mates.

 Temperature fluctuations in your betta fish's environment can also cause a loss of appetite. Your betta's tank should be kept at a temperature of between 76 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is colder than this, your betta's metabolism will slow down and it could become lethargic. A slower metabolism means your fish will need less food over fewer feedings.

 Also, as your betta fish ages, it will be less active and therefore may need less food. However, a lack of appetite can be a sign that your fish is sick. Keep an eye on your betta for signs of illness and be sure to give your fish the proper treatment right away.

Betta Fish Feeding Chart

 Wondering what you should feed your Betta, when? Here is a simple weekly Betta fish feeding schedule you can stick to:

- Sunday: Betta pellets, 2-3 pellets, 1-2 times a day.

- Monday: Live, freeze-dried or frozen foods, 2-3 pieces, 1-2 times a day.

- Tuesday: 2-3 pellets of betta, once or twice.

- Wednesday: Food for live, frozen or freeze-dried fish, 2-3 pieces, once or twice.

- Thursday: 2-4 pastilles of betta, 1-2 times per day.

- Friday: 2-3 pieces of live, freeze-dried, or frozen Betta food, given once or twice.

- Saturday: Every other Saturday, fast them.

In Conclusion

 Wild betta fish enjoy a basic diet of mostly insects and insect larvae. Feeding your captive betta a similar diet will keep it happy and healthy. Feed your betta foods specifically formulated for betta fish, such as those we've provided links to in this guide, including a mix of freeze-dried, frozen, pelleted, and live foods.

 Be sure to feed your betta once or twice a day, for five or six days a week, and include a fast day when you're not feeding him. This will help prevent bloating and other health issues associated with overeating. Remove uneaten food from the bottom of your betta's aquarium before it breaks down and causes water quality problems in your aquarium.

Follow these guidelines and your betta fish will enjoy a happy and healthy life.

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.