How To Feed Betta Fish: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

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Feeding Betta fish can be somewhat challenging, especially if it’s your first time and you’re not sure about their dietary preferences.

This guide will walk you through the basics of feeding Betta fish, including adjusting their diet as they mature, addressing issues related to overfeeding, and incorporating vegetables for a well-rounded nutrition plan.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the essential information required to feed your Betta fish effectively.

Let’s dive right into it.

How to Give Different Foods to Betta Fish

Betta fish have various food choices, each with its own feeding instructions. Here’s a quick overview:

Food TypePortion Size and Frequency
Pellets2-3 pellets per feeding, twice daily
Frozen Bloodworms2-3 worms per session, 1-2 times a week
Live Brine ShrimpSmall spoonful, equivalent to Betta’s 2-minute consumption
DaphniaPinch (5-10 individuals) per feeding, 1-2 times a week
Freeze-Dried Tubifex WormsSmall rehydrated pinch, once a week
Mosquito Larvae5-6 larvae per feeding session
VegetablesBlanched, chopped spinach or zucchini, size of Betta’s eye, once a week

Also Read: Betta Fish Care Guide

1. Pellets

Pellets are a staple in a Betta’s diet, providing balanced nutrition. They’re formulated to meet a Betta’s dietary needs and are easy to portion.

  • Nutrient-Rich: Each pellet contains approximately 40-50% protein, essential for muscle growth. Look for brands with fish or shrimp meal as the first ingredient.
  • Portion Control: Feed 2-3 pellets per feeding, twice daily. Overfeeding can cause bloating; uneaten pellets should be removed to prevent water spoilage.
  • Variety Matters: Opt for pellets with added vitamins and minerals. Some brands offer color-enhancing ingredients beneficial for Betta’s vibrant appearance.

My recommendation: TetraCichlid Floating Cichlid Sticks (link to Amazon).

2. Frozen Bloodworms

Bloodworms are a great source of protein for Bettas. They should be given as a treat, not as a primary diet.

  • Protein Boost: Bloodworms contain about 60% protein, vital for Betta’s health. Thaw a pea-sized amount for each feeding.
  • Feeding Tips: Offer thawed bloodworms using tweezers to control quantity. Limit to 2-3 worms per treat session, 1-2 times a week.
  • Quality Check: Ensure the bloodworms are pathogen-free. Buy from trusted sources and store properly to maintain freshness.

3. Live Brine Shrimp

Live brine shrimp are an excellent source of live food, providing not only nutrition but also stimulation for your Betta.

  • Nutritional Value: Brine shrimp are rich in fats and proteins. Feed a small spoonful, equivalent to what your Betta can consume in two minutes.
  • Interactive Feeding: Introduce shrimp directly into the tank. They encourage natural hunting behaviors, offering mental stimulation for your Betta.
  • Freshness is Key: Source live brine shrimp from reliable aquaculture suppliers. Ensure they are lively and free from contaminants for safe feeding.

4. Daphnia

Daphnia, also known as water fleas, are small crustaceans beneficial for Bettas’ digestion.

  • Digestive Health: High in fiber, daphnia help prevent constipation in Bettas. A pinch of daphnia, equivalent to 5-10 individuals, is sufficient per feeding.
  • Moderation is Crucial: Feed daphnia as a supplement, once or twice a week. They should not replace the primary diet of pellets or flakes.
  • Quality Control: Purchase daphnia from reputable pet stores. Ensure they are lively and free from disease to promote Betta health.

5. Freeze-Dried Tubifex Worms

These are a convenient and safe alternative to live worms, offering a high protein snack.

  • Protein Snack: Tubifex worms are about 55% protein. Rehydrate a small pinch in tank water before feeding to avoid digestive issues.
  • Occasional Treat: Use tubifex worms as a treat, no more than once a week. They complement a balanced diet of pellets and vegetables.
  • Storage and Quality: Store in a cool, dry place. Ensure the package is sealed properly to maintain freshness and prevent contamination.

6. Mosquito Larvae

A natural food source, mosquito larvae can be a healthy addition to your Betta’s diet.

  • Nutritional Content: Rich in protein and fats, larvae should be fed in small quantities—5-6 larvae per feeding session.
  • Feeding Method: Rinse larvae thoroughly before feeding. Introduce them directly into the tank for Betta to hunt, mimicking their natural feeding behavior.
  • Sourcing Carefully: Harvest larvae from clean water sources or purchase from trusted suppliers. Avoid contaminated water to prevent the spread of diseases.

7. Vegetables

Though not a staple, certain vegetables can provide additional nutrients and variety.

  • Supplementary Nutrients: Offer blanched, finely chopped spinach or zucchini. A piece the size of a Betta’s eye is sufficient once a week.
  • Preparation and Serving: Blanch vegetables for 1-2 minutes, then cool them before feeding. This softens the vegetables, making them easier for your Betta to eat.
  • Moderation is Key: Vegetables should be a minor part of the diet. Remove any uneaten pieces after a few hours to maintain tank cleanliness.

Feeding Betta Fish at Different Ages

Like many other fish, Betta fish have changing dietary preferences as they grow. Here’s what you should remember:

1. Adult Bettas

Adult Bettas have specific dietary needs to maintain their health and vibrant colors. A balanced diet with the right amount of protein and nutrients is crucial for their well-being.

  • Protein-Rich Diet: Adult Bettas thrive on a diet with high protein content. Offer them pellets or flakes that contain at least 40% protein to support their muscular health.
  • Portion Control: Feed your adult Betta small amounts twice a day; each meal should be no bigger than the size of their eye to prevent overfeeding.
  • Variety is Key: Supplement their diet with treats like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, but limit these to 2-3 times a week for balanced nutrition.
  • Observe and Adjust: Pay attention to your Betta’s eating habits and body shape. Adjust the diet if you notice signs of overeating or underfeeding for optimal health.

2. Baby Bettas

Feeding baby Bettas, or fry, requires special attention as they have different nutritional needs compared to adults. Their diet should promote healthy growth and development.

  • Infusoria and Micro Foods: In the first few days, feed your fry infusoria or specially formulated micro foods, which are small enough for them to eat.
  • Gradual Diet Upgrade: As they grow, introduce baby brine shrimp or finely crushed flake food, transitioning them to larger foods over several weeks.
  • Frequent Feeding: Baby Bettas need to be fed more frequently, around 3-4 times a day, to support their rapid growth and high metabolism.
  • Water Quality Matters: Maintain clean water conditions, as uneaten food can quickly deteriorate water quality, which is crucial for the health of baby Bettas.

How to Feed Betta Fish When They’re Breeding

When Betta fish are breeding, their nutritional needs increase to support the energy demands of spawning.

It’s crucial to provide a varied, high-protein diet to ensure both the male and female are in optimal condition for breeding.

  • Enhanced Protein Diet: Offer a diet richer in protein than usual, such as live or frozen brine shrimp, to support egg production and spawning energy.
  • Small, Frequent Meals: Feed smaller portions but more frequently, about 3-4 times a day, to maintain their energy levels without overfeeding.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Ensure the food is of high quality; for example, live foods should be fresh and disease-free to prevent health issues during this critical time.
  • Post-Spawning Care: After spawning, continue with a nutrient-rich diet for both, especially the female, to aid in her recovery from the breeding process.

How Much to Feed Bettas?

The amount of food Betta fish need depends on their size, age, and activity level.

Typically, adult Bettas should be fed an amount they can consume in about two minutes without leaving leftovers.

  • Pellet Count: If feeding pellets, 2-3 pellets per feeding session for an adult Betta is usually sufficient, depending on the pellet size.
  • Live Food Portion: When feeding live or frozen foods, a small pinch (around 4-6 brine shrimp or bloodworms) is adequate.
  • Observation Is Key: Monitor your Betta during feeding. If all food isn’t consumed within two minutes, you’re likely overfeeding.
  • Adjust for Age and Health: Younger or more active Bettas might require slightly more food, while older or less active ones might need less.

Also Read: Betta Fish Tank Setup

How Often to Feed Betta Fish?

Betta fish should be fed regularly to maintain their health, but overfeeding can be detrimental.

A balanced feeding schedule is important for their well-being and tank environment.

  • Twice a Day Routine: Feed adult Betta fish twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, to mimic their natural feeding habits.
  • Fry Feeding Frequency: Baby Bettas (fry) require more frequent feeding, ideally 3-4 times a day, due to their faster metabolism and growth needs.
  • Skipping a Day: It’s healthy to skip feeding one day a week to allow your Betta’s digestive system to rest and prevent constipation.
  • Special Considerations: If your Betta is recovering from an illness or under stress, consider feeding them once a day with high-quality, easily digestible food.

What Can I Feed My Betta Fish if I Ran Out of Fish Food?

If you’ve run out of fish food for your Betta, there are several alternative food sources you can use temporarily.

It’s important to choose options that are safe and provide nutritional value, keeping in mind Bettas are primarily carnivorous.

  • Cooked Peas: Offering a small piece of cooked, peeled pea can aid in digestion. Ensure it’s unsalted and mashed, feeding only a tiny amount as peas are not a natural part of their diet.
  • Small Pieces of Seafood: Finely chopped, cooked shrimp or fish (like salmon or tilapia) can be used. Ensure they’re plain and free from any seasoning or oil.
  • Frozen Bloodworms: If available, frozen bloodworms are a good temporary substitute. Thaw a small portion and feed a few worms, ensuring they are free from additives.
  • Boiled Egg Yolk: A tiny amount of boiled egg yolk, crumbled finely, can be used in emergencies. This should be a last resort, given sparingly, as it’s not a natural Betta food.

Do Bettas Eat Food Off the Bottom?

Yes, Bettas can eat food off the bottom, but it’s not their preferred feeding style.

They are surface feeders by nature and are more likely to eat food as it floats or shortly after it falls.

If food sinks to the bottom and decays, it can harm water quality, so it’s important to remove uneaten food promptly.

Can I Feed My Betta Fish Eggs?

Yes, you can feed your Betta fish eggs, but it should be done cautiously and infrequently. Boiled egg yolk, finely crumbled, can be given in very small amounts as a treat.

However, it’s not a natural part of their diet and overfeeding or frequent feeding can lead to health issues.

Also Read: Betta Fish Tank Mates


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Betta fish require a varied diet, including pellets, bloodworms, and brine shrimp, with specific portion sizes and feeding frequencies for optimal health.
  • Pellets, a staple in a Betta’s diet, should be rich in protein and nutrients, and fed in controlled portions to avoid overfeeding and water spoilage.
  • Occasional treats like freeze-dried tubifex worms, mosquito larvae, and vegetables add nutritional variety, but should be given in moderation.
  • Different life stages of Betta fish, such as adults, fry, and breeding pairs, have unique dietary needs that must be met for their overall well-being.
  • Emergency food options like cooked peas or small pieces of seafood can be used temporarily if regular fish food runs out, but should be chosen carefully to ensure safety and nutritional value.