Betta fish are one of the most sought after fish species. They are admired, collected and bred by fish aficionados as well as beginner hobbyists. They are usually kept as pets because of their colorful bodies and impressive fin shapes. The most popular Betta fish is the Siamese Fighting Fish.
Betta fish grow to an average length of two to three inches in captivity and come in a multitude of bright colors. Bettas are classified as Gourami and part of the Osphronemidae family of fresh water perciform fish.
Bettas are labyrinth fish that can survive in fairly shallow water due to their ability to obtain oxygen both from the atmospheric air as well as the water. Betta fish are a hardy species that can survive in smaller and less-than-ideal conditions when compared to other aquarium fish.
What goes in!
Similar to other fish that are kept as pets, Bettas need to be fed with the correct quantity of nutritious foods on a regular basis. Betta fish are carnivorous. They feed on zooplankton, water-bound insect larvae and mosquito larvae in their natural habitats. The zooplankton and larvae are replaced by daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp for those Betta fish raised and kept in captivity.
One of the more popular Betta fish foods is the Combination Betta Pellets. These fish food pellets are essentially a mixture of common fish food such as bloodworms and mashed shrimp meal, and a special vitamin blend. This combination boosts the immune system, promotes longevity and enhances the Betta’s beautiful, bright colors.
Offer varying fish foods to these aquatic pets to introduce variety, additional nutrients and much-needed fiber to their diets. Being carnivores, this fish’s diet should mostly consist of protein with less than 40% of what they consume coming from carbohydrates. Bettas can sometimes be fed minutely chopped peas as well as other veggies, which are nutritious for them in small quantities.
Betta Fish like a good variety!
Bettas often fare better when provided with a wider selection of different foods. The reward is in the eye of the beholder through a show of richer, brighter as well as deeper shades and hues in the fish’s appearance. Another advantage is that Bettas who follow a varied diet of high protein and high fiber foods will heal much faster than those Betta fish that consume a limited-variety, low fiber and low protein diet.
Betta fish have upturned mouths. In their natural habitats, they feed on larvae and plankton at the surface of the water. For this reason, foods with the ability to float on the water’s surface will probably be the best choice for your pet.
How often do you feed bettas?
Feed Bettas once or twice daily, with only the amount of food they can consume in a two-minute time span. Do not over feed your Betta fish, as the left over food will cause a higher than normal bacterial concentration, thus putting your Betta at a greater risk of bacterial diseases and infections. Feeding your Betta some live black worms or shrimp occasionally is very healthy, as long as this is done in moderation.
First-time betta fish owners often struggle with overfeeding. We get it; you’re nervous. Is that enough? Is it too much? Maybe just a little more…? Betta fish have stomachs about the same size as their eyes, so a little bit is usually enough.
Like other pets, bettas sometimes don’t know when to stop and will gorge themselves on their favorite foods, such as bloodworms. When they do this, or if you’re overfeeding your fish, they’ll become bloated, which can cause serious health problems and even death. To tell if your betta is full, look for a slightly rounded stomach just beneath the gill area.
If your betta shows some restraint (maybe he’s watching his “gill-ish” figure), then overfeeding can cause uneaten food to accumulate in the tank and create a bacterial nightmare. Overfeeding can also lead to chemical imbalances and cloudiness in your tank.
Pellets, Live, Frozen or Freeze-dried?
There are so many options! As we mentioned earlier, variety is the spice of life for these Siamese Fighting Fish, and the more you mix up your betta’s food options, the happier he’ll be.
Pellets: Manufacturers make a least a dozen different types of betta-specific pellets, which are available at your local pet store. Most brands of pellets will provide the basic nutrients and vitamins your betta needs to thrive, although you should supplement with live or frozen treats to make sure he gets enough protein.
Live food: By “live” we mean “gross.” Not really, but live food is a bit messier, more involved and more expensive than other feeding options. On the other hand, your betta will love the thrill of the hunt, and you may love watching him go crazy over his live food. Some popular live options include mosquitoes, mosquito larvae (if you can find it), brine shrimp, bloodworms or brown worms. Be sure to wash off the worms before feeding them to your fish to reduce the risk of introducing bacteria to the tank.
Frozen food: Don’t you kind of love that bettas have their own version of Totino’s pizzas? Frozen treats are easier to give to your betta than live food but offer the same kind of taste and texture (without the hunting). Freeze any of the live options previously mentioned and thaw them out when you’re ready to feed your betta. Freezing usually kills most bacteria that could be present in live food but not always, so watch your tank and fish for signs of infection or stress.
Freeze-dried food: Freeze-dried treats are usually available in small boxes at the pet store, or you can find them online in bulk. Many experts think freeze-dried treats are the best option to make sure your betta gets the benefits of live food without the hassle. Because the treats are sterile, there’s no risk of introducing bacteria to the tank. Bloodworms and brine shrimp are the most commonly available freeze-dried treats.
Bettas love a good meal and are not picky eaters, so mix up their diet with a wide variety of options. But when it comes to feeding your betta, you’ll do best if you follow the old adage: “Everything in moderation” – although your grandma probably didn’t mean bloodworms and brine shrimp.
How often do you feed your betta?