How often should I feed my Betta fish - feeding guide 2018
When keeping betta fish, you might be wondering how often should I feed my betta fish. Or what type of food to use? Don't worry! This is a very common question when keeping betta fish and looking after them. Care needs to be taken as you don't want to overfeed them as this is actually very common.
Betta fish are known to be notoriously picky eaters. They prefer to eat mainly of the surface than in the substrate of the aquarium. Bettas diet needs to be a well-balanced diet that offers them lots of protein as they are primarily carnivorous. There are lots of stories that betta can feed on plants however that is more myth than fact.
Pellets are very popular as they are easy to keep and effective. They also create less mess inside your tank and are easy to portion the right amount for feeding time. Other food likes frozen, freeze-dried or Live can be used mainly for occasional treats and to add extra nutrition.
How much and how often should you feed a betta fish?
You shouldn't pay much attention to the amounts stated on the side of the betta fish food. The directions can be a little misleading and can cause problems with the water quality and with your betta fish. Most typical feeding instructions say to feed as much as they will consume in 5 minutes. Or some instructions read to feed up to several times daily for 3 minutes at a time and see how much they consume. This will lead to overfeeding of your betta and reduce the water quality with waste food.
A good guide is Betta fish pellets 2-4 pellets 1-2 times daily
Live, Freeze dried or frozen 2-3 pieces 1-2 times daily
Adult bettas should be fed once per day. With babies being fed up to twice per day. It doesn't seem like enough food, however, pellets expand up to 2x times their size once in the water. Bettas don't have a big stomach which is why it's very easy to overfeed them. Their stomach is only about the size of their eye so not very big at all. Depending on how active they are some additional feeding might be necessary. Again it's best to start with small amounts first this is because bettas will overeat if we let them.
Some of the problems with overfeeding betta fish can lead to swim bladder problems, bloating of the belly, and even obesity! Constipation and contracting diseases due to the bacteria on the excess food breaking down.
Betta Fish Pellets
Pellets are the most popular betta fish food on the market. Pellets are available from many different brands and quality varies across each. The best betta fish pellets will have fewer fillers with more emphasis on high-quality ingredients that keep our fish happy and healthy and thrive.
It's a good idea to see how much the pellets expand in water first before introducing them. This is rather than the betta fish eating them and having them expand inside their stomach. So if they expand a lot then soak them in some tank water first.
Betta Fish Flakes
You can get betta fish flakes that are made for betta fish. These flakes offer the right amount of protein. Other tropical fish flakes lack the protein required for betta fish. Flakes offer a nice staple diet for your betta fish. However, they can be messy for your tank as they sink to the bottom and can cause problems. As a result of this, it's always best practice to remove any flakes that aren't eaten straight away after feeding. Keep an eye on how the betta react to flakes as sometimes they can refuse to eat them.
Freeze-Dried Betta Food
Freeze dried food offers betta fish a natural food option in their diet. It doesn't replace live or frozen food as the quality isn't as good. Because freeze-dried foods have the moisture removed, and have extra fillers to keep them stable and usable.
With freeze dried food it's best practice to soak them in some tank water before feeding. This will rehydrate them which will bulk the size up with the added moisture.
You shouldn't only feed your betta fish freeze-dried food. It should be as an extra supplement to using live, frozen and pellets food. Just feeding freeze-dried could give your betta constipation issues and lead to bloating.
One of the advantages of using freeze-dried food is they are free from any nasty parasites and bacteria. They are easy to get and not too expensive as an extra food source to complement their diet. Freeze-dried is also easy to keep and store.
Live And Frozen Betta Food
Betta fish are carnivorous so you want to feed them some live and frozen food to replicate their natural diet. Betta fish are known to be aggressive during feeding time when they would naturally stalk their prey. This can also make Betta fish feel they are in their natural environment when feeding so it's good to replicate that which means a happy healthy betta fish.
It can be a little difficult to find some types of live foods but it's worth it to give your betta fish a well-balanced diet. You have to be careful where you source live and frozen betta fish foods. This is because they might carry diseases and parasites.
Frozen foods are a good alternative to live foods and are a good source of nutrition. You can keep them in the freezer and defrost the amount you need for feeding. You only want to defrost what you need and never place any food back into the freezer once thawed as you can expose it to nasty bacteria.
Types of live/frozen betta fish food
Live/Frozen Mosquito Larvae
Mosquito larvae are top of the list for Bettas in the wild due to its abundance in their natural habitat. However, availability for bettas kept at home will depend on your location and what time of the year it is. You can harvest larvae yourself but this will mean having mosquitoes around to produce the larvae. Always make sure you harvest larvae in clean water so you do not introduce bacteria into your tank.
Live/Frozen Mysis Shrimp
The Mysis shrimp, also know as the opossum shrimp, is a great live food option for betta fish. They are rich in fiber which will aid your betta fish digestion if protein-rich foods. Some betta fish can be fussy eaters so this would be surely a food that even the pickiest eating betta fish would love. Mysis shrimp are packed with amino acids and nutrients which will keep your betta fish healthy.
Live/Frozen Wingless Fruit Flies
Wingless fruit flies are extremely nutritious and can trigger a feeding response even in the fussiest eaters. Being wingless and unable to fly they are the ideal live feeder for your Betta fish. The benefit to using fruit flies compared to other live feeders is that they don't make any noise! Fruit flies are very cheap and extremely easy to breed which is what makes them ideal for feeding betta fish.
It is recommended that bloodworms are fed to your Betta fish in addition to other stable feeds. Whilst bloodworms are lacking in amino acids the benefit is that they are packed in iron. This being the reason for the vibrant red color. One worm per day per fish is recommended as a result of the iron-rich content.
Bettas can be fussy when it comes to new foods. When using bloodworms for the first time do not be put off if it takes your fish a while to decide to eat it.
When using frozen bloodworms you will need to defrost them first. Take some of the tank water in a glass and drop the bloodworm cube into the glass. It only takes a couple of minutes for the cube to defrost.
Live/Frozen Brine Shrimp
Bettas adore brine shrimp, but again, this is a rich food that should not be the only feed you give to your fish. Brine shrimp is an ideal occasional treat for your fish. You can purchase brine shrimp eggs online which take 1-2 days to hatch once placed into the water. Fully grown at 6 weeks, however, a staple food for Bettas at 4 weeks. Freeze dried brine shrimp is also avaialble which can be a less expensive choice.
Best Betta Fish Food Dietary Requirements
As said above betta fish are carnivores, and naturally, in the wild east insects. The best betta fish food try and replicate these dietary requirements without adding any fillers that are indigestible for your betta.
It's not easy for betta fish keepers to source or provide live foods as their main diet. The best option is to have a variety of good quality foods, in addition, to live/frozen foods when possible. Good quality pellets, freeze-dried, and Flakes will be the option.
When feeding your betta fish you don't want to feed them food that has too many fillers. This is because betta fish have short digestive tracts, so don't process fillers like wheat of corn very well. Pellets and flake foods contain fillers such as wheat and corn. Pellets and flakes, containing fillers, don't give bettas any nutritional value. The carnivorous needs of the betta require high protein content.
Betta fish feeding tips conclusion
What to feed your betta fish, and how often should I feed my betta fish are all important factors to a happy and healthy betta. As long as you try and follow the guide above you shouldn't go too far wrong. It should be an enjoyable experience keeping betta fish, So don't stress too much if you can't follow the guide exactly as it's a guide, not an exact formula.