Best Food For Betta Fish (Ultimate Betta Fish Food Guide)

Last Updated on 2024-06-14

Picking out betta fish food can be difficult. Do you go for living, frozen or freeze-dried? Do they need plant matter in their diet, or should they only eat meat? If you’re looking to give your betta the best food possible then you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to find out the best food for betta fish!

In this guide not only are you going to find out what the best food for your betta is, but you’re also going to learn why it’s SO important that you take care when feeding your fish! While bettas are hardy fish, they’re not invincible.

If you don’t give your betta the diet he needs then he’ll end up with a weak immune system which can often result in disease and death. So first of all…

What Do Betta Fish Eat In The Wild?

In the wild betta fish are primarily carnivorous. They live in South East Asia where the vast majority of their diet consists of small insects and larvae. While a lot of people say that bettas can live off plants, this simply isn’t true. Their digestive tracks are short which is a classic sign of a carnivore.

If you planned on letting your betta live off plants in the tank then you should know this is the worst thing you can do for them. With that being said, the chances are in the wild, they may on occasion eat plant life, however, there will be next to no nutrition in it for them.

The meat they normally eat will be high in protein and fiber. The insect they eat will have fiber in their stomachs from the food they’ve been eating.

What Do Betta Fish Need In Their Diet?

So you know that betta fish need protein and fiber in their diet. The protein is going to keep them healthy and strong and the fiber is going to help their digestive tract keep moving.

But it’s not just protein and fiber that they need. It’s also good for their food to contain moisture which will also aid in digestion.

As well as fiber, moisture, and protein they’re also going to need a mix of vitamins in their diet, just like you. On top of vitamins, they also require phosphorus for cell growth, fats for energy storage, calcium for bone strength and carbohydrates for energy.

While you may think that’s a lot to get in, high-quality foods provide all of this, so you don’t have to worry too much!

(Check out the ultimate betta fish feeding guide.)

Different Types Of Betta Food

There are 5 main types of food you can feed your betta. Flakes, pellets, live, frozen or freeze-dried food. All of them have their pros and cons, and ideally, you should never stick to just one for your betta.

Not only is a balanced diet going to be better for your bettas health. But it’s also going to be great at stopping him from becoming bored.


One of the most common types of food you can feed your betta is pellets. The reason that most people use pellets is that they’re often higher quality than their counterparts (flakes) and it’s also easier to watch how much you’re giving him.

As well as generally being higher quality than flakes they also have the added benefit of looking more natural to your betta. Their small spherical shape could be mistaken for an insect by your betta, whereas the same thing is extremely unlikely to happen with flakes.

Normally you can get high-quality pellets for $5-10. When choosing pellets make sure that you’re picking something that has at least 30% crude protein. Ideally, the ingredients should contain lots of dried meat and very little fillers (anything that isn’t meat)

betta mini pellets

Sinking Pellets

As a side note, you can also get sinking pellets for your betta. If you find you have a hard time feeding your betta before other fish get to the food, then these may help. So if your betta isn’t eating pellets from the surface, these could be what he wants instead.

Once again you can pick sinking pellets up relatively cheap. Just make sure that they contain at least 30% crude protein.

What Are The Best Betta Food Pellets?

There are so many different pellets you can choose from it can be hard to know what the best betta food pellets are. In general, you want the ingredients to be as natural as possible.

Of course, you want to make sure there’s a good amount of crude protein, however, you should also make sure that all the ingredients are natural, and when possible have low amounts of plant matter in them.

Here are the best betta food pellets:

Omega Sea Betta Buffet Pellets

Omega Sea Betta Pellets are some of the best pellets you can buy for your betta. They have much fewer fillers than other pellets and they also contain 40% crude protein! As well as a lot of crude protein they also contain plenty of fat and fiber too.

And on top of containing so much crude protein, because they are made from salmon they also contain lots of nutrients that will improve your betta’s color!

Get Omega Sea Buffet Pellets

Aqueon Betta Pellets

Aqueon Betta Pellets

Another great choice is Aqueon Betta Pellets. They are made from 38% crude protein which is still a lot more than the recommended 30% and they also contain plenty of fiber and fat!

Because they contain lots of different types of meat, your betta will also be getting all the nutrients he requires. However, one small downside is the fact that they do contain fish meal, which is never as good as pure meat.

But if you can’t get your hands on Omega Sea Buffet Pellets these are still going to do an amazing job.

Get Aqueon Betta Pellets

Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets

Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets

Hikari Betta Pellets are great for bettas that have trouble eating larger pellets. While they were designed for juvenile bettas they still make a great meal for adults.

Hikari Betta Pellets are packed with crude protein with roughly 38% of the tub made up of the stuff. It’s also full of moisture which is going to help aid in your bettas digestion. With that being said though, once again they do also contain small amounts of filler.

While filler isn’t bad, it’s also not going to provide your betta with any nutrients. However, these pellets have been enhanced to help give your betta all the vitamins he needs as well as improving his color.

Get Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets

Ocean Nutrition Attisons Betta Pro

These are another great type of pellet food for people with fussy bettas. Unlike other pellets which are larger, these ones are also smaller size which means your betta is a lot more likely to try them.

But just because they’re small doesn’t mean they don’t have any nutrition in them. They’re made up of 36% crude protein and the amount of filler in them have been kept to a minimum.

And because they are made up of different animals they also contain plenty of vitamins which will aid in keeping your bettas color vibrant!

Get Oceans Nutrition Attisons Betta Pro

Betta Flakes

As well as using betta pellets you can also use betta flakes. Flakes don’t tend to be used as much for bettas because they’re generally a little bit less nutritional.

And it’s not just the fact that they’re not as nutritional. It can be hard to ration how much you give your betta every day because they’re harder to measure.

Also, when adding flakes to your tank, make sure you don’t add too much at once. They sink a lot quicker than other types of food and they may end up rotting on the substrate if you use too many.

To top it all off, they’re also the least like your bettas natural diet, so if he’s fussy he may avoid eating them.

On the flip side though, in some cases, your betta won’t eat pellets because they’re too big or he just doesn’t like them. If this is the case then flakes can be a great alternative for your betta.

If you do plan on feeding your betta flakes, make sure you buy flakes specifically for bettas. Flakes for tropical fish will often contain vegetable and plant fillers which are fine for omnivores, but won’t provide your betta all the nutrients he’s going to need.

What Are The Best Flakes For Bettas?

It can be hard to find decent flakes for your betta, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. While in most cases, you’re better off using pellets, here are some of the best flakes for bettas.

Tetra Tropical Betta Crisps

These flakes are designed specifically for bettas so you know they’re going to keep your betta healthy. While they still contain fillers, the amount they have is a lot less than many other flake foods.

Even with the fillers they still pack massive amounts of crude protein (44%) and crude fat (12%). They’ve also been specifically designed to help improve your bettas color.

As you can see, as far as flake food goes, they are exceptional, and if you’re determined to use flakes then they’re definitely your best bet. (However, pellets are still recommended).

Get Tetra Tropical Betta Crisps

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried food can be a great addition to a balanced diet for your betta. They have more nutrition in them than flakes and pellets (because they’re just freeze-dried animals), however, the moisture has been removed from them. This means that they can be a little bit harder for your betta to digest.

In a lot of cases, you can expect the crude protein from freeze-dried food to be well over 50%. As well as an increase in protein, the freeze-dried food will also contain a lot of roughage that’s good for your bettas digestive system.

You can use freeze-dried food as a staple part of your betta’s diet, in combination with pellets to make sure your betta is getting all the nutrients he needs.

Live Food

Live food is the most nutritional for your betta as it’s what he would eat in his natural habitat. It mainly consists of insects and small invertebrate. If you’re going to feed your betta live food it’s a good idea to mix up what you’re feeding him to help give him a balanced diet.

While live food is generally the best for bettas, it also has some downsides. First of all, it’s more expensive than anything else on the list. Obviously, it costs more money to ship, handle and store live food, so you’re going to have to foot the bill for this.

On top of costing more, it can also be harder to get your hands on live food. While pellets, flakes, and freeze-dried food can all be found on the internet, you’ll have to go to the shop to buy live food. And even if you can buy it off the internet, it’s going to be more expensive.

Live foods are also a little bit riskier due to the risk of parasite infections. If the animals you’ve bought haven’t been cared for properly, then there’s an increased chance they’re carrying parasites. These parasites can be passed onto your betta who could become sick, and even die.

However, all of this can’t take away from the fact that live food is going to bring out your bettas most natural behavior. He’ll actually be hunting live animals, similar to what he’d do in the wild, and this will definitely make him happy!

When choosing live foods, stick to daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp and other small insects. While bloodworms can be used as a treat, they should never make up the bulk of your betta’s diet. Unfortunately, they are high in fat, and too many bloodworms will have a negative effect on your betta’s health. (Learn more about bloodworms for betta fish, or daphnia for betta fish.)

mosquito larvae

Frozen Food

Frozen food is a great alternative to live food as it contains all of the nutrients, but isn’t as expensive. Also because it’s frozen, the chances of your betta’s tank being contaminated by it are significantly smaller.

While your betta is going to get all the nutrients he needs from eating frozen food, unfortunately, he won’t be able to hunt like he can with live food.

When you’re giving your betta frozen food, make sure you defrost it in a small cup of his tank water. If you drop it in frozen, it will be too hard for him to eat and may do some damage.

Remember when feeding your betta frozen food you don’t want to go overboard. Just a small sprinkle in the morning and evening is more than enough.

How Do You Spot Great Food For Your Betta?

When you’re out looking for food, it’s important for you to know how to find food that’s going to help your betta stay strong. Fortunately, there are things to look for that make this easier (as well as things to avoid).

Look For High Protein

It may have been brought up time and time again in this article, but when you’re choosing food for your betta you need to make sure that it’s high in crude protein. Crude protein is one of the most important staples your betta needs in his diet. He’s a carnivore after all.

A good way to spot whether it’s going to be high in protein is by checking the ingredients list. If you can’t see how much protein the food contains then check to see how many animals are in the ingredients. If you notice the majority of the ingredients are animal-based then the chances are it’s going to be good for your betta.

Remember when choosing the food you shouldn’t choose anything that has below 30% crude protein.

Avoid Fillers

As well as looking for high protein you should avoid fillers in your betta’s food. The tell-tale sign of fillers in your betta’s food is when it’s referred to as fish meal. While fish meal sounds good, the truth is it can be hard to tell what’s in it. Granted there’s probably some meat in there, but there’s also going to be a lot of fillers.

Once again, another good way to avoid fillers is to check the ingredients. The more ingredients that aren’t meat-based, the more fillers there are going to be. While small amounts of filler in your bettas food are going to be okay, just make sure it’s not the majority.

Avoid Plant-Based Foods

And of course, avoid any food that has lots of plants in it. Betta’s are carnivores and their body isn’t designed to digest plants. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to pick food specifically designed for your betta over generic tropical fish food (which in most cases has been made for omnivores).

Avoid Unidentifiable Ingredients

If you notice extremely long words in the ingredients and you have no idea what they are, then you should avoid feeding your betta that food. The more basic your bettas ingredients are the more likely it is it’s going to be beneficial for him.

If you’re noticing large chemicals in your bettas food, then the chances are it’s not something good for him.

Avoid Low-Quality Flakes And Pellets

Lastly, it goes without saying, make sure you avoid using low-quality flakes and pellets. You’ll be able to know if they’re low quality based on how cheap they are, and the ingredients that are inside them. While it may be tempting to buy cheap or low-quality food for your betta, in the long run, it’s going to cost you a lot more money.

If you need proper guidance on taking care of your Betta fish, click here to read a comprehensive article on betta fish care! 

What To Do If Your Betta Spits Out His Food?

When you see your betta spitting out his food then you may think something is wrong. In a lot of cases, however, it’s simply because whatever you’re feeding him is too big. One obvious way to remedy this is to cut or grind his food up before giving it to him. If you make it smaller he should eat it without any problems.

If it’s frozen food he’s spitting out then you may need to make sure it’s fully defrosted before giving it to him. To do this, place it in a small amount of his tank water to let it defrost before adding it to his tank.

What To Do If Your Betta Won’t Eat Anything

Bettas are normally quite gutty fish, so if he’s not eating anything then it may mean there’s something wrong. This could be constipation, stress, swim bladder disease or because the food is too big. If your betta isn’t eating his food then here are all the reasons why this could be happening, and what to do about them!

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
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