Bloodworms For Betta Fish (Caution Advised)

Last Updated on 2024-07-22

A lot of people use bloodworms for betta fish as they think they’re a great part of their diet. In this article, you’re going to find out about the different types of bloodworms as well as why they can be good and why they can be bad.

And while it is possible to feed your betta bloodworms on a regular basis, after reading this you’ll rethink how often you’re feeding them to your betta!

What Are Bloodworms

When you buy bloodworms in the shop there are normally two different types of animal you’re going to get. One is a worm while the other is a type of larvae.

The most common bloodworm you’ll find in pet stores is Chironomidae. These aren’t actually worms, but instead, they’re the larval stage of midge flies. The other type of bloodworm comes from the genus Glycera.

While both are perfectly safe for your betta Chironomidae are much easier to get a hold of and breed. Glycera on the other hand only grow in marine conditions.

It’s important to note, bloodworms should never be the staple of your bettas diet. They are incredibly fatty and don’t give your betta all the nutrients they require.

Different Types Of Bloodworms For Betta Fish

When you purchase bloodworms for betta fish they come in one of three ways. Frozen, freeze-dried, or live. Each type has its benefits, however, they also have their downsides as well.

When considering what one you plan on buying you’ll need to decide the balance you want between how nutritious they are and how easy they are to store.

Live Bloodworms

Live bloodworms are obviously bloodworms in their most natural form. They’re a little bit more expensive, but they do have some great benefits.

One of the benefits is that they’re going to put your betta into hunting mode. This hunting mode is great as it stimulates their brain and helps stop them from being bored.

And they don’t just do that. Unlike frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms they also contain more nutrients because they’re still in their purest form.

Lastly, live bloodworms are ideal food if you plan on breeding your betta. They condition them into thinking it’s time to mate as it mimics the abundance of food that occurs during the breeding season.

However, there are also some downsides to using live bloodworms.

If you don’t have a big tank then the amount you buy in shops will be too much for your betta to eat. While you can store them for 2-3 days in the fridge, after that you’ll probably need to throw them away before they grow into midge flies.

As well as having a very short shelf life, they also have a higher risk of being a contaminant. Unlike freeze-dried and frozen where any contaminant is normally killed during the process, live bloodworms can carry bacteria and parasites that could infect your betta.

Freeze-Dried Bloodworms

As well as buying live bloodworms you can also choose to get freeze-dried.

Freeze-dried bloodworms are great because they’re easy to store and easy to use. Once you have them, they’re going to last a long time. And asides from dipping them in water to let them expand back to their full size, there’s not much more you need to do with them

However, they also have their downsides. Compared to live food and frozen food they have very little nutritional value. Most of the nutrition inside them is lost when they’re freeze-dried.

As well as this, there are normally two different types of freeze-dried blood worms you can purchase. Grade A & Grade B. Grade A is a lot better and it’s the one you should choose for your betta.

If you do plan on feeding your betta freeze-dried bloodworms then you should know they have the added benefit of floating at the top of the tank for a good amount of time. So you don’t have to worry about them sinking when your betta can’t see them.

betta fish setup

Frozen Bloodworms

Lastly, you may also choose to feed your betta frozen bloodworms. Frozen bloodworms are a good middle ground between freeze-dried bloodworms and live bloodworms.

They can be stored for a long time but they also have a relatively good amount of nutrients in them as well.

If you plan on keeping frozen bloodworms you can keep them for 6 months. And with the amount you buy them in, this is plenty of time to feed them to your betta.

Frozen bloodworms are also a lot less likely to be carrying bacteria, disease, and parasites as well. This is because they are often killed during the freezing process.

How To Feed Your Betta Frozen Bloodworms

When you’re feeding your betta frozen bloodworms make sure you don’t feed them a whole cube at once. Rather you should split the cubes up into smaller pieces and make sure they’re defrosted.

However, to minimize the chance of any contamination once you’ve defrosted the bloodworms make sure you don’t add any of the water they’re in, into your fish tank.

When feeding frozen bloodworms to your betta, you don’t want to leave them in the tank for too long. This often happens when people don’t know how many to give their fish. Anything that hasn’t been eaten after two minutes should be taken out if you’re tank only has your betta in it.

The more you do this, the more you’ll be able to effectively gauge how much to feed your betta.

How Many Bloodworms Should You Feed Your Betta?

Your betta will eat and eat and eat if you give them the chance. Even when they’re full they’ll keep eating. So it’s important that you don’t overfeed your betta.

When you’re feeding your betta 1-2 bloodworms a meal is enough. And if you give them more than this you could risk constipating them.

A lot of people who feed their betta frozen bloodworms make the mistake of dropping a whole cube in at once.

Not only will your betta eat more than he can, but whatever is left in the tank will begin to rot and cause an ammonia spike. So make sure you’re never putting in too much.

How Often Should You Feed Your Betta Bloodworms?

A lot of people feed their betta bloodworms every day. And this is actually terrible for them. Bloodworms are great as a treat but their too rich to be a staple of your betta’s diet. They simply have too much fat and protein in them.

As a rule of thumb, you should only feed your betta bloodworms once or twice per week. If you do this, you’re going to give them some variety in their diet, but also make sure they’re not going to become constipated.

(Check out the best food you can feed your betta as well as the best live food!)

Turquoise Betta

Why Shouldn’t You Feed Your Betta Too Many Bloodworms?

As previously mentioned there are a number of reasons that you shouldn’t feed your betta bloodworms.

Constipation & Swim Bladder Disease

One of the biggest reasons not to feed your betta too many bloodworms is because you’re going to increase the chance of them getting sick.

Swim bladder disease and constipation are extremely common in bettas. And while they are often cured, there’s still a chance that if your betta gets one of them, he’s not going to be able to recover.

Ammonia Spikes

As well as making your betta sick, if you overfeed him bloodworms then the chances are there’s going to be ammonia spikes in your tank.

Ammonia spikes occur when the beneficial bacteria can’t consume ammonia quicker than it’s being created. And rotting food creates a spike in ammonia.

If there’s a spike in ammonia then your betta may begin to suffer from ammonia poisoning which can quickly become fatal.

Higher Chance Of Spreading Disease

Obviously, the more bloodworms you add to your tank, the more likely a disease will be transmitted. While the chances of your betta getting a disease from bloodworms aren’t huge, there’s no point in increasing the risk.

You’re Wasting Your Money

And lastly, if you put too many bloodworms into your tank at a time then you’re simply wasting your money. Your betta isn’t going to be able to eat them all and you’ll only have to scoop them out and throw them away.

(Want to know whether bettas can eat daphnia?)

Safest Way To Feed Your Betta Bloodworms

Because of the risk of infection using bloodworms, it’s important that you provide your betta the safest bloodworms possible.

Buy From A Reputable Breeder

One of the biggest ways you can do this is by buying from a reputable seller. If you know a pet store has bad reviews or a lot of negative feedback then the chances are the food there isn’t going to be great quality either.

It’s better to spend a little bit more on food if it means your betta is going to stay healthy.

Rinse Them Thoroughly

Secondly, make sure that you rinse the bloodworms before adding them to the tank. This will help remove any debris that could be carrying bacteria off the bloodworms.

Lastly, never add any of the water that the bloodworms come in, into the tank. This is one of the biggest ways you can transmit parasites and bacteria into the tank.

Taking care of your Betta can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. To know more about it, read our full article with everything you need to know about Betta fish care.


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about giving their betta bloodworms?

Can Bettas Live On Freeze-Dried Bloodworms?

Under no circumstances should your betta live on freeze-dried bloodworms. They are going to lack the nutrition found in live bloodworms, and they’ll be so less nutritional than high quality betta food.

Will Bloodworms Turn Into Flies?

If allowed to live long enough bloodworms will absolutely turn into midge flies. Generally speaking though, this won’t happen as they’ll normally be eaten too fast.

Why Won’t Your Betta Eat Bloodworms?

As long as you notice your betta is still eating other food you shouldn’t be too concerned about him not eating bloodworms. However, if he’s not eating at all, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Sometimes constipation, swim bladder disease, and dropsy can all stop your betta from eating.

Brine Shrimp Or Bloodworms For Bettas?

Brine shrimp are always better for bettas than bloodworms. They are lower in fat, and higher in protein and fibre which your betta needs to stay healthy as well as regular.

Can Bettas Eat Bloodworms Everyday?

Under no circumstances should you give bloodworms to your betta every day. They should be fed to your betta as a treat and not a staple of his diet.


While bloodworms can be a great meal for your betta, make sure you’re not overdoing it. You now know the benefits and disadvantages of feeding your betta bloodworms!

Here are some of the main things you need to remember:

  • Live bloodworms fulfill your bettas hunting instinct, contain the most nutrients and condition your betta to breed. However, they may transmit disease into the tank and normally a lot end up getting wasted as they can’t be kept for too long.
  • If you’re going to feed your betta live bloodworms make sure you wash them with water, and avoid getting the water they’re stored in, into your tank.
  • Freeze-dried bloodworms are the least nutritious out of the three however, they’re going to be the easiest to store.
  • If you’re going to buy freeze-dried bloodworms make sure you buy Grade A, not Grade B bloodworms.
  • Frozen bloodworms have a good shelf life and still maintain a lot of their nutrients. If you’re going to feed your betta bloodworms don’t drop a whole cube in at a time.
  • You should only feed your betta one or two bloodworms per meal. And only one or two bloodworm meals per week.
  • Too many bloodworms can result in constipation, swim bladder disease, ammonia spikes, disease and wasting your money.

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
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Hey! I'm Nicolas from Iguane Media !

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3 thoughts on “Bloodworms For Betta Fish (Caution Advised)”

  1. Hi Nice article. And good informations. I bought two betta fishes. Both are not even touching pellets. One will love blood worms,if I put blood worms he will complete it quickly. But it didnt evwnblike pellets. I tried with soaking and two different type of pellets. But no luck. Another one is very picky he will eat one small blood worm per meal.if I put little big he will not touch that one and pellets not at all. I could read should feed them balanced food. But since they are not eating I dont know how can I fees them other type of foods. I even tried with two days of fasting. But no improvement. Please suggest.

    • If they won’t eat bloodworms, try feeding them other live food such as daphnia or mosquito larvae, which is much better for them.

  2. This information is wonderful! Thank you so much. I have a beautiful betta who is suffering from constipation- and I hope he recovers !!!!!

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