Can Bettas Eat Goldfish Food? (Or Will It Kill Them?)

So you have just brought home your new, beautiful betta fish, and you are wondering what to feed them? If you already have a goldfish, the first question that will pop into your mind is probably “Can bettas eat goldfish food?”  

Well, this is a question that many owners ask themselves every day. Now you know that you are not the only one being confused by the eating habits of Bettas! Bettas are incredibly beautiful pets, but to be healthy, fit, and happy throughout their lives, they need a nutritious, well-balanced diet. So we’re going to have a look at whether you can feed your betta goldfish food, what they eat in the wild, and some extra tips on what to feed your Betta. 

Can Betta Fish Eat Goldfish Food? 

The simple answer to this question is yes, betta fish can eat and digest goldfish food. However, this kind of food should only be given to them occasionally and not be the main ingredient in their diet. 

In fact, betta fish thrive on a diet that boasts a high quantity of protein. Goldfish food is often made of flakes deriving from vegetables and fruit, which makes them low in protein and high in carbohydrates.

While this is perfect for a goldfish, a betta fish is much pickier in its food choices! Check the package of the food you are feeding them. If it does not contain high quantities of animal protein such as shellfish or shrimps, such food is not appropriate for them.  

Now that you have an overview of what your betta fish diet should look like, let’s have a look at what betta fish eat in the wild. If you need a couple of extra tips on how to devise a balanced and nutritious eating plan for your bettas, check out the last two sections of this article! 

What Do Bettas Eat In The Wild? 

Effectively, betta fish are predators and carnivores that can feed on other small meaty animals in the wild. Here is a list of what bettas eat in the wild, why they eat them, and why a diet based on only goldfish food can be detrimental for them. 

  • Bloodworms: bloodworm is the name for different kinds of creatures that are similar to worms. However, usually, they are effectively larvae of the midge fly and characterized by a bright red color. These are an incredible source of protein and nutrients for your betta.  (Be warned they should only be fed in moderation.)
  • Daphniathese include a variety of small aquatic fleas. These are great to improve the digestive system of your betta fish and can help them fight constipation if your fish is affected by it. 
  • Fruit Flies: fruit flies are an incredible source of protein for your betta fish and can be found easily in shops and stores.  
  • Mosquito larvae: Similar to bloodworms, these larvae can be found in large quantities in the wild and often make up a large percentage of your betta fish diet. 
  • Other small fish: as we have already seen, betta fish are carnivores and predators. This means that they will feed on any other small fishes that live around them. 

If you look at all these ingredients that betta fish eat naturally in the wild, you’ll understand why goldfish food is not great for them. In fact, goldfish food is made mostly of vegetables and fruit to reflect the normal diet of a goldfish in the wild. 

What Food Is Good for Bettas? 

So instead of feeding your betta goldish food, here are some other great food sources you can give to your betta, to help make sure they stay happy and healthy!

Betta Fish Food Flakes 

These flakes are designed to be the perfect addition to the diet of your betta. Usually, they contain all the nutrients they might need. While not as nutritious as freshly prepared food, these flakes are perfect if you are looking for a quick and easy alternative to your classic goldfish food. And most of the time you won’t have to worry about introducing another kind of food into their diets. 

Pellets For Betta Fish 

Pellets are almost everything you need to guarantee a healthy and balanced diet to your betta fish. They are, in fact, much higher-quality than classic flakes, they are often fresher and packed with all the nutrients your betta fish needs during its life.

However, if you are feeding pellets to your betta fish, you will realize that in a lot of cases, they’re slightly more expensive than flakes.

Frozen And Dried Food

These are usually larvae or insects that can be fed to your betta fish to simulate their natural diet. When picking between frozen or dried foods, you should know that dried food is often not as nutritious as frozen food.

In fact, since the moisture is removed from the packet, many of the nutrients contained naturally in the larvae are lost

Live Foods

These are by far the best for your betta fish. However, this solution comes with a number of drawbacks that often stop most owners from feeding them to their betta fish. To buy this kind of food you will need to find a seller that is fully kitted with proper farms and, to store live food, you will need larger containers. 

Lastly, this kind of food is not always available everywhere, which can make it difficult to supply your betta fish with a well-balanced diet. 

(Check out the best live food for betta fish. Or if you’re not sure about giving them live food, here are the best foods in general for your betta.)

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What Will Happen If You Feed Your Betta Goldfish Food? 

So now you have an idea of the right food to feed to your betta fish to ensure that they can thrive on a well-balanced diet. However, we have also seen that technically, betta fish can eat and digest goldfish food. So how can these two factors coexist?  

To master the art of betta fish care, you need a comprehensive guide. Click here to read one!

Well, yes, betta fish can eat goldfish food. However, a diet based solely on this sort of food will lead to serious health conditions that can make your betta fish sick or even die. Mainly, this is because, as you know, goldfish food is made for a more omnivore diet such as the one of a goldfish. While a large amount of carbs, vegetables, and fruit is perfect for a goldfish, such diet will leave your betta fish short of important proteins. 

So, let’s have a look at what will happen if your betta fish follows only a diet based on goldfish food and what the risk factors can be. 

Lack Of Protein Can Lead Your Betta To Attack Other Fish 

A lack of protein in the diet of a carnivore animal can be extremely detrimental to their health. In fact, if you are feeding the wrong food to your betta fish, you will see a number of effects that may easily worry you. 

If your betta fish is not eating or eating the wrong food, he or she will try to find the protein they need in their diet from other sources. If your betta fish is living in an aquarium with other smaller fish, the first thing that will happen is that your betta will try to attack the other inhabitants of the aquarium. While this might not always end up in the death of the bettas’ tankmates, it can definitely hurt them. 

(Check out the ultimate betta fish feeding guide.)

A Lack Of Protein Can Have An Effect On The Size Of Your Betta 

The second problem that can arise from a diet low in proteins is a reduced size in your betta. In fact, especially during the first years of its life, if you notice your betta not growing properly or remaining small, you should have a look into whether their diet is correct. 

With a correct diet, a betta fish can reach a length of 7cm. A poorly executed diet can reduce this number to 5 or even 4cm. This can affect the development of muscles and bones as well. 

Your Betta Will Stop Eating 

If the food you are giving your betta fish isn’t good enough, you will notice your betta may stop eating. Such a problem can lead to even more serious conditions, such as anxiety and stress. If your betta fish is suffering from a poor diet, you will notice a change in their behavior and looks. 

(Check out other reasons your betta may not be eating or spitting out food.)


So, if you find yourself low on betta fish food on a Sunday afternoon when every shop and store is closed, you may feed them goldfish food. While occasionally this won’t have any major effects on their health, a diet based entirely on goldfish food can result in serious health problems for your betta fish. 

In fact, it is not uncommon to see your betta attacking other fish in the aquarium or stop eating altogether if she or he is not supplied with enough proteins. If this happens, you should consider speaking to your vet immediately and change the diet of your fish. Some of the best options for your betta fish are pellet, dry or frozen food, and flakes. 

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