Daphnia for Betta Fish (Everything You Need To Know)

Letting loose some daphnia into your Betta’s tank can really help your beautiful fish show off what he is capable of. You, as the fish keeper, will get a huge kick out of watching your betta go for it, and your Betta will love the chance to pursue and eat the daphnia.

So, how can we as Betta keepers do this in a safe way? This article aims to inform you of all you need to know when it comes to getting some daphnia into your betta’s tank. We will even cover how to handle this with Betta fry. Stay with us for some great information.

What Is Daphnia?

These are small fleas of the aquatic variety. They are very nutritious for a betta fish, and they act as a sort of digestion helper as well as a laxative for the betta. Many Bettas, even farm-raised ones, will happily eat daphnia.

If you raise bettas yourself and would like to make sure your fish enjoys daphnia, feed them daphnia that is live as well as frozen. Freeze-dried daphnia works well also, but you will have to soak it for 10 to 15 minutes before giving it to your betta fish. This will allow them to expand to their true size and avoid discomfort and blocking in your fish.

Is Daphnia Good for Bettas?

Yes. Daphnia is similar to what a Betta fish would eat if they lived in the wild, so it’s great for your fish. You can buy daphnia in three forms: frozen, freeze-dried or live. You can also breed daphnia at home if you have the capability. These foods can also be bought online or at a reputable pet store. Even living daphnia can be purchased.

It is advised that you keep freeze-dried versions of Daphnia to a minimum. This is because it can be lacking in nutrients compared to some other versions of this food. And be sure to keep feedings to 1.8 grams a day for the entire day.

The only major “con” to giving daphnia to bettas is that they can have parasites or bacteria that end up harming your fish. Tuberculosis, although rare, can be contracted. The infection can spread to other fish in your tank, too.

Although a good pet store will stock only clean daphnia, there is no 100% guarantee of safety. Look for daphnia stored in a watertight package. Or, if you feel safer, buy the daphnia eggs and hatch it in your own home.

Bear in mind, however, there are no 100% foolproof ways to avoid disease.

Is Daphnia Good for Betta Constipation?

Yes, giving your Betta fish daphnia will help them with constipation.

Constipation is very common in betta fish, and you can fix it by just changing up their diets a bit. One of the best ways to spot constipation on a betta is a bloated stomach. You should look down from the top of your tank instead of from the sides, as it is easier to detect this way.

Quick Side Note: If you notice scales sticking out, or the whole body swelling up, this could be a sign of something more serious (like dropsy) and you should talk to an aquatic veterinarian. You should also look for lack of waste in your betta’s tank.

In some cases, constipation might lead to swim bladder disease. So look for a betta that can’t seem to upright himself in the water. The swim bladder, which is a part of your fish that controls his ability to swim properly, can have pressure placed upon it to the point where he is swimming upside down or even on his side. Once this pressure is removed, normal swimming will resume.

Overfeeding results in constipation. Bettas are sensitive to this matter and should be fed that magic number of 1.8 grams per day. Dried daphnia swell once they are inside the digestive tract of the betta. Add to this the fact that some fish foods contain fillers like rice or oatmeal, and you have a recipe for disaster.

You can avoid this by soaking daphnia in water for about 15 minutes before feeding. By doing this, the daphnia has already swelled, and you can better estimate the amount your betta needs.

(Have you ever thought about feeding your betta bloodworms?)

Can You Give Betta Fry Daphnia?

You can absolutely give them daphnia. In fact, daphnia for betta fish fry is a very good thing. Newly hatched bettas will be very hungry and ready to eat once they become free from their egg sacs.

You cannot feed daphnia right away; rather at age 3-4 weeks old your betta fry will be ready to eat daphnia. It is recommended you give them the frozen kind, as these contain vitamins needed for growth.

Plus, these frozen foods are decontaminated to be free of any parasites and bacteria before they reach you. Given that betta fry needs to eat about 3-4 small meals a day, these are a great way to give your betta some variety.

What Daphnia Is Best?

Obviously you know daphnia can be given to your betta in 3 different ways. Frozen, live and freeze-dried, but which one is best?

Live Daphnia

Live Daphnia is one of the most common foods that bettas can eat, and it’s very high in fiber and protein. This makes a great supplement for those of us that feed our bettas pellets and flakes. It keeps the digestive system humming along.

The fibrous skeletal system plus the large amounts of plant matter that daphnia consumes is beneficial for your betta. And your Betta will get the benefits of these two things.

You can find daphnia nearly anywhere-in ponds and other bodies of water (however, it’s not recommended to feed wild ones to your betta, as they may contain parasites).

If you are very industrious, though, breeding these yourself is not difficult. You can buy some initially and then breed them, saving yourself money as time goes by.

Live daphnia should be given in amounts of about 4-6 per feeding. Overfeeding could make your fish sick or overweight.

  • They Can be bred easily.
  • Easily found just about anywhere.
  • Your fish will love hunting live prey.
  • May contain parasites and/or bacteria.
  • Chemicals may also be contained.
  • It is easy to overfeed with live food.


These are freeze-dried versions of the daphnia that your betta enjoys and are still a good source of fiber. They also will have the same effects as live daphnia when it comes to the digestive system effects.

They are good for owners who do not have the ability to hunt or breed live daphnia, and many reputable brands such as Hikari sell them in pet shops and online. Good brands will use top techniques to freeze the food and keep it as close to fresh as they can.

The color and texture, plus the taste, will be enjoyable for your fish. And, you need not worry about parasites and bacteria like you would with live daphnia.

Another great thing about freeze-dried daphnia is that you can use it as a carrier for your fish’s medication. Soak the food in water mixed with the medicine you intend to give your fish. The fish will then ingest his food and recover faster.

  • No need to worry about harmful parasites.
  • It makes a great carrier for medicines.
  • Quality brands will still have color and taste fish look for.


  • Should not be given on regular basis-can expand in the stomach.
  • It is advised to soak freeze-dried food in water before giving to fish.

These daphnia come in cube form most of the time. It depends on the manufacturer, and the size will vary, but your main goal in administering daphnia for betta fish is to make sure you give him an appropriate amount of food. A betta has a stomach the size of his eyeball, so it doesn’t take much.

Don’t give a whole cube to your betta. Cut them up into four small pieces, then take one of those pieces and make it smaller. Set them on a paper plate to defrost for about 15 minutes and let him go at it.

It’s a real winner because it still has good laxative benefits and nutrients as you would expect from live daphnia, but you don’t have to do all the work of raising or finding them yourself.

  • No need to worry about harmful bacteria or parasites.
  • They keep for a long time.
  • These are clean and easy to handle.
  • Takes a while before you can feed your betta.
  • You have to cut them into very small pieces.

How Much Daphnia Should You Feed Your Betta?

You shouldn’t feed your Betta more than 1.8 grams of daphnia. Remember that 1.8 grams a day for the average Betta is enough.

When it comes to the appropriate amount of daphnia for Bettas, you should feed them one whole portion of food a day or two halves twice a day.

The twice a day method is better as it is more stimulating to your Betta. You can give them pellets in the morning and then a .9 g of daphnia in the evening, for instance.

Of course, you are not going to be measuring out that food each and every day. Some days, your Betta may need more or less to eat. Just be sure to remove any uneaten food so the water stays free of contaminants.

(Find out whether you can feed your betta goldfish food!)

How Often Should You Feed Your Betta Daphnia?

We recommend that you feed your betta twice per day in the form of two .9-gram servings. This keeps your betta alert and stimulated, and you get the joy of watching him eat twice per day. Be sure to stick with the recommended amount, as you do not want your fish becoming overweight or sick.

Growing Your Own Daphnia

You can culture daphnia in any container so long as it is nontoxic and able to hold water. Aquariums are the ideal container as you can keep track of the growth of daphnia, and it is easier to see how much you should feed, and so on. Start by buying daphnia from a reputable source.

Daphnia can be bought at specialty shops specializing in fish, or you can search spots freshwater lakes and ponds for them (however, this isn’t recommended).

After you become well versed in the process, you can use other containers like plastic storage tubs or small trash cans. 20 gallons is the ideal size, but you may raise smaller cultures in smaller spaces.

You should keep the temp between 65 to 70 degrees F. Raising the daphnia in the cellar or other cold spots in your home is ideal. If the temp goes above 75 degrees, the daphnia will slowdown in growth. The daphnia can survive in these warm temperatures, but during the warmer months, you will notice less production.

Your best bet is to fill up your containers with pond water or water from a local spring. You should let it rest, untouched and without a cover for many days before you add in daphnia. This lets harmful gases escape.

Put these containers in places that feature plenty of sunlight and inoculate with euglena, chlamydomonas, or chlorella. After this culture has sat for 2-3 days and appears to be green in color, you may now introduce the daphnia.

To keep the daphnia growing, add some green water from an aquarium or natural water source. You need only one cupful every other week. If algae are not available, you can make use of a thick, distilled water suspension of yeast so that the daphnia can feed.

You should add enough yeast mixture so that your water turns a bit cloudy- a spoonful is fine if culturing daphnia in a jar, meanwhile a cup could be enough to suit a 20-gallon aquarium or storage bin.

Make sure you culture your daphnia on a regular schedule. Harvesting the population of daphnia on a regular basis is necessary, as your cultures shall remain in good shape and continue to serve you and your bettas well. Although a large daphnia culture can last for months, waste that accumulates in the culture can affect the daphnia’s viability in a negative way.

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Daphnia is great for Bettas young and old. The nutrients contained within plus the food’s ability to keep your fish regular make them a valuable resource for keeping your fish healthy as can be.

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