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? In this article, you’ll find out just how good daphnia is for your betta as well as what type of daphnia is best, whether you can feed it to betta fry and much more!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Key Takeaways:

  • Daphnia serves as a rich source of protein and fiber, making it a nutritious and fun meal for Betta fish.
  • Daphnia comes in three varieties—live, frozen, and freeze-dried—each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
  • Always purchase daphnia from trustworthy retailers and consider hatching daphnia at home to mitigate risks of parasites or bacteria.
  • Daphnia is an effective natural laxative, aiding in digestive health for Betta fish.
  • Daphnia is great for Betta fry that are 3-4 weeks old, providing essential vitamins and protein for growth.
  • DIY Daphnia Cultivation: It’s possible to cultivate your own daphnia at home, offering a consistent and controlled food source.
  • Stick to moderation by offering 5-6 live daphnia pieces 2-3 times a week to avoid overfeeding.
  • You can also try other live food options such as brine shrimp, mosquito larva, and Mysis shrimp for dietary variety.

What Is Daphnia?

Daphnia are the common water fleas you’ll often see in small ponds, and being sold in fish stores. They’re incredibly nutritious for a betta, and they act as a sort of digestion helper as well as a laxative for bettas.

Is Daphnia Good for Bettas?

Daphnia is amazing for bettas when fed to them as part of a balanced diet. Daphnia is rich in protein and fibre, which bettas can often lack in their diet. Live, frozen and freeze-dried daphnia are all recommended. Lastly, if your betta is suffering from constipation, daphnia will relieve them.

If you do plan on giving your betta daphnia, live daphnia is your best choice, followed by froze, and then lastly freeze-dried.

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.

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?

Feeding your betta daphnia is one of the best ways to treat constipation in bettas and help cure them. The fibrous skeletal system and large amounts of plant matter that daphnia consume are great ways to get more fibre into your bettas digestive system, which is the best way to treat constipation.

If your betta is suffering from constipation, you should consider fasting them for a couple of days before introducing daphnia.

(Check out this article for an in-depth guide on how to cure constipation in bettas.)

If you think that your betta is constipated the best way to spot it is to check for 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 (dropsy)You should also look for lack of waste in your betta’s tank.

(Have you ever thought about feeding your betta bloodworms? Find out why daphnia is the better choice)

Daphnia close up

Can You Give Betta Fry Daphnia?

You should feed your betta fry infusoria for their first few days of life, before moving onto daphnia. At 3-4 weeks old your betta fry will be ready to eat daphnia which will provide them with all the vitamins and protein needed for growth.

You can also try to feed your betta fry frozen daphnia as they’re decontaminated and free of any parasites and bacteria that can harm your betta fry.

And due to the fact that betta fry need to eat about 3-4 hours a day, daphnia is a great way to give your betta some variety.

What Type Of 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?

Type of DaphniaProsCons
Live Daphnia– Highest in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.– Risk of parasites or bacteria transmission.
– Can be bred easily.– May contain chemicals.
– Fish enjoy hunting live prey.– Overfeeding risk.
Freeze-Dried Daphnia– No risk of parasites or bacteria.– Expansion in the stomach if not soaked before feeding.
– Convenient for storage.– Lower nutrient content compared to live Daphnia.
– Retains color and taste attractive to fish.
Frozen Daphnia– No risk of harmful bacteria or parasites.– Preparation time required (cutting into small pieces).
– Longer shelf life.– Needs defrosting before feeding.
– Contains good laxative benefits and nutrients.– Cutting into appropriate sizes can be challenging.

Live Daphnia

Live daphnia is highest in fibre and protein as well as much more vitamins and minerals, than freeze-dried or frozen. Making it a great supplement in combination to feeding your bettas pellets and flakes.

The biggest downside of live daphnia however, is the risk of bacteria or parasites being passed into the tank.

Another downside of live daphnia, is that it can hard to keep for a prolonged period of time. If you’re industrious, though, breeding these yourself is not difficult. You can buy some initially and then breed them, saving yourself money as time goes by.

You should only feed your betta live daphnia 2-3 times a week, with only 4-5 going into the tank at a time. Remember, overfeeding can make your betta sick or overweight.

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

Freeze-Dried

Freeze dried daphnia are another form of daphnia that betta’s enjoy, however, while they’re still healthy, they’re not going to contain as much nutrients as live food.

The main benefit of freeze-dried daphnia is that they’re good for people who don’t want to waste live daphnia or store it. Many reputable brands such as Hikari sell them in pet shops and online. And good brands will use top techniques to freeze the food and keep it as close to fresh as they can.

Don’t worry about your betta not enjoying freeze-dried daphnia though. The color and texture, plus the taste, will still be enjoyable for your betta. And, you need not worry about parasites and bacteria like you would with live daphnia, as the freeze drying process kills them all!

However, be warned freeze-dried food is known to expand, so you need to make sure you’re soaking freeze-dried daphnia for a few minutes before giving it to your betta.

There were a lot of times where I couldn’t get my hands on live daphnia, and when I couldn’t I always had a huge pot of freeze-dried daphnia on hand for my betta. I couldn’t recommend it enough. Just make sure you’re soaking it before hand, and then sprinkle 3-4 pieces into your tank.

Pros
  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.
Daphnia

Frozen

Frozen daphnia come in cube form most of the time. It does depends on the manufacturer, and the size will vary, but your main goal in administering daphnia for your betta 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.

Make sure you 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 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, and it’s less risky than freeze dried food which can end up bloating your betta.

Pros
  • No need to worry about harmful bacteria or parasites.
  • They keep for a long time.
  • These are clean and easy to handle.
Cons
  • Takes a while before you can feed your betta.
  • You have to cut them into very small pieces.
IZ.101550: Daphnia galeata; High resolution image available upon request.

How Much & How Often Daphnia Should You Feed Your Betta?

You shouldn’t feed your betta more than 5-6 daphnia at a time 2-3 times a week if it’s live. Freeze-dried or frozen should only be given to your betta, once or twice a week in roughly the same amounts as live food.

Remember even though daphnia is great for bettas, tropical pellets and flakes have been designed specifically for betta’s so you should make sure these are still the main staple of your bettas diet.

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

Growing Your Own Daphnia

Fortunately growing daphnia isn’t hard and you can culture daphnia in any container so long as it is nontoxic and able to hold water.

It’s easiest to buy daphnia from any fish or pet store, or if you have enough time on your hands you can search spots freshwater lakes and ponds for them. (However, caution is advised because you might end up picking up harmful bacteria and diseases.)

Remember that when you’re looking after daphnia you, you should try to keep the water slightly alkaline at about 7.8 and the temperature around 72-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just like bettas, make sure to condition the water before adding daphnia as the chlorine and chloramine in standard tap water is poisonous to daphnia just like the fish in your tank.

Put these containers in places that feature plenty of sunlight so that algae will begin to grow and feed your betta, just remember that the sunlight shouldn’t be too heavy or it may heat the water up too much.

Once all these parameters have been met, you can then add your daphnia to the culture and let them grow and grow, so you have a constant source of food for your betta.

To keep the daphnia growing, you should also add yeast to the water every once in a while as a supplement to the algae that grows. To do this just mix some yeast powder in a container with water, then pour it into your culture. It shouldn’t take too much to do this, just enough to make the water slightly cloudy.

Make sure you culture your daphnia on a regular schedule. Harvesting the population of daphnia on a regular basis is necessary to keep your culture in good shape and continuing to serve you and your betta well.

Just remember, don’t culture more than you need. 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.

Daphnia for Betta Fish (Everything You Need To Know)

What Else Can You Feed Your Betta Apart From Daphnia?

If you don’t want to feed your betta daphnia, there are plenty of other great choices. Brine shrimp, mosquito larva, Mysis shrimp and even blackworms are all great choices and will be delicious snacks for your betta!

Best Daphnia For Bettas

If you’re not sure what daphnia to buy for your betta, I’ve for you covered. While this isn’t going to be as beneficial as live food, it still a great choice!

Hikaria are a well known fish brand, with a great reputation. This extends to their freeze-dried daphnia which is vitamin and protein rich, and a great tasty treat for your betta!

Sale
Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia for Pets, 0.42-Ounce
  • Patented Ratcheting Dispenser Top
  • Will not cloud the water
  • Multi-vitamin rich to reduce stress and stress related diseases

Wrap-Up

As you can see, daphnia is one of the greatest supplements you can give to your betta! Live daphnia is always the best choice, but freeze-dried and frozen are still great. Just make sure you’re not completely replacing your betta’s diet with daphnia as this won’t be healthy for them.

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!

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