Looking after any fish requires a bit of specialist knowledge about the species and their individual needs. Fortunately, it’s usually pretty straightforward to find out how to care for your fish properly, as long as you’re doing a bit of research for yourself.
One of the most common questions that new owners have is: how often should you feed a betta fish?
It is generally recommended to feed a betta fish twice or three times every day, making sure that you are not giving them too much with each portion. How regularly you should feed your betta and how much you give them at a time can be different depending on how old they are and their size.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to feed your betta fish in the right way so that you know they are going to get the right nutrition and be as healthy and happy as possible.
What Do Betta Fish Eat?
Betta fish are carnivorous animals, so they need to get a lot of protein in their diets. There are many different foods that are great for betta fish, and they benefit from enjoying a variety of different types of fish food.
Don’t forget that betta fish are surface feeders, so they prefer food that doesn’t sink to the bottom of the tank. They can usually catch food that does sink, but it’s a lot easier to choose foods that are designed to float.
High-quality pellets are a great staple in your betta’s diet, but it can be hard to choose the right one. The best pellets you can find are those that have been formulated specifically for betta fish and contain quality protein-based ingredients. Look out for real fish at the top of the ingredients list and avoid anything that is packed with plant-based fillers.
When it comes to fish food, flakes are probably the most well-known product on the market. Not all flakes are suitable for bettas – you need to look for some that are high-quality and contain a lot of crude proteins. Just like with pellets, don’t choose any flakes that mainly contain plant-based ingredients, as they can cause problems for your betta.
One of the healthiest and most enjoyable meals for your betta fish is live food. It is engaging and rewarding for your betta to eat, and it generally provides the most nutrition for them as well. Mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp are among the best options out there.
Live food can be a little awkward to handle, and there is always a small risk of introducing parasites to your tank, but bettas absolutely love to eat it.
If you’re looking for something that’s a little easier to store and handle than live food, frozen options can provide a lot of the same benefits with less hassle. You can find most live food in frozen form. It is usually best to thaw out your frozen food completely before dropping it into the tank.
Another convenient option is freeze-dried foods. These foods are not quite as nutritious as they would be live, but they keep for a long time and are very easy to offer up as treats or occasional meals. These foods have had all of the moisture removed so that they are well preserved.
Freeze-dried foods can expand a lot inside of your betta’s stomach, so it’s important not to give your fish too much, as it can lead to blockages and constipation.
How Often Should You Feed a Betta Fish in A Day?
When it comes to how often you should be feeding your betta fish, it’s generally better to go for a couple of smaller meals rather than one big one. Bettas have a simple gastrointestinal tract with a short esophagus, so they can struggle to take on all of their daily food in one go.
Two or even three small meals throughout the day is a much healthier schedule for your fish to manage and, ultimately, less likely to cause problems. You should wait at least 4-6 hours between meals to allow your betta to digest their food properly.
You should also be allowing your betta to fast every one or two weeks. This means not feeding them anything for just one day every week or two to allow their digestive system to catch up on undigested food.
How Often Do You Feed a Baby Betta Fish?
Not all betta fish need the same amount of food, and it usually depends on their age and size. Baby bettas will need much smaller meals more often. You should be feeding your baby betta fish between 3 and 5 times per day, up until they are fully grown at around 7 months.
Baby bettas can only take on very small amounts at a time, and it is really important for their health that you don’t overfeed them. Make sure that the portion sizes and pieces of food that you are offering are small enough for them to handle.
You may need to adjust how much you are feeding your baby betta quite regularly, as their needs will change as they grow, but you need to be very careful that you don’t get into a habit of offering them too much.
How Much Should You Feed Your Betta Fish?
Although they can be quite greedy fish, bettas actually don’t need to consume large amounts of food at a time. Their stomachs are very tiny – only about the size of one of their eyes – so that is about the amount of food that they need for each meal.
Over the whole day, a full-size betta should generally be eating between 4 and 6 pieces of food, depending on how large those pieces are. That generally means 2 or 3 pieces of food at a time.
A good way to tell if your betta is able to take on the amount of food that you are giving them is to see how long it takes them to eat and whether anything is left over. Your betta should be able to eat all their food in 2-5 minutes, and if there is anything left behind, then the portion was too big.
The Dangers of Overfeeding Betta Fish
Overfeeding your betta fish is a real risk, particularly because they are usually quite greedy and don’t often stop eating just because they’ve had enough. Too much food can pose a lot of risks to your betta’s health and general well-being.
They Can Become Lethargic
Too much food can cause your betta to become overly tired, less active, and unhealthy. If your bettas are not as lively as they should be, it might be because they are eating too much.
They Can Become Overly Aggressive
Many people have reported seeing more aggression and general discontent from their betta fish if they have been overfed. If you want your fish to be calm and happy, they should be eating a healthy amount every day.
They Can Develop Diarrhea
Overfeeding can lead to all kinds of digestive problems for your betta fish, including diarrhea as well as constipation. If you notice anything abnormal about the way that your betta is processing their food, it might be because they are overfed.
They Can Become Constipated
Constipation is a common issue that overfed bettas can develop. Not being able to expel waste properly will lead to a build-up of feces which causes them to bloat and allows toxins to build up in their body. This will often lead to other issues as well.
They Can Become Bloated
One of the most obvious signs of overfeeding is a bloated stomach, which will look swollen and uncomfortable. Severe bloating can put a lot of pressure on the internal organs and lead to other health problems.
They Can Develop Bladder Problems
Overfeeding, combined with constipation and bloating, can cause bladder problems for your fish. With the extra pressure and swelling around their digestive system, they can find it very difficult to regulate their swim bladder.
The swim bladder is a small gas-filled sac that helps your fish to stay buoyant and swim the right way up. If your betta develops bladder problems, they can find swimming very difficult. They may end up swimming upside-down or on their side until the pressure is released.
They Can Develop Diabetes, Obesity, and Other Diseases
There are many other health problems associated with overfeeding, and some of them can be deadly for your betta. Obesity, diabetes, and a large number of other conditions can be caused or exacerbated by eating too much.
What Should You Do If Your Betta Fish Is Overfed?
If you notice any signs that your betta fish is overfed, you need to adjust their diet. You can reduce the amount of food that you are offering them, or you might change the type of fish food that you are using. You might also make changes to their environment to help them get more exercise and burn off the food they are consuming.
Betta fish need a water temperature of around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and they will often gain weight if they are in water that is too cold. Low-quality water that is not properly filtered can also lead to overfeeding.
If you notice any serious signs that your betta fish has been overfed, you should get in touch with a vet to see if there are any medical problems that you need to address. Overfeeding and the issues it causes can be deadly for your betta, so it is important to keep an eye on their diet and well-being.
How Often Do Betta Fish Eat in The Wild Vs. In A Home Tank?
In the wild, betta fish have a less regular eating pattern because they naturally live in environments that can have limited food supplies for some parts of the year, like rice paddies and shallow streams. At other times throughout the year, food is plentiful, and they will eat a lot more.
In a tank, however, bettas benefit from a much healthier feeding schedule. Bettas are hardy fish that are able to survive harsh conditions without consistent access to food, but they shouldn’t have to.
How Often Should You Feed a Betta Fish Bloodworm?
It is best to only feed bloodworms to your betta once or twice a week. You should view this kind of food as a treat for your betta fish rather than a staple of their diet because they are quite rich. Feeding your betta bloodworms every day can lead to issues like constipation.
How Often Should You Feed a Betta Fish Flakes?
When it comes to fish flakes, you can feed your betta fish up to twice a day, but you should try to vary their meals as well. A diet of just fish flakes is rarely nutritious enough to keep a betta fish as healthy as possible, so you should also offer them live food or pellets as well.
How Often Should You Feed a Betta Fish Pellets?
As is the case for fish flakes, you should feed your betta some fish pellets about twice per day. Again, this should not be their only source of food, but it can be a staple of their diet.
Be aware of how large the specific pellets you are choosing are, as you will need to adjust the number you give to your fish according to the size of the pellets themselves.
Recap: How Often Should You Feed a Betta Fish?
In summary, it is best to feed your betta fish multiple smaller meals throughout the day rather than one big one. Two or three meals are the right amount for most bettas, and they should be at least 4-6 hours apart.
Your betta should be getting a varied, high-quality, protein-rich diet that incorporates multiple different food sources. You might feed them pellets and/or flakes as the core of their diet but offer live food, frozen food, or freeze-dried options as weekly treats as well.
It’s important that you don’t overfeed your betta as this can lead to many different health problems. If you are at all concerned about the well-being of your betta fish, you should get in contact with your vet to see if there is anything that you need to do.