How To Tell If Betta Fry Are Eating (6 Ways To Encourage Feeding)

Many betta fish owners, at some point in time, like to start breeding their fish. What you then end up with is a large handful of betta fry (betta hatchlings) that you are now responsible for feeding on a daily basis. This is all manageable; however, it can sometimes be difficult knowing how to tell if betta fries are eating and whether they’re eating as much as they should be. Read on to find out our best tips to help you determine whether your fry is eating and how to make sure they do. 

Are My Betta Fry Eating?

When caring for betta fry, you need to be aware that they require a strict feeding routine in their early days of life. Without maintaining this schedule, you run the risk of them dying off or becoming malnourished with disorders like swim bladder disease

Ideally, you should feed betta fries live foods such as infusoria, worms, tiny shrimp, and other foods that support healthy growth. Once they begin free swimming, they need to get fed 3-4 small daily meals, except for one day a week that’s reserved for fasting.

It’s pretty instinctual for betta fry to eat whatever food is nearby and available. However, if you begin to wonder whether they’re eating enough or regularly, you may need to make some changes in their food, schedule, or living conditions. 

Trumpet Snails and Otocinclus catfish feeding on soft algae with Betta fish swimming  at the top of aquarium

How To Tell If Betta Fry Are Eating

Fortunately, there are a few key ways to tell if your betta fries are eating and whether or not they’re eating sufficiently to keep them healthy. First, take note of how many fries you have in the same tank. If there is too much competition among them, they may be fighting for food and, thus, underfed. 

The second sign to look for is the coloration and shape of their stomachs. When they’re eating as they should, betta fry will have full, round stomachs that take on the color of their food. Whether that’s white after eating micro-worms, orangish pink for brine shrimp, or some other color, it will clue you in on their eating habits.

Poor eating habits can also cause issues like swim bladder disease, which causes betta fry to get stuck sliding or swimming along the bottom of the tank. If you notice that they’re exhibiting this behavior, they might be underfed or in danger of getting underfed because they can only access droppings at the bottom of the tank.

How To Make Sure Your Betta Fry Are Eating

If you find that your betta fry is not eating enough, you should take some steps to make food more readily available to them or more to their liking. You can try one or more of the following tips, acting swiftly, to ensure that your betta fry doesn’t end up with poorly developed organs or bad health. 

Make Sure There Is Plenty of Food

Betta fries need enough food in their tanks to keep them growing among their tank mates. Sometimes, betta fry will hatch with 50-100 other siblings at once. If they run out of food, they might start eating each other. 

Make Sure You Feed Them Often Enough

You should also stick to a frequent, small meal schedule of 3-4 times per day. Betta fries need small meals, or else their stomachs can get compromised.

Avoid Dried Foods

As a rule of thumb, betta fries need fresh or frozen foods that are also wet. If you don’t moisten or soak their dried foods before adding them to the tank, the food won’t expand before entering their stomachs. If this occurs, you run the risk of food expanding in their digestive tracts, causing bloating and expansion that will upset their stomachs and make it hard to eat.

(Find out how you can make your Betta fry grow faster here.)

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Don’t Let Them Overeat

Overfeeding and feeding too quickly lead to bloating and constipation as well, which can cause the fish to struggle to eat more in the coming days. Upset digestive tracts will cause betta fry to be sick and uncomfortable. It also leads to swim bladder disorder, which can cause fry to get stuck at the bottom of the tank without access to fresh food.

Opt for Fresh or Frozen Food

Dried pellets and flakes may contain substances that betta fry cannot digest, such as corn or wheat. Instead of using them, opt for fresh or frozen food, which betta fry are more likely to eat, as they fuel their carnivorous diets. 

Here are the reasons why your Betta is eating Algae wafers.

Keep the Water Clean

Betta fry may not eat their food if the tank water isn’t clean. Particulates can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, leading to bacteria and parasites that make your betta fry sick. When this occurs, they may stop eating regularly, get sick, or die. 


How Long Can Betta Fry Go Without Food?

For the first few days of life, betta fry will go without food just fine. But once they’re free swimming, they should only go one day per week without food. On the remaining days of the week, they should get fed about 3 or 4 times a day. 

Can Bettas Fry Be Overfed?

Yes, overfeeding betta fry is a serious problem and can lead to obesity, disease contraction, bloating, digestive issues, and problems that cause them to develop improperly, aside from death. You should only feed them about as much as they can eat in 3-5 minutes per meal. 


If you are raising betta fry in a home aquarium, you should be aware of the delicate feeding habits they require. Betta fries need to get fed several times a day, and if they don’t have the right food, they may end up diseased and have other health issues. You can typically tell whether your fries have been eating by examining their stomachs and seeing if they’re enlarged or taking on the color of their food. If you need to make sure they keep eating, give them high-quality fresh or frozen food in a clean tank of water. 

About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!