There is quite a lot to think about when it comes to feeding your fish. You don’t just need to know what foods are right for them and how much they need; you should also know how they prefer to be fed. If you’re looking after bettas, then you’ve probably wondered, will betta fish eat food off the bottom of the tank?
Betta fish like to eat food that is floating, as this is closer to how they would feed in their natural environment. They are mostly surface to mid-level feeders, but they might eat food from the bottom of the tank as well. Generally, you will want to feed them flakes or pellets that float to avoid having uneaten food spoil in the tank and contaminating the water.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the way that betta fish like to eat and where they will collect food from in your tank. Read ahead to also find out when and why you might see your betta eating from the bottom of the tank.
Do Bettas Eat at the Top or Bottom of The Tank?
Betta fish primarily feed at the surface or the mid-level of the water in a fish tank. In the wild, bettas will eat insects and other small prey that is generally found floating near the surface level, so they like to eat this way in their tanks as well.
You can tell that bettas are mid-to-surface feeders by looking at their mouths and eyes. They have evolved to look up through the water and catch food that is above them using their upturned mouths. Bottom feeders, like catfish, have downturned mouths to help them hoover up food from the floor instead.
Most betta fish food is designed to float so that they can eat all of it before it can sink to the bottom. When they’re eating, bettas should be able to finish a meal in around 2-5 minutes, and they shouldn’t leave much behind.
Will Betta Fish Eat Food Off the Bottom Of The Tank?
You might notice your betta fish feeding from the bottom of the tank, even if it’s not their preferred way to eat. When it comes to choosing the right food for your betta, though, you should always look for something that floats.
Sinking pellets are preferred by some fish species, but they are not the first choice for bettas. Your betta will probably struggle to eat enough of its meals if they sink to the bottom of the tank too quickly, and a build-up of uneaten food can contaminate the water.
Why Are My Fish Eating At The Bottom Of The Tank?
Sometimes you may notice your betta fish hunting for food at the bottom of the tank or picking up scraps that have fallen during mealtimes. It is usually not a cause for concern and can happen for several different reasons. If they are constantly swimming at the bottom of the tank, though, they may be having trouble with their swim bladder.
They Are Greedy
Most betta fish are pretty greedy. In the wild, they often go for long periods without getting a meal, so they like to snatch up as much as they can. Although it is not their natural way to feed, your betta might be searching around at the bottom of the tank because they have a big appetite and are looking for extra food.
You Are Feeding Too Much
Most betta fish won’t eat food that has fallen to the bottom of the tank, but some will. If there is food leftover in the tank after a meal, your betta might find it and eat it later, which is not great for their dietary health.
You should be careful to avoid overfeeding your betta, as this can cause several health problems, and you don’t want to let food spoil in the tank. Spoiled food can make your betta fish quite ill, and it can contaminate the water as well.
They Are Curious
Betta fish are naturally curious animals that like to search around and explore their environment. You may notice them picking around at the bottom of the tank, but they might not be feeding. Sometimes, your bettas are just investigating the world around them.
They Are Having Trouble Swimming
It is possible that feeding from the bottom of the tank is a sign that something is not quite right with your betta fish. If they are having trouble swimming upright or making their way to the surface, they may be having problems with their swim bladder. This is commonly a result of Swim Bladder Disease (SBD).
The swim bladder is an organ that allows your betta fish to remain upright and control how buoyant they are. If they are overfed or struggling with SBD, then they may find it hard to swim the right way up and get stuck near the bottom of the tank.
If you are concerned with how your betta is swimming, you should get in touch with your vet.
Should Bettas Only Be Fed Floating Food?
Ideally, you should be giving your betta floating food rather than food that sinks. Though some bettas are happy to eat from the bottom of the tank, many will not touch anything that sinks all the way to the floor. If they are not able to catch their food in time, then they can miss out on vital nutrition.
Most of the high-quality food options that are formulated specifically for bettas will be designed to float in the range where they like to feed. You should also supplement their staples with some live, frozen, and/or freeze-dried food to add variety to their diets.
Recap: Will Betta Fish Eat Food Off the Bottom of The Tank?
In summary, most betta fish naturally feed at the surface or the mid-level of the water, and many won’t eat food that has fallen to the bottom of their tank. Some bettas, on the other hand, simply don’t mind where they find their meals.
You should aim to buy high-quality floating fish food for your bettas, preferably ones that have been specially formulated for their needs. If your betta is often feeding on the bottom of the tank, then you may be giving them too much at mealtimes, or they may be struggling with swimming problems that you should investigate.
If you’re worried about how your betta is swimming or feeding, you should contact your vet.