Last Updated: February 27, 2023 by Flora Gibbins
Freeze-dried, frozen, or live—Bettas eat all types of food, so it can be confusing when creating a Betta’s diet. And if you have a very picky eater as a pet, providing a balanced diet may be even more challenging.
This article reveals the best Betta food you can get from local fish stores. With some of the fish food below, you shouldn’t have any issues providing these picky eaters with a healthy diet.
- Betta Fish Dietary Needs
- The Best Betta Food Reviewed
- Factors to Consider When Choosing Food for Your Betta
- Tips for Feeding Betta Fish Right
- Betta Fish Rejecting Food
- Frequently Asked Questions
Betta Fish Dietary Needs
Bettas are carnivorous fish, with their diet in the wild consisting primarily of insects and larvae. Contrary to popular belief, these tropical fish can’t live on plants, and their short digestive tract is the most unambiguous indication of their inclination for flesh.
Of course, you’ll find Bettas that eat plants in the wild. However, they’re better off eating foods high in protein from a nutritional standpoint. Another thing is that insects provide Betta fish with fiber, which helps to keep the Betta’s digestive system working as it should.
In addition to protein and fiber, Bettas also need to eat food with moisture, vitamins, and phosphorus.
The Best Betta Food Reviewed
Freeze-dried food, frozen food, live food, flakes, and pellets are five of the most common Betta fish foods to include in your pet’s diet. Let’s look at each one to learn its pros and cons.
Pellets are one of the best Betta fish foods to feed your pet. They’re easy to ration and are higher-quality than other Betta food like flakes. Also, they’re more natural-looking and may appear insect-like to your Betta.
Pellets don’t cost the Earth, and you can get high-quality ones for under ten dollars. Always try to aim for pellets with a minimal amount of fillers, plenty of dried meat, and crude protein content of at least 30%.
You can get sinking pellets if your Betta isn’t eating the ones floating on the water’s surface. The following are the best pellets available:
1. Aqueon Betta Pellets
Aqueon Betta Pellets contain 38% crude protein and are among the best Betta fish food to maintain your Betta’s color.
2. Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets
Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets contain some of the highest percentages of crude proteins you’ll find in Betta pellets—40%, to be exact.
3. Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets
If you have a Betta that finds it hard to eat larger Betta food pellets, Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets are the ones to reach for. Hikari Betta pellets are meant for younger Bettas, but full-grown Betta can also eat them. These pellets contain a 38% crude protein concentration.
4. Ocean Nutrition Atison’s Betta Pro
Ocean Nutrition Atison’s Betta Pro Pellets contain the lowest amount of crude proteins of the pellets on this list, at 36%. However, their small size makes them an excellent choice for fussier eaters.
Unlike the other Betta fish food on this list, flakes don’t have as many essential nutrients.
You’ll need to be careful with the amount of flake foods you add to the tank because they sink to the bottom much quicker than other Betta food. The last thing you want is lots of uneaten food rotting at the bottom of the tank and raising the ammonia levels.
While it may seem like we aren’t the biggest fans of Betta flakes, they’re an excellent alternative to pellets when your Betta shuns the latter of the two food types.
The following Betta fish flakes are the best on the market:
5. TetraPro Betta Crisps
TetraPro Betta Crisps contain a whopping 44% crude proteins. The flakes are made especially for Bettas and contain fewer fillers than other flake foods.
6. Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes
Salmon is the main ingredient in Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes, so this fish food is packed with protein and nutrients. However, the unique selling point of these flakes is they aren’t water-soluble, meaning they won’t break apart in the tank. Therefore, cleaning them is a piece of cake.
Freeze-dried foods contain more nutrients than pellets and flakes, being essentially freeze-dried creatures (with all the moisture sucked out).
However, what they have in nutritional richness, they lack in digestion ease, so they’ll have an arduous journey traveling through your Betta’s stomach. Therefore, it’s best to feed them to your Betta together with pellets to give your fish a healthy diet.
Live food is the closest you can get to feeding your Betta what it usually eats in the wild: small invertebrates and insects. But, while it’s one of the best foods to give to your Betta, it isn’t without drawbacks. The most prominent drawback to living foods is their expense: these foods cost a lot to store, handle, and ship, and you’ll be paying a fee for each service.
Also, they aren’t as widely available as freeze-dried foods, pellets, and flakes, which you can easily buy online.
Moreover, if you’re able to procure live foods for your Betta, there’s always the worry that the creatures may be carriers of parasites, which they’ll pass on to your pet.
Some of the most common live foods you can incorporate into your Betta’s diet include mosquito larvae, daphnia, small insects, and brine shrimp. Additionally, while you can give your Betta bloodworms as an occasional snack, their high-fat content makes one too many bloodworms a big no-no for your Betta’s health.
Another reason why feeding your Betta fish live food is great is that it encourages your fish to hunt, reviving instincts that it hasn’t exercised due to captivity.
Frozen foods contain all the nutrients of live foods at half the price, making them an excellent alternative. Also, the risk of parasitic contamination is lowered due to the frozen nature of this Betta fish food.
To feed your Betta fish frozen food, defrost it in a cup of lukewarm tank water. Dropping the food into the tank as is may cause problems for your Betta during feeding.
Fun Fact: Betta fish have babies called fry. We created a list of our top choice foods for your betta babies and you can learn about them in our post, Betta Fry Food: 7 Ideal Grubs Your Aquatic Babies Crave For.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Food for Your Betta
When choosing food for your Betta, knowing what to look for will result in a healthier, happier pet. Here are some considerations you should make:
High Protein Low Filler
We can’t stress enough that high crude protein content makes all the difference in a Betta’s diet. It’s the first thing you should check when scanning a product’s ingredient list.
If this information proves difficult to decipher, you can check what animals were used to make the food instead.
If there are several animals on the ingredients list, the food is probably healthy. As mentioned earlier, the lowest crude protein percentage a product should have is 30%. Conversely, try to avoid products that contain fillers. You can tell a product has them when it’s vaguely termed as “fish meal,” which tells you nothing about what’s inside.
While it isn’t always possible to find products that don’t contain a little bit of filler, it’s better if filler doesn’t make up the majority of the ingredients—the less meat in the ingredients, the more filler.
Avoid Unnatural Ingredients
If you come across a product with plenty of ingredients whose names you can’t pronounce, it’s best to steer clear of the said product. Likewise, you should avoid products with additives and chemicals, as they provide zero nutritional value for your Betta and may cause more harm than good.
Plant-based foods aren’t the best thing to feed your Betta fish simply because they prefer meat. Therefore, avoid tropical fish food meant for omnivores when choosing a product to feed your Betta fish.
Never choose a product because it’s the most affordable option since it may be of poor quality. Consulting the ingredient list will tell you all you need to know about the quality of flakes and pellets.
Tips for Feeding Betta Fish Right
Knowing how often to feed your Betta fish and the right food quantities are crucial for preventing overfeeding. Here are some tips for feeding Bettas the right way.
Pay Attention to Eating Habits
Bettas can’t regulate their appetites and so aren’t able to tell when they’re full. Therefore, it’s up to you to figure out how much food to give them. You can do this by monitoring your Betta’s eating habits.
Watch the fish as it eats for two minutes, allowing for five if your fish seems to be a slow eater. How much does it eat, and when does it abandon the food?
A good rule of thumb to follow is to give your Betta a meal equivalent to 5% of its body size.
Don’t follow Instructions Blindly
Some food products provide instructions on how often to feed the fish. However, these instructions aren’t always accurate and may lead to health problems if followed. For example, some instructions may direct you to feed your Betta as much as it can eat in five minutes. We wouldn’t recommend you to follow them for your fish’s safety.
Betta Fish Rejecting Food
You may notice your Betta spit out food like pellets. While this isn’t a worrying sign, it’s most likely a sign that the food may be too big for your pet fish to consume.
You can remedy the situation by grinding the food into smaller pieces before feeding it to the fish, and your Betta will have an easier time eating. In the case of frozen foods, you can make them more palatable for your Betta fish by defrosting them before feeding time.
However, if your Betta refuses to eat anything at all, the underlying symptom behind the issue may be more serious. For example, your Betta could be constipated or suffering from swim bladder disease.
Also, stress (due to water changes, a new environment, etc.) may be playing a part in your Betta’s lack of appetite. Poor water conditions like colder than tolerable temperatures may slow your Betta’s metabolism, making it less inclined to eat. You’ll have to do some detective work to diagnose the problem and get a solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should you feed a Betta fish?
Feeding your Betta twice a day should be an adequate amount. Note that you might have to give it time for its digestive system to work, in which case you should take a day or two off from feeding the fish every week.
What happens if you overfeed a Betta fish?
An overfed Betta can become ill and suffer from constipation. You’ll notice that your fish has trouble swimming, and its appearance is unpleasant.
How can I tell whether my Betta is constipated?
The most apparent signs of constipation in Bettas are a bloated stomach and reduced production of fecal matter by the fish. You can solve the issue by not feeding the Betta fish for a couple of days until the bloating subsides.
How long can a Betta fish go without food?
The longest your Betta can go without eating is 14 days. Depriving your fish of food for much longer will result in the poor creature’s demise.
Just because Betta fish eat all types of food doesn’t mean it should be difficult choosing their meal. Therefore, with this article, you now know the Best Betta food available for these picky eaters (compared to other fish).
Food for Betta fish may include pellets, flakes, live food, freeze-dried food, and frozen food, all of which have pros and cons. While flakes and pellets are easier to procure, the former food type doesn’t offer as much nutritional value.
Meanwhile, live food tends to be expensive and risky, while frozen food and freeze-dried bloodworms may be difficult to consume and high in fat.