Last Updated: July 13, 2022 by Flora Gibbins
There is a large variety of tropical fish flakes available, they are often cheaper than betta pellets so you might wonder can betta fish eat tropical flakes?
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The short answer is yes, but you should always make sure your fish food is suitable for a betta and you should feed your betta a variety of foods and not just flakes or pellets.
Betta Fish Dietary Requirements And Feeding Habits
In nature, bettas are carnivores that eat insects, mosquito larvae, and worms. A betta’s diet should be at least 30% protein and more protein is almost always better. It’s also best to keep the fat content low so you don’t end up with an obese fish.
All animals benefit from a varied diet and a betta is no exception, I buy three different staple foods and alternate them. As well as offering live and frozen foods occasionally.
Betta Fish love live foods, frozen foods, and freeze-dried foods as a treat. I recommend trying all kinds of different foods in these categories.
The best nutrients and enrichment comes from feeding live food. The easiest live food to do at home is brine shrimp.
Can betta eat tropical flakes? If the tropical fish flakes are formulated for carnivores or omnivores and have at least 30% protein then yes. This means that most tropical fish flakes will be suitable for bettas because tropical fish are omnivores.
Most bettas eat fish flakes but some might refuse to, if you have a picky betta you might need to try a few different foods to get your betta to eat. Some betta fish owners say their bettas won’t eat flakes, but I have never had that problem.
What Is The Best Betta Fish Food?
Betta fish tend to eat at the top and middle of the aquarium, the best betta food will sink slowly for them to hunt in the water column or even float for a while for your betta to eat at the top.
The best betta fish foods will be 35% protein or higher and the first ingredient should be a meat of some kind.
Flakes Or Pellets
Most people use betta pellets as the main food source because it’s easier to control how much food your betta fish gets and it’s believed that pellets are, at least slightly, more nutritional than similar quality flakes but that doesn’t mean that flakes are bad.
Flake or pellet doesn’t matter that much as long as you buy quality food and make sure you don’t overfeed or underfeed your pet. If you go with pellets I recommend slow-sinking pellets or floating pellets. With flakes, I recommend wafers or granules.
If you overfeed pellets are easier to clean up and flakes are more likely to pollute the water. This is especially important if you keep your betta in a small or unfiltered tank.
Fish Flakes That Are Not Suitable For Bettas
Some fish flakes are made for herbivores and even if they have enough protein most betta fish will not eat these flakes. Avoid any flakes that have algae or vegetables as the first ingredient, tropical fish food is almost always meat-based.
Determining Quality Of Tropical Fish Flakes
Quality food and proper nutrition are important for bettas. I like to buy tropical fish flakes where the first ingredient is a whole fish or invertebrate. I also make sure that none of the top 3 ingredients are plants or carbohydrates.
The best quality tropical fish food is going to have more whole ingredients and fewer ‘meal’ ingredients.
Low-quality food often has much higher carbohydrate content, this is what causes digestion issues for many fish, so I recommend avoiding these foods for any fish, not just bettas.
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When overfeeding bettas or feeding them lower-quality food there is a risk that the betta fish could become constipated which if not treated can kill a betta fish. If your betta fish has digestion issues, then you should increase the quality and variety of your food after treating constipation.
Constipation in betta fish can be treated by using Epsom salt at one tablespoon per gallon and fasting your betta for a couple of days. In severe cases, some people feed peas or daphnia as a source of fiber to help with constipation.
Live, Frozen, And Freeze-Dried Foods
Live food provides the best nutritional value as well as enrichment from hunting. Frozen is better than freeze-dried food but both are great additions to a betta’s diet. Be sure your betta fish is also getting pellets or flakes as their staple food.
Freeze-Dried Betta Food
Freeze-dried betta food is not as expensive or difficult to store as live or frozen because of that freeze-dried foods can be the most economical treat for your bettas. Common options are freeze-dried bloodworms, freeze-dried brine shrimp, and freeze-dried Gammarus shrimp.
Live and Frozen Betta Food
Any frozen food will work for bettas so whatever they sell at your local pet store will make a great treat. I like to buy a different type every time I run out and my bettas seem to enjoy alternating between them.
I love feeding my fish live food. I keep active cultures of blackworms, scud, seed shrimp, springtails, tubifex, vinegar eels, and micro worms. Other popular live foods are bloodworms, wingless fruit flies, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and brine shrimp.
Fun Fact: Bloodworms are a favorite to bettas and other aquatic fish varieties. Know more about this food item by reading our post on Bloodworms For Betta: Are They Safe For Betta Consumption?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can betta fish eat TetraMin Tropical Flakes?
Yes, TetraMin Tropical Flakes are nutritionally complete for betta fish but this is also extremely cheap food and is not the best quality; some bettas may refuse to eat this food.
These flakes are a little bit high in fat and very high in carbohydrates so it is likely to give your betta digestion issues if used as your primary food. I would not use these flakes very often or for a long period for any fish.
Are betta fish flakes better than tropical fish flakes?
Betta flakes are about the same as other tropical fish flakes, check the ingredients for quality and treat betta flakes just like any other fish flake.
How much should I feed my betta fish?
Feed your betta fish 1 to 3 times a day. A betta should eat just under 2 grams of food per day. This is about 4 – 6 pellets when feeding pellets. You can divide that into the number of times you feed in a day and feed 2 – 4 pellets at a feeding.
Measuring flakes is difficult and that is the main reason people use pellets more often, you will have to estimate what your betta fish will eat and make sure you do not feed in excess. A good rule is not to feed any more than your betta can eat in 3 minutes.
Can bettas eat tropical flakes? Yes, but it is best to double-check the label looking for 30% or higher protein and minimal fat. Be sure you are buying tropical fish food and not herbivore flakes.
If you feed your betta cheaper food, keep an eye on your bettas to make sure they don’t become constipated or bloated, and always remember to offer your betta fish a varied diet consisting of at least one staple food as well as live or frozen foods.