Did you know that the spectacular colors of your betta fish are strongly influenced by the diet you feed them? The health of your betta fish is also closely related to its feeding regimen. So what do betta fish eat and what is the best betta fish food?
In this guide, we give you all the information you need about feeding your betta companion to make sure he thrives and maintains the stunning coloration he loves so much.
QUICK COMPARISON OF THE 7 BEST FOODS for betta fish
Here are some of my favorite betta foods. All of these products are of high quality and are suitable for the nutritional needs of a betta fish.
1. OCEAN NUTRITION ATISON’S betta FOOD
>Betta fish need a high-protein feed with a lot of meat content, and these pellets deliver, providing a minimum of 36% protein derived from fishmeal and krill. There are also added fats, fiber, calcium, and vitamins.
- Betta Food from Ocean Nutrition Atison is a premium quality floating pellet food.
- Formulated specifically for betta fish.
- Provides a complete nutritional food for bettas.
- Color enhancement without clouding your tank water.
- Protein level could be higher.
- Protein derived from flour.
2. OMEGA ONE betta BUFFET FLAKES
>Made in the USA, using sustainable Alaskan seafood including salmon, shrimp and herring for superior quality meat protein, Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes are packed with all the nutrients your betta fish needs.
- Made with wild salmon rich in natural beta-carotene for extreme color enhancement.
- It contains 43% protein, along with fat and fiber.
- Insoluble in water, so your tank will not become contaminated.
- The flakes are less starchy than other foods, which helps reduce fish waste.
3. FREEZE-DRIED BLOODWORMS FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY
>San Francisco Bay Freeze-dried bloodworms or glycerin to give these troublemakers their proper name are fly maggots. Bloodworms form a large part of a wild betta’s diet, and this freeze-dried option is a great treat that your fish will appreciate.
- Replicate the wild diet.
- Easy storage.
- Excellent for encouraging picky eaters to eat.
- High protein and iron content.
- They lack amino acids and therefore should not be part of the entire diet.
4. HIKARI betta BIO-GOLD BABY PELLETS: FOR SUPERIOR COLOR ENHANCEMENT
>If you want your betta’s colors to really pop, Hikari betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets may be a good addition to their diet. The pellets are the perfect small size for bettas to eat easily, reducing waste.
- Carefully balanced nutrition.
- Contains astaxanthin to enhance color.
- Contains grape seed extract to reduce the effects of aging.
- Spirulina was added for additional usable vitamins.
- Fishmeal is the source of protein.
- Contains some fillers.
5. aqueon betta PELLETS betta FOOD
>Aqueon Betta Pellets are formulated to provide a balanced diet for your betta fish. The pellets contain shrimp and other natural meat-based ingredients. The food also helps to enhance the colors of your fish, without containing artificial colors.
These pellets are a convenient size that your betta fish can gobble up in one bite, keeping waste to a minimum.
- Complete and balanced dietary formula.
- Contains natural meat-based ingredients.
- Enhance the color.
- No artificial colors.
- The pellets sink very quickly, so they are not consumed or wasted.
- Wasted food pollutes the water.
6. NEW LIFE SPECTRUM BETTA FORMULA – GREAT SOURCE OF MINERALS
>New Life Spectrum Betta formula made in the USA is packed with protein derived from whole Antarctic krill and sustainable squid. Hormone-free food enhances your pet’s color naturally and without the use of artificial additives for a longer lasting, healthier betta.
The food is also an excellent source of minerals as it contains bentonite clay as an effective binder which also provides minerals but less starch. Ginger and garlic are also used in the formula for their deworming and immune-boosting effects.
- Made in the USA
- High protein content derived from sustainable natural sources.
- Hormone-free to enhance color naturally.
- Contains added minerals.
- Reduced starch content, so less fish waste is produced.
- Not all bettas will eat this food.
7. BRINE SHRIMP FARMER
>All omnivorous species of fish, including bettas, love to have live foods as part of their diet.
Brine shrimp are the easiest type of live food to raise at home, and this brine shrimp hatchery from Koller Products has everything you need.
The kit comes with an incubator unit, plastic syringe, measuring spoon, air tube and cleaning brush, and the device is already set up and ready to use. You position the hatchery on the side of the tank, so that the newly hatched brine shrimp are delivered directly into the water for your betta to eat.
- Easy to use.
- It comes complete with everything you need.
- Suitable for freshwater and marine aquariums.
- Great value for the price.
- The suckers tend to detach, causing the hatchery to detach from the tank wall.
- Salt water makes the suckers hard and brittle.
BETTA FISH DIET
In their wild environment, betta fish are omnivorous, consuming a varied diet that includes primarily insect larvae, water-bound insects, and a small amount of plant matter.
So bettas kept in tanks need more meaty foods in their diet than vegetables, and that’s for a very good reason. If your betta’s diet is properly balanced, they are much less likely to experience health problems such as bloating, constipation, and dropsy, which are often associated with improper feeding.
For that reason, always check the ingredient list on any flake or pellet food you buy to make sure the first few components are meat-based and the total protein content is at least 40%, or preferably higher.
WHAT IS A BALANCED DIET FOR A BETTA FISH?
To keep your betta fish healthy, brightly colored, and thriving, their diet should include:
- Vitamins D3, A, E, K, C, M, H, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12,
Ideally, the meal should have meat-based protein as the first ingredient listed on the product packaging.
HOW TO READ FISH FOOD LABELS
Betta fish need a healthy, balanced diet that contains both plant and meaty foods.
Buying fish food is something of a lottery, as all brands claim to provide the optimal diet for their fish, and all manufacturers claim to include only the best ingredients in their food. That’s why it’s so important that you know how to interpret fish food labels.
Take a look at the food package label and look at the list of ingredients. If the package or box of food doesn’t have an ingredient list, don’t buy it. Some of the cheaper foods on offer don’t actually tell you what’s in them and should be avoided.
The ingredients at the top of the list are listed in order of the weight of the component that the food contains. So you want protein to be at the top of the list, and that should be some kind of fish derivative, for example bloodworms, shrimp, or fish. The percentage of that constituent should also be indicated. For example, 43% protein is ideal.
A big no-no is fillers, like rice flour and wheat flour. If those ingredients appear high on the list, look elsewhere for your betta food. Cheap fillers like these are used to add bulk to food to offset weight and contain very little nutritional value. In this way, the manufacturer can produce a food that is marketed as a premium product at a very low cost.
Look closely at the label to see what it says about preservatives or additives. Ideally, you want to see minimal amounts of additives, color enhancers, etc.
Look closely at your betta fish and you will see that its mouth is turned up slightly. That’s because betta fish are primarily a surface feeder, lurking underwater. When an insect settles on the surface or gets soaked and gets stuck there, the betta grabs the unlucky bug and lunch is served!
When purchasing pellet feeds, always check to make sure the product is designed for surface feeders.
If you offer your betta fish food that sinks quickly, most of it will disappear to the center and bottom of the water column, where other fish will eat it, leaving your poor betta hungry. If your betta fish is the sole occupant of the tank, uneaten food will break down in the substrate, potentially contaminating the water and adding to the workload for your biological filter.
When choosing a betta fish tank, always choose one that has maximum surface area for surface feeding fish.
TYPES OF FOOD FOR BETTA FISH
Variation in their diet is extremely important to betta fish.
This is why.
While regular tropical fish scales will most likely meet the needs of most community fish species, scales will not contain all of the nutritional requirements of your betta’s diet. Therefore, including a variety of foods in the diet is critical to the health of your fish.
In my experience, bettas can be picky eaters and get bored if offered the same food every day. So mixing things up is a great way to keep your suspicious friend interested in their dinner and avoid messy, expensive waste.
HOW MUCH AND HOW OFTEN?
Feed your fish only as much as it will eat in a minute or two.
Ideally, you should feed your betta fish once or twice a day for six days a week. On the seventh day, do not feed your fish. A fast day is important as it allows the betta’s digestive system to empty before adding more food. That helps prevent bloating and constipation.
Betta fish have a very short digestive tract. That means your betta fish can’t process bulky fillers like corn and wheat. Many cheap fish foods contain a high percentage of fillers, which will cause constipation, bloating, and other digestive problems for your betta fish.
Bottom line; fillers have no nutritional value and you should avoid fish feeds that contain high levels of these fillers.
WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD FORgoldfish?
Never feed your betta fish flake fish or goldfish food that is not specifically for betta fish. These foods are not nutritionally balanced for a betta’s dietary needs and could cause health problems for your pet.
Flake fish food is easy to store and can provide your betta fish with a good source of nutrition, as long as you choose a product that is specifically formulated for bettas.
Feed only enough flakes to consume in a minute or two to avoid overfeeding.
Betta fish pellets are a convenient and cost-effective food source for bettas. Check that the product is specific for betta and that the granules float on the surface of the water.
Remember that the pellets expand when wet and that can cause bloating when the pellets swell in the betta’s stomach. Soak the pellets in some tank water to hydrate them before giving them to your fish.
FREEZE DRIED FOODS
Freeze-dried foods are made from live foods, such as bloodworms and brine shrimp. Moisture is removed from the food and fillers are added to ensure product stability.
I recommend that you submerge all freeze-dried foods in the tank water before feeding to increase the moisture content and prevent your betta from bloating. Give your fish freeze-dried food a couple of times a week as a treat.
Offering your betta fish live food can be a great way to build extra interest at feeding times, as well as replicate your fish friend’s natural behavior. The inclusion of live foods in the diet can also help prevent constipation.
Live foods, including bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, are popular choices, and bettas love them. However, be sure to only buy live food from a reputable supplier, as the food could contain parasites or diseases that could harm your betta.Never feed live food that you have caught yourself.
Parasites and diseases are often present in the water containing the live feed. So one way to fix the problem is to strain the food through a fine strainer or piece of muslin cloth, and then rinse the food with some tank water before feeding it to your betta.
Another solution, if you have the right time and space, is to raise your own live betta food at home, using a nursery kit. That way you’ll know exactly where the food comes from and you can be sure it doesn’t contain any nasty substances that could harm your betta.
How to Raise Your Own Live Food Betta
Brine shrimp are the easiest live betta food to raise at home. To do so, you will need a hatchery like the one found in our product guide below. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do.
- First, place the incubator in its tank so that it fills with water.
- Attach the incubator to the tank wall with the suction cups provided so that it is perpendicular to the bottom of the tank and the water level indicator is flush with the water surface.
- Add a few small tablespoons of brine shrimp eggs, using the measuring spoon provided.
- Turn on the air pump and adjust it so that a few bubbles are generated every second. Don’t run the pump too hard or you risk pushing the eggs back into the tank.
- Given the right conditions, the eggs will hatch within 24 to 36 hours. Once the eggs have hatched, you can turn off the pump.
- Use a light placed above the tank to attract shrimp larvae to the light and dispersal port. The brine shrimp will swim through the harbor and into your tank, where your betta fish will devour them.
The Koller Brine shrimp hatchery that we have featured in this guide comes with full instructions and a detailed guide on how to use it.
Frozen foods provide a convenient and safer alternative to live foods. Frozen foods come in packages of small cubes. Take a bucket and thaw it in some tank water before giving it to your betta.
The main drawback to using frozen food is that it sinks quickly once you put it in the tank. So, I find that using my fingers or an eyedropper to feed the fish works best. Feed a few drops of frozen food at a time, adding more when your betta has eaten.
I hope you have found my overview of the optimal diet for your companion betta helpful and informative.
Now it’s time to choose my favorite betta fish food!
And the winner is… Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes!
I love that this product is made using only natural and sustainable protein sources, contains no fillers or flour, and enhances the colors of your betta fish without the use of artificial additives. The formula is well balanced and contains everything your fish needs to thrive.
Despite all that, this product is usually cheaper than other similar fish feeds. Additionally, Omega One produces the food in the form of pellets, and they also produce freeze-dried bloodworms as betta fish treats.