Are you thrilled with your new pet -- a gorgeous crowntail male you’ve aptly named Flipper because he’s sleek like a dolphin? Well, one aspect of betta keeping that’s critical is what to feed when you ring the dinner bell. That and the fact bettas can seem to be constantly hungry creatures. (But you don’t want to let yourself be deceived by their act.) Problem is without doing a bit of research what you think would be best for your betta might not. Which is why it’s wise to find out all you can about the basics of betta fish feeding.

Variety is Key
The irony about these bettas is that although they seem to be ravenous eaters, some of them can be quite picky. That’s right. They won’t take to ordinary pellets at times no matter how hungry they are. Nor do they relish the prospect of eating the same kind of food every day for the rest of their lives. Therefore, the big take away here is you need to always keep them guessing and vary your betta’s diet. Giving your betta a wide selection of foods will keep them healthy, help them live longer, and enhance their vibrant colors even more.

One more thing – bettas are carnivores. Which is to say they eat meat and not veggies. So you need to incorporate different kinds of meat into your betta’s diet such as blood worms, pellets, brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, watercress, and tubifex worms.

Again it bears repeating that variety is crucial. So you may also want to feed these foods to your bettas in different forms. Generally these come down to pellets, freeze dried, frozen and live foods.

Now you will find in pet stores that there are pellets especially formulated for bettas. Which means you do not just give your betta ordinary tropical fish pellets. These tend to come up short and are unable to meet your
betta’s nutritional requirements. So look for those labeled as “betta pellets.” Just be careful not to make these pellets as your betta’s main source of food. Since some of the cheaper pellets contain filler and additives that are not exactly healthy for your charge.

TIP: It is best to soak the pellets in a small amount of tank water first before you feed them to your betta so they can be more easily digested.

Freeze Dried Foods
Never feed these dry to your betta since freeze dried foods tend to swell once rehydrated leaving your betta’s digestive tract distended and making them sick. So like pellets you may also want to soak them in little tank water first before you feed them to your betta.

Frozen Foods
Frozen foods should be thawed before feeding them to your fish. But any excess food that has been thawed should not be frozen again. Betta frozen food can go bad too.

Live Foods
Now to your fish’s favorite. Live foods are the closest thing to what bettas eat in the wild. Live foods may include daphnia, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, wingless fruit flies, black worms, Mysis shrimp, and grindal worms. Baby guppies fall into this category too. However, live foods should not be counted on as the sole source of food since too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good. Some are too fatty. Some are known carriers of certain betta fish diseases. Again this is why it is best to always keep your betta’s diet as varied as possible.

Now that you know what to feed your betta, let’s get back to a point made earlier. You never want to overfeed your fish no matter how compelling of an argument for more they make. Overfeeding, or killing them with kindness, can make your bettas sick. Your betta’s tummy is really just as small as its eye. That should give you an idea of how much you should feed it. Bits and pieces should suffice to keep your betta healthy and happy.

RESOURCE BOX: Doesn't matter if you're talking feeding female betta fish , breeding them, or dealing with their health issues, you’ll find some great ideas on all aspects of betta fish care at


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    April 2012