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Here is the ultimate guide on feeding your betta fish. All fishes are not the same. The betta fish has a different structure with compared to other fish.
Fighting fish are carnivorous which is evident in the wild.
This guide will be covering in detail on the types of food that are available in fish pet stores or online.
The different types of Betta Fish food is classified as :
As i have mentioned before that the Betta Fish natural habitat is located in slow moving streams, rice paddies and muddy waters which is commonly found in Thailand, Cambodia and possibly Burma, Laos, Vietnam.
These are the countries in south-east Asia where they share a common type of weather and land structure. The main source of livelihood is rice which is very abundant in Thailand.
Betta fish normally eat small insects on the surface of the water with very little oxygen. That’s why they have very sharp teeth to enable them to bite and crush it. They are carnivorous fish species.
The insects are abundant in south-east Asia on rich paddies and muddy water streams. There are lots of mosquito larvae which they can eat their heart out. Small water fleas, bugs and the like.
These insects have a lot of protein that the betta fish ingest.
The diet that is needed by the Betta fish must contain the : A, D3, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, H, M vitamins and also some fat, phosphorus, carbohydrates, calcium and protein.
Do not buy the food for gold fish or other forms of fish food.
Betta fish have very short digestive tracts and cannot process very well with wheat and corn, which might lead into constipation and bloating.
Pellets And Flakes For Betta Fish
When you go to a fish pet store, you will find a variety of fish food.
Look for the pellet type for betta fish because some other pellets have fillers and tend to expand when it is in water.
This will cause bloating and the constipation and in the long term will result into disease.
You have to try to find the smallest pellet available so that the Betta Fish can easily grab the food when it on the surface. Do not buy pellets that sink to the bottom since your betta gets its food normally on the surface.
When you are feeding the Betta fish be sure just to drop 2 to 3 pellets only once a day. This is to keep the aquarium clean from excess ammonia and also to maintain your Betta fish health by not over feeding.
Do not buy flakes since they are not in uniform size and shape and it will be very difficult for the betta fish to consume it. Sometimes too many flakes will pollute the fish tank.
Betta fish food is very cheap for a few dollars and found everywhere.
This is a great option for your betta fish.
This form of food is found in their natural habitat which is dried and free from moisture and water.
The manufacturer normally add some forms of filler so that the food will not rot easily and can be kept for a long time for consumption.
So it is also not very good to exclusively feed them freeze-dried betta fish food since it is lead into illness : bloating and constipation. Since the food is not fresh unlike in the wild.
The good thing about the freeze-dried is that they do not carry bacteria, parasites and harmful germs which can infect the betta fish into food poisoning.
The best is to offer a variety and rotate the food pattern which will be discussed later after explaining all these type of betta fish food.
Frozen And Live
If you feed your betta fish exclusively on pellet, flakes or freeze-dried then eventually your betta fish can become bloated and sluggish.
In nature, they are born predators and very aggressive stalking insects in their natural habitat.
Try not to catch the live betta food yourself since they might carry deadly bacteria, virus and parasites that is detrimental to the health of your betta fish.
The frozen food that is available for betta fish is the next best thing to live food which is available in your specialty fish stores.
Here are some frozen live foods that are available.
Frozen Live Mosquito Larvae
In the tropical countries like Thailand, Cambodia and even in the Philippines. The mosquitoes are very annoying pests that are abundant all year round.
As long as there is stagnant water or slow moving stream of water, rice paddies, muddy ponds and muddy lakes there will be constant breeding of mosquitoes and you will also have hundreds of not thousands of larvae.
In the tropics when the betta fish containers are placed simply outside of your home, you will provide them free food since at night the mosquitoes lay eggs and have hundreds of larvae food for free.
It is wise sometimes to put some salt to disinfect the larvae from disease and then feed it to the betta fish.
Since we are here in the northern hemisphere these free food will only be during spring and summer months.
You can buy online and harvest the starter culture larvae yourself.
Frozen Live Brine Shrimp
There are a lot of frozen brine shrimp available at pet stores on online as well. They are not excellent source of protein for the betta fish and all types of fishes actually.
They grow up to 1 centimeter as adults. Try to rotate the live foods for the betta fish
Frozen Live Worms
The blood worms are the larvae of the midge fly and they are abundant in ponds, lakes and slow moving streams of water.
Betta fish loves them and can easily spot them because they are brightly colored red.
The betta fish when approaching to eat these worms get very aggressive and loves to eat them. These worms are very high in iron but they do not have as many proteins and amino acids found on the brine shrimp or mosquito larvae.
These worms are sometimes very smelly either live or frozen.
Personally i don’t like feeding worms to my betta fish. But occasionally you could feed them maybe 1 a month or 1 in 2 months only if you chanced the blood worms on sale.
Frozen Live Mysis Shrimp
As i have mentioned most shrimps are very high in protein content and actually a staple food for all types of fishes. These type of mysis shrimp is rich in fiber which is very good for the betta fish aiding in proper digestion.
Likewise, the mysis shrimp are very rich in amino acids and the essential vitamins needed by the betta fish.
Of course, you should also not feed your fighting fish exclusively on this type of food.
It would be best to rotate all kinds of fish food available.
Frozen Live Wingless Fruit Flies
I’m very sure that you are very familiar with this kind of insect which can be found almost everywhere.
When you have a basket of fruits in your kitchen, you can find them swarming and trying to get a bite.
These types of fruit flies ( vinegar fly ) can be feed to your betta fish. But you never know if they are carrying disease.
There is a wingless version of the fruit fly which you can breed and inexpensively feed them to you betta fish.
You can buy the starter culture kit online and try to harvest the fruit fly yourself which is a great alternative instead of buying from the pet stores all the time.
How Much Is Enough Food?
In the wild they do not eat as often as when they are in captivity.
They have a slow metabolism and can go for weeks without food since they are built like that. The size of the stomach is just as big as their eyeball.
If you overfeed your Betta fish then you will see a bulging and distended stomach.
It will be seen as bloating and constipated and will not be as aggressive as before.
It would be sometimes best to skip a meal like 1 or 2 a week just to cleanse the system. But if you just feed 1 to 2 pellets once per day that will be sufficient.
And on weekends a treat of frozen and live food will be enough.
Do not follow the instructions of the fish food manufacturer since they normally would indicate that you need to feed them as much as 2 minutes. This by itself will be overfeeding. Only 1 to 2 pellets should be enough, their stomach is minuscule and can only digest so much.
What if Betta Fish Don’t Eat ?
It is perfectly fine if the betta fish do not eat since they in nature can survive for 2 weeks !
But of course there might be several factors why they are not normally eating when you are feeding them on a daily basis.
- Always observe if all the equipment is functioning properly. Check the cables, filters, aerator, heating pad and especially the water.
- Try to do a 25% water change or simply just make a top up of water.
- If the betta fish doesn’t like what it is eating them try to rotate to another kind of food. They are just creatures just like any that needs a variety of foods.
- Always keep in mind to rotate the food varieties.
- And also keep in mind if you just added the betta fish to its new fish tank, it will take around 2 to 3 days for it to adjust to its new home and acclimate to the surroundings and water.
- And also check to see if your betta fish is ill and see if their are signs of disease.
Please check the betta fish disease on this website to determine what type of illness that your betta fish might have contracted.