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Do Betta Fish Have Teeth?

3 min read

Do Betta Fish Have Teeth?

betta fish open mouth with teeth

Surely these tiny little creatures couldn’t have teeth, could they?

What purpose could they have for teeth?

magnified view of betta fish with sharp teeth

What may come as a surprise to some is that these fish actually do have teeth.

Similarly to humans and many other animals, betta fish have teeth in other to break down their food into smaller pieces that they’re able to swallow.

You might even be able to notice them chewing before swallowing as they eat their pellets and blood worms and if you look closely, it’s possible you’ll be able to get a glimpse of their teeth as they go to take a piece of food. Of course, their teeth are tiny and may be difficult to see with the naked eye. A camera or magnifying glass can help with this if you’d like to see them.

What Do They Eat?

frozen brine shrimp

Betta fish are actually carnivorous which means meat makes up their entire diet.

In the wild, they eat insects and insect larvae from the water’s surface. With that knowledge in mind, it might make more sense as to why they need teeth.

Their jaws are actually quite powerful for their size and that combined with those teeth help in breaking down their prey and making it easier to consume.

When in captivity, betta fish are mostly fed pellets. However, it’s recommended to vary their diet to ensure that they’re getting the proper nutrients.

Some blood worms and brine shrimp are good options for this. Doing this will keep them healthy and help them live longer lives.

Here is a link to the recommended food that they need to be healthy.

Can They Bite?

Well, technically, yes.

The teeth in their mouths and they can use them to bite you or other fish.

This doesn’t mean you should be afraid of your betta fish though. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll bite you if you put your finger in the tank.

Even if you had food on your finger and the fish did bite, they aren’t strong enough to do much harm. It may not even hurt. Their jaws are super powerful for their size, but considering how small they are, that doesn’t say much.

They’re unlikely to be able to break the skin and the sensation may feel like a gentle touch or even tickle a little. Fingers should stay out of the tank for the most part though. This is more for the fish’s sake than yours. Your hands can transfer bacteria into the water which can make them sick. If you do put your hand in the water, make sure you wash beforehand. That way you can keep your fish safe from any dirt and germs you’ve picked up.

What Else Do They Use Their Teeth For?

fantail betta

Those tiny teeth are actually quite useful for the territorial betta fish.

They’ll use them to protect themselves and their territory from other fish.

Betta fish are aggressive and they’ll go after most other fish that have long fins and bright colors, which is why it isn’t recommended putting them in a tank with other fish.

If your betta does have tank mates, they should be duller fish with shorter fins and they shouldn’t want to nibble on the betta’s fins.

Betta fish can and will fight to the death if they feel the need, so proceed with caution when putting them in a community tank.

In fact, their teeth are part of why they earned the name Siamese fighting fish. Those teeth are used to nip other fish and shred their fins in fights, making them quite dangerous to other small fish.

If you do decide to put them in a community tank, make sure you research the different kinds of fish that can live alongside bettas and be sure to keep a close eye on them in the beginning. It may be useful to have a separate container of water nearby in case the fish do fight for whatever reason and need to be separated.

In conclusion

Betta fish do have teeth and, while they can bite people, they aren’t a threat. Their teeth were meant to protect them from other fish and to break down the food they eat. People have nothing to fear from these little fish, but do be cautious about tankmates.

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