Feeding an inappropriate amount of food is one of the most common blunders we as betta fish owners tend to do. We forget that they belong in the wild and therefore require a different diet in different amounts. So, when we don’t feed them properly, it becomes equivalent to harming them. And as owners, we dread hurting them. Therefore, here in this article, we will list everything you need to know about feeding your betta fish.
Before you understand your betta fish’s feeding amount, it is first essential to know what their diet should contain to promote healthy growth. Unlike most fishes like goldfish, betta fishes are carnivorous by nature. So, they need protein to sustain themselves. They cannot rely only on plants or plant-based foods. They need protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Therefore, foods like worms, insects, smaller fishes, and shrimps are ideal. They can meet your betta fish’s nutritional requirements.
But how can one know which food is best for betta fishes when buying packaged and manufactured foods. In this case, look for products with protein, certain unsaturated fats, amino acids, etc.
BEST BETTA FISH FOOD AVAILABLE
How much do you feed a betta fish will also depend on the type of food you provide. In the market, you will find various kinds of Betta fish food. And they are available in three primary forms- pellets, freeze-dried, and frozen/ fresh food. Betta fish food is also available in a flake form. However, flakes are not a good option. So even if you do consider buying this variety, then keep an eye out for the ingredients.
Pellets– If you’re looking for something affordable as well as healthy, then pellet foods are your best go. They are very convenient because you can easily set aside a fixed feeding portion. This way, you can avoid over-feeding them. Some pellets can float or sink. Here, floating pellets will be convenient for your betta fish since most of them prefer eating above. Plus, it becomes easy to pick away the leftovers and thereby maintaining a clean tank for your fish.
Now, when it comes to their ingredients, most pellets have fillers, for example- wheat. And these fillers may not be healthy for your fish. Therefore, make sure you purchase products that have more natural ingredients. The pellets’ crude protein should be at least 30%. Keep in mind that a diet with only pellets may not be suitable for your fish. So if you’re conscious about its health, then add dried or live foods to its palate as well.
Freeze-dried food– This form of food can be stored for long periods like pellets and have almost all the nutritional values like live foods. This versatility makes them a convenient food choice. Adding on, most of the products have a minimum of 50% crude protein. And their fiber content helps your fish quickly digest the food. However, since they are dried, they may not have enough moisture. Therefore, they may be a little too hard sometimes.
Live/frozen food– If you’re hoping to make your betta fish feel at home, then feeding it live food is the best option. They have all the nutrition your fish needs. They can also ignite your fish’s innate hunting skills. And because of their nature, they do not contaminate the fish tank water. However, like most quality products, live foods are expensive and difficult to find. Plus, storing them for long periods like pellets is not possible. But despite these setbacks, they are very nutritious and should compulsorily be a part of the diet. There are various types of live foods available. To name a few-
Mosquito larvae are among the best live foods for your betta fish. They are rich in proteins and sustain good health. Your fish will gulp these in no time; therefore, make sure you don’t overfeed them. Begin feeding it in small amounts.
Shrimps are an excellent choice because they have all the nutrition your betta fish needs. Plus, you have two options to choose from- Brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp. The former has loads of protein, while the latter will provide your fish with omega-3 nutrients.
If you thought only frogs and reptiles enjoyed flies, then you may be wrong about betta fish since wingless fruit flies are the perfect treats for your fish.
In the market, you will usually find bloodworms frozen into cubes. All you need to do is take out a tiny portion. Then soak it in a cup of the tank’s water. Later, when the worms are defrosting, feed only one or two of them to your fish. The fat content of these worms may be beneficial, but too much of it can harm fishes.
When purchasing live fish, there is also the risk of parasites. Therefore, make sure to buy fresh products. And maintain a balanced diet for your betta fish by feeding pellets, freeze-dried, and live foods.
DOS AND DON’TS OF FEEDING YOUR BETTA FISH
Do not buy or feed your betta fish the regular fish foods made for goldfish or other tropical fish. Betta fishes are different from other fishes; they have other food requirements. For example, most regular fish food may contain lots of plant compounds, which is not suitable for your fish.
Do remember to defrost the frozen foods in a cup of the tank’s water.
Do maintain a feeding pattern. This method will be beneficial for you and your fish. It will help you avoid over-feeding.
Don’t forget to remove the leftover food from the tank.
Don’t risk your fish’s health by purchasing low-quality foods.
HOW OFTEN DO I FEED MY BETTA?
It is essential to get the feeding right for your betta fish’s health. Feed the wrong food, and they will lack the nutrition required by their body, feed them excessively, and start bloating.
Excessive feeding by owners is one of the most common causes of severe health problems for betta fishes. It usually happens because the owners do not realize that they are over-feeding the fish. And not only does overfeeding cause the betta fishes to bloat, but it also pollutes the water as the excesses degrade.
So, how many times do you feed a betta fish?
Feed your betta fish two small feeds a day with the time between the two feedings evenly spaced out. You can provide in the morning and night with ideally twelve hours between each feeding. This timing will give the betta fishes the time to digest before having their next feed.
If you do the feeding for your betta fish with the same timing every day- it might allow their body to get into a routine and help reduce the risk of constipation.
Keeping your betta fish on a fast for a day in a week will also reduce the risk of becoming constipated. Some owners keep their betta fish fasting for 24 hours once every 10-14 days.
HOW MUCH DO YOU FEED A BETTA FISH?
It is often difficult to know how much you can feed a betta fish because you don’t want to underfeed or over-feed them. But as a rule of thumb, you do not wish to provide it more than the size of its eyeball. As the size of a betta fishes’ eyeball is the same as the size of its stomach.
If you’re feeding pellets for your betta fish, then three soaked pellets per feed should be more than enough. Likewise, if you’re providing them with bloodworms, three bloodworms per meal are enough. Feed them twice a day with the serving equaling to 5-6 bloodworms and pellets.
Sometimes, you might need to make a bit of trial and error while trying to find how much to feed too. In case you notice that your betta fish does not finish eating all the pellets or bloodworms given, you can reduce the portion per serve. Otherwise, the leftover food will sink to the bottom of the tank and attract bacteria, which will cause water pollution.
However, if your betta fish finishes the servings given, you might consider increasing the portion to one pellet or worm per serve. It is best not to serve your betta fish more than what they can eat in two minutes. It will lead to over-feeding the fish as betta fishes can also consume more food if given.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M OVER-FEEDING MY BETTA FISH?
Feeding time can create a fun experience for you as well as for your betta fish. It gives a personal interaction between you and your fish. Many fishes can recognize their owner and will come close to you during feeding time. As they come closer to the glass or the surface, you will notice their colorful scale patterns and appreciate their beauty.
Feeding them right is a blend of science and art. Overfeeding causes nothing but health problems for your fishes. And so, it is vital to get the feeding straight without overfeeding them. Luckily, there are signs to tell you if you’re over-feeding your fishes or not. Let’s look into them:
- Your betta fish is always hungry– Now, don’t be fooled by this move. It is a learned behavior and does not mean that they are hungry. Fishes are as much as a scavenger as a lion. In nature, they hunt for their prey always, but they are fed daily in an aquarium setting. So, you don’t want to provide them more than their daily servings even if they come flapping their fins to extra servings.
- Don’t add extra food for later– You might feel emotional and think that your fishes need additional food for later but avoid doing it. Not only will you encourage overfeeding, but the extra food can also contaminate the tank water.
- The food at the bottom of the tank– This is a tell-tale sign that you’re overfeeding them. This extra food at the bottom gets soggy, and you might end up with dying fishes sooner or later.
- Food is floating on the surface– If you find any food floating on the surface, it means that you have overfed your fishes. There should be no food drifting on the surface or around the tank. Floating food only implies that your fishes are done eating and have no more space to force food into its mouth.
- Dirty Gravel– Overfeeding leads to waste formation like algae, dirt, and fishes’ waste. These can cause harmful conditions for your fishes’ environment as they suck in oxygen for the fish to live. The more you feed, the more these wastes are likely to form.
- Cloudy water– If you find that the aquarium’s water is foggy and foamy, it is likely because of the excess food. Uneaten food tends to feed bacteria. And it gives bacteria the energy to reproduce in millions, eventually causing cloudiness of the water. Keep the feeding right, and you will not have cloudy water.
- Low pH– The decomposition of wastes from uneaten food can produce acids. If your tank water’s pH levels are low, you have been over-feeding the fishes.
- High Ammonia content– Another sign to tell if you’ve been overfeeding or not is the high ammonia content in the water. When you over-feed your fishes, you simultaneously reduce the tank’s filter’s ability to remove ammonia.
- High Nitrite Levels– Overfeeding your fishes can also cause high nitrate levels. And nitrite is toxic for your betta fishes as they prevent their blood from carrying oxygen- causing stress and death to your fish. It is advisable to check the levels of ammonia and nitrite content in the tank periodically.
- Fishes are getting fat– Your betta fish can become fat too if you overfeed them. If you notice that your fishes are getting obese, you need to reduce the amount of food. Excess fats in your fish will gradually press their organs, making them bloat and cause digestive problems
To conclude, how often to feed betta fish will depend on the type of food you provide. And the foods available are all different in varying degrees. Therefore, see what is best for your fish and maintain a diet that includes pellets and live food. This way, your betta fish will receive all the nutrition it needs. And at the same time, you will know the feeding limit.