What Do Betta Eat In Captivity

Food is what provides energy for every living thing on this planet.  When it comes to Betta fish, it’s no different.  So, what do betta eat in captivity?

In captivity, Betta eats a whole variety of food, such as brine shrimp, live bloodworms, daphnia, pellets, and flakes.  Live foods are the best for them because they are protein-rich and meaty.

The vibrant, healthy coloration of the Betta fish is the result of a good protein-based diet. A Betta fish that is poorly fed or doesn’t consume enough protein-based foods will have dull colors throughout their entire body. In addition, they will be more likely to contract diseases and become ill easily.

Best Types Of Betta Fish Food

Betta fish are a naturally carnivorous species. In their natural habitat, they will prey on smaller fish and insects.  Basically, they will eat anything that moves in their path.  Sometimes, if there is no food around, they are known to eat some varieties of plants.

In captivity, the best types of food to feed Bettas are food that is protein-rich.  Besides proteins, in order for them to be healthy, they need vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates in their diet.  All these nutritions can be found in live foods, frozen foods, pellets, and flakes. 

In addition, there are many other different types of fish food you can give them.  Live food and frozen food are usually the best options, but when the first two option isn’t available, pellets and flakes will be sufficient.  If you are looking to feed them pellets and flakes, make sure it’s formulated for Betta fish.  These fish foods will have ingredients that are high in protein, which the Betta fish needs.

What Type Of Live Foods Do Bettas Eat?

Like mentioned earlier, Betta fish are carnivorous and so they will feed on live insects and even other fish.

Live foods are their favorites because that’s what they are used to eat in the wild.  Some of the live foods include bloodworms, tubifex, California blackworms, insect larvae, small brine shrimps, and daphnia.

There are some Betta fish that will eat small fry and other small species of fish.  For that reason, it’s important to find out what other fish are compatible with Bettas.  Betta’s tankmates should be other fish that are related to them.

Out of all the foods you can feed Bettas, live food is the best option.  Not only does live foods have a lot of nutrients that the fish needs, but it leads your fish to become much more active and lively.

One downside to some live foods is that it’s seasonal.  During the colder months, it will be difficult to find insect larvae and shrimps.  Some pet stores and online stores will have a few in stocks and some will not have any at all.  For that reason, you should always have other types of fish food on hand.  The next best option to live foods is freeze-dried fish food.

What Type Of Frozen Foods Do Bettas Eat?

While Bettas prefer live foods, there are times when live foods aren’t available.  Sometimes, due to the season, it could be difficult for pet stores and other places to get insect larvae, shrimps, and daphnia.  If that’s the case, frozen food is the next best food to give Bettas.

Frozen food usually last longer than live foods, so it’s great to use as a backup alongside live foods.  It’s best to use them within 5 months after purchasing them.  If they stay frozen longer than that, it might start to lose some of its nutrients.

Out of all the frozen foods available, frozen bloodworms will be the best for Bettas.  When it comes to Bettas, some of them are very picky.  Some Bettas like them frozen, while others don’t.  After putting some frozen bloodworms into the aquarium and see if the Betta fish are eating them.  If they are just swimming by it, take the bloodworms and soak them in warm water first.  Some Bettas just don’t like the texture of frozen bloodworms.

What Type Of Pellets Do Bettas Eat?

Betta fish are usually picky eater, but when it comes to pellets, they will eat it. Pellets are a food staple food for Betta fish. They are easy to use and can be kept for a long time. In addition, the shape of the pellets is similar to the natural insect larvae found in their natural habitat.

Unlike flakes, pellets don’t make the aquarium water as dirty as flakes will. Pellets usually float on top of the water, so any uneaten pellets can be scooped up and thrown away.

Pellets come in different sizes. You can find them in small pellet size, medium pellet size, and large pellet size. For Bettas, it’s best to use the smallest size pellet. Like most fish species, Betta fish swallow their food whole.

While there are many pellets fish food on the market, one that we recommend is the Tetra Betta Mini Floating Pellets. This fish pellets are high in protein and contains Omega-3 fatty acids and the right amount of vitamins and minerals for the overall health and beauty of your Betta fish.

When choosing pellets as the fish food, find one that is formulated for Betta fish. Usually, this means the pellets will be protein-based and have fish or shrimp in them.

Pellets usually have a shelf life of over a year so it’s an excellent fish food to keep as a backup and feeding your fish every day.  Since these are readily available at your local pet store and online, you won’t need to keep too many of them on hand.

Pellet fish food can be fed with live foods and frozen foods as well.  You could feed live foods in the morning and pellets can be fed in the evening.  Since live foods are expensive, pellets can help you save money on fish foods.

Fish Food Flakes For Bettas

When it comes to fish food, most aquarium owners prefer fish food flakes.  Fish food flakes are formulated for many different fish species.  In addition, they are easy to use and have a long shelf life.

However, when it comes to Betta fish, regular fish flakes will not be good for them.  Most fish flakes on the market have ingredients that are plant-based.  Since Bettas are carnivorous, they require a protein-based diet.

If you want to feed them fish flakes, try to look for fish flakes that are formulated for Bettas.  The fish flakes will have protein-based ingredients in them, which are perfect for Bettas.  If you have other species of fish in the tank, they

In their natural habitat, Bettas are not used to seeing flakes in the water so they might not eat the flakes that you give them.  If they are not eating it, try to give them for a couple more days.  If they don’t seem to eat the flakes, it’s best to use other types of fish food.  Some of the uneaten food will cloud the water, and some will sink to the bottom of the tank and make aquarium water dirty quickly.

Betta Feeding Guide

In the wild, Betta will hunt when they are hungry.  This can be at any time, day or night.

Since their natural habitat is usually in rice paddies and slow-moving water area, there is a different amount of food during different times of the year.  During the warmer months, food might be scarce due to the water temperature.  The warmer the water is, the lower the oxygen level will be in the water.   For that reason, most fish that the Betta prey on will move into nearby rivers and tributaries.  During this warmer season, since food will be scarce, Betta will be less active and won’t eat much.

On the other hand, during the colder months, Betta will be more active and eat more.  During the colder months, rice paddies and other areas will be flooded with water due to tropical storms and rainfalls.  This in return will bring a lot of small fish and insects that the Betta prey on.

How Often To Feed Betta

In captivity, how often to feed the Betta will be strictly up to you.  However, it’s recommended to feed your Betta twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. By feeding them once in the morning, it allows the food they have consumed to be digested completely before their next meal at night.  If you don’t allow the Betta to digest all the food in their stomach before the next meal, it increases their chance of becoming constipated.  When the fish is constipated, especially for Betta fish, it can be fatal.

To keep records and for your fish’s health, you should create a schedule for them. The schedule should record how much and how often you will feed your Betta. This will allow you to track how much food they consumed so you’ll know how healthy the fish is.

How Much To Feed Betta

When it comes to feeding your Betta fish, it’s often hard to determine the correct amount.  You don’t want to underfeed them, but on the other hand, you definitely don’t want to overfeed them.  Overfeeding them can cause them to become bloated and make the aquarium water dirty.

When feeding Betta fish, you should feed them no more than the size of its eyeball. Believe it or not, your Betta’s stomach is approximately the size of its eyeball. If you’re feeding them pellets, make sure all the pellets combined together are the size of the Betta’s eyeball. Put it all into the aquarium and wait for them to consume it all.

Since you can’t really tell if the Betta fish is full or not, it’s a good idea to give them a second serving. When giving them food again, make sure they consume all of the foods. If there are some foods leftover, scoop them out of the water right away.

My Betta Fish Isn’t Eating

When you’re giving food to your Betta and they seem uninterested in it, you may think there is something wrong. Usually, it’s just some common reason for them to refuse the foods.

Below are some common reasons why Betta fish might not eat:

Age- As the Betta gets older, they become less and less active. For that reason, they do not need to eat often.

Fussy Eater- Naturally, Betta fish are a fussy eater. They pick and choose the food they want to eat. So if your Betta isn’t eating the food you’ve just given to them, try a different type of food.

Cold Water Temperatures- If your aquarium is too cold, their metabolism will slow down. A slow metabolism will cause the Betta to become less active and they won’t eat as much.

Water Change- Changing water in the aquarium can cause the Betta to become stressed and they might refuse food for a day or two.  If you must, only change the water when the aquarium really needs it.

Stress– Betta fish can become stressed due to many things.  The aquarium that they’re in is too small, there’s too many other fish in the same tank, or you’ve moved them around too much.

Illness- If your betta is sick, more than likely, they will not eat. When they are sick, they tend to stay in just one area of the aquarium.  In addition, their colors will become dull and their fins will have discoloration.

Other Fish– Betta fish are aggressive fish species, but they do not like to fight for food. If there are other fish in the tank, try separating them and see if your Betta resume eating.


Hopefully, after reading this, you have an understanding of what do Betta eat in captivity, and what type of food is best for them.  Betta fish is great to keep as a pet and understanding what they eat is an important factor in keeping them healthy and living a long life.

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