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how often do betta fish eat

How Often Do Betta Fish Eat?

You have your tank all set up, you got food for your new fish, and you got your new betta fish. Now, you may be wondering, “How often do betta fish eat?” Opinions vary a bit on this topic, and there isn’t really a right answer. There is definitely flexibility to work your bettas feeding schedule into your schedule. 

What to Feed Betta Fish

A high quality pellet food is an ideal base to your betta’s diet. But supplementing with other foods is a great way to diversify your betta’s diet. Live, frozen, or freeze-dried brine shrimp, daphnia, and blood worms are tasty treats for bettas. Mosquito larvae and other small insects are a great choice too. 

How Much Should My Betta Fish Eat?

In the wild, betta fish may go a week or two without eating. We could never imagine putting our pet bettas through such a long fast. But it does put things in perspective. It is no big deal for a betta to miss a day or 2 of food. So, you don’t need to hire a betta fish sitter for that weekend trip! Feeding your betta once or twice daily is a great way to start a schedule. If you already have bettas, you know that some can be quite demanding or just super excited about eating.

I know all of my bettas appear out of thin air when they see me coming at meal time. You don’t need to feed on a schedule if that isn’t convenient for you. I feed on a very vague schedule and twice daily on most days. I usually feed betta fish pellets in the morning and a treat of bloodworms, daphnia, and or brine shrimp in the evening. But, you do you! You’ll figure out your betta's favorites and what feeding or food plan works best for you and your betta(s). 

How Much to Feed Betta Fish

Probably the most important part of feeding betta fish is avoiding overfeeding them. Too much food can cause bloating, constipation, and even death. When feeding your betta fish, keep in mind that their stomachs are only about the size of their eyes.

There are suggested rules about only feeding bettas for one to three minutes, but I think this isn’t the best feeding technique for many of these fish. Most bettas seem to still have that “I may only get one meal this week” instinct. In fact, I think that all of my bettas would be severely overeating if I went with even the lower end of that rule! So it is better to feed the recommended amount on the container of food or less. 

Other Tips for Improving Betta Fish Digestion

  • Heated water means better digestion. Betta fish are tropical fish that require an aquarium heater to achieve the ideal water temperature.
  • Allow your betta to fast once weekly. While it may seem cruel, it is actually a great way to allow your pet to clean out their system and improve digestion. 
  • Feed a ¼ of a cooked and peeled pea twice daily on the fasting day or another day if you prefer.
  • An adequate sized container/tank (at least 2.5 gallons) improves digestion by allowing your fish more room to exercise. A tank that is longer than it is tall is ideal for encouraging a more active fish.
  • If your fish is prone to overeating and/or constipation and/or bloating, spreading out your feedings to 2 or even 3 times a day can help avoid these problems, but beware of more meals becoming more food!
  • Less is more. It is very common for betta fish to be overfed. However, underfeeding is a very unlikely issue. So when in doubt feed a little less.

Your betta fish may prefer eating once, twice, or even three times daily. They may like certain foods over others. Once you get to know your pet fish better you will be able to devise a good feeding plan and feeding schedule that works for you and your new pet. Now you know more about how often betta fish eat. You are ready to feed and get to know your betta a little better!

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