Expert Guide : Food for Betta fish

    Betta fish, the famous Siamese fighting fish, are fish that have dominated the aquarium world. As hardy as they are, keeping bettas in home aquariums is not always easy. One of the main challenges is ensuring that these fish receive adequate nutrition. To do this, provide a variety of foods and a strict eating routine.

    This article will address the ideal diet, how it affects health and well-being, and the best foods for betta fish in the home aquarium.


Betta Fish Dietary Habits

    To understand the diet of betta it’s necessary to explore a little about their anatomy, evolution, biology, and natural habitat.

    The anatomy of the fish already tells us that the betta is a predatory fish. Its upturned mouth plays a crucial role in capturing small insects. The same happens with its eyes facing upwards, always looking at the water’s surface for a snack.

    Betta fish are native to Southeast Asia, inhabiting places with still water, such as temporary puddles, swamps, rice paddies, and slow-moving shallow streams. In addition to their ability to breathe atmospheric air, this hostile environment significantly influenced their diet.


Carnivorous Preferences

    Betta fish are carnivorous animals, feeding mainly on small insects on the water surface. They feed on terrestrial insects that fall into the water, small aquatic animals, larvae, and small crustaceans.

    Its natural diet is on all foods of animal origin available locally. An interesting element is that bettas feed many times a day, eating small portions.

    When in aquariums, replicating the original diet of these fish is the right direction to take. Feeding must be done at high frequency and low quantity, regardless of the food. The size of the food is also vital, ideally being close to the size of the fish’s eye.

    Maintaining a varied diet is equally important. Using several foods will make up for any possible nutritional deficit and an animal welfare practice to the tank.


Types of Betta Fish Food

    Keeping your betta fish on a diverse and balanced diet is essential for the fish to develop healthily and the aquarium to remain stable. Increasingly, aquarists have access to many food options for their fish, from medicinal commercial foods to live feeding that improves fish color.


Betta-specific Commercial Dry foods

    The most convenient and logical choice is commercial feed. These foods are formulated specifically for the species in question. Commercial foods are highly efficient, as these foods are made with a lot of study and technology to meet the dietary needs of bettas. In this case, the fish will receive the essential nutrients to develop and remain healthy and active.

    You can find commercial feeds in many forms, such as flakes or pellets. It is essential to use high-quality commercial feed, this will guarantee the provision of a balanced diet containing high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other essential nutrients.

    Although these foods are ideal for the betta’s staple food, offering just one label can result in a fish that is unhappy with eating the same food without other stimulation and, ultimately, in nutritional problems.

    It is best to have different commercial foods available, to vary the diet, alternating between at least two brands or labels. This will ensure that you meet the fish’s nutritional needs.

    Furthermore, never mix or offer different types of commercial foods to your betta fish at the same time. In addition to being a waste of food and nutrients, it can cause dietary imbalances and, potentially, digestive problems.


Live Foods

    Live foods are a great alternative to commercial foods and a perfect snack between meals. The main live foods that we can find in specialized stores are brine shrimp, daphnia, earthworms, and bloodworms.

    In addition to being an additional source of nutrients, these foods provide a behavioral stimulus to bettas, making them actively search for food. This is essential for the fish to get out of their routine and have stimulation to stay happy.

    Even though they are good food and even necessary during certain stages in the animals’ lives (such as to prepare animals for reproduction or when they are still fry), you should never use live foods as base food; otherwise, the fish may suffer from nutritional problems.

    We must always ensure that live foods come from safe sources. This is the best way to avoid contamination of the aquarium and possible health problems for bettas.


Frozen and Freeze-Dried Foods

    Another growing option on the market is frozen and freeze-dried foods, such as mosquito larvae, blood worms, and tubifex. These foods are an excellent, safe source of nutrients and are a great choice to supplement a betta’s diet.

    How to feed properly depends on the product in question. Read the packaging and proceed correctly. Dry foods, due to the low level of moisture, can cause intestinal problems in bettas. Therefore, always hydrate freeze-dried foods before offering them to your fish. In addition to preventing intestinal problems, it ensures that bettas can make the most of the nutrients in these foods.

    Like live foods, these feeds should not be used as the basis of the diet but rather as complements.


Avoiding Plant-Based Foods

    Bettas are carnivore fish. It is vital to highlight that you never should use plant-origin foods such as betta food. Including plant-based foods in your diet, in addition to malnutrition, can lead to digestive and health problems.

Feeding Frequency and Quantity

    Food frequency in betta fish is a little discussed topic, but extremely important. Let’s take a deeper look at it.


Food Frequency

    With today’s rush, especially in urban centers, we are not always available to our fish and aquariums all day. That’s why we always recommend feeding your betta fish at least 2 to 3 times a day, once each time (morning, afternoon, and night).

    Ideally, if you are in contact with your fish all day, feeding your betta as many times a day is the perfect feeding frequency. As we discussed earlier, this high frequency (but low quantity of food) comes close to the dietary regime of wild bettas.


Food Quantity and Size

    When feeding bettas, it is vital to consider the portion size. Offer food in a tiny amount and slightly smaller size than the betta fish’s eyes. The small size and amount help your fish to fully digest the food and utilize the nutrients, preventing digestive problems and enhancing feeding efficiency.

    Live, fresh, freeze-dried, and frozen foods should be used as snacks, not staple food.



    Overfeeding is a common problem in betta fish, especially among those living in small aquariums. When bettas consume a large amount of food, they are susceptible to developing digestive issues like bloating, lethargy, and abnormally large stools.

        Overfeeding can also cause obesity and rapid degradation of water quality


Obesity and Water Quality

    Chronic overfeeding will make your betta fish obese. Obesity is harmful to betta fish health. Obese betta are susceptible to disease and have a shortened lifespan.

    Overfed, or obese fish generate an incredible amount of waste. Along with this, we also find the accumulation of uneaten food in the tank. These two events contribute to several problems in the stability of the aquarium, such as the appearance of algae, cloudy water, rapid degradation of water quality, and other negative impacts on the health of the aquarium.


Signs of Malnutrition in Bettas

    Proper nutrition takes into account all aspects of the betta fish’s needs. The quantity and frequency of feeding, in addition to eating habits, must be taken into account to maintain the vitality of the betta in home aquariums.

    When the fish diet is unhealthy, the betta is prone to health problems. The first signs of poor nutrition are visual; a keen observer can diagnose the symptoms quickly.


Faded Colors

    The faded colors on the tropical fish’s body mean that something is wrong. Bettas are known for their vibrant and exuberant colors, so any color loss could indicate that the fish is on an inadequate diet.

    Poor nutrition negatively affects betta pigmentation in several ways, from reducing the deposition of substances responsible for pigmenting the fish or weakening its organism, resulting in less bright colors.

    Added to this is stress, often a direct cause of a poor diet. Stress, in addition to leaving the fish weakened, can trigger the loss of discoloration in bettas.



    Lethargy is another primary symptom we can associate with betta fish receiving suboptimal diets. Bettas are fish with an active behavior, always attentive and agile. When poorly nourished, the fish become slow and apathetic. 

    Lack of energy or apparent tiredness may be the result of an insufficient diet that does not provide adequate energy for the betta to carry out its normal activities.

    Likewise, bettas that are obese or wrongly fed with large food or plant-based foods also exhibit lethargic behavior.


Bloated Appearance

    The bloated appearance is a more worrying symptom, which is commonly associated with overeating, foods with low moisture, or an inadequate diet. Betta fish that are overfed or given suboptimal foods can develop digestive problems. These problems are often asymptomatic in abnormal abdominal swelling.

Excessive use of freeze-dried foods can cause (or contribute) to this condition, since when not pre-hydrated, these foods can expand in the digestive tract, causing discomfort.

There are numerous causes for this, but they are all related to poor dietary care.


Special Dietary Considerations for Breeding Bettas

When breeding fish the breeding pair must be at the peak of its health and vitality. To do this, we use a concept called conditioning. Conditioning fish is nothing more than keeping them in an aquarium in perfect condition, receiving high-quality food.

These foods will help the bettas produce their eggs and have the energy to care for the litter. Furthermore, live foods can act as a trigger, initiating reproductive behavioral impulses.

Reproduction is extremely exhausting for betta fish. During the ritual and egg laying, they want to feed. Therefore, fish must be in full health before being reproduced.

The best way to boost fish health is through a varied and quality diet. Use as much food as you have available, feeding them several times throughout the day.

The ideal diet during this period makes it possible to produce healthy eggs and sperm. A good diet also helps keep bettas’ resistance high during the stress of breeding.



Betta fish are fascinating animals, from their colors and fluttering fins to their active and curious behavior. As much as they are great starter fish for the hobby aquarium, to ensure the good health of these fish it is necessary to offer them a diet, nutrition plays a crucial role.


The first step is to offer the fish a balanced and varied diet, based on foods specific to this fish and proteins of animal origin. Feeding frequency plays an important role in the diet and must be followed strictly, avoiding problems such as overfeeding.


Breeding bettas should have their diet watched closely. During preparation for breeding, breeding bettas require a more frequent and highly diverse diet to increase the chances of success and reduce stress.


With these guidelines, any aquarist can ensure that their betta fish lives a happy and long-lived life.


If you’re a betta and other tropical fish enthusiast, why not share your feeding routines, personal insights, and favorite foods in the comments? The journey of a fish keeper is a continuous learning process, our website contains a vast library of articles containing the most varied topics for you to become a successful aquarist.


It is crucial to understand and carefully choose the appropriate food for betta fish, as feeding them the wrong diet can potentially harm their health and even lead to various complications, which is why eyeballing their nutritional needs is of utmost importance. When it comes to providing optimal nutrition for betta fish, choosing the right brand of fish food such as Hikari becomes crucial to ensure their well-being and prevent any potential complications. When it comes to providing optimal nutrition for betta fish, incorporating a high-quality food enhancer like Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets can significantly enhance their overall health and vibrancy. By providing essential omega-3 fatty acids, Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets contribute to the optimal growth and development of betta fish, ultimately leading to a longer and happier life.


Everything from the nutritional value to the size and texture of the pellets plays a crucial role in ensuring that betta fish receive the best possible food for their overall well-being and vibrant appearance. One popular option for feeding betta fish is betta pellets, which provide a balanced and nutritious diet that supports their health and enhances their natural colors. For betta fish owners looking to diversify their pet’s diet, frozen foods can be an excellent addition to their feeding routine.