You’ve purchased a beautiful betta fish. You arrive home, get the fish settled in its new home, but wait how do you ensure you feed the betta fish enough?
You remember the salesperson telling you to just sprinkle some food in each day, multiple times a day, and the fish is sure to live a healthy and happy life, but how do you know how much to feed it and how many times a day to feed it? How are you to guarantee you are offering the best food to your new scaly friend? Feeding your new betta the appropriate number of times a day as well as the providing the best quality food will be key in its survival and long term health.
Be Sure to Feed Your Betta the Correct Amount of Food a Day
You have gotten your new fish home and properly acclimated to its new environment. Now comes the feeding time. Again, you remember the store associate telling you to feed the betta multiple times a day, but how many times a day are you supposed to feed your fish and how much are you supposed to feed?
There are some betta fish experts who suggest that offering your betta several feedings a day is appropriate. While this philosophy may stand true to allowing your fish to survive, most likely your betta will not be as happy or active in comparison to betta fish that get fed using a more structured feeding schedule of one to two feedings per day.
If you do decide to feed more than once per day, it is recommended to space the feedings out leaving at least six to eight hours between them. Additionally, some experts recommend smaller multiple feedings a day to avoid overloading the betta’s smaller digestive system. The type of food, amount of food, and an example feeding schedule will be discussed later on to give you a better understanding about feeding.
Provide Your Fish With a ‘Betta’ Life
The process of purchasing a new betta fish may seem simple. You pick out what seems to be the perfect fish, take it home, and it is yours for the rest of its life. On the contrary, ensuring that you are offering the fish with the highest quality of care can be quite tricky. Therefore, it is crucial that you do your due diligence and educate yourself on the proper betta fish husbandry. Continue reading, and you may find yourself greatly surprised with just how much care needs to go into this small water creature. This is not to scare future betta fish owners but instead to help educate individuals who desire to one day have a betta fish.
What Happens If You Underfeed a Betta Fish
As previously mentioned, feeding your betta fish may seem like a simple task; however, it does truly require love and much attention. Surprisingly, betta fish are able to survive up to 14 days without ingesting food. Therefore, if your betta does not eat for one or two meals, it won’t be the end of its life. However, if it is continuously not eating, then there may be other factors contributing to its being underfed. If your betta goes for long bouts of under eating or no eating, then it may be time to look at the various factors that may be impacting it.
What Should You Do If You Underfeed Your Betta Fish
As previously mentioned, there can be several factors that impact just how much your betta fish is consuming when it comes to its feeding times. A large factor is typically environmental changes. This change within its environment could pertain to water temperatures, tank cleanings, and overall tank size. If you still do not see any change in appetite after these environmental conditions have been evaluated, it could mean your betta is feeling ill. The next step would be to consult with your local veterinarian for further betta husbandry guidance.
What Happens If You Overfeed a Betta Fish?
An interesting fact about betta fish that many owners may not even realize is that it is actually extremely common for betta fish to overeat. In the wild, these fish tend to consume food whenever it is available. However, when owned in a domestic pet situation, it is up to the owners to ensure the appropriate amount of food is being offered. If more food is offered to the betta and it continues to overeat, the betta may begin experiencing issues such as bloating, digestive problems, obesity, constipation, and even issues with swim bladder.
How to Prevent Your Betta Fish From Overeating
In order to prevent your betta fish from overeating, you should carefully monitor the amount of food provided to the fish on a daily basis. This will allow you to observe just how much your fish is ingesting and to ensure the fish is not able to overeat at any given time throughout the day. Thus, it is very important to only offer a set amount of food per day to ensure your betta fish will not have the opportunity to eat more food than it needs. If you are offering too much food to your betta, its water can quickly become dirty. This can lead to an unhealthy living environment. Therefore, you should try and clean out the remaining food from its environment. This can be done by using specific aquarium cleaning tools or even performing a complete water change.
Should a Betta Fish “Fast” Sometimes?
Interestingly, due to the ability for betta fish to overeat, there are some experts who actually recommend you skip one day of feeding per week. The idea is that the single day of no food will be a “fasting” day and allow the intricate digestive system time to work. Offering your betta fish a fast day works well to ensure you are not overfeeding it. Also, as previously mentioned, it is able to survive for up to 14 days without food, so this will not be a practice that harms it.
How Much Should You Feed a Betta Fish?
Now that you have a better understanding for how many times a day to feed your new betta, you may also be wondering how much to feed the fish each day. A good rule of thumb for the amount you should feed your betta is that you only want to offer enough food that can be consumed within a minute. A betta fish’s stomach is only about the size of its eyeball.
There will be an overwhelming amount of betta food options available at any local pet store, so how do you decide which one is the best? The most important factor is that you need to be focusing on food that provides the betta with the high amounts of protein it requires. This fish is primarily a carnivore, so it will need to have the appropriate amount of protein in its diet. Additionally, there are several forms of food and protein you may offer to your betta. Continue reading as we break each one down and explain the food options in more detail.
Know What Food Options Are “Betta” for Your Fish
Many people believe fish are easy pets to have and do not require much care at all. While this may seem mostly true when compared to other pets, they still need love and day-to-day care. A betta fish especially needs extra care when it comes to its food. Contrary to popular belief, not all fish food is created equally and since betta fish are carnivores, they require special attention to the amount of protein they get. When trying to decide on the best betta fish food option on the market, it is important to again look at the protein content.
Don’t Be a Flake; Get the Best
Flakes are probably one of the most common feeding options for a betta fish because they are inexpensive and easy to find. Flakes last for long periods of time and are easy to store to make sure you always have food on hand for your betta; however, you should still be monitoring the nutritional values in the flake you select because they may not all be created equally. Remember, you still want to offer a flake that is high in protein for the best nutritional value. Additionally, if you are selecting a flake feeding, you will want to be sure to add a fasting day as the flakes typically move slowly through the digestive track.
Betta Fish Pellets
Similar to flakes, pellets are also a generally popular food option for betta owners. This again is because they are easy to store, have an extended shelf life, and still offer good nutritional values. If you opt for a pellet feeding option, a fast day should also be implemented since this type of food tends to pass more slowly through the digestive track just as the flakes do.
Frozen Food Options
Frozen food options are also another great way to ensure enough protein for your betta fish. Items such as frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms make for delicious treats that are sure to please your betta friend. If you select frozen options, then a “fasting” day may not be required since frozen food tends to have no dry matter and passes more quickly through the digestive system.
Opting for Fresh
Fresh food is always going to be an excellent option. Although fresh may be slightly more expensive, it can provide your betta with a variety of nutrients it needs to not only survive but also to thrive in its environment. Similar to frozen foods, fresh food also tends to have almost no dry matter, so it too will pass through the betta’s system smoothly and quickly, possibly making a “fasting” day unnecessary.
Provide Your Betta a Feeding Schedule But Also Feel Free to Mix It Up
As previously discussed, it can be very beneficial to provide multiple small feedings for your betta. This allows your fish the chance to take in smaller amounts of food and properly digest it without becoming overfed and bloated. It could be a fun idea to mix up your betta’s feeding options and implement various food options. If you offer mostly flakes or pellets, try providing feeding opportunities where you give frozen or fresh food instead. This may help elevate blockage and provide a tasty treat for your betta and vise versa. If you offer almost only frozen or fresh food, it could be interesting to offer flakes or pellets to give your betta more of a variety. Just remember, it is absolutely normal to add a “fasting” day here and there to provide your betta with a day to recover and work old food through its digestive system.
How to Provide Care to Your Betta While Enjoying a Vacation
Another obstacle when becoming a betta fish owner is how to ensure it is fed when you go on vacation. Let’s be honest, no one wants to have to be completely tied down because he or she has a fish. Thankfully, when it comes to making sure your betta fish is taken care of during your trip, there are plenty of options. You could always give it a “fasting” period, ask a family or friend to stop in and feed, use a timed feeder, or get a feeder fish.
Life Is ‘Betta’ With a Fish Friend
Overall, having a pet betta fish is not a huge responsibility. Even though this fish does require some education about feeding and simple care, it is relatively low maintenance all in all. Be sure to offer your betta smaller meals since it has a small stomach and feed it one to two times a day. Putting your betta fish on a feeding schedule can help regulate it and ensure it is eating the appropriate amounts of food. Also, remember that it can be extremely common for a betta to eat too much food if it is being overfed, so be sure to add in those “fasting” days to let its tiny stomach clear out.