This post may contain affiliate links.
Feeding betta fish can be confusing for new fish owners because of their greedy feeding habits and appetite. Though it may seem that these beautiful and elegant freshwater pet fish will eat anything they see, feeding them human food is not always recommended. Even though they need a protein-rich diet, chicken might not be the best option.
Betta fish can eat chicken in very small amounts, but since that is not their natural diet, it is not recommended. Though betta fish are carnivores and as such, need a lot of protein in their diets, it is best provided through natural live baits, such as brine shrimp, white worms, and blood worms.
To know what types of food they prefer and how often to feed them may take some investigation and a bit of time. We will look at these fundamental questions – and more – to know how to keep them healthy and happy.
Can Your Betta Fish Eat Chicken?
Betta fish love chicken, and it is alright if you feed them small pieces now and then in order to alternate their diet. Make sure, though, that there are no herbs and spices or grease on it which can pollute their tank.
If you notice that your fish are not eating as normal, it can be good to feed them a little bit of chicken to help encourage nutrition. This can include frozen chicken. The key is to not give them too much because chickens are often fed hormones and antibiotics. These ingredients are not good for your betta fish and may cause health problems for your pet in the long run.
Feeding your betta fish human food must only be seen as a way to augment their diet and not as a necessary part of it. Much like feeding your dog treats, do it sparingly to keep them happy and healthy.
What Should You Feed Your Betta Fish?
Betta fish need a high protein diet to be healthy and help them live longer than the estimated four years. Because of the high protein food they need, you should not feed them the regular tropical fish food you can buy from the pet store.
Special betta food is available in various shapes and forms, which is safe to give to your betta fish. You may find it a bit difficult to find live food for your betta fish in pet stores, but there are online shops that keep it. Some pet stores that specialize in these types of things may have it, but they will only sell it in frozen forms most of the time.
The following options of betta fish foods are widely available from pet stores or online shops:
- Freeze-dried betta food
- Live betta food
There are ways you can breed live food for betta fish at home; if you are up the extra effort. If you want to learn more about betta fish food check out my previous guide.
The Natural Diet of Betta Fish
The list of food betta fish eat in their natural environment is quite extensive, and it will be good if you can feed them only what they’d normally eat. Do proper research when you want to buy food for your betta fish, especially live food, which is a bit difficult to come by.
It is also essential that you read the packaging of betta fish food to make sure you get the right stuff for your pet fish. It should always be high in protein and as natural as possible
Let’s take a look at what betta fish eat in their natural environment.
Bloodworms are a type of worm found in the bottom of shallow marine waters, which are pink, reddish in color. Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Bloodworms can be bought from Amazon and will provide your betta with the most natural source of protein that they would typically be eating in the wild.
Daphnia are small crustaceans more commonly known as water fleas because of the flea-like way they swim in the water. Daphnias can be obtained alive or in a freeze-dried form from many online shops, such as the Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia. You can also breed these little animals yourself.
Mosquito larvae can be a bit difficult to obtain alive for your betta fish, but are usually available in the form of a pellet from the store. This type of fish food is primarily used in floating pellets that will sit on the water for your betta to snack on.
This is another crustacean that can be bought in freeze-dried form which is directly fed to the betta fish. The shrimp will soften as they enter the water, but are safe to consume right out of the box. The eggs of the brine shrimp are also a pretty popular type of betta fish food and they are a great source of natural protein.
These worms are cultured especially as a live food form for aquarium fish and are great for betta fish. They are good for freshwater and saltwater fish and since they’re so easy to breed, they can be bought in a freeze-dried form from many shops and online.
Fairy shrimp can be used as a daily diet for your betta fish to provide them with a lot of protein while still keeping them healthy. The eggs of these crustaceans can be bought from any pet store or different online stores as well. When feeding your betta, it is a good idea to rotate their food types to keep them interested.
What Not To Feed Your Betta Fish?
Betta fish are greedy feeders, so you should take care not to overfeed them. Signs of this will include bloating and looking a bit sluggish in the water.
If you run out of betta fish food and can not get hold of anything, there are some options, but be sure to check ingredient labels. You mustn’t feed large pieces of food to your betta fish or other types of human food such as greens and pieces of cakes.
Luckily betta fish can stay without food for as long as a week and the larger, older ones will be okay without food for up to two weeks.
Regular Fish Food
The first thing not to feed your betta fish is common fish food you buy from the store, which is meant for other fish types. Typically found in flake form, these do not contain the right amount of protein your betta fish needs in its diet and you’ll see a decline in their health quickly.
Many people also feed their betta fish crackers. Though they like to eat these, it is not such a good idea unless you have no other option. These have very little nutrients and are more used as fillers. It is the equivalent of feeding your dog bread, which does nothing for their health at all.
As you can see from this post, it is best to stick with the food designed for your betta fish. All-natural worms and shrimps are ideal as they’re full of protein and the kinds of foods your betta would be eating in the wild. You may have to source these online or in specialty stores.
To fully enjoy these graceful tropical fish, keep them healthy and happy. You can only do so with the proper diet. Though human food, like chicken, can be given as an occasional treat, remember not to over do it, and monitor your fish’s health.