Feeding Betta Fish

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What to Feed Your Betta

Betta fish are carnivorous and feed on zooplankton and insect larvae in the wild. When kept as pets, Betta fish rely on specially formulated Betta food flakes or pellets sold at pet stores or large retail stores such as Wal-Mart. These ready-made meals are both nutritious and inexpensive. They contain a mixture of bloodworms, shrimp meal and vitamins. This makes feeding Betta fish quite easy.

Because Betta fish can be prone to constipation, it is a good idea to vary their diet to ensure they receive enough protein and fiber. Three times a week, replace a pellet feeding with a few live bloodworms or brine shrimp. Not interested in handling live food? Freeze dried items can be purchased at most pet stores and are just as good!

Varying a Betta's diet keeps them regular, enhances their color tone and boosts their immune system. It is important to use at least two types of food throughout the week. Betta’s can be picky eaters, so experiment with different brands to see what your Betta likes best.

Though live food is great for your Betta fish, it may carry bacteria that are harmful to your Betta. Simply rinse the live food thoroughly with warm water before dropping in the tank. Only feed your Betta live food that is purchased from a pet store, as any food caught in the wild may have been subjected to pesticides.

When to Feed Your Betta

Bettas are typically fed one to two small meals a day, with young Betta fish (under 6 months old) needing three meals a day. It is very important not to overfeed your Betta fish, as this will lead to numerous health problems.

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For ready-made food bought at a pet store, simply follow the instructions on the package. If you choose to feed your Betta live food, experiment with the quantity. Bettas are fast eaters and only take two to five minutes to finish a meal. If they continue to eat past five minutes, they are at risk for overeating. You should also skip a meal once a week to allow the Betta’s digestive system time to cleanse itself.

After five minutes or when the Betta loses interest, remove the leftovers from the tank. Food left in the water breeds bacteria and can lead to infections and algae build up on the tank. It is especially important to remove live food from the tank, as Betta will continue to hunt and eat them. Removing food is a key strategy when feeding Betta fish - it will keep them much healthier.

A large belly or an excess of waste in the tank are the number one signs that you are overfeeding your Betta. If your Betta appears thinner than usual, it may need more food or have an infection. Make sure you are following the appropriate steps for feeding Betta fish so you can distinguish between illness and improper feeding.

Betta fish are great pets because they can survive without food for up to three days without harm. However, it is imperative that you do not make this a habit and that you make sure your Betta is not without food for longer than three days. If this is unavoidable, purchase an automatic feeder or hire a pet sitter.

Ideally, try not to go more than a day in between feeding Betta fish.

How to Feed Your Betta

Betta fish are surface feeders with upturned mouths, so only foods that float will attract a Betta's attention. If you bought something that sinks quickly, only place one pellet in the tank at a time.

Feeding is also a great time to bond with your Betta. Before you drop in the food, get your Betta's attention by placing your finger (do not knock) on the glass and lead him to the top of the tank with your finger. When he reaches the top, drop in the food. After a few feedings, the Betta will recognize when it is time to eat!

Feeding Betta fish can be a bit of a crowd-pleaser when if you can teach your Betta this simple trick! 

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