When shopping for the perfect food to keep your betta fish happy and healthy, all the different options can quickly become overwhelming. You might find yourself scratching your head when reading and comparing ingredients, fumbling over the smallest percent differences.
Don’t worry! Making sure that your betta gets a high-quality and nutritious diet is easy, and giving some goldfish food every once in a while won’t hurt them. However, there are much better options that will keep your betta at its best health, color, and personality.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about betta diet and feeding. We will also answer and discuss: can betta fish eat goldfish food?
What do betta fish eat?
There is some discussion about whether betta fish are pure carnivores, carnivores with a curious appetite, or if they’re somewhere in the middle as omnivores; some hobbyists might also label them more specifically as insectivores. In general, bettas are carnivores in the aquarium hobby, meaning that they require a high-protein diet. A good betta diet will consist of an assortment of live foods, frozen foods, freeze-dried foods, and flake/pellet foods.
Betta fish diet
Bettas will appreciate most live foods, like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae, and will help get your fish moving; bettas are prone to becoming overweight and having to chase after live food can help bring enrichment and exercise. In the long term, it is usually best to culture your own live food as there is less of a chance for parasites to be introduced and so there is food always available.
For the most part, the previously mentioned foods also come frozen and freeze-dried. Frozen foods are convenient and can last for a long time, but can also become messy as the preformed cubes are usually hard to judge in size. Freeze-dried foods aren’t the best option to feed as part of the regular diet as most of the nutritional value has already been removed, but can still make for a fun and convenient snack for bettas. Always make sure to soak freeze-dried pieces first in used aquarium water as they tend to expand once eaten and can lead to bloating and constipation.
A portion of a betta’s diet can also be made up of high-quality flakes/pellets. When it comes to buying food for bettas, it’s best to go with the best ingredients! It is important to note that flakes can become messy and are difficult to measure out how much food your betta is actually able to eat; if you would like more control over exact amounts, pellets might be better for you.
Betta fish food ingredients
Cheap fish food will have many fillers, like wheat, soy, or even fishmeal; while fishmeal might sound good for your betta to eat, it is actually all the parts of the fish that are left over once the rest of the fish has been sold to the market.
A good betta food will have high amounts of protein from a quality source. Quality betta food should have recognizable names as their top percentages, like wild salmon or a type of shellfish; these amounts may also be listed and generalized as ‘crude protein’, though exact names are better.
A high protein diet will help satisfy your betta’s carnivorous needs! These foods are also usually designed to be mess-free with little to no murkiness from leftover food.
How often should you feed your betta fish?
As mentioned before, betta fish have the tendency of becoming overweight due to low activity and high-protein foods. It is important to remember that if you feed high-quality food, your betta shouldn’t be hungry very often.
In general, it is recommended to feed bettas 1-2 times a day in small portions. Only a pinch of flakes/1-2 pellets should be given at a time. Likewise, only a small amount of bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae should be given in one helping. It is also not a bad thing to skip feeding for a day every so often to keep your fish interested in feeding.
Many hobbyists have actually run into problems with getting their betta fish to eat and/or with being particularly picky. The best thing to do is to keep trying new foods and see which one gets your fish excited. Remember, variety is often more important than quantity.
Goldfish food ingredients
For one reason or another, most hobbyists have spare goldfish food laying around. If bettas thrive with a varied diet, can betta fish eat goldfish food?
In short, yes, betta fish can eat goldfish food, though it is not recommended to become the main component of their diet. This is because most goldfish foods contain the unwanted fillers that we discussed previously, like fishmeal and other grains; these products usually lack the protein levels needed to sustain a carnivore’s diet. While there might be some advantages like convenience and price, high-protein foods will keep your betta in its best condition and personality while keeping water quality clean.
It is also important to keep in mind that goldfish are omnivores and have different dietary needs than bettas; even if given a high-quality goldfish food, the ingredients will not match the dietary needs of a betta as goldfish eat different things.
Goldfish food advantages
Goldfish food is pretty easy to find and there are so many options to choose from. On top of that, most hobbyists have extra goldfish food for one reason or another. Instead of letting it sit there, you might as well use it to feed your betta fish!
In moderation, goldfish food won’t hurt your betta fish in any way. It is easiest to think about typical goldfish food as junk food; it is a good snack every once in a while, but has little to no nutritional value and will not keep your fish full.
Because goldfish food is cheaply made with a lot of fillers, it is usually a lot less expensive than high-quality foods. This makes it especially appealing for beginners that might not know that bettas need a protein-based diet. Instead of having to throw away this food, it can also be offered every now and then as a snack.
Goldfish food disadvantages
Unfortunately, there are more disadvantages to goldfish food than advantages for bettas. Betta fish will usually only be as colorful and active as the food they are being given (as well as other tank conditions, like size and water parameters). A low-quality diet will often result in color loss, sluggish behavior, disease, and messier water conditions.
Colors, behavior, and disease
Fish tend to display their best colors when they’re happiest. When provided a well-varied diet, bettas get all the nutrients that they need to be able to generate their best colors, which is a main attraction to the species. Lesser-quality food can also lead to a weakened immune system which can lead to sluggishness and eventually diseases and infections.
Poor-quality foods are usually a lot messier than high-quality foods; most betta flake/pellet food has been designed with water parameters in mind, meaning that uneaten food is less likely to quickly decompose and leak excess nutrients. However, water quality also contributes to the immunity of your fish and can contribute to your betta’s sluggishness or diseases, like fin rot.
So while betta fish can eat goldfish food from time to time, the lack of nutritional value will eventually catch up with the color, behavior, and water conditions.
Can betta fish eat goldfish food? The answer to that question is every now and then. Betta fish foods are designed for bettas in mind and are packed full of the necessary protein that carnivorous bettas need to thrive. Bettas especially need variety in their diet, and a little goldfish food could be the perfect snack to keep your betta interested in more nutritious food.
If you have any questions about what betta fish eat, betta food, or have had experience with a particularly picky betta, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!