If your betta has eaten a gnat or fruit fly that fell into its tank water, do not despair! The live food may actually be good for them.
Bettas can eat all kinds of things, and a varied diet of nutrients is good for humans and fish alike.
You may be wondering “what live food can betta fish eat?” Well, here are some of our best ideas when it comes to live foods for bettas!
Can Betta Eat Insects?
You bet! Betta fish eat insect larvae in the wild, and they love eating insects in captivity, too.
Some insects you can feed your betta include:
- Black worms
- Micro worms and mini-micro worms
- Tubifex worms
- Baby mealworms (you can use full-grown mealworms, too, but chop them up first!)
- Earthworms (cut up to be bite-sized)
- Mosquito larvae
- Fruit flies
- Small crickets
Betta fish love worms and larvae – and they’ll eat a fruit fly, too!
You can feed your betta any of these insects live, but if that’s too gross for you, don’t worry. You can buy them dried or frozen if you prefer.
Remember, insects are like treats and they’re only a part of a balanced betta fish diet. Also, you want to be careful that you don’t overfeed your fishy friend.
Can Betta Fish Eat Fly Maggots?
Yes, but be careful. House fly maggots typically feed on rotting food, including meat and waste, which means they can absorb harmful bacteria and harm your betta.
If you want to feed your betta fish maggots, consider raising them yourself and feeding them a fruit and vegetable diet.
Better yet, try wingless fruit flies or fruit fly maggots – they only eat fruit and they’re a perfect size.
Remember, maggots should be a supplement or a treat — not your betta’s main food source!
Can Betta Fish Eat Live Bait?
It depends on what kind of bait you are feeding your betta. Most fishing bait (worms, minnows, etc.) is too big for a betta to eat in one sitting.
Plus, introducing a live fish to your tank is cruel, and your betta could actually be harmed if the smaller fish tries to fight back.
If you do want to feed your betta bait, you can chop it up into bite-sized pieces, but that may kill the insect or smaller fish and kind of defeats the purpose of feeding your betta live bait.
Still, your betta can eat plenty of things live — mostly smaller bugs but also some seafood.
Can Betta Fish Eat Seafood?
Yep, betta fish can eat seafood, and they are seafood connoisseurs. They like it as fresh as they can get, and for betta fish, it’s even better live.
Bettas’ favorite seafood is a small crustacean called daphnia but they also like different kinds of shrimp, especially baby brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp (also called Opossum shrimp).
If you want to share your seafood, bettas can eat:
Before you share your seafood feast with your betta fish, cut it up into tiny chunks. Also, you should only feed your betta raw, unseasoned ingredients.
You can feed your betta fish canned tuna but only if the tuna was packaged in fresh water. Never feed your betta tuna marinated in olive oil.
Unfortunately, your betta might not like everything you feed it. In that case, you always want to remove uneaten food from the tank water immediately after feeding.
Can Betta Fish Eat Frozen Krill?
Yes, betta fish eat small crustaceans in the wild, so they can certainly eat krill.
Betta fish can eat frozen and freeze-dried foods, too. However, you should always thaw and/or rehydrate dried or frozen foods before feeding them to your betta. Otherwise, the food may be too difficult to digest and result in constipation.
Can Betta Fish Eat Meat?
Fish keepers can’t seem to agree on whether betta fish can eat meat.
On one hand, betta fish are carnivores and meat is a protein-packed snack. On the other, betta fish would never eat meat from land mammals in the wild, so it is completely unnatural.
Additionally, raw meat could introduce unhealthy bacteria to your tank, and cooked meat typically has too many spices and oils to make a healthy meal.
In short, betta fish can eat meat, but they probably shouldn’t, so you may want to stick to insects, crustaceans, and other seafood.
Can Bettas Eat Fruits and Vegetables?
Bettas are carnivores, which means they don’t eat fruits and vegetables in the wild. Feeding them fruits and vegetables in captivity is unnatural and can be unhealthy.
Some fish keepers like giving their fish one or two boiled and peeled peas, particularly to resolve digestive issues, and some say their fish love mango and cantaloupe. They even go as far as to say that betta fish need fruits and vegetables for fiber.
Even so, betta fish do not need fruits and vegetables! And some of them can even be harmful.
Certain types of fruit (citrus), for example, can seriously harm your betta fish and interrupt the pH of your aquarium water.
Overall, you shouldn’t risk feeding your betta fruits and vegetables, no matter what the internet says.
To make sure your betta is getting enough fiber, feed them a specially-formulated betta fish food, supplement them with vegetarian-fed bloodworms and larvae, and keep live plants in your betta tank.
If a betta fish needs some extra fiber, it should simply chew on a living aquarium plant and continue with its day — and its regular diet.
What Will My Betta Eat?
Your betta trusts you and will likely eat anything you put in his or her tank.
This means you need to be extremely careful about what you put in your tank and only introduce food that is good for your betta fish.
NEVER feed your betta bread, corn, or anything without nutritional value, and be extremely careful about introducing anything other than insects and seafood to your tank.
DO NOT feed your betta fish citrus. The acidity can ruin your water conditions and have a severe impact on your fishy friend’s digestive system.
Where Should I Buy Live Betta Food?
Only buy live betta food from reputable sellers, like pet stores and specialty shops.
Otherwise, you run the risk of parasites and bacteria, which can cause disease and make your betta very sick. Some live food may also be contaminated with pesticides, which can kill your fish.
If you want to feed your betta live food, the safest thing you can do is grow it yourself. Mosquito larvae, for example, are extremely easy to grow and are one of bettas’ favorite snacks! You can also raise worms and crickets at home on a vegetarian diet.
Whatever you do, do not catch betta food in the wild. You never know what disease might be affecting the local insect population or whether the insects are free from pesticides.
How Often Should I Feed My Betta Live Food?
How often do you eat ice cream? Live food is a treat for your betta and should only be consumed in moderation.
If you wouldn’t eat an ice cream cone every day, don’t give your betta live food every day.
A bit of worm every so often should be more than enough, and most fish keepers recommend limiting treats to once per week.
How Much Live Food Should I Give My Betta?
It may be easy to drop a live cricket in your betta fish tank and walk away, but please, for the love of your fishy friend, DON’T DO THIS.
Avoid portions bigger than your betta’s eye. Your betta’s eye is about the size of its stomach.
If you do feed your fish a large meal one day, consider skipping its meal the next day. Betta fish have trouble deciding when they are full and will often eat more food than they have room for.
Additionally, betta fish need plenty of time to digest between meals, especially big, high-protein meals like bloodworms.
What Happens If I Overfeed My Betta?
If you overfeed your betta, excess food will fall to the bottom of the tank and create ammonia and nitrogen. To avoid this, remove any uneaten food right after you feed your fish.
Worse still, your betta might eat all the food and develop health problems as a result. Your betta may gain too much weight or even develop a bulge in their belly area that requires veterinary attention.
Think of it this way — you don’t like to be bloated, and your betta doesn’t, either.
What’s the Healthiest Treat for My Betta?
The healthiest treat for your betta is vegetarian-fed mosquito larvae or home-cultured daphnia.
Betta fish eat these same creatures in the wild, and if you grow your feeding stock at home, you can be sure you are not introducing bacteria or parasites to your tank.
Plus, feeding live insects with a vegetarian diet helps ensure your fish gets all the extra nutrients these snacks can provide.
- Live food is supplementary — it should be used as a treat; not your betta’s main diet.
- Do not overfeed your betta (portions should be the size of your fish’s eye and treats should be given no more than once a week).
- Remove any uneaten food immediately after feeding, so it doesn’t contaminate your tank.