When it comes to adopting a new pet, it’s important to take the time to learn and understand the basics of taking care of them. Luckily for betta fish, there aren’t too many factors you need to know about taking care of them and care is fairly straight forward.
Betta food comes in different varieties and whichever you choose will require a different amount of feeding. Not only that, feeding can depend on how large the betta will grow up to be and how much exercise the betta gets.
We’ve been keeping Bettas for about 2 years now, and have tried a few different combinations of feeds as well as different amounts of feeding. Both of our fish require different amounts of feed, even though they share the same tank size and some shared types of scenery.
This just shows how different feeding can be from fish to fish, even when they are in similar circumstances/spaces.
THE BETTA’S STOMACH
With every animal, you’re going to want to make sure you understand how big their stomach is. Similar to us, every animal has a bit of stretch to their stomach, so they will be able to overeat a bit, but it will be uncomfortable.
Think about every time you’ve been to an all-you-can-eat restaurant and overate. You probably felt extremely tired, unable to move and immediately began regretting it. Well, the same can be said fish who overeat.
Overfeeding can lead to a number of issues including lethargy, obesity and constipation. Overeating can also be fatal to a betta fish and will often lead to a number of illnesses you’ll want to keep track of.
Most commonly betta fish who are overfed will begin to bloat. In extreme conditions of bloat, a betta fish may start to literally float upside down close to the top of the tank.
Floating betta fish will often be unable to move from the position they are in and so they are often deemed as dead by inexperienced Betta keepers. Though bloating is fairly common it is 100% avoidable.
It is important to take note that betta fish have very small stomachs. Their stomachs are around the same size as their eyes. This makes it extremely easy to overfeed your betta fish, especially if you are feeding pellets that expand.
HOW MANY PELLETS SHOULD I FEED MY BETTA FISH?
It can be a bit difficult to tell how many pellets you should feed your betta fish as feeding requirements will depend on the size of the pellet.
If the packaging of your pellets has instructions as to how many pellets your betta should get, split this up into two feedings. If you take note that your betta fish is too skinny, feel free to raise the amount of feed.
A betta fish should never have a pouch or a belly that hangs. This is a sign of overfeeding or bloatedness. If you ever take note of this, begin reducing the amount of feeding by a few pellets.
It is also recommended that you presoak all pellets you feed your betta so they expand before your feed your betta. This will ensure that you see the full-size of the pellet and do not overfeed. In many cases, overfeeding occurs because the fish owner does not realize that the pellet expands in the betta fish’s stomach, often creating discomfort.
Now, this isn’t to say that soaking your pellets is an absolute must. If you know how much your betta eats/needs to eat on a regular basis it is okay to let them have the unsoaked pellet.
On average a betta owner will be feed between 3-6 pellets at a time. As mentioned, if a pellet is larger, it is a better idea to feed it in a smaller quantity throughout the day. If pellets are small, it is okay to feed them in higher quantities, though I would still recommend feeding them a few times a day.
I personally feed my betta fish 3 pellets at a time, twice a day. This is due to the fact that Blub is living in a smaller sized tank (2.5 Gallons). While Blub is usually swimming around, he doesn’t overexert like a fish in a 5 or 10 gallon would, so he doesn’t need much more food.
As mentioned the more exercise your Betta gets, the more they will want to eat. Just make sure you do not feed more than 12-pellets a day, no matter what size tank.
If your Betta gets a lot of exercise throughout the day and you want to make sure that they are never hungry, make sure to spread out feedings.
INCREASING OR REDUCING YOUR BETTA’S FOOD & LEFTOVER FOOD
Make sure you’re watching your Betta see how fast he or she is eating their food. If your Betta doesn’t finish all of their food within a couple of minutes consider reducing the amount you’re feeding them.
Spoiled food isn’t good for a Betta and will increase the toxicity of the water they live in. Spoiled food will make the water more acidic than Bettas want/need. This will often cause a betta fish to become lethargic or worse, develop a disease.
If food is left over after feeding, make sure to scoop it out with a net. This will help make sure that no food rots in the tank.
Try your best not to let the feed sink to the bottom. It can be especially difficult to get the food out from gravel without doing a 100% water change. You can try using a Water Changer/Gravel Cleaner, especially if you are noticing a build-up of residue from food.
I DON’T FEED PELLETS, I FEED BRINE SHRIMP, HOW MUCH DO I FEED?
Awesome that you can find Brine Shrimp! We find it really difficult to find Brine Shrimp in our area.
It is suggested that you feed about one Brine Shrimp per feeding. Brine Fish have more nutrients than pellets, so you won’t need to feed as much of them as you would have to feed pellets.
Due to the fact that Brine Shrimp are much larger in size than pellets, it is much easier for you to overfeed them. If you notice your betta takes a long time before eating the Brine Shrimp or witness them having difficulty eating the Brine Shrimp, feel free to break them down even smaller.
If your interested in learning more about live feed, exotic feed or non-traditional feed, check out this article.
I HEARD YOU SHOULD FAST YOUR BETTA IS THIS TRUE?
Yessir! We fast our Betta once a week. This is very important for bladder health and to help prevent constipation.
Bettas can live a generous amount of time without eating, so you should have no worries about “starving” them for a day.
Though you’re going to want to use this advice as a guideline to fish feeding, I highly recommend feeding your Betta between 3-6 pellets a day.
Remember, this is going to depend on their energy levels and how big your fish tank is.
The best advice I can give is to watch your Betta closely. If they are not eating all of the food you give them, are gaining/losing too much weight or showing signs of constipation, you’ve got a fairly clear sign of the changes you should be making.
How much do you currently feed your Betta? Let me know in the comments below!