Bettas, or Siamese fighting fish, are beautiful and fairly easy to care for. If you are new to raising bettas, it is essential to learn how often and how much to feed them. Over- or underfeeding can significantly affect the well-being of your fish. It can also pollute your tank water, leading to serious illness in your fish.
Feed adults once per day and fry (young bettas) twice per day.
Consider the size of your fish when determining how big each meal should be. Generally speaking, an adult betta should eat two to four brine shrimp or bloodworms per meal. Fry will eat increasing numbers of micro-worms as they grow. Your best bet is to drop a few on the bottom of the tank for each fry. The fry should nibble at them throughout the day.
Feed only how much your fish can eat in a few minutes. Overfeeding leads to waste, and uneaten food rots inside your tank, polluting the water and putting your fish at risk for bacterial infections.
Examine your fish to see if it is being over- or underfed. If its belly looks hollow or flat, it needs more food. Sometimes, bettas are slow eaters; yours simply may need more time to eat. Try two meals per day, but stick to the amount the betta can consume in a few minutes.
Seek veterinary attention if feeding twice per day does not fill out your betta's belly. Some bacterial infections or internal parasites can cause wasting and thinness.
Be careful with live food. Some bettas will continue eating until the live food is all gone, even if it makes them severely ill from overeating.
Watch for the development of an oversized bellow or paunch, as this is a sign you are feeding your fish too much food. If your fish appears overfed, skip a day of feeding and then cut the amount of each meal by 25 percent. Continue decreasing quantity in this way until your betta has a healthy appearance.
Skip feeding altogether one day a week to give your betta's digestive system time to rest, as recommended by the Betta Talk website.
Remove uneaten food promptly from the bowl or aquarium. Finding excessive food waste means you need to re-evaluate the amount you are feeding your bettas.
- Bettas can go up to two weeks without eating.
- A sudden change in appetite may indicate illness in your fish.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."