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What Do Betta Fish Eat? Diet & Feeding Recommendations

It took me a while to figure out exactly what my betta fish likes to eat, but I now have its diet on lockdown. Curious what betta fish eat? Here’s the answer.

Quick Answer

Although betta fish are technically omnivorous, they are primarily carnivorous. They enjoy eating a wide variety of foods including pellets, flakes, freeze dried foods, live foods, blanched vegetables, and more. The most important aspect is that betta fish get a very high protein diet.

Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about the betta fish and its diet, including a variety of feeding recommendations.

What do Betta Fish Eat in the Wild?

There are many different foods that a betta fish eats in its natural environment. Betta fish eat a variety of insects that fall into the water, which could include terrestrial insects, mosquitoes, and flies. They also tend to eat airborne prey, such as insects that fly close to the surface of the water.

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It is not uncommon for a betta fish to jump out of the water to eat some flying insects. Betta fish also enjoy eating a number of aquatic worms and larvae, insect larvae, and even the occasional small crustacean or fish fry. Betta fish are also known for eating small aquatic animals like water fleas and zooplankton.

Although betta fish are carnivorous for the most part, they may at times consume some algae, detritus, or other small amounts of plant matter. With that being said, the diet of a betta fish in the wild is primarily carnivorous, which means that you should aim to reproduce that at home.

Betta Fish Dietary Requirements

Before we start talking about different types of food you can give your fish at home, Let’s take a quick look at the dietary requirements of a betta fish. 

As mentioned above, betta fish are primarily carnivorous, which means that they need a lot of protein. In general, the diet of a betta fish should consist of roughly 40% to 50% high quality protein.A betta fish needs protein for tissue repair, muscle growth, and its health overall. 

Next, if we are talking about carbohydrates, the diet should usually be around 20% to 30% carbs. Betta fish may be carnivorous, for the most part, but carbohydrates are still important for providing energy.

Just be sure that you don’t provide your betta fish with more carbohydrates than around 30%, as this can cause digestion issues. 

We then have fats, which should constitute around 15% of the diet of the betta fish. Essential fatty acids are required for energy and other bodily functions. Besides that, the diet of your betta fish should also include many different vitamins and minerals.

Best Betta Fish Food For Home Aquariums

Now that we know what betta fish eat in the wild and what their natural dietary requirements are, let’s take a closer look at the best food you can get at home.


Perhaps the best type of food you can give your betta fish are some high quality betta fish pellets. Note how we say betta fish pellets, not just fish pellets or tropical fish pellets. Betta fish have pretty specific dietary requirements, and the pellets you get need to be specifically designed for them.

Only betta fish pellets will provide them with the nutrition they need to thrive and survive. Keep in mind that there are both floating and sinking pellets, with betta fish often preferring those that slowly sink, although don’t go right to the bottom immediately. Pellets are often preferred as they also help prevent your bait to fish from swallowing too much air.


Next on the list we have fish flakes, and here we’re also talking about very specific betta fish flakes, not just fish food design for any old fish. High quality fish flakes should be able to meet the nutritional requirements of any betta fish.

Furthermore, there are also many different types of flakes out there, but most of them do float. Keep in mind that floating food is not always the best for betta fish as they may swallow air at the surface, which is not ideal for a variety of reasons. However, flakes can be an essential part of the betta fish’s diet.

Live Foods

Something else to consider is giving your betta fish a variety of live foods. As you might know, betta fish are natural hunters, which means that they like to chase their food. You can give them a variety of daphnia, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and even insects that you find.

This will definitely help provide your betta fish with a bit of fun and entertainment because they do like to hunt. However, what you need to consider here is that live foods may contain various diseases or parasites, which can infect and in some cases be fatal for your fish. Therefore, make sure that all of your life foods are clean and come from reputable sources.

Freeze Dried Foods

Next we have freeze dried foods, which generally come in the same form as live foods. Some of the most typical freeze dried foods to get betta fish include brine shrimp, blood worms, and daphnia. 

Now, live foods aren’t quite as exciting because you’re betta fish don’t have to chase them, but what is beneficial about them is that the freeze drying process tends to eliminate all parasites and bacteria. This means that although the food isn’t quite as fun to chase, it’s also much safer for your fish.

Dried Foods

If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper than freeze dried foods, but you still want something relatively safe and tasty for your fish, going for some regular dried foods may also work. 

I have on occasion been known to provide my betta fish with dried mosquitoes, flies, and other dried insects, including larvae. It’s not the first choice, and they aren’t the easiest to come by, but they certainly make for a good source of protein.

Blanched Vegetables

The other food you could consider giving your betta fish are some blanched vegetables. Remember that you don’t want to give your betta fish raw vegetables, because they’re too hard to digest, and too hard in general. 

However, some blanched and shelled peas, spinach, or greens will do just fine. Although betta fish are of course primarily carnivorous in nature, they will at times enjoy some vegetables.

Betta Fish Feeding Guide and Tips

Before we call it a day, let’s just go over some quick betta fish feeding tips so you can ensure that your little fish is healthy and happy.

  • Always make sure that you are getting food specifically formulated for betta fish, which is especially the case if we are talking about pellets or flakes.
  • It is recommended that you feed your betta fish no more than it can in 3 minutes, twice per day. If you feed your Betta fish any more than this, you’ll likely overfeed it, which can cause a variety of health issues.
  • Betta fish are creatures of routine, which means that they like a solid feeding schedule. If you’re aiming to feed your betta fish twice per day, choose two times and stick with them. Generally speaking, fish like to eat at dawn and dusk, so sometime around sunup and sundown is your best bet. The most important part here, however, is that you maintain a consistent routine.
  • It’s always a good idea to provide your betta fish with a wide variety of foods, to help meet its nutritional requirements. Furthermore, remember that this is a pet, and it’s not only about nutritional requirements, but about some enjoyment too. So, give your betta fish the occasional treat.


When all is said and done, as you can see, feeding a betta fish really is not that difficult. As long as you provide it with a varied diet that meets its nutritional requirements, it should be just fine. High quality fish flakes, pellets, blanched vegetables, freeze dried foods, and live foods all make for great options. Just make sure that they’re totally safe.

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