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How Much to Feed Betta Fish: Feeding Guidelines

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When I first started keeping fish, something I always had trouble with was figuring out how much to feed them.

As far as the betta fish is concerned, they should be fed no more than they can eat in around two or three minutes, two times per day. If being fed once per day, feed them no more than making eat in four or five minutes at the very most. The type of food you feed them is also important.

Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about feeding your betta fish, including the quantity, quality, type of food, and more.

How Much To Feed Betta Fish?

Of course, different betta fish might eat slightly different amounts, but across the board, the rule of thumb is to feed them no more than they can eat in two or three minutes at once. Betta fish are fairly hungry fish and they are fast eaters as well, but as is the case with most fish, they keep eating even past the point of hunger.

Betta splendens male

Therefore, you need to cut them off at around the three minute mark, or else they’ll just keep eating. As you might know, overfeeding any type of fish can lead to serious health implications.

Furthermore, it is a good idea to split feedings up on a daily basis, so instead of feeding them everything at once, do two feedings per day. 

It’s doing two feedings per day, letting them eat for two minutes at a time should be more than enough to meet their nutritional needs and to keep them satiated. In other words, feed them twice per day and give them as much food as they can eat in around two or three minutes.

When to Feed Betta Fish?

Something else that many people wonder is when the best time to feed a betta fish is. Well, let’s just consider that in the wild, most fish eat at dawn and dusk. This is generally when fish are the most active, as this is when insects are also most active.

Fish also generally feed at dawn and dusk for various other environmental issues and factors, such as water temperatures and lighting conditions that make it more favorable to hunt during these times.

The fact is of course that you always want to recreate the environment of any fish you have as closely as possible, which even goes for the time at which you feed your fish. Therefore, I strongly recommend feeding your betta fish at dawn and dusk, or about as close to those times as you can.

Once again, feed them at both of these times, but no more than they can eat in around two or three minutes per feeding session. If you feed them too much, overfeeding can lead to serious health issues that you just don’t want to have to deal with.

What to Feed Betta Fish?

Now that you know when to feed your betta fish and how much, let’s talk about what to feed your Betta fish. The most important thing that you need to know here is that a betta fish is primarily carnivorous, which means that it is a meat eater.

Many people assume that betta fish can live off of plants alone, but this simply isn’t true. Betta fish need a whole lot of protein in their diets, as well some fat, phosphorus, fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, and a wide variety of vitamins. 

This means that above all else, you need to provide your betta fish with a nutritionally balanced diet that provides them with all of these nutrients without fail.


There are of course a variety of types of food that you can feed your goldfish, with betta fish pellets being one of them. 

Good betta fish pellets don’t have much fillers in them, and are usually filled with high quality ingredients that will help your betta fish maintain good color, health, strong immune system, and more. Just remember that pellets often expand when they become wet, so it’s a good idea to soak them first.


Another good type of food to feed your betta fish are simple flakes. You don’t want to give your betta fish just any flakes however, because there are ones made specifically for these fish. 

Just remember that betta fish can be somewhat messy when eating, so only provide them with a few flakes at once to make sure that they’ll eat all of them. If flakes are left behind, you need to remove them yourself to prevent them from rotting in the fish tank.

Live Foods

Betta fish are pretty big hunters, which means that you can feed them some live foods, such as a variety of worms, insect larva, daphnia, brine shrimp, and more. Just be sure to get them from a reputable retailer and do your best to ensure that they are free of disease and parasites.

It may be the case that some live foods contain parasites or other diseases that can then be transferred to your fish, so many people avoid this. However, if you are careful, it should be just fine, although there are good alternatives to live foods, as we’re about to look at below.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Perhaps one of the best foods you can give your betta fish, especially as a supplement to the regular diet, is freeze-dried food. Freeze dried foods come in the same form as live foods, and can include things like brine shrimp, worms, daphnia, insect larva, and more.

The difference is of course that they are no longer alive, but rather freeze dried. It more or less eliminates the chances of parasites and diseases from being present, therefore making these foods much safer for your fish. That said, you cannot feed your betta fish only freeze-dried foods, as it can cause a variety of constipation and bloating issues.

Common Feeding Problems with Betta Fish

The simple reality is that it is far too easy to overfeed a betta fish. We aren’t going to focus on underfeeding a betta fish, because this generally doesn’t happen. However, if you overfeed your betta fish, this can lead to some very serious health consequences.

At the very least, it can cause obesity, and yes, obesity in betta fish is a real thing. If a betta fish is obese, it can result in a distended belly, difficulty swimming, and reduced mobility. Of course, just like in human beings, obesity can also cause issues such as organ damage and an overall fortune lifespan.

However, the problem goes even deeper than that, because a betta fish that is being overfed can also become bloated, which in very severe cases may lead to swim bladder issues or a swim bladder disorder. The result of this is an inability to maintain buoyancy and to swim properly, which can ultimately lead to death.

On that note, over feeding a betta fish can also lead to a variety of other digestive issues. Just consider the fact that the digestive tract of betta fish are very small and short, which means that even a little too much food can lead to constipation, internal blockages, and even death in some cases.

Also consider that feeding a betta fish far too much food also results in greatly reduced water quality. If there is too much uneaten food left in the fish tank, and if the betta fish produces a lot of waste, ammonia, nitrate, and other chemicals will build up in the water. 

This can also lead to a variety of health issues, especially because ammonia is so poisonous to fish even in small quantities. Therefore, you need to do everything possible to avoid overfeeding your betta fish.


The bottom line here is that as long as you provide your betta fish with a nutritionally balanced diet that is very rich in protein, carbs, and fats, they should do just fine. Remember to only feed them about as much as they can eat in two or three minutes at once, and no more than twice per day, preferably at dawn and dusk.