Something that I really had to master is learning when to feed my betta fish and how much food to give it.
Generally speaking, you want to feed a betta fish twice per day, no more food than it can eat in two or three minutes at the most. You may however also feed your Betta fish once per day, in which case it could eat as much food as they can eat in up to 5 minutes. Quantity plays a role here.
Keep reading to figure out exactly how often you should feed your betta fish, how much food to give it, and what kind of food as well.
Betta Fish Eating Habits in the Wild
First and foremost, let’s take a quick look at the natural environment and living conditions of the betta fish. In the wild, the betta fish is exposed to the natural light and dark cycle.
This means that in the morning, at dawn, the sun goes up, and at night, at dusk, the sun goes down. Generally speaking, this is when fish are most active, especially in terms of feeding. This is true for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, this also tends to be when insects and all of the creatures that betta fish eat tend to be the most active. Animals are just waking up from their sleep and are able to function because they can see in the daylight, which means that they start moving around. This gives betta fish the perfect opportunity to have some breakfast.
Animals generally eat before dark as well, because they’ll have to go through the whole night without eating. This is the case for diurnal animals, not nocturnal animals. However, betta fish are diurnal, which means that they operate during the daytime, they aren’t really active at night, and they certainly don’t have night vision.
What it all boils down to is that betta fish in the wild eat twice per day usually, once at dawn and once at dusk. What also needs to be kept in mind however is that betta fish and other such animals are all quite opportunistic as well. This means that they will eat when they can eat, and if they’re hungry and they manage to catch something, they’ll eat it.
How Often to Feed a Betta Fish
If betta fish eat twice per day in the wild, then it is safe to assume that you should probably also provide your betta fish with two daily meals. I strongly recommend supplying your betta fish with two meals per day, once at dawn and once at dusk, as this should help to recreate their natural environments and feeding schedules, just like in the wild.
If you feed your betta fish twice per day, they should do just fine. Now, with that being said, some people may adopt a different feeding schedule, which in some cases is just fine.
Many people choose to feed their betta fish only once per day as opposed to twice, but of course, if you do so, you’ll have to give it more at once. The official recommendation here is that a betta fish should be provided with no more food than it can eat in 3 minutes, particularly if you feed it twice per day.
If you feed it any more food that they can eat in 3 minutes, twice per day, it will likely result in a variety of digestion issues. That said, if you feed your betta fish only once per day, you should feed it no more than it could eat in about 5 minutes at once. Whether you feed your betta fish once per day or twice per day, overfeeding is always an issue.
When to Feed a Betta Fish – The Schedule
Although betta fish eat at dawn and dusk in the wild, this isn’t necessarily a schedule that you have to maintain at home. Although feeding them at these specific times is ideal if you want to recreate their natural environments, it’s not as important as maintaining a routine. It’s much more important to feed your betta fish at the same time every day.
If you feed your betta fish at 11:00 AM and 11:00 PM everyday, then this is the schedule you should maintain. With that being said, that’s actually a poor example, because betta fish are diurnal, which means that they prefer eating during the daytime.
Therefore, no matter the routine or feeding schedule you have, make sure to feed them during the day. For instance, a good feeding schedule might be 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM, as the sun should be up during both of these times.
This will help maintain the natural circadian rhythm of the betta fish, which has to do with its wake and sleep cycle. Once again, the exact times that your betta fish are fed are not nearly as important as that you maintain a constant routine from one day to the next, and from one month to another.
The Best Types of Food for A Betta Fish
Now that we know when to feed your betta fish and how often, let’s take a quick look at the best types of food to give your fish.
· One of the best types of food you can give to your betta fish is simple pellet food. A high quality pellet food should consist of a nutritionally balanced diet that is ideal for betta fish. Of course, you need to get pellets that are designed for betta fish, not just for any tropical fish. If you do this, you should be able to provide betta fish with all of the nutrition it needs to thrive and survive, without the need for anything extra, although some treats are always nice.
· If you feel that your betta fish prefers floating food, or just prefers the softer flakes, then this is always an option to consider. Just like with fish pellets, you also need to get fish flakes that are specially designed for betta fish. If the flakes in question are not specifically designed for betta fish, it might not provide them with the nutrition they need to be happy and healthy.
· Yet another good type of food to feed your betta fish are some blanched vegetables, such as blanched spinach, shelled peas, and other greens. Although betta fish are carnivorous by nature, they will eat some greens, and it’s a good way to give them some extra vitamins and minerals.
· Something else you can try doing with your betta fish is to get it live food. Betta fish are hunters by nature, and they do enjoy hunting for some shrimp, worms, or even other very small fish, such as fish fry. Just beware that you get your live foods from a reputable retailer, because you want to avoid any parasites and diseases from infecting your fish.
· If you want to avoid parasites and diseases from infecting your fish, you can always go for freeze-dried foods. These are the same as live foods, but they just aren’t living anymore. They come with all of the nutritional benefits of live food, just without the parasites. The only drawback is that with live food, your betta fish gets to hunt, whereas with freeze dried food it does not.
Common Feeding Issues with Betta Fish
I couldn’t just want to talk about one of the most common eating issues with betta fish, which is over feeding. If you give your betta fish more food than I talked about above, chances are that negative health consequences will arise.
Bloating, constipation, swim bladder issues, lethargy, and much more are all possible if overfeeding occurs. Therefore, it really is essential that you do not give your betta fish more food than it can eat in two or three minutes, twice per day, or more food than it can eat in 5 minutes, once per day.
Although eating might seem like something very simple, as you can see, keeping your betta fish well fed and healthy might be slightly more difficult than you first imagined. Although, if you follow the tips I provided above, it’s certainly not impossible.