Like all living creatures, they need their source of energy; food.
Wolves eat caribou, and caterpillars eat leaves. But what about bettas? They’re carnivores, like lions and sharks. Their most important nutrient needed is protein. In the wild, their food supply is mainly made out of mosquito larvae, midge larvae, eggs, and the occasional flying insect landing accidentally on the water’s surface. Our domesticated bettas however, mainly cannot get these foods due to the owner’s disability from their living climate if they aren’t in a tropical country.
That’s why there are betta pellets and flakes in stores. They supposedly have the necessary nutrients our betta splendens need to survive.
Whole Foods, Meals, and Fillers.
The best out of these are whole foods. These are the best parts of the fish, the manufacturers don’t include the fats or veins (i.e. whole salmon). Next, the meal by-products. These aren’t the best parts of the fish, they’re the leftover pieces of the human bought ones. These however, are better than the fillers (i.e. fish meal). And finally, the cheap fillers. The main purpose of these are to boost the protein content of the food. It’s protein yes, but it’s not healthy for your betta. It’s like eating a pepperoni from a pizza with oils. Not healthy, but there is protein (i.e wheat gluten).
To conclude; whole halibut is a good high-protein ingredient. Why? The main body is used, and it’s full flesh. Why should your betta eat fake protein wheats, instead of whole fish? It will be unhealthy for your betta, and his/her health. The first 3 ingredients of a good food should be whole fish or whole *** meal.
Staple - Which is better between pellets and flakes? Pellets, mostly. Flakes can cause bloating and most brands of betta flakes don’t have good ingredients. They’re also hard to measure out because the sizes vary. Pellets however, are easier to measure out and they’re the ones who have the best ingredients. These brands are recommended (note: listed from great to okay) : Golden Pearl, New Life Spectrum, Attison’s Betta Pro, and finally Omega One. These brands aren’t
recommended: Aqueon, Top Fin, Tetra, Wardley’s, and Hikari.
FD (Freeze Dried) – These foods are known to cause bloat to bettas. FD foods are literally live foods treated, sun dried, and soaked with vitamins. It is recommended to soak FD foods before feeding due to the high bloat tendency which can lead to internal blockage and parasite problems.
Frozen – These foods were treated and frozen . These are one of the best treats to give to bettas as it usually used to condition breeding pairs and they’re just live foods except frozen. Frozen foods can sometimes bring in parasites so you might need to get a piece out and thaw in hot, conditioned water. Most common frozen foods are bloodworms, BBS, daphnia, and beefheart.
Live – The best of treats, and can be staple if there is a surplus. These foods are nutrient packed and remind these fish of their wild instincts. These have the highest parasite intro rate so wash under water before feeding. Not so recommended for queasy fish owners. Watch for pesticides if attracted from the wild in apartment/town house neighborhoods.
Variety and Schedule.
As all animals need, they need all the essential nutrients. However, to get these nutrients, they need to get them from different organisms. Same goes with these fish, a varied diet is key to anyone’s diet. It’s like a bearded dragon eating mealworms for protein, and dusted with calcium dust. And veggies for their fiber.
Betta fish as mentioned multiple times eat meat. Why not give them bloodworms time to time instead of pellets? And maybe some BBS or daphnia to go with that?
They also get bored sometimes. Won’t you be bored if you eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day? I would be, so should you. Getting foods from multiple sources will increase fish stimulation and enlighten them. Plus, add in some nutrients the usual pellets don’t provide.
I feed pellets 4 days a week, treats 2 days a week, and fasting 1 day a week. It always depends on you and your fish.
Betta fish are carnivores, why give them vegetables? Peas are usually for goldfish. It is a myth that bettas like peas and they’re a “natural laxative”. Based on their natural food, they don’t seem to be great for them IMO. You don’t simply find peas in rice paddies, do you? In fact, these “laxatives” can actually turn it to the worse.
A betta’s digestive tract isn’t made for rough vegetables. Peas can actually block your fish’s tract and endanger it more. Some people have success with this laxative method, I’m not saying it’s that bad. But I’m not saying it’s really great either. If it works, the peas will push the blocked food in the tract outside. If you do choose this method, feed a VERY SMALL piece and he should be a-okay.
Fasting and Constipation.
Sometimes your fish may get a little constipated due to overfeeding or just their natural body system. The best method to cure this is to fast IME. Fasting means to not feed your betta, I actually recommend this 1 day per week just to let your fish clear its system. This way the system can focus on the laying food instead of digesting even more. If this method doesn’t work, frozen daphnia is a real natural laxative. You can find this in pet stores or the LFS.
Overfeeding, Underfeeding, and How Much to Feed.
It’s always better to underfeed than overfeed. Overfeeding will cause constipation which will be a bit hard on the fish. Underfeeding will be easier to solve, just feed a little bit more. IME/IMO, it’s best to feed the fish 2-3 pellets two times a day for staple. This will depend on the overall size of the pellet but this should work for a general pellet type. For flakes, I usually feed 2 big pieces. For treats, 2-3 pieces should be enough.