His Majesty the King of Siam is apparently too good for betta pellets. I've been letting him eat freeze-dried bloodworms while he adjusts to his new home and a feeding routine gets established. But I know a balanced diet is important, so I tried to sneak a couple of pellets in with his itty-bitty pinch-o-worms.
He ate the worms, flared at the betta pellets, then went to have a good sulk by the heater.
Yes, he hates the pellets so much he ACTUALLY flared at them. While immensely entertaining, it has me kinda worried. I hate playing hardball with him, he WILL eat them if he's hungry enough, but I don't like leaving him to get that hungry. What should I do? I've been thinking I'd get some brine shrimp so he's not JUST eating blood worms, but would that even be sufficient?
Well, for one thing, if His Majesty never does eat pellets, switch his diet to frozen bloodworms, they're better for him on a regular basis. Secondly, if you do get frozen bloodworms, you can try soaking the pellet in the juice from the thawed worms and seeing if he'll eat that. Trick him, basically.
And if he absolutely refuses pellets even soaked in bloodworm juice (ewww), then that's that. It's better that he eat something instead of nothing. Brine shrimp will help shake up the monotony of things, too. Don't worry too much, I have a guy who was fed only bloodworms at the petstore so he won't even look at pellets. Swims away from them. Although I have to laugh that His Majesty actually flared at his pellets, that's hilarious.
If you are absolutely terrified that he is not getting enough nutrition you could grow you own live food. Then you could basically 'gut load' them with the vitamins he might be missing out on.
Do you fast him one day of the week? If you do, you could try to offer pellets on the day after.
What type of pellets do you feed him? Have you tried different brands? There is a type of New Life Spectrum food that is much smaller (and higher protein) than normal betta pellets. One of my fish loves them more than brine shrimp, the other will unwillingly eat them after a brine shrimp offering.
The Small Fish Formula, right? So small it's like coffee grounds? One of my girls will only eat those pellets, no others. Ha, they're almost too small to call pellets. More like specks. She loves them, though.
I've only had my betta for about a month, so I'm still getting the hang of things and haven't tried other brands yet. The pellets I feed him (tiny little spherical things) are just this generic-looking 'Wardley Betta Food.' They're slightly bigger than coffee grounds.
As for the timing, I feed him every other day. The care instructions say 1-3 times a week, so initially I did pellets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Then I got the blood worms, and realized that he will eat more frequently if he actually likes the food, so now I feed him every other day, and generously. It's so fun to watch him 'stalking his prey' just under the surface. I think he's playing Jaws.
The best way to feed a betta is little meals often, every day. Like, no more than 2 pellets per meal, or 2 bloodworms.
Check the ingredients on your pellets? Is the first or second ingredient wheat germ or wheat meal? That means it's not a very good quality pellet and probably doesn't taste so good. Look for a pellet that has fish meal as the first and second ingredients. It'll taste more like . . . fish.
Hehe, His Majesty sounds really fun to watch when he eats. My guys all eat their food so fast if I blinked, I'd miss it.
Is the second ingredient wheat meal? And how high is the protein content? Don't worry, fish are meant to be confusing. Wouldn't want to make it too easy, haha. For my Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets, the protein is 42% and the first several ingredients are "whole salmon, halibut, shrimp, wheat meal." Since wheat meal comes later that means it's in smaller quantities. On the other hand, Hikari pellets are "fish meal, wheat meal, milt meal, Antarctic krill meal." Fish meal probably means fish by-products. Hikari's protein is 38%.