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Old 09-17-2011, 08:35 AM   #1 
HatsuneMiku's Avatar
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Guide on How to Feed Your Betta

General Information

*disclaimer* there are numerous ways to feed your betta, and hopefully i've managed to gather all the tidbits of information out there and put them all in one place. if i've missed something or gotten some information wrong please correct/add ^_^. also, the recommendations in this guide are in general and from my personal experience and experiences i've read from other members on this forum and research .. there will always be exceptions and variations depending on you and your betta.

1. DO NOT follow the recommended feeding instructions found on the packages of betta food. Most packages will list way more then you need to feed your bettas.

personally i think it's because the more u feed the faster u run out .. so the sooner you have to buy .. and more money for them

2. In general, the size of your betta's stomach is about the size of it's eye.
it's the same as when doctors tell you .. your stomach is about the size of your fist .. while as i'm sure you can eat more then your fist at one time .. afterward you will feel bloated and stuffed and feel uncomfortable cus you've eaten too much .. it's what i imagine is the same feeling your bettas feel when they have eaten too much

3. Bettas eat like little piggies. Do not over feed them. Over feeding can lead to bloat which presses against their swim bladders to cause swim bladder disorders (SBD)
even if they give u the puppy eyes look .. and make you feel guilty for not feeding them more .. or if they beg you .. or do their "feed me dance" .. stay strong and firm .. do not give in .. even if it's hard

4. Every betta eats differently. Bettas, in general, are picky eaters. It may take anywhere from 1-30 days or possibly more for a betta to accept new food.
There isn't a magic food out there that all bettas will eat. It takes time, patience, trial and error, to find out what your betta will or will not eat

5. Bettas like to have a variety of different kinds of foods.
you wouldn't eat the same thing everyday .. eventually you'd get bored of it .. and the nutritional value of eating the same food wouldn't be very healthy in the long run

6. Remove ALL uneaten food your betta did not eat or have spit out in a timely manner (10-15 mins)
uneaten food can have many ill effects. it can rot. it produces ammonia. it can grow bacteria. it smells. and it can absorb water and become 10x it's size. it would be bad if your betta tried to eat this.

*note* this guide does not cover feeding fry.

Types of Betta Food

1. Floating Pellets
This is probably the most recommended type of food to have. This is considered a staple food (which means this is what your betta is living on and should be given at each feeding) There are many different pellet sizes and brands out there. Read the ingredients on the package and choose one that has high protein content. Crude Protein over 32%. Also, choose one where the first ingredient listed is some kind of fish meal. Usually you can see if all the pellets have been eaten since your betta should gobble them up before they soak up water and eventually sink.

NLS (new life spectrum), Hikari bio-gold, and TetraBetta seem to be the most popular brands i've seen people feed.

2. Sinking Pellets
This is also a good staple food to have, but is hard to manage. Sinking Pellets usually have a little less wheat/starch/flour in them which is why they are more dense and sink. It is harder to find uneaten food that has fallen into plants/gravel/decorations to remove.

3. Flakes
This is considered a staple food. But, this type of food is very hard to control the amount your feeding. These initially float on the surface, but sink quickly, and is very hard to remove if any of it becomes uneaten.

4. Frozen Blood worms
This is a great food for bettas. You buy them from the freezer section and are frozen in little cubes. The instructions will tell you to just drop a cube into your tank and let it melt to release the worms. DO NOT do this. (unless you have a sorority or community tank where it would not be over feeding) One cube has tons of little worms in it and you will only want to feed 1 betta 1-2 worms each feeding. One cube is way too much for one little guy. It's recommended to melt the cube outside of the tank till you can easily get 1-2 worms out and then feed it to your betta.

DO NOT RE-FREEZE after it's melted. re-freezing will cause the worms to lose their nutritional value and turn them into filler food. Any melted and uneaten worms need to be thrown out. (though some members have had success with refrigerated up to 2 days .. but i'm not sure on this as i've never tried to fridge them .. i just throw the extras out). If they change color, smell, throw them out. When in doubt, throw them out!!

5. Freeze Dried (shrimp, krill, blood worms, daphnia)

These foods are great treats for bettas. Feed these sparingly. This is like fast food for bettas. These have low nutritional values, and should be fed on occasion (can replace a staple meal .. 1-2 times a week .. not recommended for every day) or supplemented with a staple food (half staple food half treat).

side note daphnia's are very good to regulate the digestive track for bettas .. acts as the equivalent of fiber for humans. they are little tiny eggs that look like powder. very hard to manage cus they seem to melt as soon as they touch the water, but very good treat for bettas.

6. Homemade
Yes!! you can make your own betta food right at home. OFL (oldfishlady) has a great recipe for home made betta food. It includes shrimp, spinich, and garlic juice?. if i'm not mistaken =D .. PM her for the complete recipe and how to make this.

7. Medicated food / Peas
Sometimes our bettas can get sick and there are some treatment food that's medicated. only try to feed medicated food when bettas are sick not as a staple food.

Unshelled, Boiled peas have been fed to treat sbd as it acts as .. an equivalent of what fiber does for humans .. but many argue peas are not a good source and would recommend daphnia instead

(if i missed any please add to the list ^_^)

Last edited by HatsuneMiku; 09-17-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:35 AM   #2 
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Step by Step: HOW TO determine feeding sechedule

step 1. Choose a time that fits into your daily routine.

Take some time and evaluate your daily routine and find when you have time to give to your betta. Give each betta your full attention while feeding. Dedicate at least 5-10 minutes to do this. This gives you time to bond with your betta as well as monitor to see if all food has been eaten. A good time to consider would be when your not in a rush to do something else in life.

Monitor your betta. If he is sleeping at 4am or 5am when you wake up for school/work. Don't wake him up just to feed him. Wait till later, after getting ready/eating breakfast. Take time to monitor how he adjusts to your life. Every betta is different, just like every human.

Decide if you want to fast (not feeding any food or treats) your betta or not .. choose 1 or 2 days a week .. no more then 2 days a week .. this allows food to clear the digestive tract and could prevent bloating, constipation, sbd, or blockage .. don't worrie you are not starving your betta by fasting him (bettas on occasion have been known to live for over 14 days without food .. i wouldn't do this this unless it was extenuating circumstances)

step 2. Choose how many times a day to feed your betta.
OKAY!!.. So now you've determined when you have time to dedicate to your betta, so now you've got to choose how many times a day to feed your betta.

- Some people feed 1 time a day. Life for some of us are very busy and only have time to feed one time a day. This is ok. just make sure your 1 feeding is not a huge super meal cus you think they are starving for the rest of the day. He is not starving. i promise.
- Most commonly, people choose 2 times a day to feed, once in the morning and once at night, as long as the time period is spread out evenly this is fine.
-Some people feed 3 times a day. This timing must be very spread out, (very early morning .. noon-ish .. very late night) and of very small quantities.
- I would not recommend feeding more then 3 times a day.

Regardless of which you decide is a good schedule for you, you still have to monitor your betta. If he is not adjusting to the schedule you've set, change it so it fits you and his needs. (refer to sleeping betta in step 1)

step 3. Choose how much to feed your betta
now depending on step 1 and 2 and the size of your betta will determine how much to feed your betta at each feeding. keep in mind that the size of your betta's eye is the size of his stomach. so if you have a small betta feed less. if you have a king betta feed more.

(during this step i would recommend drawing out a weekly time table to keep track of what and when you are doing feedings till you are comfortable enough with the routine since it can get messy with all the different foods and treats etc. .. we're human ^_^ we forget things)

*note* these suggestions are for pellet diet .. i address adding treats in step 4 ..

- for those that choose 1 time/day
i do not recommend feeding more then 4 pellets each feeding, king betta 5 pellets [3-4 bloodworms depending on the size of the worm and +1 worm for king betta]
- for those that choose 2 times/day
depending on the size of your betta .. decide with 2-3 pellets each feeding. i would not recommend feeding more then 3 pellets, king betta normally 3, 4 only if he's fully grown and huge [bloodworms 1-2, king betta +1 worm]
- for those that chose 3 times/day
do not feed more then 2 pellets each feeding, king betta 2.5 .. 3 maaaybe. [bloodworms 1, king betta 1.5] .. with 3 feedings a day .. each meal should be small .. the .5 quantities are difficult to control. crush pellets to get them smaller and cut worms (it's ok to cut the worms if your betta is immediately eating it) to get desired quantities.

step 4. Choose what to feed to your betta
From the types of food listed above (hopefully i didn't miss any) decide what foods will be your staple food and what foods will be your treats.

start with 1 type of staple food. Do this first. before introducing treats to his diet. some bettas will hold out till you feed them treats. give it at least 2-3 weeks for your betta to adjust to it before introducing another type of staple food. (if he is still not eating that is addressed in the section below).

After he's content eating his staple food, you can slowly introduce other types/brands of staple food to change it up. do it one food at a time. and give him time to adjust to the new food in combination with the other type of food. it can take a while for your betta to start eating other foods so monitoring and patience is key.

Now, that he's accepted eating staple food. you can slowly introduce treats into his diet using the same process.

treats can be given many ways. find what works for you and your betta. if you find that your betta only eats the treat when given with staple food then try another method.

some ways treats are given:
1. as a replacement for a staple meal (keep in mind portions)
2. as a supplement to a staple meal (half staple half treat)

still not eating?

1. Crush pellets to be smaller and easier to eat.
2. Pre-soak food in garlic juice to increase appetite and interest
3. Try another type of food or treat
4. Fast for 2 days, and try the food again
5. If he is sick, lessen the quantity of food given
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:38 AM   #3 
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This helped a lot, thanks for making this
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:29 PM   #4 
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How do you soak food in garlic juce? For how long and I only have raw garlic, my skinny boy isn't eating anymore and I have tryed everything I have (pellats, flacks, frezzed dried)
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:46 PM   #5 
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first peal the raw garlic and take a clove from it .. then put it on a small plate or saucer plate .. and then take something that's flat (i would use another small plate that could fully press down on it) .. then slowly press down on the clove till it releases a few drops of juice .. then put the betta food in this juice that comes out for about 3-4 mins or till you can see the pellets have absorbed the garlic juice .. then try to introduce it to your betta ..

or .. if your not able to extract enough garlic from the raw garlic .. they do sell garlic juice at the market .. but just make sure it's pure garlic juice with no extra additives .. and you can soak in that as well =)

good luck !! and keep us posted !!
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:50 PM   #6 
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Oh, I did it a simlar way before you posted -.o. I crushed up a freash garlic with no skin and let it soak in tank water, the I got all the garlic out and soaked the food. He ate it right away! Then he ate all the other type of food that fell when I was trying to feed him. I really don't think he can smell or taste... I have seen him eat his own poop befor, he spit it out but still ew. He also dosn't track down his food like my others, he looks at the bottem untill he sees something. What a strange little man...
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:15 AM   #7 
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oh yay =D !! i'm glad he started eating .. i've been gone all day so i apologize for replying so late
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:22 AM   #8 
Sena Hansler
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Yeah the "feed as much as they can eat in few minutes" would be equal to feeding 20 fish for MY betta Spartan -.- I just feed everyone 2-3 flakes and 2 bloodworms with 1-2 days fasting a week. The sorority gets to fishy for food lol. The jumpers get theirs before it leaves my hand D:
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:28 AM   #9 
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if you have food hoarders (like i do with my goldfish) .. what i do is drop food in 2 areas of the tank .. i lure the hoarders to one side .. and you know they will always follow you cus they know ur gonna feed them .. and while the hoarders will be distracted eating at one side the slower ones can still get their noms on the other side of the tank .. ^_^
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:24 AM   #10 
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Another option for the garlic is to buy some Seachem Garlic Guard. Not many local stores will sell this, but if you happen to order from Drs. Foster and Smith they have it. Vita-Chem is also a nice additive if you are like me and feed primarily only bloodworms. With the vitamin additive I feel as though my fish are getting the same, if not better nutrition than from a pellet that has wheat and soy products.

Overall a very good guide! Maybe add a note about how different species of bettas need mostly live or frozen food? Though that wouldn't apply to 99% of the people on the forum. lol. Same could go for a topic on fry foods, though that might already be in the breeding section. Could be nice for those that have small bettas, though you already covered that really...
And don't forget that there is frozen brine shrimp and daphnia!
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