I recently picked up a young betta from a pet store, and I'm confused about feeding it. The clerk who helped me pick him out advised me to only feed him 3 pellets once every 3 days, because "otherwise you'll overfeed and kill the fish".
The fish is small, but to me that kind of feeding amount seems really low... He was in a very small cup at the store, so maybe they feed them so little there because they can't move around a lot/have a low energy expenditure. I looked around the forums, but it seems that mostly people are talking about what to feed their fish, and not how frequently or how much they should offer.
Normally I would listen to the store clerk's advice, but he also told me a 1.75 gallon fish bowl was too large and the opinion here seems to be the opposite, so maybe the guy was just ignorant?
I've fed him 2 days in a row now because I just felt guilty not doing it. Please someone let me know what kind of a schedule is best!
Yeah, that guy has no clue at all. Much like the woman who sold me my first betta. Sadly, pet shop people who know correct information about bettas (and other animals..) are few and far between.
Three pellets every three days is a great way to starve an adult betta. Two or three good quality pellets twice a day is the usual, depending on the size of the fish/pellets. Good quality pellets have a lot of protein on the top of the ingredients list (fish meal, shrimp meal, etc).
If your fish is a juvenile, I don't know.. it depends on how 'small' he actually is. Can you maybe post a pic so the experienced people can have a better idea of how old it is?
In any case, daily feeding are important. Bettas are greedy and easy to overfeed, but two small feeds a day is pretty normal.
Also, yes, the tank size information was ridiculous. Bettas can survive in very small tanks (and a few might prefer smaller spaces..) but generally, they enjoy having room to swim. Bowls aren't great, for several reasons you'll find in the sticky on betta care here, tanks are a better option and easier to heat.
Heating is -essential- unless you live in a tropical area with consistent 78-80F temps all year round.
Do read the excellent stickies here on betta care and ask questions - it seems like a lot at first but it isn't, really. And welcome to the forum!
Just to add to what Aus has said.
You have to remember that the stomach size of a Betta is never much, if any, bigger than their eye. So over feeding is quite easy.
I feed my bettas as much as they can eat within a 2 minute period. (This pertains to flake, or frozen foods, my opinion). As far as the pellets go, throw him one every so often randomly throughout the day to never exceed 4 pellets.
From my experience, pellets are dehydrated. So, when you put them in the tank/bowl/jar, it re-hydrates! It grows, sometimes to nearly twice their size. So, I recommend that you soak it in water before feedings, or simply cut it in half with a knife, and feed him the two halves. Time consuming, but your fish will love you for it :)
Also, Skipping a single day of feeding is common. As it is healthy for your Bettas digestive tracts. This doesnt go to say you can skip every other day, or skip two days. Get my drift? :)
-Hope this helped.
Last edited by Beall; 04-11-2012 at 12:07 PM.
Reason: Added Information
Some people on here do recommend a one day fast each week. Use high quality foods and follow the advice above, small frequent feeds are best, and definitely read the stickies on here. Please do consider upgrading your fish tank to one you can heat.
Glad you took the time to research, and found this forum! Hopefully you just saved another betta from being killed by ignorant petstore clerk advice:)
Personally I feed Goblin 4-6 pellets a day. 2 pellets in the morning and 2 pellets at night. Sometimes I feed a pellet in the afternoon. I personally do not feed flakes because it's hard to control how much the fish eats and if you continue to feed flakes I would feed how much they can eat in a a little over a minute, remove any uneaten flakes. And make sure you watch your bettas belly. I would recommend fasting at least once a week though, it does help with their digestion.
Edit: Basically, ditch the flakes and get some protein rich pellets. They're easier.