Seeing that your Betta has an appetite is relieving, but can quickly turn frustrating when they don’t allow a chance to eat for the others. Your Betta may seem like a bully with how quickly it attacks your pellets. They can even seem insatiable at times if you continue dropping food into the tank for the others. This will oftentimes leave owners confused on if its a health-problem, or if they need to spruce up their food options for their Betta.
How do I stop my Betta from eating other fish’s food? Spread your pellets/flakes around in the water. If you have a filter, then you can easily do this by pouring the food into the filter outflow. This keeps the Bettas from quickly eating all of the food since each piece will be farther away from each other. If you don’t have a filter, then find a make-shift barrier that can divide the tank, allowing you to feed the Betta’s separate from the others.
The Betta fish-eating habits can be very tricky to nail down, and it’s affected by many things. In this article, we will help you with setting up your Bettas diet, as well as how to take care of them while you’re away and what you can feed them to make sure they’re well-fed, and leaving the other fish food alone.
Stopping Your Betta From Overeating
To really grab your Betta’s attention, you may benefit from using a more protein-rich source of food. They have carnivorous habits at times so making sure that the pellets you have are more nutrients for them than the other fish food can really help you keep your Betta fish from overeating. To get a better idea on how to keep your Betta away from the other fish food, memorize the small section below.
Get Your Betta Used To Fasting
You may also benefit from fasting your Betta fish. Many owners will often times do this to help restart their Bettas digestion cycle. This also means that fasting your other fish is part of the equation, too, as the Betta will again try and eat it all. The fast should only last for a day, and you should put your Betta on one every 10 to 12 days to make sure they aren’t facing problems with digestion.
You won’t have to worry about starving your Betta. They can go up to two weeks without food. Fasting your Betta isn’t about denying them food; it’s about helping their digestive system.
Feed It Different Foods
Your Betta will instantly go for any live/frozen foods over pellets or flakes. This is another high in protein food that your Betta will love, and it will keep them busy long enough for your other fish to get the chance to eat. We’ll reference some great food options for your Betta later on in this list.
Remove Your Betta
Removing the Betta from the community is also another viable option. You won’t have to worry too much about them getting lonely; they prefer some solitude. If you are going to separate your Betta, then make sure the water tank is at least five gallons. This will leave them enough room to swim around in and not get bored or stressed which could affect their eating habits.
If you want to keep your fish within the community but help them retain some isolation, then buying a divider is your best route. This will help you section off your Betta from any other fish in the tank, and you are always able to remove it after feeding if you want your Betta to socialize.
Why Do My Bettas Eat Other Fishes Food?
If you notice that your Betta is eating the other fish’s food, then it doesn’t mean that you aren’t feeding them enough. Bettas are known for their high-appetites from being carnivorous and seem outright insatiable from time to time. Your Betta may be overeating due to a small water tank. Making sure that your water tank holds at least five gallons of water can reduce this.
Your Betta also may bored. They often times hunt down their own food that comes in the form of insect larvae and bloodworms. This is why dropping live food is suggested for Bettas; it gives them the chance to hunt their food source down. Between that and the time it takes for the Betta to fully eat it– your other fish have their stomachs full.
The food you feed your other fish may have higher-proteins than what you feed your Betta, and they quickly notice that. It is recommended to feed them something packed with protein that will stay around the surface level.
Why Does My Betta Spit Out Its Food?
Betta fish may spit out or refuse to eat when they are in a stressed mood, or just not hungry. The stressed moods can be contributed to recent water changes or temperature changes. If you noticed that your Betta hasn’t eaten in a few days, then don’t worry, they are able to go up to two weeks without eating. Sooner or later their appetite will return, or they will begin to calm down.
Water temperatures that drop below 76 degrees, or rise higher than 81 can cause your fish to act lethargic and slow down its metabolism. With a lower metabolism comes less needed feedings and inactivity. This is very common with older Bettas.
If your Betta seems to be happy and healthy, then they may just be very picky. Bettas are known to outright refuse certain types of foods, and they may be going on a hunger strike until you put something good in the tank. Spruce up their diet by giving them freeze-dried foods like worms.
Many species of fish are known for having their teeth at the back of their mouth. This makes breaking down food very difficult for them. Your Betta may be spitting their food out to help them digest them better. If this is the case, then you may benefit switching their diet from pellets to flakes. They are much easier to break down, though your Betta may not be as attracted to them.
Do Bettas Eat Food Off The Bottom?
Bettas are a carnivorous fish that are known for eating insects and larvae, which means that they do best on high-protein based diets. That’s not a food source that is readily available for bottom feeders. Instead, Bettas are surface feeders, so pellets for bottom/mid-tank feeders do not do well for them. This isn’t to say that the Betta won’t go for the pellet, but that whichever pellet they miss will dirty up the water tank.
It is best to feed your Betta floating pellets or flakes. This will stay at the surface level, and you won’t have to worry about the excess polluting the water.
How Often Should I Feed My Betta?
You should feed your Betta a few times a day. Typically once in the morning and once at night is enough for them, but make sure the feedings are spaced out 12 hours apart, and it’s routine to get your Betta adjusted. Many Betta owners will choose to fast them for up to 24 hours every 10-14 days to help their Bettas avoid problems such as constipation.
How Much Should I Feed Them?
Make sure you’re dropping two to three pellets for your Bettas every time you feed them. You don’t need to drop any more than three since the Betta’s stomach is smaller than its eye. This can lead to your Betta bloating and other severe health problems. Aside from the risks of overeating, the uneaten pellets will drop to the tank bottom and pollutes the water.
What Foods Can My Betta Eat?
Like we said earlier in the article, making sure that your Betta is eating surface level foods can be a great way to divert their attention long enough to let the others eat. To retain your Bettas interest and give your other fish’s a chance to eat, follow suggestions for food ideas your Betta will love.
This is the most common form of Betta food available on the market and the one food form that has a high chance of bloating your Betta. Many pellets will expand as soon as they hit the water, making it harder for your Betta to digest it. These are very high in protein, and it is advised to soak the pellet so it can expand before dropping it in,
This form is known as the most natural, but your Betta may not like these as much as frozen or even live foods. These are made more stable after being stripped of their moisture, and you don’t have to worry about these expanding bloating your Betta as easily as the pellets. These are free of bacteria and many parasites, so you can rest assured your water tank, and Betta will stay healthy.
You can find many brands that make flakes specifically for Bettas. This doesn’t mean that any flake brand will do because many often lack the proteins that your Betta will need, Keep in mind that your Betta may refuse to eat this food type too, and avoid giving them excess since they can dirty up your tank.
Your Bettas will certainly thank you for this one, but be careful where you get this food source since they are known for carrying many types of bacteria and parasites. This means that anything you catch yourself should never be fed to your Betta. One of the best things about live foods is the option to keep them frozen overtime. Don’t refreeze any foods that have already been thawed as they could have come into contact with bacteria.
The list below is compiled of some of the best live/frozen foods to feed your Betta.
Brine Shrimp: This food source is extremely small, with its size capping out at 1 centimeter as adults. Despite their size, they are packed with nutrients your Betta will love such as amino acids and proteins. These can be found at your local fish store and come pretty cheap.
Mosquito Larvae: Larvae are the staple food for Bettas, which makes them the preferable option when feeding. You can purchase a starter culture and grow these yourself specifically for your Betta. They may be hard to source otherwise in winter months.
Wingless Fruit Flies: Your insectivore Betta fish is going to love this food source. You could technically grab any you find around your home and drop them in, but you don’t really know if they are carrying any harmful diseases or not. Because of this, you can order the wingless variety online and not have to worry about harming your Betta
Mysis Shrimp: These are also known as Opossum Shrimp and are packed with fiber. They can attract the attention of even the pickiest Betta fish. If you notice that your Betta fish is looking constipated from their pellets, then drop a few of these in the water tank. Bettas are known for preferring Mysis Shrimp over brine.
Do Bettas Eat Other Fish?
Bettas do have an appetite for many other species of fish. We named smaller fry’s up above they have a taste for, but it doesn’t end there. Guppies should not be housed with Bettas for this reason, as they will attack other fish if they consider them a threat or a rival. They will typically avoid smaller fish of the same species. Your Bettas will eat Goldfish and Dwarf Gourami, so make sure those aren’t housed together as well.
If you want a group of fish that your Bettas will get along with, then consider these species as an option.
- Cory Catfish
- Kuhli Roaches
- African Dwarf Frogs
- Ember and Neon Tetras
These species can give your tank a breathing community, and there won’t be as much trouble as there would be with many other species.
Introducing Them To Other Fish
How you introduce your fish can depend on if it eats their food or not. If you just plop them in, then you run the risk of stressing them out, which may force them to overeat or not eat at all. Keep these tips in mind when surrounding your Bettas with new friends.
- Make sure the fish are disease and parasite free
- Check the water condition
- Clean the tank beforehand
- Keep the water at 79 degrees Fahrenheit
- Ge them used to the water by floating them above it in a plastic bag
If you have released your Betta and find that they are in hiding, it’s a perfectly normal reaction. The only problem is them staying in their hiding spots for too long. This means they won’t be up for eating and may want to go back into solitude.
Don’t be surprised if your Betta loves being isolated. The species is known for their preference for solitude, and just because they are alone doesn’t mean they are lonely. Your Betta is intelligent enough to remember you, so it probably perks up just seeing you around feeding time. They enjoy sleeping for a long amount of time throughout the day, and just relaxing alone. So don’t be too worried if your Betta isn’t feeling up to socializing.
What Species Of Fish Can I House With My Bettas?
Females are your best route if you’re interested in having a community in your tank. The male Betta fishes are very territorial and will cause conflicts with any male fish regardless of their species if they share a tank. Avoid species like Redtail Sharks and AngelFish, as they will cause the most problems with Bettas.
There are many ways that you can stop your Betta from overeating. You can put them on a short fast to help with their hunger, or you could spend a few bucks and buy a divider to separate them. Their eating preferences are hard to pin down as their diet has a wide variety. Because of this, you will do well to regularly change up your Betta’s diet to make sure they don’t grow bored over time.
Taking your Betta’s diet into account, do not fill up your tank community with smaller fry’s, as they will quickly find themselves on the menu for your Betta. This doesn’t include fry’s of their own, or of the same species. Your Betta won’t attack other fish unless they perceive them as a threat, which is a problem when you group them up with Guppies or Angelfish.
Your Betta can be well-adjusted to a community. Females are generally more passive than the males, so it’s wise to keep very few males in your tank along with your male Betta. Your Betta won’t be eating the other fish food out of competition or fear of having its territory taken over. It just may not prefer the food source you are giving it.
- Hi, my name is Adam and I'm an aquarium enthusiast! I didn't discover the joys of being an 'aquarium fanatic' (as some of my friends call me!) until I was in my 20's. When I first started out I found it difficult to find all the information I needed so I started this website to compile all the useful information I can think of. Enjoy!