As pet lovers, we tend to feed human food to them. Be it a dog, a cat, or a fish; not everyone does well with eating human food. When it comes to betta fish, the situation is pretty similar.
Betta fish species are carnivores in the wild. So, it isn’t surprising that they take well to a lot of human food. However, caution and portioning are key. The last thing you want is to overfeed them food that becomes fatal for them.
Any kind of live food, and you will find the betta fish scrounging to the surface. However, despite being prolific feeders, they run into the risks of overeating. Their small size is the most significant contributor to that. Since they are hungry quite often, you will occasionally find them munching down on the plants too. But, that’s very rare and in a desperate situation.
If we had to rate, we’d say that betta fish is 90% carnivore and 10% herbivore. But, what can betta fish eat of human food? This is a common question every beginner aquarist has. And, we will be answering them in this article for you.
Can Betta Fish Eat Human Food?
Given that humans rely on animal and plant-based diets, yes, betta fish can eat human food too.
However, moderation is key.
Just because we mention that betta fish can eat human food doesn’t mean they can eat anything. Highly processed foods like sausages and salamis are a big NO. Similarly, plain white chicken or shrimp make a good food substitute.
It is all about knowing what works and what doesn’t.
If this is your first rodeo taking care of a betta fish, we’d recommend you stick to what you know. Also, the fish shop you are buying the betta from should give you detailed instructions as well.
Similar to humans, betta fish need variety in their diet. Not just for the taste but also for the nutritional balance.
Ideally, you want to predominantly stick to a diet that the betta eats in the wild. However, a few small chunks of permissible human foods can be given as treats.
When it comes to feeding human foods to your betta, you want to mimic the commercial food. It should be plain and bland and have little to no preservatives in them. Also, the feeding schedule for a betta should be strictly followed. If you are feeding them twice a day, keep it at that.
List of Human Foods Betta Fish Can Eat
As we said, bettas can eat certain human foods. But, moderation and frequency are what make all the difference. Despite what you are feeding them, always make sure they are cut into minute pieces. Bettas are surface feeders. So, large chunks will sink to the bottom, leading to food waste.
Excessive food wastage also results in the accumulation of food waste. In such cases, clean the tank as frequently advised.
Following are some of the human foods suitable for betta fish:
Don’t get deterred. As we mentioned before, betta fishes can nip on vegetables now and then. It is rare and not a common situation, but sometimes, a piece or two of lettuce can work wonders.
Both cucumbers and lettuce are a good addition to their diet. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Even the fiber and water content is pretty high. However, when feeding them lettuce or cucumber, cut them into tiny pieces.
Yes, this is a controversial addition, but many aquarists do feed boiled peas to their betta fish. Just ensure that you remove the hard shell coating. The outer covering is tough and quite hard to digest.
So, once you are done boiling the peas, remove the shell and then feed it to the betta. Peas should be given as treats and a few times a week only. If your betta is struggling with digestive and GI issues, peas can alleviate the problems.
Like peas, boiled sweet corn is another excellent addition to a betta’s diet. But you can only feed them ONE sweet corn at a time. Also, after boiling, remove the hard outer shell around the kernel.
When it comes to seafood, tuna and shrimp make for good additions. Humans eat them more significantly, but you need only a tiny nibble for your betta.
However, when feeding the betta seafood like tuna or shrimp, make sure they are raw. Cooked seafood, especially ones in saturated fats, doesn’t work well for bettas.
Besides lettuce, other bright leafy greens like spinach make an excellent human food addition too. Avoid feeding raw spinach to the betta. Instead, blanch them in some hot water or boil them ultimately.
This breaks down the complex fibers and makes them easy to digest. Avoid putting any kinds of seasoning on it.
You can never go wrong with chicken. This is a staple human food that more or less works for every pet. Besides the chicken, ground pork and beef also make good additions to their diet. Typically, you just need to focus on the quantity.
Meats aren’t harmful to the betta, but you don’t want to make them a regular part of their diet. Instead, feed them once or twice a week as a treat.
Mango is a prevalent human food that bettas enjoy. However, anything besides mango is a big NO. Fruits with high acidity are a big NO too.
When feeding them mango, keep the amount barely noticeable. A small cube is more than enough for a week or two.
Accessory Dry Foods
Dry foods like crackers can seem pretty harmless, but they aren’t a very good addition. You can feed it to them once in a blue moon, but that’s about it. Avoid including crackers with extra salt or preservatives. This doesn’t fare well with their digestion.
It doesn’t matter what kind of human food you are feeding; you need to clean up the uneaten pieces. Since bettas are surface feeders, anything on the bottom needs to be removed. They won’t clean it themselves, and the food will eventually rot.
What kind of Human Foods are Not Good for Betta Fish?
Now that you know about the GOOD foods, you need to know about the BAD ones too.
Typically, anything other than the list we mentioned is a no-go. However, there are a few specific foods that can be fatal for your betta. We have listed them out in this section:
Bread or Refined Grains
As much of a staple they are in the human diet, bread is a big NO for a betta. They are high in carbs and hold no nutritional value for the fish. Not just bread, any kind of food with a refined grain is a complete waste of time.
Bettas are predominantly carnivorous. So, adding a few veggies here and there is okay. However, adding complex fiber and string vegetables can take a toll on their digestion. Veggies and fruits like carrots, bananas, and even beans don’t make an excellent human food addition to their diet.
High-fat Animal Meat
Bacon and high-fat meats are another big no for a betta. Not only are they hard to digest, but they also produce highly toxic waste in the aquarium water. So, this will lead you to frequent cleaning and changing the water, putting the betta under stress.
Any kind of food unsuitable for a betta will put them in distress. You will find them behaving differently when they aren’t in the best of their health. So, be cautious of the foods you are giving them.
What Food does a Betta Normally Eat – In the Wild and In Captivity?
Bettas are found in abundance in the wild. Despite their small and flared size, they are carnivores and very rarely eat plants.
So, if you are growing them in captivity, feeding them the proper diet is vital.
Some of the common foods they eat in the wild are:
- Brine shrimp
- Fruit flies
- Blood worms
- Mosquito larvae
- White worms, etc.
In captivity, their staple diet involves a lot of commercial live foods. They rely on a protein-rich diet to keep up with their activities. So, when buying fish food, look for ones that have protein as their primary ingredient.
Common types of commercial foods include pellets, flakes, live foods, and freeze-dried foods. The live or frozen foods are the ones typically found in the wild. So, keep that as their primary source of feeding. And, add the rest as treats or accessory elements to their meals.
Also, when buying commercial foods, look for quality brands. There are a lot of cheaper brands that sell foods with fillers. Those are harmful and lack the necessary nutrition the betta needs.
Apples aren’t fatal, but they can’t be a regular addition to their diet. When feeding them apples, give them a tiny cube once a week or once every two weeks.
Bettas aren’t the friendliest fish species. So, building a relationship with them will take quite some time. Hand-feeding is okay but make sure you are safe while doing so.
Around 75-90% of a betta’s diet should contain meat. So, plan accordingly and include a lot of live and frozen foods in their diet.
Betta Fish makes a beautiful addition to a home aquarium. So, while you are taking care of them, being mindful of their diet is necessary. You want to ensure they are eating a balanced diet with the correct amounts of nutrition. Typically, we’d recommend feeding the commercial foods primarily and keeping the human foods as a treat.
We hope this article answers all your queries regarding betta fish and their diet. In case you have further questions, feel free to leave them down in the comments for us.