How many pellets to feed baby betta

What Betta Fish Eat & How Often to Feed Them

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Reviewed by Kathleen Claussen, DVM on July 07, 2021

In this Article

  • Betta Fish Diet
  • Common Concerns Feeding Betta Fish

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are known for their bright colors and beautiful fins. It’s important to provide your betta fish with a diet and environment suited to their needs. These are different from the needs of other common household fish. 

Before getting a betta fish as a pet, learn what to feed your betta fish, how often to feed them, and what to do if your betta fish will not eat.

Betta Fish Diet

Betta fish are natural carnivores, and in the wild would be found subsisting on a diet of insects and insect larvae. Understanding your betta's natural dietary habits will help you provide a healthy diet for your new pet.

What betta fish eat. Because betta fish are natural carnivores, they eat a diet that is high in protein. Some people believe that bettas can survive in a small tank just by munching on the roots of plants. This is not true and can be harmful to your betta fish. 

High protein betta pellets sold in pet stores should be the mainstay of your betta fish's diet. It is important to select a pellet formula made for bettas. Those designed for other fish, such as tropical fish, will not be healthy. Actual betta pellets and flakes contain the correct level of nutrients for your betta fish. They are easy to portion to protect your fish from over and underfeeding.

As special treats, your betta fish can enjoy high protein freeze-dried and frozen foods. These are things like brine shrimp and bloodworms. These treats should not make up the bulk of your betta fish's diet. They should be fed to your betta in moderation.

How to feed  your betta fish. It is recommended to feed your betta fish two to four pellets, once or twice per day. Pellets expand when placed in water and are very filling for your betta fish. Freeze-dried or fresh food can be substituted for their pellet feeding 1 to 2 days per week. 

Experts recommend ridding your tank of any excess food that your betta fish does not eat. This food falls to the bottom of the tank and will degrade water quality if not removed.

Cost of feeding a betta fish. The cost of betta fish pellets and freeze-dried food can vary greatly by brand. Expect to pay between 4 and 8 dollars for a container of betta fish pellets. Your pet supplier may provide options for buying food in bulk.

Common Concerns Feeding Betta Fish

The two common concerns when it comes to feeding your betta fish are overeating or undereating.

What to do if your betta fish will not eat. Betta fish can survive for 14 days without eating. If your betta fish skips a meal or two, there is no need for immediate concern. There are several reasons why your betta fish may not be eating.

Stress from a recent water temperature change, tank cleaning, or significant environmental change, may cause a change in your betta fish's appetite as they adjust. The ideal water temperature for a betta fish is between 71 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Betta fish are often seen in bowls that are too small for them. This can make them unhappy and unwilling to eat. Be sure that your betta fish has room to swim and explore. If you notice your fish turning away or spitting out food, you may want to experiment with different pellet brands. Finally, as betta fish age, they will become less active and consume less food.

If your betta fish still will not eat, they may be ill. Consult a veterinarian or another expert in case of illness.

How to prevent your betta fish from overeating. Betta fish in the wild will eat food whenever they can find it. This makes it very easy for your betta fish to overeat when extra food is available. Overeating can lead to bloating, digestive distress, and obesity. Too much uneaten food can also result in your fish's water becoming dirty and unhealthy.

To prevent your betta fish from overeating, only feed your betta fish the recommended daily amount. Clean out excess food regularly with a net or a turkey baster. Some experts also recommend not feeding your betta fish for 1 day per week to allow their digestive system time to catch up.

How Many Mini Pellets To Feed A Betta

New betta fish owners can feel a sense of frustration when they feed the directions on a bottle of mini pellets for their fish. Nearly every brand suggests feeding your betta fish as many pellets as it can eat within a couple of minutes, but that doesn’t tell you whether or not you’re feeding your fish enough nutrients or too much.

On this page, we’re going to discuss what you should know when it comes to feeding your betta the correct amount of mini pellets. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about mini pellets. 


  • 1 How Many Pellets Can A Betta Eat?
  • 2 How Many Mini Pellets Should You Feed A Betta Per Day?
  • 3 How Many Mini Pellets Should You Feed A Baby Betta?
  • 4 What Happens If You Overfeed Mini Pellets To A Betta?
  • 5 Check Out The E-Books!
  • 6 Signs You Are Overfeeding Your Betta
  • 7 Recap

How Many Pellets Can A Betta Eat?

Surprisingly, betta fish have pretty big appetites. If you put down too many mini pellets, there’s a good chance that your betta will overeat and consume more pellets than it should. In the wild, bettas eat whatever food they can find, so it’s often in the fish’s instincts to eat food when they see it. This is why you should only put down one pellet at a time.

While some betta fish will stop eating once they are full, others are prone to eating, so the amount of pellets a betta can consume depends on the individual fish. For this reason, you need to stick to a specific feeding schedule. Feeding your betta the correct amount will ensure that it doesn’t over-eat, and there isn’t leftover food going to waste in the tank.

Determining how many mini pellets to feed to your betta fish shouldn’t be a guessing game, especially if you have an over-eater in your tank. It’s important to make sure that the mini pellets you’re feeding are smaller than the betta’s eyeball. If so, you can feed your betta between 2 and 4 pellets each day. 

Never feed the betta fish all the pellets at once because it’s too much, and the fish will get too hungry between feedings. Bettas need at least 6 hours to digest after feeding. Always allow enough time to pass before giving your betta another pellet.

The reason that a betta fish needs to be fed pellets that are smaller than its eyeball is that the betta’s stomach is the same size as its eyeball. If you were to allow the fish to eat more than one pellet at a time, it could cause the fish’s stomach to expand.

How Many Mini Pellets Should You Feed A Baby Betta?

Even though a baby betta is smaller, it’s growing, so it needs a lot of nutrients. It’s crucial that you’re feeding a baby betta enough nutrients and proteins on a daily basis. To ensure your baby betta grows to be healthy, you should feed it the same amount of mini pellets as grown betta fish.

Now, the baby betta fish’s feeding schedule isn’t as easy as that because you need to feed a growing fish a wide selection of nutrients. This means that you need to feed them more than just mini pellets on a daily basis. A great way to ensure your baby betta gets fed a well-balanced diet, add freeze-dried food along to its daily feeding schedule.

What Happens If You Overfeed Mini Pellets To A Betta?

It’s important to stick to a regular feeding schedule to keep your betta healthy and happy. There are many issues associated with overfeeding mini pellets to your fish.

Problems With Digestion

One of the issues with mini pellets is they contain fillers and additives, which can cause digestive issues when a betta fish consumes too much. Overfeeding is one of the leading causes of digestive issues in fish. While we’re on the subject, you should also make sure the mini pellets aren’t expired, as expired food can also make a betta ill.

Stomach Expansion

As we mentioned above, bettas have an instinct to eat what they see and very small stomachs. This puts them at a higher risk of stomach expansion when they overeat. One of the big reasons this is risky with mini pellets is that they get consumed in a dry state but expand from the moisture in the betta’s stomach.

Weight Gain

If a betta consumes too many calories, it will gain weight which puts it at risk of several health problems. This can cause a lot of problems for the fish, especially if it doesn’t get enough exercise. Not only is the fish susceptible to health issues, but obesity can also cause pain and discomfort in its body.

Stress & Anxiety

There are a lot of negative outcomes that come along with overfeeding, such as weight gain and waste in the tank. Believe it or not, this can also have a negative impact on the betta fish’s mental health. When fish aren’t healthy, happy, or comfortable, they can become stressed or anxious. 

Check Out The E-Books!

For a limited time, only you can get both The Complete Guide On Caring For Betta Fish & The Ultimate Betta Tank Mate Guide for just $14.99!

Find Out More Here!

Signs You Are Overfeeding Your Betta

It may seem like your betta is enjoying all of the mini pellets you place in the tank, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t overfeeding it. Let’s take a look at some of the top signs that you’re overfeeding your betta fish.

Chubby Betta

One of the most obvious signs that your betta fish is overfed is if it has gained weight. If your betta is noticeably plump, then you have been feeding it too much food. The first sign of weight gain will be noticeable in the fish’s stomach area. 

Leftover Pellets

Another clue that’s right before your eyes of overfeeding is leftover food in the tank. Your betta isn’t saving that for a snack later on; you’ve put too much food in the tank. Make sure you remove these pellets because they could rot, which will contaminate the water in the tank.

Cloudy Water

Since overfeeding results in leftover food, it can also affect the water in the tank because there are a lot of bacteria being mixed into the water as the food sits around. When the water is no longer clear, this is a good sign that you need to cut back on the number of pellets you’re putting in the tank. Cloudy water is dangerous because bacteria multiply very quickly. 

Dirty Gravel

If you continue to overfeed your betta but it doesn’t eat all the food, it will eventually float to the bottom of the tank if you don’t clean it out in time. When this happens, the food will begin to rot on the gravel on the floor of the tank. This will cause you to need to clean or replace the gravel more frequently.


How many mini pellets should I feed to a betta? Only feed your betta fish one mini pellet at a time because the mini pellet is approximately the same size as its stomach. Your betta fish can eat mini pellets 2 to 4 times a day and will receive all the nutrients and proteins needed for its diet.

Always allow your betta fish at least 6 hours between feedings to ensure it has fully digested the previous pellet. Always avoid overfeeding your betta because too many pellets can lead to stomach expansion, weight gain, or cause the tank and water to become dirty.

Do you feed the cockerel enough?

Very often we talk about the dangers of overfeeding cockerels . But today I would like to pay attention to underfeeding of cockerel fish . With the spread of betta cockerels, a lot of information appeared in blogs and forums on the Internet. And very often useful information is lost in the mass. Swim bladder disorder and bloating associated with overfeeding the male. Due to the availability of this information on the Internet, betta lovers will believe in fairy tales and, out of fear, will stop feeding their fish. When the owners of cockerels write online that there are 9 of them0003 the male is sick I often ask leading questions about their male's habitat and feeding . Some of the feed responses surprise me: “I feed my betta 3 pellets and bloodworms once a week”, “I feed my betta one ball in the morning, one in the afternoon and half (blanched) peeled peas for the weekend.” This person never ceases to amaze me: "I split the pellet in half and. ..". I can't believe how many betta owners split pellets in half. It is amazing. I can't even imagine how a pellet can be cut in half. Only a cloud of dust will remain from the granule.

First of all, let me say this: yes, cockerels are little piglets that, given the opportunity, would eat until they were fat and bloated. And all this from the fact that they are programmed for the food that is available. They don't know when mosquito larva will swim by next. Any book or website that says that a betta should eat food in 3-5 minutes, the author has probably never kept a Siamese fighting cock. You will be shocked to see that a cockerel can eat everything in 2 minutes. However, a few pellets per week, or even 2 pellets per day, is not a sustainable diet. Most Sites for the care of male , it is advised to feed him with an amount of food equal to his eyeball, and 2 times a day. This is pretty good advice, because a smaller betta will eat less food than an adult. However, with this advice, the question arises of which eyeball we are talking about - about its visible part or about the entire eyeball. Now I'm going to tell you, against all the advice I've ever given, that I don't stick to the rules... and...
Use your judgment and skill.
I know that your judgment is how to feed the fish will be disappointed when you come to this site for advice when they tell you what to do and how to do it. Let me explain the situation from my own experience.
Imagine that the cockerel is a tiny human. What is suitable for one is not necessarily suitable for another. My bettas have a fairly good appetite and rarely get bloating and intestinal problems that bother other aquarists.

For an adult male, I can offer a couple of pellets in the morning. The granules of this feed are small, hard to soak, and do not swell like other feeds when bitten by a betta. I see when the cockerel wants to eat more. If that's the case, then I can give him a couple more pellets until he eats greedily and his stomach is distended. By evening, the tummy enlarged from feeding decreases. Now I could feed him black worms (something like a bloodworm or a tubifex). If I buy a worm, I will definitely give a few pieces to a cockerel. Three to four medium worms are slightly larger than a betta's eyeball. As long as he eats and has a the tummy does not get fat - it means everything is in order. In the morning I make sure once again that the food has been digested, he has no constipation and bloating . The next day, I can move on to frozen foods. I suggest 3 or 4 bloodworms in the morning and again black worms in the evening. During the month I watch the weight of my cockerel. A fighting fish may be overweight, but this has nothing to do with illness and is often not easily recognized.
Most often, overfeeding causes other health problems - for example, distended abdomen , or swim bladder disorder . Underfeeding will lead to discoloration of the color and thinness of the fish with sunken sides and almost no fat near the tail. They often press their fins (the anal fins from below along the body and the ventral fins are thin and long). Improper nutrition or malnutrition can lead to a weakened immune system and an inability to fight common diseases. Common sense says: "A well-fed cockerel will be healthier than a half-starved one."
If I have any feeding recommendations, they do not involve depriving your pet of food for fear of overfeeding. If the cockerel is healthy - he eats and will eat. If you are lucky enough to have a betta with digestive problems, bloating and swim bladder problems after eating, if the fish has problems swimming and being in the middle layer of water (takes a vertical position in the water with its head up or down, or floats to the surface uncontrollably), then this is a signal to reconsider the feeding regimen and make changes to the feed. However, this is not a reason for hysteria. (20 pellets is too much), but if there are no side effects and problems with his diet, and if cockerel has a good appetite - feed him to health.
CONCLUSION : don't feed him until he swells up and watch him grow for several months.

Pictured is an emaciated betta.

Christie F.
Translation: O. Zavaleeva

0073 2017-01-22

The cockerel fish (battle fish or Betta Splenders) is a beautiful and selfish person whose color is varied and bright, especially in the male. You can admire the cockerel for many years, if you provide the right care. Beginners in the aquarium business are often not aware of how to feed a betta fish: an underwater pet seems to be ready to absorb food without stopping. What if the baby is malnourished? Or do you still believe experienced specialists who say that fish can eat non-stop until it “bursts”?

Mistakes and fantasies

A caring owner who loves his fish often tends to humanize them. He enjoys interacting with pets. It seems that the bettas rejoice during feeding, look forward to the next worm, and even sullenly look through the glass of the aquarium if they are not full. The owner's heart shrinks, and he pours more food. If the fish is healthy, it will eat everything and "ask for more". And so endlessly. At best, the cockerel grows fat and almost stops swimming, at worst, it dies . And before grabbing his head, a loving owner should remember this fact.

Do not overfeed your pets as this can lead to their death.

Fish lives on instincts. Her eternal search for food is also an instinct, there is no other way to survive in a natural reservoir. In the river, lake, ocean, the cockerel spends a lot of energy looking for food, and any crumb is appreciated. The aquarium fish were lucky: you don’t need to waste your energy on getting food, the owner will present everything “on a silver platter”. And the glass borders of the aquarium make it impossible to go on a long marathon. Therefore, the amount of food for domestic fish should be several times inferior to that required by wild bettas.

Take a close look at your cock. If there is an unnatural bulge on the abdomen, then your fish is a glutton.

Remember: malnutrition is a normal tolerable condition for fish. Overeating is fatal for them and significantly shortens the life of cockerels.

Menu for scaly baby

Traditional betta food is granules and flakes, which can be purchased at any pet store. Can such feeding be permanent? Experts convince that the normal life of a cockerel requires not only dry food, but also live food. To understand how to feed a cockerel fish for its absolute happiness, you need to turn to the facts from biology.

Bettas can be fed with commercial mixes, Sera Bettagran is perfect. But still, sometimes pamper them with live food.

Betta fish are not picky eaters. In the wild, she grabs everything that comes in her way. Catches insects crouching on the water surface. Pinch off pieces of plants. Absorbs benthos and small inhabitants of the reservoir. The cockerel mainly acts as a predator, so protein is its predominant food: bloodworms, tubules, sometimes even earthworms . Summarizing the above, we will make a useful menu for the pet:

  • Dry flakes for fish. Inexpensive, available at any pet store. They are recommended to be given to the fish less often than other "dishes" of the diet.
  • Special pellets for males can be given daily.
  • Dried and processed tubifex, brine shrimp, bloodworm. You can feed this dry food to fighting fish very often.
  • Frozen products (bloodworm, brine shrimp, daphnia, vitreous worms, tubifex, earthworms, shrimp, beef heart). The owner can catch many of the listed components himself (or buy a small batch from the supplier) and send them to the freezer for freezing. When the time comes for feeding, you just need to chop off the right amount of food from the frozen mass. When defrosting and re-freezing, the food loses its beneficial properties and becomes unusable.

Life hack. Use cells from tablets or chocolates to freeze live food.

Cockerels enjoy eating live food.

  • Live feed. Live worms, bloodworms and brine shrimp are an excellent delicacy that can sometimes be pampered with a fish like a cockerel. But the responsibility for the purity of the product lies with the owner. There are many cases when live food turned out to be infected, and the fish died. Therefore, frozen food is preferable for aquarium .

Do not mix different types of food! One feeding - one type of product. It is important not to overdo it with dry food - large portions can harm the health of the fish.

Feeding questions

How to properly feed your betta fish and how much to feed

Pay close attention to your pet's diet.

Contrary to the beliefs of fan owners, fish are not able to regulate their own saturation level, much less ask for supplements. The serving size for any fish, including bettas, is determined by experiment. The owner remembers how much the pet eats in 2 minutes. Usually it is 3-4 pellets of dry food. If the cockerel eats slowly, it is allowed to wait up to 5 minutes. The rest must be fished out of the water. Otherwise, the remnants of food will sink to the bottom of the aquarium, where they will begin to decompose, poisoning the water with ammonia. In such an environment, the fish will be uncomfortable, and health problems will arise.

For normal life, the betta needs to eat an amount of food equal to 5% of the body weight of the fish . Everything else is just bad.

How many times a day should fish be fed

Aquarium fish do not need much energy, so it is enough to feed them 2 times a day. In addition, experts recommend arranging fasting days for the betta so that the digestive system “rests” and the body of the fish gets rid of harmful toxins. Unloading can be carried out every week, choosing a suitable day.

Does a cockerel need vitamins

If a stressful event occurs in the life of a fish (moving with the owners or moving new inhabitants into the aquarium), the fish organism can react negatively to the situation and get sick. To support your pet, you can purchase special vitamins for fish at the pet store and give them according to the instructions. Such additives are either included directly in the fish menu, or simply added to the water.

Why does a pet refuse to eat

Bettas don't have very big mouths, so don't give them too big pieces of food.

In most cases, fish do not eat just because they are sick. But sometimes paradoxes also happen: the baby simply does not like this or that food. It is also necessary to observe how the cockerel eats: this fish has a very small mouth, and sometimes large granules do not fit into it. In this case, you need to help the pet: chop the dish or buy food with smaller particles.

What to feed fry

The only food for babies, barely past their larval age, is plankton and live dust.

Learn more