Betta fish need a well-balanced diet to grow big and stay active. While they look a little like goldfish, these two are totally different in many ways.
Betta fish require a high-protein diet to grow big and maintain those lovely colors. Goldfish food doesn’t have the necessary proteins to keep a betta fish healthy and active.
Yes, betta fish can eat goldfish food. However, bettas are carnivore fish and require a lot more protein than goldfish. The food a goldfish eats is not sufficient for a betta fish.
So even if you feed bettas with goldfish food, you have to consider various other factors and ensure your pet has enough vitamins and minerals to match what it eats in the wild.
Let’s find out what happens when a betta fish eats goldfish food and learn about the types of betta food to feed your pet.
Can Betta Fish Eat Goldfish Food?
Yes, however, it is risky. While you can feed goldfish food to bettas, it is dangerous to do so regularly. Goldfish are omnivorous fish and survive on an animal and plant-based diet.
Betta fish are carnivores and require a high protein diet and excess nutrients, which are not available in goldfish food. Bettas are also picky eaters, so not feeding them the right food can lead to complex health problems.
Goldfish food should not be the main meal for your bettas. If you are feeding goldfish food to your betta fish, you should supplement it with the following in small quantities.
Goldfish powder contains vitamins and is suitable for goldfish, betta fish, shrimp, neon fish, and guppy fish. It is easily absorbed by the body and helps reduce stress.
Granules sink to the bottom of the water tank and have the flavors of live fish. This encourages betta fish to eat their food.
Goldfish flakes can be easily digested by betta fish. Small quantities once in a while can enhance their colors. However, excess goldfish food will have the opposite effect and damage the digestive system of your bettas.
What Happens When Betta Fish Eat Goldfish Food?
Betta fish thrive on protein-rich food, which is not available in what goldfish eat. The nutritional value of cheap goldfish food is quite low. While this is enough for goldfish, it is nowhere sufficient for bettas.
A poor diet can lead to the following issues in betta fish:
Change in Color
Betta fish are famous for their vibrant colors. However, eating goldfish food makes them dull and turn white in color. This can be due to stress, infection, or lack of food.
Old age is also a reason, but poor nutrition is the main cause for young bettas to lose their bold colors. Malnutrition can easily happen in betta fish when they are given goldfish food. They turn white, gray, black, and red or have mixed colors different from the actual shade.
Weak Immune System
If the betta fish eat goldfish food every day, they cannot remain healthy for long. The kidneys, spleen, and thymus will be affected as the immune system weakens. Lack of animal protein makes bettas inactive and sluggish. They are more prone to death due to health problems and infections.
A Change in Behavior
Ignoring the betta fish diet can affect their behavioral patterns. Your bettas may stop eating altogether. This will make them hungry and prone to attacking other fish in the tank.
If you notice your betta fish being aggressive, stop feeding them goldfish food and switch from betta flakes to pellets or other forms (freeze dried or live) of betta food.
Rotten Food in the Tank
Goldfish pellets are manufactured with a water-based feeding system. The soaked pellets sink to the bottom of the tank, which makes it hard for betta fish to spot their food.
The uneaten and leftover food will rot quickly and leak excess nutrients into the tank. This affects the water quality in the aquarium and can lead to infections.
When a betta’s diet is altered to eat only goldfish food, it makes them smaller in size. Baby bettas don’t grow to their original size, and fully grown ones may shrink due to weight loss and a weak immune system.
High Risk of Diseases
When bettas don’t have a proper diet, they are not immune to diseases like:
Dropsy is the accumulation of fluids in the body of the fish. This makes the bettas look bloated and swollen. Feeding goldfish food to your betta can cause dropsy.
Dropsy results in malfunctioning of the kidneys and grills. Higher levels of internal fluids are also a reason for dropsy. Vitamin-rich fish food will help cure this disease.
Fin and Tail Rot
Uneaten goldfish food in the fish tank releases bacteria that causes the fins and tails of betta fish to lose color and rot. Clean the water tank and use medication to help the fish recover.
Swim Bladder Disorder
Swim bladder disorder causes the fish to swim sideways or flip upside down with the belly facing upward. When betta fish eat goldfish flakes floating on the surface of the water, they consume more air with the food.
Excess air in the fish’s body disturbs their buoyancy and leads to swim bladder disorder. The betta may also lie on the tank bottom and refuse to swim. Fiber-rich foods like shelled peas can cure this disorder.
Eye Infections and Mouth Fungus
Pop eye, mouth fungus, and eye cloud are caused by bacteria in the water. Wrong food affects betta’s digestive system, which can change the excreta it releases. Combined with rotten food, this makes the fish tank dirty. Change the water regularly and use antibiotics to save the betta fish.
What Does a Betta Fish Eat?
The following is considered the best food for betta fish. Though it can occasionally eat and digest goldfish food, a varied diet with frozen foods, live foods, and processed fish foods is more suitable.
Betta Fish Food Flakes
Betta flakes are available in the market and are exclusively manufactured for betta fish. These have around 40% to 50% protein and are fortified with the necessary vitamins and nutrients. However, bettas may get bored of eating flakes and lose their appetite. Make sure to remove the uneaten flakes from the aquarium.
Freeze-Dried Betta Fish Food
Freeze-dried food is the second best option and is suitable for times when you cannot provide live or frozen betta foods. However, make sure to rehydrate them with the tank water before feeding freeze-dried meals to your betta fish.
Feeding freeze-dried food reduces the risk of constipation. It has a good shelf life and is cost-effective. Though make sure to buy fish food with fewer fillers and more protein.
Live and Frozen Betta Fish Food
Betta fish hunt for food in the wild. They love live food more than anything else. Bettas thrive on ghost shrimp, worms, midge flies, and smaller fish. It is recommended to add the following to your pet betta fish’s diet.
Betta fish do love a good hunt. They prey on smaller fish and enjoy eating them. This is one reason betta fish should not be kept in the same tank with tiny fish species.
Bloodworms are the larvae of midge flies. They are bright red in color and known for providing protein and nutrients to betta fish. That said, feeding too many bloodworms can harm your bettas.
Fruit flies are an annoyance for humans but a great source of protein for betta fish. You can buy these from stores and feed your pet fish.
Daphnia are tiny aquatic flies that improve and strengthen the digestive system of fish. They can get rid of constipation in goldfish and betta fish.
Mosquito larvae are commonly found in the wild where betta fish reside. These aren’t a good choice to feed your bettas at home, even if they are a prominent part of the fish’s diet.
Live food is expensive and not easily available everywhere. If bought from unhygienic surroundings, the food may contain harmful organisms that harm your betta fish. In such instances, frozen food is a better alternative.
Can Betta Fish Eat Human Food?
Yes, betta fish can eat human food (some kinds) occasionally and in small quantities. Here is a list of human foods that are safe for bettas in moderation.
- Thoroughly boiled peas, lettuce, and spinach
- Mangoes, watermelons, and bananas in tiny quantities (if our bettas enjoy fruit)
- Meat from proper farm animals, such as cows, goats, pigs, etc., is not good for betta fish.
How Often Should You Feed the Betta Fish?
Bettas eat once or twice a day. Don’t feed them more than two to four pellets per day. The pellets soak up water and expand when you drop them in the tank. This makes it easy for betta fish to eat and digest the pellets.
Though betta fish can survive without food for ten days, it can harm their system and lead to a slow death if they are starved for more than a week.
Tips and Tricks to Easily Manage the Betta Fish Diet
No Filler Ingredients in Fish Food
Filler foods like wheat and corn should be avoided as it causes constipation in betta fish. Betta pellets should have fish or shrimp as the first ingredient to provide protein. A minimum of 35% crude protein is necessary.
Don’t overfeed your betta fish. Monitor the quantity to give them enough food and prevent overfeeding. If you see your bettas spitting food, it is a sign that they overate and are releasing it back into the water. These fish are also known for their overeating habit.
Don’t Let Bettas Eat Algae
Some betta fish also eat algae, but it can hurt their gills and lead to breathing issues. Algae are good for snails but not for betta fish.
Helping Bettas Find Food in the Tank
Sometimes, betta fish cannot find their food if the tank has other fish species. You have to ensure that your bettas eat the food you drop into the tank for them. You can do this by creating partitions in the aquarium and feeding bettas separately.
Don’t forget to remove uneaten food as it rots in the fish tank and causes infections.
Managing Bettas When They Don’t Eat
Change the food type if your betta suddenly stops eating. As a picky eater, your betta may have gotten bored of consuming the same food every day. If it still doesn’t touch the food, take it to a vet for a health check-up. Diseases and infections can lead to a lack of appetite in betta fish.
Dealing with Constipation in Betta Fish
In some cases, constipation is also a reason for betta fish to spit their food. Many fish suffer from health problems due to excessive food. Feed them a small portion twice a day.
Can Goldfish Eat Betta Fish Food?
Goldfish can occasionally eat what betta eats as it provides them with fish protein. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are live foods that goldfish eat and enjoy. Goldfish also like betta pellets as they are highly digestible. This reduces the risk of swim bladder disease in goldfish and makes them healthy for breeding.
It is always safe to feed fish what they tend to eat in their natural habitat and the food recommended by the vet. This ensures your pet fish are healthy, active, and have a long lifespan.
Bettas eat goldfish foods without issue, but it is not good for their health. If you want a healthy betta tank with vibrant and active fish swimming around, make sure to feed them high-protein foods and a nutrient-rich diet.
Combine betta pellets, flakes, freeze-dried meals, and frozen and live foods betta enjoy in the wild. Drop live food once in a while in the fish tank and watch your betta fish enjoy hunting its food.
Can we feed normal fish food to betta fish?
Normal fish food can be fed to bettas once in a while. Betta mini pellets are good for the fish. The best food for any species is what the vet recommends exclusively for it.
Can I put my betta fish and goldfish in the same tank?
No. Betta fish and goldfish should not be housed in the same aquarium. Goldfish are fin rippers, and bettas hate it. This can lead to aggression and attacks. The diet of both fish is also different. Another reason to have them in separate tanks is to maintain different water temperatures for each species.
What should I not feed my betta fish?
Lean meat bits, canned tuna, citrus fruit, bitter vegetables like broccoli, etc., are some items you should not feed your betta fish.
How long can a betta fish go without food?
A betta fish can last around ten days or more without food. However, it will be weak and prone to diseases if left without food for a long time.
Brian wasn’t just another Civil Engineer. His passion for Aquarium life was unknown to many until he decided to showcase it for the world. It seems like he made the right decision after all!