Diet is a fundamental part of all animals’ immune response, organ function, and overall health. In order to insure our pets are getting essential proteins, nutrients, and vitamins, diet needs to be thoroughly researched in order to provide these essential parts of diet.
Being tropical fish, heat plays an integral role in the function of Bettas digestive systems. Heat allows for digestive regularity, proper absorption of proteins, production of digestive enzymes, as well as digestive comfort. Without a stable and warm enough temperature, bettas can suffer from digestive pains, lack of proper function leading to constipation and swim bladder issues, as well as even death due to food sitting in the digestive tract for too long, or food not being digested causing blockages.
That being said, in order to provide optimum digestive functions, water should always be clean, parameters should be stable, and the temperature should sit at 26C (80F- being an optimum temperature) or anywhere between 24C (78F)- 28C (82F).
Being carnivorous, protein should take up around 50-80% of bettas weekly dietary needs, and should be varied. The rest of the diet should be taken up with either commercial betta formulas (with protein foods being within the first three ingredients), gel foods (can be the same food made for goldfish, or even a specific protein based gel food. Preferably should contain peas or spinach to aid in digestive function), or tropical formulas (do not need to contain a form of protein within the first thee ingredients, but should be present within the first five ingredients)
The lists of ingredients in foods is generally in order of the most present ingredient within the foods, so reading the first few (around 10) ingredients is always a good idea as you get a general idea of the type of fish the foods are aimed at, as well if there are any unwanted chemicals or preservatives within those first few ingredients (generally the solid foods such as proteins and meals should be within the first 10 ingredients, following the supplemented vitamins, minerals, and oils).
High in protein foods suitable for Bettas:
There are many available frozen foods on the markets for fish, and all are suitable for feeding, however it is better to buy ones free of bacteria which should be labelled clearly on the packaging. Such foods are:
- Blood worms
- Brine shrimp
- Beef heart
- Mosquito larvae
- Black worms
- Frozen fish such as salmon (made for human use- should not had any additives, and should be cooked in boiling water)
- Glass worms
Freeze dried and sundried foods should always be avoided as they do not contain many nutrients and are not very beneficial. Due to them being dried, they contain a lot of air and will expand within the betta. If foods such as these are to be fed, they must be soaked prior to feeding and should be fed at a reduced rate.
Feeding rate and amount:
The general and most easiest rule to follow for feeding is feeding the amount of food that will fit within the circumference of a bettas eye once a day. This rule only applies once foods have been soaked and have expanded. If the temperature sits below 24C (78F), food should always be reduced.
The time and rate of feeding throughout the day is entirely up to you. You can either feed once a day, or several times throughout a day (keeping in mind the feeding rule for once a day). Bettas who suffer from digestive issues or naturally have a slower digestive function even at temperatures of 26C (80F) will benefit from being fed throughout the day, rather than all at once.