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I love betta fish. The stunning, flowing, glorious fins and tails, the spunky personalities, the grit and fight that keeps them interesting but unsafe to house with other bettas. They need specific biologically appropriate betta food, too.

All that makes them uniquely interesting, beautiful fish.

I’ve always loved these stunners, but as a kid, I didn’t know how to take care of them. My parents tried to advise me, but being a stubborn child, I wanted to do it my way.

I bought the cheap fish food I could afford from my small allowance, I kept them in tiny bowls because they looked cool – and I didn’t know any better – and I watched them for hours.

As an adult, I’ve come to understand a bit more about what it takes to help betta stay healthy. One of the most important parts of that is having the best food for betta fish on hand.

Best Betta Food Quick-Find Table

Image Product
  • Completely filler-free
  • Color-enhancing formula for making those natural colors pop
  • Semi-float formula for easy feeding
  • Completely filler-free
  • Color-enhancing formula for making those natural colors pop
  • Semi-float formula for easy feeding
  • Bettas love these
  • They’re reasonably natural for bettas
  • No fillers, no additives, just freeze-dried bugs
  • Bettas love these
  • They’re reasonably natural for bettas
  • No fillers, no additives, just freeze-dried bugs
  • Best betta flakes
  • Very limited fillers compared to other flakes
  • Good nutritional profile
  • Best betta flakes
  • Very limited fillers compared to other flakes
  • Good nutritional profile
  • Slow-release for easy feedings while away
  • Premium ingredients
  • Made from fresh Alaskan seafood ingredients
  • Slow-release for easy feedings while away
  • Premium ingredients
  • Made from fresh Alaskan seafood ingredients

Why the Right Food for Your Betta is So Important

blue fish

There are several reasons that people lose their bettas before they’ve lived very long. Two of those reasons are related to food.

First, if a betta is overfed, he will have severe health issues like constipation, loss of appetite, and ultimately swim bladder disorder, among others.

Secondly, when betta doesn’t get the right balance of protein with the other food ingredients he’s eating, he’s malnourished and could die from starvation. That means high-quality betta food is absolutely critical for their health.

Obviously, you want your betta to live a long, happy and healthy life, so having the right food on hand is going to be vital to that. 

Other reasons bettas go to that great aquarium in the sky include keeping the aquarium too cold, not cleaning it often enough, and allowing your betta to share a tank with another aggressive fish.

Of course, illnesses and hereditary issues may occur, as well, and are beyond your control.

What You Need to Know About “Fillers” in Betta Food

Just like human junk food, common cat food, and other foods for the animal kingdom that have been processed by humankind, a lot of betta food has fillers in it.

In days past, we didn’t really seem to get that this was a problem – just like we didn’t realize for many years that fast food was going to help cause the massive obesity epidemic in the Western world.

And we happily fed our fish the most readily available foods from pet stores.

But as we’ve studied the life cycles, habitats, diets, and other aspects of fish life, we’ve discovered that things like wheat and cornmeal are terrible options for betta fish.

Author note: Firstly, bettas are carnivores and they’re just not built for eating much besides protein.

Secondly, bettas have sensitive digestive systems that just don’t process corn, wheat, and other grain or cereal content very well.

In fact, they do so poorly with it that they often deal with bloating and betta’s stomachs become distended because of these ingredients.

They’re not digesting them, so their bodies are holding onto them and they’re constipated, uncomfortable, and eventually can become very ill because of it.

What to Look for in Betta Food

Since we want to avoid fillers – wheat, corn, and cereal products and byproducts – we’re looking for foods betta fish eat in the world, or as close as we can get.

Bettas need high protein content, moderate fat and fiber, phosphorus, carbohydrates, calcium, and of course vitamins – including A, B1-3, B5 & 6, B12, C, D3, E, H, K, and M.

You also want to focus as much on possible on all-natural foods, specifically those that have protein as their first ingredient.

Also, never purchase food for goldfish and saltwater tropical fish for feeding betta.

Types of Food for Bettas

orange fish

There are a few different types of betta fish food and betta fish treats you can look into.

Some – like brine shrimp and bloodworms – are almost always 100% natural, but things like pellets and betta flakes that don’t include fillers can be a bit harder to find.

Betta Fish Food Pellets

The most common betta food comes in pellet form. These can, however, be a problem for your veil-tail pals, however, because most brands – even some of the most well-trusted – use filler ingredients to flesh out the pellets.

As mentioned above, wheat, corn, and other cereal grains are basically empty calories that your betta cannot digest probably. So when you look at pellets, look for those with as little filler products as possible, none if possible.

Top tip: If you find high-quality pellets that expand in water, it’s recommended that you soak them in water first to hydrate them before feeding them to your fish. This is especially if your betta attacks the fight instantly.

Betta Fish Flake Food

Probably the second most common food for bettas is the betta fish flake. These, like pellets, are often made of mostly filler ingredients.

Some bettas refuse to eat them at all – which makes sense, since there’s almost zero crude protein in them and bettas are carnivores who love their meat.

Author note: Generally, I would recommend against flakes altogether, but if you do choose to use them, make sure you clean up any uneaten flakes as quickly as possible to avoid contamination in the tank.

Freeze-Dried Betta Food

One of the preferred food options is freeze-dried food. These help to provide humans with an easy way to introduce a more natural food back to the betta.

They’re a great option to supplement live and frozen foods but should never altogether replace these for your betta.

The second benefit of these is that they are free of bacteria and parasites and may help to keep your fish healthier because of that.

Author note: It’s also important to note that many of them have added fillers to stabilize them for shelf-life purposes and should be carefully examined before purchase.

Frozen Betta Food

The second-best option for betta fish food is frozen food.

This is a great alternative for someone who cannot deal with live food for whatever reason. It’s also more convenient and easier to feed to your betta.

Remove just what you need for the given feeding and defrost. If you accidentally remove more than you need and it thaws out, dispose of it as it may carry bacteria now.

Live Betta Food

The ultimate in betta food is the live food that these guys love.

Since bettas are carnivores, they can get aggressive during feedings, especially when they have to stalk their prey. This helps them work out some of that aggression.

Live food can also help replicate the natural environment for a betta fish, which can improve his health as well.

Just be careful with the source of your live food. Many of them carry parasites and diseases, so you should only use trusted sources and never use anything you catch outdoors yourself.

And Just So You Know…

In case you’re wondering what bettas love most to eat, here’s a quick list:

  • Mosquito larvae
  • Bloodworms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Wingless fruit flies
  • Mysis shrimp

Reviews of the Best Betta Fish Food


Now that we’ve discussed which kinds of foods are best, let’s dive into the best betta food options on the market based on those qualifications.


If you like the convenience of fish pellets, the New Life Spectrum Betta Food Pellets are your best option.

The reason is they are the most readily available, reasonably priced, high-quality, zero-filler betta pellets on the market.

The pellets are semi-floating, hormone-free, color-enhancing foods that bring out that brightness in your betta without giving them junk they don’t need.

Nutrient Profile: 

  • Type: Pellet
  • Protein: Antarctic krill, squid, herring, New Zealand mussel
  • Fat: Appropriate
  • Fiber: Yes
  • Phosphorus: Yes
  • Carbohydrates: Moderate
  • Calcium: Yes
  • Vitamins: Broad-spectrum provided through fruits and vegetables and spirulina
  • Fillers: None
  • Extras: Ginger and garlic for antibiotic power

This formula is easy to digest for your little fighter fish food needs.

Its unique formula – which includes both garlic and ginger for antibiotic power – provides your fish with tons of protein all without hormones and wheat, corn, or soy.

This means less starch and more valuable calories that your fish can actually digest and thrive on. Plus, it uses spirulina, kelp, and seaweed to provide loads of vitamins for your colorful pals.

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#2. Tetra Freeze-Dried bloodworms

Tetra bloodworms

To help supplement your betta’s diet – and just give her a treat when you feel like it – the Tetra brand Bloodworms Freeze Dried Treat is a must-have.

Bettas love these things and suck them up in a flurry of dazzling tail and swirling fins.

And it comes from one of the best betta food brands around – Tetra – so you can feel safe that they thoroughly freeze-dry appropriately for fewer toxins and parasites.

Nutrient Profile:

  • Type: Freeze-dried
  • Protein: Freeze-dried mosquito larvae only
  • Fat: Minimal
  • Fiber: Moderate
  • Phosphorus: Yes
  • Carbohydrates: Limited
  • Calcium: Minimal
  • Vitamins: Some
  • Fillers: None

In the wild, bettas love these things.

In your fish tank, they make for a great treat – not staple – and can help your fish enjoy life better.

All in all, they’re a great option for a quick supplement or treat for your betta.

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#3. Omega One

Omega one

Generally, I wouldn’t recommend flakes – especially as some betta simply refuse to eat them – but the Omega One Buffet Flakes aren’t like the other guys.

They do still have some wheat in them, but far less than others.

Nutrient Profile:

  • Type: Flakes
  • Protein: Salmon, herring, shrimp, halibut
  • Fat: Omega 3 & 6
  • Fiber: Limited
  • Phosphorus: Yes
  • Carbohydrates: Limited
  • Calcium: Yes
  • Vitamins: B12, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamins A, C, D3, E, Potassium, Niacin, Inositol, Folic Acid, Biotin, Riboflavin
  • Fillers: Limited – wheat and wheat gluten

If you really just have to use flakes, these are the ones to go with. They still have some fillers, but they use less than most brands. And they still contain more protein than any other flake I could find, so your betta is more likely to eat them.

They’re not my first choice by any stretch, but they’ll do for occasional feedings. And though they use some wheat and wheat gluten, they are 100% meal free, which means they’re less processed. They’re also lower in ash.

The formula also includes natural beta carotenes and is rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for improved health.

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#4. Omega Super Color

Omega super color

Though I’m more of a fan of automatic feeders and pet sitters, I know that sometimes you just need a good slow-release food. The Omega Super Color Marine Vacation Food is a great option in this category.

These low ash pellets come in a shell that slowly releases over three days’ time.

This style of shell leave the water cleaner than many of the options that come release a lot of ash into the water.

The shells contain beneficial salt to support a healthy slime coat and produce less starch than most of the options I looked at.

They’re meal-free,  but they do have some filler ingredients. For normal feedings, these aren’t a good idea, but for the occasional weekend, they’ll do better than most.

Nutrient Profile:

  • Type: Pellet, slow-release shell
  • Protein: Whole salmon, halibut, krill, rockfish, shrimp
  • Fat: Yes
  • Fiber: Limited
  • Phosphorus: Yes
  • Carbohydrates: Yes
  • Calcium: Yes
  • Vitamins: B12, E, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid, Biotin, Inositol, A, D3
  • Fillers: Some wheat, wheat gluten

While the ingredients aren’t 100% the absolute best, I haven’t found a better profile on slow-release betta food.

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Other Betta Diet Considerations

Besides the quality of food, you also want to make sure you’re feeding your betta often enough, the right amount, et cetera. Here are some tips on that.

How Much to Feed Your Betta Fish

Interestingly enough, the betta’s eyes are approximately the same size as its stomach. That means you can look at your betta to determine how much food you should give at each betta feeding time.

You want to feed that betta approximately the same amount of food as the betta’s eye is large. Traditional pellet food would require two to three pellets per serving.

If you find that your betta is leaving some food behind, you should cut back a little bit at every meal.

How Often You Should Give Your Fish Betta Food

Bettas should be on a feeding schedule of once per day for adults and twice per day for babies and juveniles. It’s extremely important to avoid overfeeding your betta fish.

What Happens When You Overfeed Your Betta

white fish on black background

So, what happens if you overfeed that colorful fish?

The above-mentioned constipation is one of the first and main issues bettas run into with overfeeding. Low-quality foods with fillers definitely cause this, but so does too much of a good thing.

And since constipation can lead to issues like swim bladder disorder, it’s critical for your betta’s health to avoid that problem.

Overfeeding your fish can also cause other issues, like introducing unwanted toxins into the aquarium system. Betta food leftover will decay and release toxins into the water.

How Long Betta Can Go Without Food?

Betta fish are an exceptionally hardy species of fish. They can actually go for up to 14 days without food.

Obviously, this is never ideal, but since this is the case, it’s definitely better to occasionally forget a feeding rather than run the risk of giving your betta too much food.

And if you happen to be concerned that your betta is eating too much, you can hold off for a day or so to observe isn’t a problem.

Why Your Betta May Not Be Eating

Finally, I’d like to mention some things to consider if you notice your betta fish won’t eat when fed.

Your Betta Doesn’t Like the Food

The first possibility – and just about the easiest to fix – is that your betta simply doesn’t like the food you’re feeding her.

They are notoriously finicky eaters, so it’s very likely she’s not scarfing down that new food because, well, she hates it.

If you think this could be the case, try feeding her some treats – like brine shrimp or freeze-dried bloodworms – and see if that helps to improve her appetite.

Your Betta is Experiencing High Levels of Stress

Another big reason bettas stop eating is when he’s got too much stress in his life. It seems a little odd for some of us to think about a fish feeling stressed, but there are actually many things that can cause betta to feel anxiety.

  • Changes to the environment – Including new food or decorations
  • Issues outside the tank – Loud noises, frequent wild movements, bettas visible in other tanks, etc.

To help with anxiety and stress issues your betta is having, try dimming the lighting in the environment – both inside and outside of the tank – and keep the night and day cycles consistent with the lighting.

You can do this by covering the tank with a towel or blanket if you need light on at night. Just remember to uncover them during the day.

Your Betta is Getting Too Much Food

As mentioned above, overfeeding can harm your fish in other ways – like constipation and swim bladder disorder – but it can also just make your fish stop eating.

The Aquarium is Too Cold

Your little betta is a cold-blooded swimmer. That means his appetite is highly affected by the temperature of his tank. His metabolism and appetite will drop if the water’s too cold because, well, everything slows down when you’re cold.

If you notice your betta isn’t eating and the other options aren’t the issue, check the water temperature and make proper adjustments like adding a heater.

Your Betta Could Be Sick

Finally, and least favorably, if your betta isn’t eating, it could mean she’s not feeling well. Just like humans sometimes stop eating because of illness, fish can do the same.

Top tip: Look for symptoms along with the lack of eating. If you see them, see a vet immediately.

  • Lethargy
  • Tucked in fins
  • Distended stomach
  • Paling coloration in a non-elderly betta
  • Parasites or fungi

How to Feed Your Betta While You’re Away

macro fighting fish in a natura

One last thought I’d like to share before diving into our reviews is what you can do with feeding needs while you’re gone from home for a while.

Skip the Feedings

If you’re only gone for one or two nights, be sure to remove any excess food from the tank and then give your fish fresh food before departing.

Since they’re good to go without food for a while, skipping a day or three won’t hurt them.

Slow Release Food

The easiest thing if you’re gone for more than a couple of nights is to buy an automatic slow release fish food betta.

I’ve listed the one below that I think is a great option, since it is completely “meal” free and without the unnecessary additives that can make your betta sick.

Automatic Feeder

Another option, especially for someone who travels a lot or will be gone for several days, is the automatic feeder.

These can typically be programmed to release once, twice, or several times per day, depending on the model you use.

Pet Sitter

The final option is to get someone to do some pet sitting for you.

Always be sure to clean the tank before you leave, however, so you don’t have to worry about the health and water quality while you’re gone.

Ask a friend to drop in and check on the fish or if you have multiple pets that need tending, find a good agency to hire someone through.

Always be sure to leave thorough, written-out instructions for basic care and feeding – lights out time, feeding times, et cetera – and any emergency contact numbers for vets or your source of fish food, in case something happens.

Now onto the good stuff – the food.

Betta FAQs

Deep red Dragon Betta fish with a teal body, in-home aquarium. Swimming to the top of the aquarium with floating plants.

How long do betta fish live?

Betta fish can have a healthy lifespan between two and four years in captivity.

Of course, this lifespan depends heavily on specific circumstances and details that impact their lives, just like they do with humans.

The water parameters need to be met. Two males should never be stocked together. The food needs to be the right type(s) for their carnivorous systems.

And make sure they are kept in fish tanks large enough to meet their needs.

Basically, if you want your betta to live longer, you need to pay attention to the basics of their care.

How do I help keep my betta fish living longer?

Betta fish have specific needs that need to be met. The main things to pay attention to keep their lives healthy and happy include:

  • Avoid overfeeding your betta fish
  • Meet the betta’s diet requirements with primarily protein food options
  • Maintain proper water parameters as they need
  • Keep their aquariums clean
  • Keep males separate and out of each other’s sightline

What can I feed my betta fish?

Apart from the great betta food options as listed above, you can supplement their diets with some tasty things they’ll love.

  • Bloodworms
  • Insect larvae
  • Boiled peas (remove the skins)
  • Lettuce and cucumber cut into tiny pieces
  • Mango fruit cut into tiny pieces
  • Seafood like oysters, scallops, and shrimp, cut into tiny pieces

How often should I feed my betta?

Bettas do best when they’re fed two to three meals a day. Aim to feed them with six to eight hours intervals.

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