Bringing home a new pet is filled with so much excitement. As a proud new pet owner, you must provide your new family member with everything they need in their new habitat.
One of the essential aspects of pet ownership is the topic of food. Whether you’re a novice betta fish owner or a long-time betta fish owner, it is vital to learn how often and the right amount of fish flakes to feed them on a daily basis.
In doing so, you ensure that they are receiving enough nutrients in their diet and preventing any possible health issues which promotes a long and healthy life. For those reasons and more, this is why it’s important to follow our daily recommended feeding guidelines below.
How often should I feed my betta fish flakes? The recommended feeding is twice daily, with the first being in the morning and the second meal 12 hours later in the evening. The flake amount should be what they can consume within two minutes and adjust to less as needed.
There are several different feeding techniques you could implement for feeding your betta fish. Fasting is a common feeding routine that should only be done to your betta fish for one day once a week.
We also recommend that the fasting day be on the same day every week to establish a routine. It is important to be aware that some betta fish can be greedy and will often eat as much as you’re willing to drop in the tank, making it seem like they are starving for food when they are no more hungry than any other feeding.
However, for the following reasons is why we support two small flake feedings a day as opposed to one large feeding once a day.
Reason #1: Their Stomachs Are The Size Of Their Eye
A betta fish has a short digestive tract and a stomach roughly the size of their eye, so it could be surprising to learn how much (or little) food they do need to be satisfied per meal. The flake food directions label on the side of the container can often be misleading of how much food you should give your betta fish.
We see that the directions usually indicate that you should be feeding them more flakes than necessary. Doing so would cause you to need to purchase fish food more frequently, but that high quantity of fish flakes is not in the best interest of your betta fish.
Since they have a short digestive tract, it is easier for them to have two small meals a day versus one larger meal because one large meal would be causing them to eat more faster and put a massive strain on digesting it.
Reason #2: Wasted Flakes Lead To Dirty Tanks And Sick Fish
Just like humans, overfeeding and overeating can lead to constipation, bloating, obesity, or, in a fish’s situation, swim bladder problems. If too many flakes are in the tank at mealtime, whatever they don’t eat will sink to the bottom of their tank, and the food waste could produce dangerous toxins.
The build-up of food sitting at the bottom of the tank will also require more frequent tank cleanings to ensure that your betta fish doesn’t get sick from the dirty water. Dirty tank water with high ammonia and nitrites will make a betta fish sick causing him not to eat.
Older fish are also less active and require less food, so while what they can eat within two minutes is recommended, if your betta fish stops eating after one minute, adjust your feeding scale to accommodate this eating pattern to save money on excess flakes that go to waste and not to pollute the clean tank water.
Reason #3: Betta Fish Are Greedy For Food
Betta fish can go up to 14 days without being fed, although not recommended to do intentionally or frequently. Do not be alarmed if, at any point, your betta fish shows little desire in their flakes.
A lack of appetite may mean that they aren’t hungry, or if the water is colder than 76 degrees Fahrenheit, it will slow down their metabolism and decrease their food intake. It is not abnormal for them to skip a meal once in a while, just like humans.
Some betta fish owners practice weekly fasting where for one day, they do not feed them to give their digestive tract time to process food entirely, and it will help limit any problems had by overeating. If you give them one big meal in the morning, you are more likely to see them looking hungry at the end of the day and tempted to feed them again because they have the personality of always looking for food at the top of their tank.
Splitting their daily food intake into two small feedings twelve hours apart is the best way to ensure they are getting all the food they need in a healthy way.
No, extra feeding will lead to your betta fish overeating, or they may not eat all the excess and it will sink to the bottom of the tank as waste. You should only give your betta fish an amount that they can consume within two minutes even if you missed a previous feeding.
As mentioned earlier, betta fish are greedy. They will eat as much food as possible, often giving the perception that they are starving and convincing their owners to provide them with more food than is necessary for them in a single meal.
Missing a meal will cause little to no disruption to their routine, and if anything, it will give their digestive tract time to process their food. However, Bettas should avoid frequently missing meals to ensure they are receiving all the nutrients it needs to live a long and healthy life.
Feed your betta fish as you typically would if you weren’t going out of town. Do not give them extra fish flakes to compensate for missing the next few meals.
The excess bits will sink to the bottom, and it will not be something they will eat later when they are hungry again. Once the flakes have settled on the bottom, the betta fish will no longer be interested in eating it beyond that one meal.
If you plan to be gone longer than 14 days and do not have anyone able to care for your betta fish, then a vacation feeder is a great option to have your betta fish flakes dispense at programmable times daily. Many of the feeder options on the market are even battery-operated to ensure they will work even in a power outage, providing you with complete peace of mind while you are out of town.
If your betta fish is eating for more than two minutes, that might be a sign that it is being overfed and eventually would lead to too much weight gained. It’s completely natural for a betta fish to gain weight after a length of time, but it is something you want to control to ensure it does not become an excessive amount that is unhealthy.
One way to check if your fish is overweight is to look around the belly area to see if there is any bulge and if there is one present, this means your betta fish is most likely overweight. If this is the case, or you think overfeeding it has caused swim bladder disorder, let your betta fish fast for a few days to allow it to digest all the food in its system.
Once the bloating and swim bladder disorder symptoms go away, continue your regular feeding routine again.
Much like Goldilocks and the three bears, it may take some trial and error before finding the perfect amount of fish flakes to feed your betta fish. Too much could cause your betta fish to become overweight or dirty the tank resulting in more tank cleanings needed and risking potential illness to your betta.
Too little flakes would result in your betta fish being underweight and lethargic. However, now that you can recognize the signs of a betta that is overeating, along with the frequency of how often to feed your betta fish flakes based on what your fish is telling you and not the flake label directions, your new pet will soon settle in quite nicely to its new environment, and everything will be just right.