Can Betta Fish Eat Ants?

Betta fish are carnivores that eat a variety of food items. They mostly eat small crustaceans, larvae, insects, and worms in the wild.

The fish also require food with high protein content. The food you feed the bettas should vary in nutrition.

A lot of people wonder whether betta fish eat ants. In this blog post, you will learn about whether this fish can eat ants.

You will also learn about the other types of insects that are great for betta fish.

Can You Feed Ants to Your Betta Fish?

Ants contain lots of protein so they are suitable for this species of fish. In the wild, betta fish eat ants that drop from the trees in the river or pond.

So, ants are a natural live food that you can feed to your betta. You can also feed them fire ant eggs. They love eating ant eggs, which are full of protein.

You should only feed them small black ants. Larger ants or aggressive ants like fire ants can hurt the betta fish.

Moreover, you should remember that ants release formic acid as a defensive tactic. While feeding a few ants won’t be a problem, you should not feed them a lot of ants at a time.

Benefits of Feeding Ants to Betta Fish

Live foods such as ants are best for the bettas since they are similar to what they eat in the wild. You should prefer feeding live food to betta fish over commercial food.

The reason is that these food items have more nutrition content. They contain more minerals and vitamins as compared to prepared food.

Feeding live foods to betta fish will trigger spawning instinct in the fish. This is because the insects tend to increase during the breeding season in the wild.

Live foods are closer to the natural food of the bettas. The fish will grow healthy if you rotate through a variety of different live food items.

Other Insects You Can Feed to Betta Fish.

You can feed almost any type of insect to betta fish that is not sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers. Here are some other live insects that you can feed to the fish.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are a great live insect for betta fish. Many pet shops sell culture kits for fruit flies. You can raise the flies in jars.

Consider buying wingless fruit flies as they are easy to grow and feed to the bettas. Winged flies can escape and become a nuisance inside the house.

Apart from insects, you can also feed crustaceans and worms to the betta fish. Here are some of the small food items that you can feed to the fish.


Daphnia is present in ponds and small pools. They look similar to the small shrimp found in freshwater ponds.

Aquarists consider daphnia the best insects for the fish due to its high nutritious value.

Wild daphnia may contain diseases and toxic substances. So, it is better if you breed them in an aquarium. There are different types of daphnia that you can find in the pet store for breeding purposes.

Some of the daphnia species that you can buy for breeding include the daphnia magna, daphnia pulex, and daphnia monia.

The biggest species is the daphnia magna while the smallest one is daphnia moina.


Bloodworms are a type of midge fly. The characteristic red color is due to the iron component known as porphyrin in the tissues and blood.

The worms are a terrific source of iron and contain about 8 percent protein. However, they lack amino acids and many other essential nutrients.

So, you need to feed them with other food items. Consider giving your betta fish bloodworms as a treat once a week.


Mysis shrimp are another great option for your betta fish.

The exoskeleton of the shrimp is rich in fiber that helps in the digestion of protein-rich insects and other food items.

They are the best choice for picky betta eaters. The shrimps are packed with a lot of essential nutrients including amino acids.


Earthworms are also a great source of protein for betta fish. You can buy earthworms from a pet store or collect some from your backyard.

Place the worms in a jar and keep them in the refrigerator. If the worms are large, you may have to cut them into small pieces when feeding the fish.


Microworks are a good source of a variety of nutrients for the betta fish. There are also mini-micro worms that are also known as water worms.

They are smaller versions of the micro worms that are ideal for baby fry bettas.

Breeding micro worms are easy. You can harvest a batch of micro worms within four to five days. When you buy some worms from the store, make sure that you reserve some for starter culture.

Growing your own worms will be less costly as compared to buying commercial worms.

How to Feed Betta Fish?

Betta Fish will eat food that falls through the water. You should drop insects in the tank similar to feeding pellets.

The live food will float on the surface that will be picked by the fish from the bottom.

Your betta fish will pick up dead insects that drop in the gravel or decoration inside the aquarium.

The fish may seem uninterested during the feeding time. But it will eat the food that sinks to the bottom of the tank.

How Much Live Food Should I Feed?

A common mistake when feeding any fish including bettas is overfeeding. Betta fish tend to overeat if you feed a lot at a time. Your fish will die early if you feed them too much.

Overeating will result in bloating, constipation, and obesity. The fish may also develop bladder problems due to feeding them too much.

Moreover, they can contract diseases due to excess bacteria in the gut because of overfeeding.

Remember that stomach of the betta fish is about the size of their eye. You should consider the fish’s eating capacity when feeding them.

Consider the five-minute rule when feeding the fish. You should feed them as much they can eat in five minutes at a time.

That should mean about four or five live insects for each betta fish.

Consider the eating behavior of the fish as well. If the fish is a slow eater and takes longer to consume the food, you may need to give more time to the fish when feeding.

Additionally, you should note that the fish eats at the bottom of the tank. So, any uneaten food should be removed after the feeding session.

This will also prevent food decays that will make the water dirty and dangerous for the fish.

How Often Should I Feed Them?

You should adult betta fish about one time a day. Baby fry needs more food and requires feeding about two times a day.

You must feed the right portions and avoid overfeeding at each feed time. Just remember that overfeeding will lead to more harm as compared to underfeeding.

Feeding them the right amount of food will take time. You should inspect the fish when feeding to ensure that they are properly fed.

You will learn to estimate the required that must be fed to the bettas over time.

What If Your Betta Fish Won’t Eat?

Healthy bettas eat actively during feeding time. If the fish is not interested in feeding, there might be something wrong with the fish.

A lack of appetite may be due to a disease or stress due to changes in the tank.

Abrupt changes in water temperature, tank cleaning, and introduction to a new aquarium often lead to stress among the fish.

Bettas are hardy fish that can go on without feeding for up to 14 days. You should not worry if your bettas don’t eat for a couple of days.

But if the fish don’t eat for more than a week, you may need to find out the cause of the lack of appetite.

Keeping the right water conditions is important for betta fish. The water temperature should be kept between 76 degrees F and 81 degrees F.

The temperature outside of the range will slow the metabolism of the fish. It means that the fish will require fewer feedings. Additionally, old betta fish will be less active and eat less frequently.

You should also monitor the bettas for signs of illness. Diseases such as dropsy, ich, or fin rot will make the fish lose appetite.

You should quarantine the fish and treat the fish using an appropriate method. After betta recovers from illness or stress, the appetite of the fish will come back as well.

Remember that bettas are picky eaters. Sometimes a betta won’t eat the food as it does not suit its taste buds.

If you see the betta turn away from food or spit it out, you should try a different type of food.

Wrapping It Up

Bettas should be fed a wide variety of food items. Feeding them with a proper diet will ensure that they live a long and healthy life.

The diet must be varied consisting of algae, pellets, bloodworms, and other insects.

You can feed ants to your betta fish. But avoid feeding large ants or aggressive ones such as fire ants. Small black and brown ants will be best for your betta.

Insects such as ants contain high protein that makes them ideal for the growth of the fish.

They are especially recommended for bettas during the breeding season.

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