Yes, betta fish can eat bread, but you should not feed it regularly. They might like to nibble on breadcrumbs and tiny crackers if you throw it their way.
However, their love for bread is not healthy.
Excessive consumption could lead to dietary problems and health risks. The best practice is to maintain its natural diet instead of feeding it human food.
In this article, we learn whether or not betta fish can eat bread and how you can create a well-balanced feeding schedule.
Why Betta Fish Shouldn’t be Fed Bread?
For most betta fish, an all-bread diet is an unhealthy substitute for real food. They might enjoy it and willingly nibble on the breadcrumbs.
However, they can’t survive on this diet.
There are two main reasons for this:
1. Bread has No Nutritional Value for Betta
According to National Geographic, you should ‘feed them—their natural diet is insects and larva, not root.’
We can make a similar argument against bread and its variants. Your betta needs high-protein food that is closest to its natural diet. It usually entails bloodworms, larva, brine shrimp, etc.
In other words, any meat is better than bread for Betta.
Feeding Betta fish bread would be equivalent to keeping it on a junk food diet. It will only fill their stomachs.
With little or no nutritional value, bread-based meals could cause health complications.
2. Poor Digestive Health
Bread contains many unhealthy additives such as oil, butter, salt, and yeast. These ingredients, along with processed chemicals, are not suitable for your Betta fish.
The main reason is your bettas’ sensitive stomach. Their digestive system reacts negatively to most of these additives.
We imagine that regular consumption of bread will wreak havoc inside their digestive tract. It can result in an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Besides this, bread tends to grow in size when it is wet. When your betta eats these breadcrumbs, it might swell up inside their stomachs. That can cause bloating, constipation, and lethargy.
If you fail to notice these symptoms, the results could be fatal for your poor fish.
Thereby, refraining from bread and another variant is a safer option for betta fish owners.
When Can Betta Fish Eat Bread? Are There Better Alternatives?
If your betta fish likes bread, you can feed it occasionally. Consider it a treat for them instead of including it as a daily meal. You can also let it eat bread if you are running low on betta fish food.
However, keep in mind that bread is a poor substitute for your betta fish food. You should try boiled vegetables as a healthier alternative. The best vegetables for betta include peas, cucumbers, and lettuce.
You should boil these vegetables to soften them and remove their peels. Also, make sure that these treats don’t have any seasoning. The presence of spices can cause indigestion.
That said, vegetables are also the last resort for betta keepers that don’t have fish food at hand. They are not suited for long-term consumption.
Diet Plan: What Can Betta Fish Eat?
As carnivores, betta fish eat meat and insects. They are fussy eaters and might take a whole month to accept a new food.
If you own different species of betta fish, they might not eat the same thing. You should mix their diet plan up to test their palate.
Here is a list of betta-friendly food you should stock at home:
Betta fish have a strong affinity to bloodworms. Most betta fish would beeline for bloodworms if there were a choice between them and pellets.
They are available in tiny frozen cubes or freeze-dried.
Make sure that you only feed one or two worms at a time. Your betta might overeat if you throw extra worms into the tank.
Also, do not refreeze unused worms. You can refrigerate them for two days max before tossing them out.
2. Freeze-Dried Food
Brine shrimp, krill, and daphnia are other betta favorites.
Betta owners generally use them as treats. You can feed them twice or thrice a week to add diversity to your pet’s meal plan.
Like the worms, it is not a good idea to refreeze leftover betta treats. With stinky seafood, discarding them is better than refrigeration.
Sinking and floating pellets are the staple food for betta fish. They contain all the vital nutrients required for your pet fish.
When you are buying pellets, look at their nutritional value. You must select high-quality brands that make betta-friendly food. Also, only pick pellets with high-protein content.
Anything less would be unhealthy. You can also compensate for low-protein diets by feeding it raw protein food (listed above).
Betta flakes are popular amongst betta keepers. They are rich in nutrients, especially protein. The only trouble is that beginners might find it challenging to monitor their pet’s diet.
It could lead to overfeeding.
Apart from that, flakes will sink in the tank within a few minutes. That means most of the flakes you sprinkle will go to waste. Cleaning a flake-filled tank is also tricky.
Therefore, pellets and meaty diets should be your first choice.
Overall, most betta-friendly diet, such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and pellets are widely accessible. You can find them at the pet store or online fish food stores.
The Dos and Don’ts of Feeding Betta Fish
Betta fish might be low-maintenance pets, but they still come with a list of dietary rules. Like the fact that you can feed bread to your betta fish, but should not make it a habit.
Here are a few other rules you must follow:
1. Do Keep a Routine
After getting a betta fish, use the first week to set a feeding schedule. It might take them a month to adjust to a new diet, but food schedules are something they adapt quickly.
You must take 5-10 minutes out in the day to feed your pet. Mornings are better than mid-day meals. If your betta is sleeping when you wake up, try feeding them after an hour or two.
Pay attention to what your betta fish eat and what they refuse. That makes it easier to track their diet. You must also see how much they eat to make proper adjustments.
After that, feed your betta 1-2 times a day on the dot.
2. Don’t Forget to Clean the Tank
Betta fish thrive in clean, hygienic spaces.
Besides weekly cleaning, you must remove uneaten fish food regularly.
A good strategy is to give your pets approximately ten to fifteen minutes to eat their food. Once they swim away, you can scoop out the remainder. It is because the food will float or sink in the tank for ages.
Unattended leftovers will rot and release toxins if you are not careful. These chemicals can harm your betta fish.
3. Do Maintain a Balanced Diet
Your betta should learn to eat staple food before you introduce treats into the meal plan.
It is practical to start staples first and stick to them for at least a few weeks. Otherwise, they will ignore pellets for treats.
Once they grow accustomed to pellets and flakes, you can treat them with freeze-dried items.
Even then, treats must contribute to one-fourth of your weekly meal plan. Overindulgence will make your betta sick.
4. Don’t Overfeed
The biggest mistake betta owners make is to give their fish too much food.
It is why setting a schedule is essential. That way, you have a better chance of regulating their diet.
We recommend following standard feeding schedules to prevent overfeeding.
If you feed your pet:
- Once a Day: Feed approximately four pellets each time. For bloodworms, you can feed it three-four worms depending on its appetite and size.
- Twice a Day: Two-three pellets or one-two bloodworm at each feeding shall suffice.
- Thrice a Day: Feeding your betta three times a day means smaller meal portions. Try not to feed more than two pellets or one worm at each feeding.
Apart from this, adjust their feeding schedules according to their eating habits and size.
What Else Should You Know?
Betta fish can only last for fourteen days without food. If you have no alternatives, you can feed betta fish bread and boiled vegetables.
If you are going on a month-long vacation, get an automatic feeder.
You can also request a neighbor or friend to check on your fish while you are away. They can refill the feeder or simply visit every day to feed the fish.
To Sum It Up
In the end, you should remember that bettas have sensitive digestive systems and specific dietary requirements.
If you want to feed your betta fish bread, use it as a treat or occasional supplement. Your betta cannot survive on bread and carb-filled diet.
A balanced meal for betta pets is the one closest to its natural diet i.e., a carnivorous diet. So skip the bread and feed more pellets and larva!
Do you want to know more about betta fish? Stay tuned for more FAQs on what betta fish need and how to keep them.
Other Betta fish related articles you may like: