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What Human Foods Can Betta Fish Eat? Vet-Approved Guide to Safe Feeding

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By Lindsey Stanton

yellow siamese betta fish

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Betta fish, or Siamese fighting fish, are freshwater fish that originate from Asia and are very popular aquarium residents with hobby keepers. They are popular among beginners and advanced hobbyists alike. Unlike many other aquarium fish, they can be housed solitarily, which means they are relatively comfortable in small aquariums that don’t accommodate other shoaling fish.

Betta fish are also carnivores, specifically eating a diet of insects, and while it is possible to offer meat-based food that replaces their typical insect diet, betta fish should not be fed non-meat replacements regularly.

About Betta Fish

Betta fish live in shallow, stagnant bodies of water. They are commonly found in rice paddies, small ponds, streams, and canals. They are voracious insectivores that eat insects, larvae, and pretty much any small creature they can fit in their mouths.

In captivity, controlling a betta’s diet is important. Wild bettas don’t eat daily, and therefore, it is unrealistic to feed a pet betta unlimited amounts of food every day. Although pet bettas can be fed on a regular basis, portion control is key.

red siamese fighting betta fish
Image Credit: koagulant, Shutterstock

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The 4 Human Foods You Can Feed Betta Fish

Most fish stores and aquarium stores will carry suitable food for bettas, including brine shrimp and larvae. Since bettas are carnivorous, you should avoid feeding them fruit or vegetables. However, there are some foods that we typically consider to be human foods that you can feed to your bettas.

Please note that your betta won’t be missing out if you decide to forgo these human foods; they are perfectly fine exclusively eating food made or grown for them specifically.

1. Shrimp

Shrimp can be fed to bettas. Do not cook the shrimp first. They should be fed raw and thoroughly washed, and you will need to cut them up into smaller pieces so your bettas can easily eat them.

2. Chicken

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Betta fish would not eat chicken in the wild, but chicken is an acceptable protein that can be fed to your fighting fish. Chicken and other meats can be fed occasionally as treats. They should not be seasoned.

3. Egg Yolk

Egg yolk is acceptable for bettas. A hard-boiled egg yolk can be offered to your betta as a treat. However, it can easily spoil water quality if your betta doesn’t eat it, which is something that you have to watch out for. Therefore, it is best to offer it on the same day that you will perform a water change.

4. Pork

pork meat on wooden board
Image Credit: matka_Wariatka, Shutterstock

Pork is another meat ingredient that bettas would never encounter in the wild but is an acceptable source of animal protein and one that can be fed as a treat. It is best to use ground pork and only offer a small amount.

Can Betta Fish Be Fed Fish Flakes?

Bettas can be fed fish flakes. Some are specifically formulated for bettas. If you can’t find these flakes, look for flakes with high protein content, as bettas need more protein in their diet than most pet fish species.

Can Betta Fish Eat Fruit?

Fruit is not a suitable addition to a betta’s diet. There’s no reason to give fruit to your betta.

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How Much Should You Feed Betta Fish?

A Betta should be given as much food as it can eat in 3 minutes, twice a day. This is nutritionally better for your fish than feeding a single large meal every day. It can take some trial and error to get feeding levels just right, but once you know how much to feed, you can stick to this amount.


Bettas are unique ornamental fish that are carnivorous eaters. In the wild, they would feed on insects and insect larvae, although they may also eat some crustaceans. Pet bettas need to be fed a diet that meets their nutritional requirements. A typical diet consists of brine shrimp and mosquito larvae, which are available from some pet stores and most aquatic stores, but there are some human foods you can also incorporate into a betta’s diet.

Featured Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

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