If it’s your first time keeping betta fish, you will probably have some questions when it comes to feeding schedules. Although caring for betta fish is fairly simple, you need to take care when it comes to selecting tank makes and feeding time. Compared to other aquarium species, betta fish are notoriously aggressive. This can make feeding them more complex, especially if you need to ensure every member of a heavily populated tank needs their fill.
Do Bettas Need Feeding Daily?
Many betta fish will happily consume as much food as they are provided with. This ravenous appetite often leads to less experienced aquarists adopting a daily feeding schedule. However, you should avoid feeding your betta fish only a daily basis. Overfeeding these fish will lead to health complaints like constipating and bloating. It can also lead to serious swim bladder issues. What’s more, adding excessive levels of food to your tank water can wreak havoc on your filtration system. Any untouched food will also decay and lead to a build-up of harmful chemicals in tank water.
If you have little experience with betta fish, aim to feed your fish once a day, six days a week. Many betta fish will only need feeding once on any given feeding day, although in some cases you may need to incorporate a second feeding schedule. A good way to determine whether or not your fish are getting enough food is to provide them with a very limited amount of food. Once you’ve scattered a small amount of food into the tank, observe how quickly your bettas are consuming it.
If your fish consume all food within a minute, you may need to slightly increase the amount of food you are providing them with. However, bear in mind that most fish food sources will swell once they have been consumed. They will usually lose some of their appetite after an initial feeding because of this.
After your betta fish have finished feeding, they will need to digest the food you’ve given them. Different types of food will also process through their systems more quickly than others. If you’re giving your betta fish live food or frozen food sources, this food is likely to pass through their systems quickly and easily. However, many dried food varieties like pellets and flakes will take longer, as they absorb water as soon as they are introduced to the tank. This saturated food takes longer to pass through the intestinal tract of your fish.
If your fish have been overfed on dry food sources, you run the risk of them suffering from intestinal blockage and constipation if you’ve been too generous at feeding time. A good way to avoid this becoming a serious issue, you should aim to include a fasting day as part of a weekly feeding schedule. So, for every six days you feed your fish, schedule in one day when you provide them with no food whatsoever. This will not starve your fish or cause them any harm. Many betta fish species can live comfortably for one or two weeks without feeding.