Yes, but they need to be tropical fish flakes that are specifically made for betta fish. Since betta are carnivorous, check the label to make sure protein is listed as the first ingredient and that the flakes don’t contain any fillers. Most tropical fish flakes are made for omnivorous fish, and likely won’t satisfy your bettas’ dietary needs in the long run.
The rest of this article will tell you everything you need to know about feeding your betta tropical fish flakes and your bettas’ dietary needs.
Why Should I Feed my Betta Tropical Fish Flakes?
While tropical fish flakes aren’t the best option for everyday feeding, they can definitely supplement your bettas’ dietary needs if you don’t have much else on hand.
Many manufacturers of tropical fish flakes add multivitamins and color enhancements into the flakes, which help support your bettas’ immune systems and bring out their natural vibrant colors.
If you have other fish besides your betta that eat tropical fish flakes, feeding the flakes to both kinds cuts down on the costs associated with caring for your fish and ensures that your betta won’t go hungry. That is, unless your betta are picky eaters.
How Often Should I Feed Flakes to my Betta?
If you choose to make tropical fish flakes a regular part of your bettas’ diets, make sure to read the labels regarding how often and how much to feed them. Flakes from different brands may vary in size and composition, so it’s more of a process of trial and error.
Start with a tiny amount, perhaps a small pinch, and see if your betta eat the whole amount. If they do, make the next feeding slightly bigger. If they only eat part of it, make the next feeding a little smaller.
While you can opt for one large feeding per day, most betta enthusiasts advise two smaller feedings per day instead, since it gives your betta time to digest and avoids them eating too much at once, which can inhibit healthy daytime activity.
Bettas’ stomach are only about the size of one of their eyeballs, so keep this in mind when feeding.
It is better to underfeed than overfeed, since the betta will leave uneaten flakes alone, which will end up in the filter and possibly contaminate the water. At the very least, excess food can build up and necessitate more frequent cleaning of your tank.
If you only occasionally feed tropical flakes to your betta, then it’s not as much of a concern how much to feed them. Betta are able to regulate their own diets, and will eat when they’re hungry and stop eating when they’re full.
How Do I Choose Tropical Flakes for my Betta?
It can sometimes be overwhelming to enter the fish section of a pet store and see all the varieties of fish food. While there are many different types of tropical fish flakes, the best way to determine which to feed your betta fish is to see if the flakes are specifically made for betta.
If it isn’t indicated on the label, keep an eye out for the following when reading the contents:
- Make sure that protein is the first ingredient – since betta are carnivores, they won’t process (or even eat) flakes containing vegetable matter.
- Check for fillers such as corn or wheat. These are plant matter and will also disrupt your bettas’ sensitive digestive tracts by causing bloating and constipation.
- Natural food – make sure the sources from which the flakes are made are natural and don’t include many artificial ingredients. Tropical fish flakes made for omnivorous or vegetarian fish (like goldfish or cichlids) will upset your bettas’ digestive tracts and can cause long-term health issues.
- Manufacturer – are the flakes from a reputable manufacturer who doesn’t compromise quality for lower prices? A good way to check this is to check customer reviews of the flakes, preferably from sources unaffiliated with brands or companies, since they’re likely to be honest and unbiased.
- Generic flakes will suffice on occasion, but if feeding your betta tropical flakes long term, it’s best to stick with a brand that’s trusted by a large community of betta fish enthusiasts.
Are Tropical Fish Flakes Good for my Betta?
As long as the flakes match the requirements listed above (i.e. rich in protein, have no fillers, from natural sources, from a reputable brand, contain little to no artificial ingredients), tropical fish flakes will boost your bettas’ immune systems and give them all they need to remain healthy.
However, it’s best to supplement your bettas’ diets with treats made specifically for betta fish. More on those supplements are listed below.
Are Tropical Fish Flakes Sufficient for my Betta’s Dietary Needs?
While tropical fish flakes have everything to satisfy your bettas’ dietary requirements (assuming your chosen flakes meet all the requirements listed above), your betta might get bored by the lack of variety in their diet and start rejecting the tropical flakes. Great supplements that are widely carried in pet stores and recommended for betta include:
- freeze-dried food – include shrimp and krill
- fresh cooked shrimp – make sure to cut it up into tiny pieces to make it easier for your betta to eat and digest
- frozen bloodworms and tubifex worms – considered favorites of betta fish, rich in protein and iron
- live foods – giving these to your betta help trigger their natural hunting instinct.
- Insects are usually easy to find without needing to take a trip to the pet store. Just search around your house and in your yard.
- Fairy shrimp are considered one of the best live foods for betta, as they are easy to breed and, according to BettaCareFishGuide.com, are less likely to pass disease and parasites to your betta.
- Mysis shrimp are also considered a great live fish for your betta, as they’re naturally low in fat and particularly rich in fiber, which helps regulate your bettas’ digestive systems.