Will Betta Eat Shrimp?

Not only will betta eat shrimp, but shrimp – live, cooked, freeze-dried, or frozen – are considered an integral part of your betta fish’s diet. They are rich in protein, as betta are carnivorous and require a protein-rich diet, as well as fiber to keep your bettas’ digestive tracts healthy. 

The rest of this article will tell you everything you need to know about adding shrimp to your betta fish’s diet.

Are Shrimp Good for Betta? 

Live, freeze-dried, and frozen shrimp are found in the betta section in most pet stores and are touted as an important component of your betta fish’s diet. Shrimp are full of protein and fiber, which are important for your betta, since they are carnivorous and have delicate digestive tracts. Feeding your betta live shrimp entices your betta fish’s natural hunting instinct.

There is some debate surrounding whether betta should eat cooked shrimp.

Some will argue that cooked shrimp are not a natural betta food source, and even if the pieces are small enough for your betta to eat, it will cause bloating and constipation.

However,  it’s okay to give your betta tiny pieces of cooked shrimp from time to time, as long as the shrimp is unseasoned, unfried, and devoid of oil.

Purple Betta

What Shrimp is Best for Betta Diet?

This all depends on what form the shrimp is in when you feed it to your betta.

  • Live shrimp – an important note: some live foods can be sick with bacteria or parasites, so
    • Brine shrimp – brine shrimp are one of the most commonly recommended shrimp for betta diets. Should only be given in strict moderation, as they are very rich and can make your betta sick
    • Fairy shrimp – easy to breed and appealing to betta
    • Mysis/opossum shrimp – particularly high in fiber and will boost your betta fish’s digestive health. Easy to breed
  • Freeze-dried shrimp – the experts at BettaFish.org state that freeze-dried foods be fed sparingly to your betta, as they are often full of fillers and can give your betta digestive issues. Because of this, freeze-dried shrimp is considered lower quality than live or frozen shrimp. However, a major benefit is that freeze-dried shrimp are free of bacteria or parasites.
  • Frozen shrimp – contains the same nutrients as live shrimp and have a long shelf life in your freezer. The same risks that apply to live shrimp also apply to frozen; make sure you get your shrimp from reputable sources so you don’t end up poisoning your betta or making them sick.

An important note when considering live or frozen foods for your betta: many live foods, including shrimp, can have parasitic or bacterial infections. Some can also be treated with chemicals, which can poison your betta. Experts recommend breeding live shrimp yourself to cut down on the chances of harming your betta.

How Often Should I Feed Betta Shrimp? 

You can include shrimp as an occasional treat or as a regular part of your betta fish’s diet. Just remember that shrimp alone don’t satisfy your betta fish’s dietary needs. They need a varied diet of betta-specific pellets or flakes and different live/freeze dried foods for your betta to remain healthy and active.

If you have chosen to add shrimp as a regular part of your betta fish’s diet, it’s generally recommended to feed your betta fish 2 – 3 pieces of live, frozen, or freeze-dried shrimp 1 – 2 times daily.

Keep in mind that some shrimp are larger than others. The following table lists the different kinds of shrimp and how much to feed your betta:

Type of ShrimpHow Much per FeedingHow Often
Brine shrimp1 cube (frozen)2 – 3 times weekly (max)
Fairy shrimp2 – 3 shrimp1 – 2 times daily
Mysis/Opossum shrimp1 – 2 shrimpDaily

Can I Keep Live Shrimp in Betta Tank as Food?

If you plan on breeding shrimp (fairy, Mysis, or brine) for your betta fish’s food source, it’s best to keep them in a separate breeding tank so you don’t risk overfeeding your betta.

Since your betta are semi-aggressive in nature, they may recognize the shrimp sharing their tank as food and will eat them between feedings. Overfeeding can cause a number of health issues in your betta, such as constipation and bloating.

Another thing to keep in mind if considering your betta sharing a tank with their food source is that your betta might attack the shrimp even when they aren’t hungry, which leads to a lot of dead and partially eaten shrimp in your tank. This can lead to a clogged filter, a dirty tank, and an unhappy, unhealthy betta.

Will Betta and Pet Shrimp Co-Exist in Tank?

Given the semi-aggressive nature of betta fish, it can be difficult to find a tank mate with which your betta will co-exist peacefully. It also comes down to the temperament of your individual betta.

In most cases, shrimp and betta can share a tank and get along well together. Not only does it depend on your betta fish’s temperament, but also the kind of shrimp, as some shrimp (such as fairy, mysis, and brine shrimp) are commonly used as betta food.

An important thing to keep in mind is that you need to make the tank comfortable for both your betta and your shrimp. This includes:

  • Minimum 10-gallon tank – the extra space gives your betta, in particular, plenty of room so he/she won’t attack your shrimp
  • Hiding places – coral, rocks, plants, for both shrimp and betta
  • Plants – an excellent food source for your shrimp

The following lists the best shrimp for adding to your betta fish’s tank. Each of these shrimp thrive in the same tank conditions (pH, temperature, etc.).

  • Ghost shrimp – easy to take care of, thrive in similar tank conditions, and they typically grow more than 1 inch in length (too big for betta to eat)
  • Cherry shrimp – experts recommend buying females (males are much smaller, and betta may see them as food). Females also have that bright red color their name suggests
  • Amano shrimp – biggest shrimp on the list, with an average size of 2 – 3 inches.