What Can Betta Fish Eat Besides Fish Food?

Betta fish are beautiful fish that are quite popular among aquarists.

They are not averse to much when it comes to food.

Just because they will eat anything, this doesn’t mean they can or should. As is the case with all pets, you should be mindful not to overfeed them.

If you have betta fish at home, you should ideally have fish food available at all times.

However, if you happen to run out, here’s a list of food they can eat. Don’t rely on these too much, though, for the reasons mentioned ahead.

Betta Fish Are Carnivorous

Betta fish are carnivorous in the wild, which means they love feeding on all types of meat.

A few examples include insect larvae, insects, brine shrimp, daphnia, and blood worms.

These tropical fish love eating their fix of live creatures such as insects.

They are known to have a somewhat voracious appetite, which means they are inclined towards eating pretty much anything. This includes things they really shouldn’t be eating.

Betta Fish Eat Plants on Occasion

While betta fish can eat plant matter, it’s not their first preference.

Even if they help themselves to fruits, plants, and vegetables in their natural habitat, you can be sure it’s because they haven’t come across live creatures to satisfy their hunger.

What Do They Eat in the Wild?

Here are some foods they eat when they’re swimming freely:

  • Moina
  • Shrimp
  • Copepods
  • Brine shrimp
  • Fairy shrimp
  • Fruit flies
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Mosquitos
  • White worms
  • Blood worms

Can Betta Fish Eat Human Food?

While there are some exceptions, let’s get one thing straight. A lot of people tend to list down processed foods in this list.

We all know that while this food is fit for human consumption, you cannot feed any of it to betta fish. It would be best if you didn’t even think of feeding your betta fish bologna slices or salami.

The reason for this is simple. Processed foods contain harmful preservatives and chemicals, which can be detrimental to the health of animals.

There is a fine line when it comes to deciphering what human foods you can feed betta fish and which ones you can’t.

Before discussing the various kinds of human food fit to be consumed by betta fish, you should treat this list as somewhat of a last resort.

This is because Betta fish prefer meat, and many human foods that might appeal to them should be given as a treat, not a complete meal.

If there are no insects and worms to give them, you may refer to the following for some ideas.


While vegetables are a good option for betta fish, bear in mind that some species might be allergic to leafy vegetables and greens.

It is highly recommended that you observe how your betta fish is acting after you’ve fed it.

If you notice some lethargy, there’s a high chance it might have something to do with the greens.

Lettuce and Cucumber

These are great vegetables for betta fish. They are brimming with vitamins and are simple to digest.

However, there are two things you need to make sure of before feeding your betta fish.

  1. Chop them up into tiny pieces.
  2. Give them a small amount of both.


You can give this to your betta fish after lightly boiling or microwaving it.

This will make it easier to digest.

However, spinach can be a tricky food because some betta fish don’t like it one bit.


It would be best if you boiled them first. Moreover, you should remove the shell and skin as they are difficult to digest.

The best part is that boiled peas can help alleviate any digestion troubles in betta fish.

Chicken, Pork, Beef

You can give these three kinds of meat to betta fish, but not in large quantities.

Some people even find it bordering on unnatural to be giving the meat of land-dwelling creatures to those living in water.

But, aside from it seeming odd, there’s no actual harm in doing so.

You must make sure that you boil whatever meat it is and keep it clean. This means you shouldn’t be adding any spice or seasoning to the meat in question.

Raw meat is a complete no-no.

One possible con to feeding betta fish meat is to do with the fact that the meat humans consume can contain steroids and antibiotics.

This can pose a possible threat to betta fish.

Sweet Corn

You can boil a few corn kernels.

Be wary of how much and how often you give this treat to your betta fish because corn contains no nutrients.


Seafood is more meat for betta fish to enjoy. These tropical fish are acclimated to eating small fish in the wild and love delectable seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and even oysters.

The best part about seafood is that it contains many proteins, which deems it a fantastic substitute to the regular fish food that betta fish eat.

As is the case with all the food you give betta fish, make sure it’s cut up in tiny pieces. Whatever you do, please don’t give them fried fish or shrimp!


Talking about canned tuna, you can feed it to betta fish, but only if it isn’t packed in oil.

Some varieties are packed in freshwater or brine – these are safe to give betta fish.

Tuna packed in oil does not settle well and can also pollute the tank.

Also, make sure the tuna is not flavored, nor is it teeming with preservatives and chemicals.

This renders the tuna as close to the real deal – how it would be in its natural habitat.

Bread and Crackers

Tread lightly and only feed your betta fish unsalted crackers. Please do not make a habit out of this and feed them a tiny piece on occasion.

Crackers contain additives and aren’t exactly the best food to give them.

Both bread and crackers contain yeast. However, these are by no means ideal foods for betta fish.

The yeast can wreck their digestion by expanding, causing them to bloat and become constipated. If constipation becomes severe, the fish can even die.

Apart from yeast, even the butter and oil in these foods aren’t good for betta fish.

You can let betta fish nibble on crumbs, but only once in a blue moon. Bread and crackers are to betta fish what fast food is to humans.

There’s no harm at all in treating yourself to it on a rare occasion, but overdoing it will have dire consequences.


This is slightly complicated territory simple because there are various kinds of fruits out there.

However, here’s a general guideline:


You can give your betta fish apples, but only in a small quantity.

Banana, Kiwi, Melon, Mango

There are a few bettas that love sweet fruit. However, they can be an acquired taste, so you have to be sure that they’re going to like it.

You can do this by first introducing them to a small chunk by dropping it in their tank. After that, they should immediately swim over to it and start nibbling.

However, if this is not the case, remove the fruit immediately, or risk contaminating the entire tank when the fruit starts to decompose.

As a rule, wait half an hour, and if your betta fish is swimming in circles around it, it’s unlikely that it will eat it.

Then, remove the food to ensure your fish doesn’t make its way to the rotting chunk and ingest some of it.

If your betta fish does take a liking to it, limit their intake by giving it only once every couple of weeks.

No Citrus Fruit

You should avoid giving them citrus fruit at all costs.

Betta fish quite literally do not have the stomach to bear the acidity characteristic of citrus fruits and can die from ingesting them.

This is because their digestive systems are highly sensitive and are unable to process such acids.

This is why giving them mandarins, lemons, oranges, or any other fruit in the citrus family is a big NO.


You can feed betta fish boiled maize seeds as they are rife with energy and nutrition.


As you can probably infer from this article, betta fish can eat various foods, but nothing comes close to substituting fish food.

Foods containing additives and chemicals are the worst, but feeding betta fish a steady diet of fruit and vegetables isn’t the best idea.

Keep their intake as natural as possible and close to what they eat in the wild.

As mentioned, it would not be wise to frequently treat your betta fish to the foods listed in this piece.

Balance and moderation are key to feeding all animals, and it is no different when it comes to betta fish.

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