Can Betta Fish Eat Human Food?

When you decide to purchase an aquarium there are many things you need to research and purchase. Besides the filter, heater, decorations, substrate, and fish. You need to take a close look at what food is going to be the best for the species you choose. There are many types of fish food on the market; flakes, pellets, freeze-dried, frozen, and other options. Today I will focus on the foods that are best for a betta fish. 

Can you feed a betta fish human food? Yes, you can feed a betta fish human food. But, it has to be in extremely small portions and as an occasional treat. Betta fish, like any other pet, has specific nutrition and feeding requirements. In order to have a healthy and happy betta fish, you need to follow the nutrition guidelines carefully.

I will be giving you all the information you need on what you can feed your betta fish, their nutrition requirements, how often to feed them, and much more. If you have any other questions or concerns after you read this article, please consult the pet store or other available resources. 

Best Betta Fish Foods Overview

Your betta fish needs certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to stay healthy. In this section, I will cover foods that are best for your betta fish. One thing to know about the betta fish, they have a greedy appetite. If you have the betta alone in your tank, then you don’t have to worry about them stealing the food of other fish in the tank.

There are many different types of food that you can feed your betta. We are going to touch lightly on them and then delve deeper into human foods.

Betta and Flakes

Fish flakes are a common source of food for betta fish. They provide just the right amount of nutrients, are found at most pet stores, and are cheap in price. Even though the fish flakes provide the nutrition our betta fish needs, freshly prepared and live foods are actually more nutritious.

It is suggested that you not use fish flakes as the primary source of food. Because of this, you can add and eliminate them from their diet, periodically.

Pellets and Betta

This fish pellet is the most effective and can be given to a betta on a daily basis. Pellets are of higher quality and can be found in all pet stores. The pellets come in different sizes, for the different sizes and species of fish. The most recommended pellet food for a betta fish; Oceans Nutrition Atison’s Betta Food.

Freeze-Dried for Betta

Freeze-dried is just live food that has had all of the moisture removed. Freeze-dried foods are not as nutritious as live or even frozen foods. But they have a higher nutritional value than flakes and pellets, but only slightly. The freeze-dried option would work fine as a daily food source for your betta.

Live Foods For Betta

Live food is not only best for the betta but it will help them live longer. The price, availability, and maintenance is another story. Live food will need specific storage, be more expensive, and maybe harder to find.

This type of food is what betta (and all other fish) eat out in the wild. Invertebrates, worms, and shrimp are a very small handful of live foods that betta fish will eat. 

Betta Fish And Frozen Food

Live food that is frozen. Many people choose frozen food or live food because it is easier to store. In choosing frozen food you lessen the chances of contamination and greatly increase the lifespan of the food. With frozen food, you are going to spend less but the nutrition factor is slightly less than the live food option.

Betta Fish, Nutrition Tips

The betta requires a balanced diet, just like all other pets, composed of meat and plant-based foods. When choosing your betta food pay close attention to the top of the ingredient list.

You want it to be high in protein. Look for artificial enhancements in the food. Avoid foods with large amounts of preservatives and chemicals. You also want the betta food to have a fair amount of fats and fiber. Also, be mindful of fillers, such as wheat flour and rice meal.

Human Food And Your Betta

When giving your betta fish human food, you have to be very careful and follow all recommendations closely. A betta fish has a stomach that is only the size of its eye.

They can not regulate their food intake, so you have to do it for them, especially when giving them human food.

Take peas for example: because of their stomach size, the betta fish can only have ¼ of 1 pea. You have to boil the pea, NEVER give them frozen peas, and you have to remove the outer skin from the pea. Peas can actually help your betta fish with bloating and constipation.

Betta fish can be very finicky eaters. So when giving them human food it is going to be trial and error to find out what they like and what they refuse to eat.

But remember, your betta fish can not live on human food alone.

Human food should only be given as a ‘treat’ every now and then.

The betta fish can also have spinach, lettuce, zucchini, and cucumbers. The cucumber and the zucchini will have to be cooked, just like the peas, to soften them up for the betta. For lettuce and spinach, on the other hand, you have to rinse off the leaf and then put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. This will break down the cellulosic barrier, making it easier for the betta to eat and digest. 

It is NOT recommended that you feed your betta fish carrots, beans, or other vegetables that are over fibrous. No cabbage, broccoli, or Brussel sprouts as they are bitter.

Never give your betta shallots, onions, or leaks!

Meat And Betta Fish

The betta fish is carnivorous (meat-eaters) in the wild. Betta fish do not encounter cows, chickens, or pigs in the wild; so there are conflicting suggestions and opinions about feeding them to the betta fish.

Some betta fish owners will provide their fish with a tiny bite of chicken or other meat, as a treat. But you need to be careful.

Farm-raised animals may have been given antibiotics or other additives that could harm your betta.

Bacon, for example, is cured with additives that will upset the stomach of your betta.

Tuna And Other Seafood For Bettas

The betta fish, out in nature, are used to eating small marine animals and tiny fish. As long as the tuna has just been freshly caught, there is no harm in giving the betta a tiny piece.

If you are going to give them tuna out of a can then you need to make sure it is packed in brine or freshwater. It can not be flavored and you want it to contain as few additives as possible.

DO NOT give them tuna that is packed in oil. This will make your betta fish sick and it will pollute the whole aquarium. 

It is also ok to give your betta fish a small piece of shrimp. This could also be part of their natural diet. Make sure they are not fried and that they are unseasoned.

No matter what kind of seafood you choose to feed your betta, always make sure it is unseasoned and cut into tiny pieces.

Remember, their stomach is no bigger than their eye, so they don’t need much at all.

Can Betta Fish Eat Fruit?

Citrus fruits are extremely acidic! They will affect your water condition in the tank and cause harm to your betta fish’s digestive system. Absolutely NO citrus fruits can be given to your betta fish. No oranges, lemons, mandarines, or other fruit with citric acid.

Bananas, mangos, and melons are sweet fruit, so they are ok to try. Drop a very small piece in the tank, if he likes it, great! But only give it once every few months. If your betta does not eat it within 15 minutes then you need to take it out of the tank. If you do not, it will rot and pollute your tank water.

Crackers And Bread For Betta Fish?

As with all other human food you do not want to feed them bread or crackers very often. Human food should strictly be a treat for your betta fish, on occasion.

There are a lot of additives that go into making bread and crackers. Oil, salt, butter, and other ingredients. These may not agree with your betta’s digestive system. Plus, bread and crackers expand when they get wet. This could cause bloating in your betta.


Remember, betta fish have certain nutritional requirements. The best way to give your betta fish exactly what they need is through a carnivorous diet. You also have to remember that your betta fish can not live on human food alone. Only give it as a special treat, every few weeks.

Focus on live or frozen foods, betta pellets, and off and on you can throw in the fish flakes.

Also, remember that the betta fish have sensitive digestive systems and their stomachs are very tiny, no bigger than their eyes. Be very careful how much you feed them, no matter what it is, and follow the directions closely on the pellet and flakes.

As long as you are cautious, careful, and take outstanding care of your betta fish (and their environment) they can live a long time. 

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I'm passionate about fish pets and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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