Guide to Properly Feeding Baby Betta Fry

Bubblenest with betta eggs
Bubblenest with betta eggs

Breeding bettas is one of the most exciting part of owning Siamese fighting fish.  There is a great joy to be had in watching a bunch of fish all grow up together.  They start out as a cluster of eggs you can barely see then you watch as they quickly go from just eyes and tails hanging down from the bubblenest.  In no time the betta fry learn to swim on their own.  In such a short amount of time, your baby bettas will be juveniles then big, bright, adult male and female bettas with huge flowing fins!  Here you will learn how to properly feed your baby bettas to help them become healthy adult Siamese fighting fish.

The First Two Weeks of Your Bettas Life

The first two weeks of a baby betta's life are the most important in determining the quality and health of the adult fish. For the first few days of life, betta fry do not need to be fed. When they are born, they are basically eyes, tail, and yolk sac. The yolk sac contains all the energy and nutrients needed until they can find food on their own. Baby bettas will slowly absorb the yolk sac and use its energy until they can swim on their own.

After a few days of life, the betta fry are able to swim. At first, their technique is quite basic and they swim in quick bursts of erratic movement. Their skills quickly develop, however, and in no time they are swimming proficiently. When your betta babies are successfully in a horizontal direction, and can keep themselves suspended in one spot it is a good time to start providing live fish foods.

There are a few great foods to consider using as the first type your bettas will eat. These would include vinegar eels, newly hatched baby brine shrimp, and microworms. The differences are important as they guide the choice of foods used. Vinegar eels are the smallest option available. They are tiny worms just a few millimeters long and they are live naturally in unpasturized vinegar. Because of this, they are able to stay suspended in the water. Microworms are very similar in size and structure. They are, though, a natural non-parasitic nematode that are found in soil. They are not adapted to swimming in water, so usually sink to the bottom of the aquarium within a few minutes. Brine shrimp were popularized under the name sea monkies! They are tiny salt water crustaceans. The eggs are purchased in bulk and hatched in salt water. Babies are siphoned out and fed to the betta fry. They are able to swim in water but die relatively quickly (hours) since they prefer salt water.

Tiny betta fry
Tiny betta fry

Two more great betta fry foods! Cheap too :)

Betta fry that are ready to separate into jars

4 week old baby bettas
4 week old baby bettas

Betta Fry Feeding Schedule

Now that you understand the important facts about these tiny live fish foods you can better undrstand the feeding schedule.  Your baby fish should ideally have a continually present source of food.  In nature, they would feed of tiny infusoria that live on plants and in the water.  These will be present in your fish tank in small quantities.  To properly feed your baby betta fish, aim for 5 to 6 feedings per day.  If you have all three foods already mentioned (brine shrimp, vinegar eels, and microworms), then alternate foods throughout the day.  Another option is to feed small amounts of each food every time your fish are fed. 

The microworms sink, being easy prey for any bettas that prefer feeding off the botton of the aquarium.  Vinegar eels are available for the more active smaller baby fish and since the brine shrimp are a bit bigger, they are great for the betta fry that have grown a bit more quickly.

Best Books On Breeding Bettas

Juvenile Betta Fry Eating Grindal Worms
Juvenile Betta Fry Eating Grindal Worms

The Next Two Months

You will find that this feeding routine will actually be great for your betta fish fry until they are at least one month old. The combination of bbs (brine shrimp), vinegar eels, and microworms provide the vitamins and minerals your fish need to grow up quickly. As your fish get bigger and develop larger mouths and stomachs, different foods should be added to the mix. The two best foods for juvenile betta fry are grindal worms and white worms. Grindal worms are kept in soil inside your home. They multiply very quickly so are a great live fish food and one culture can easily maintain a moderately sized spawn of Siamese fighting fish. They are up to 1/4 inch in length so are perfect for all juvie bettas.

When your baby bettas reach one inch in length, they can start being transitioned to white worms which resemble grindal worms but are considerably longer. White worms reach up to 1.5" long and are full of nutrition for your betta fish. They are also kept in soil and are easy to maintain, though this species of live food reproduce at a slower rate than do grindals.

Baby bettas - almost adult size
Baby bettas - almost adult size

Tips For Juvenile Betta Foods

When feeding grindal or white worms, try to keep your schedule going at 4 to 6 feeds per day. This will ensure that your betta fry have bellies that are always full of food - the key to the fastest growth. Alternating food types is still a good idea, and the smaller foods can still be added to provide variety for your young bettas. Also, it is a good idea to provide frozen foods. Some good choices to try are frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and beef heart - all available locally or online.

Day old betta fry hanging from bubblenest

Royal blue betta - father of the next generation of baby bettas
Royal blue betta - father of the next generation of baby bettas

Transitioning to Adult Betta Food

When your betta fry are almost adult size, they can be started on dry foods. The best food, based on experience, is either Atison's Betta Food or Atison's Betta Pro. These fish foods will become the staple diet of your male bettas and female bettas. The best way to help your fish transition from live foods to prepared fish pellets is to feed them at the same time as their other foods. Another option for feeding betta fish (especially for picky eaters) is to let them get a bit hungry before trying the pellets. The hungry bettas will scarf down any food you give them!

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