Betta food and non-betta friends?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Sep 2, 2003
I love my betta! I set up a 5 gallon for him with some silk plants, and he frolics all day. The funny thing is that despite all the space in the tank, his favorite thing to do is to travel in circles along the back panel, between the little gaps left by the plants, filter, and thermometer. And to sleep he likes to squeeze himself behind this amonia alert thing I've got dangling in the water:-D

Okay, I'll stop cooing over my betta and get to the questions. So, I've heard you are to only feed the betta 2-3 pellets, twice a day. But is that for larger sized betta pellets, or the tiny betta bits? My betta is abou 1.5 inches long (without the tail), and I'm giving him the betta bits. I also give him freeze dried bloodworms at night - how many of those should I give? My last betta I gave frozen bloodworms, which were larger than these of course - but I believe he picked up an infection from those that killed him, that's why I switched to freeze dried.

Last question - any suggestions on a different aquatic friends who could go into this set up? I can't think of any....snails seem to poop too much, it would mean many more water changes. with cory cats I think I would really need 3, and that might be too much for the tank. Besides, sometimes they were slow to eat their pellets and it would cloud the water. An African dwarf frog might be okay, if the betta doesn't bother him - my last betta didn't bother my frog. But I had problems feeding my last frog - I had to find really creative ways to get the food to him without the betta eating it first - and then the frog would sometimes take so long to eat the food that it would pollute the I'm guessing no friends for my betta, but hey, maybe someone has an idea:)
I've fed my bettas three times a week what would fill their tiny bellies and they'd live for at least a couple of years. Not good to feed too much. Fish only absorb enough protein their bodies need for the day. Everything else gets pooped out...and they do not know when they're full. Most fish lack that neural impulse that would tell them to stop eating when they are some people I know ;) LOL.

I never did really go by the feeding directions on the back of fish food cans. Good to feed more than once a day, but keep the portions very one big pellet twice a day, skip a day or two out of the week. If the pellets are small, give him two to three twice a day, etc. A pellet is a lot more food than what you see of it when it's dry. I'm sure you've seen pellets expand with water if it lays on the bottom without being eaten. That could happen when they eat it dry....just in their stomachs or digestive tracks if they don't have stomachs (goldfish don't have stomachs...trippy, huh?).

Friends for bettas really depend on the fish you want to have it live with...or frog or shrimp...and the order of introduction. Bettas, particularly the males, are prone to getting nibbled at. Their fins seem to be a tasty flowing snack to many a tetra and barbs...minnows...even platies and guppies will take a bite...or try if they're not too small for the betta to beat up on. There's that fine line between being picked on and eating your tank mates.

Frogs do well and live on the same food. Otocinclus make good little algae eaters for such a betta tank. They'll also eat uneaten food at the bottom as well. They are safe with live them of algae too without hurting the plant. Being that the betta is already in there, stay away from fish smaller and slower...and with long fins. Bettas are nippers too. Danios, neons have done well so long as there's a heater. Same goes for rummynose tetras. White cloud minnows (not too small), maybe some larger shrimp. Flower shrimp are cool. They get about 4" and instead of pincers, they have flower like appendages they catch food debris with. Too big for your betta to eat and no pincers to harm the betta. That's pretty harmonious there. Cherry barbs are neat little fish and would do ok with the betta being he already has established territory. Most likely fin nippers will leave him alone if he's well established first. This may not be so in every single case, but most of the time it works.

Enjoy and have fun.
Thanks for the advice:) I hadn't thought about the food blowing up once it's wet - my betta gobbles it up way too fast! For the same reason, there's no uneaten food floating to the bottom for anyone else to eat - so if I get something I'll have to get some sinking pellets or something. I will look into the shrimp (which sound beautiful!), just need to see if they will be too much for my 5 gallon. Also the otocinclus - need to see if I can find a store that sells them....maybe this is a silly question, but I wonder if my betta would get bored or lonely? If not, I don't need to get anyone else. I've tried the mirror trick, but he seems to be a pretty smart guy - flared the first time, and has known it's just a reflection ever since:) He seems more interested in me - always "treading water" in the corner of the tank closest to me, staring, when I'm at my desk:p I guess if he starts acting droopy I'll think about it, though I'm going to go look for the otocinclus this weekend anyway:)
Bettas can go without fishy friends. They are naturally a loner fish. The choice is yours, but don't wait too long. They can get really fiesty over their space the longer they are alone.
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