Raising betta fish fry is a rewarding experience and they can rapidly develop into colorful and beautiful versions of their parents. Ensuring they eat a proper diet is important if you want them to grow up healthy and reach their full-color potential. Betta fry is tiny and cute with a hearty appetite. Getting their diet right in the beginning may be tricky but it gets easier as you learn what foods they do not like, and which foods seem to have the most beneficial effect on the growth rate of the fry.
This article will help you determine the best foods to feed betta fish fry whether you are new to raising betta fry or interested in learning more about growing betta fry fast in a short period.
Table of contents
Betta Fish Eggs in The First Few Days
Betta fish eggs typically hatch between 24 to 48 hours after the breeding pair spawn. The male will play a parental role in caring for the eggs by guarding the bubble nest against potential predators. Once the eggs hatch, it is recommended to move them to a nursing tank so that you can give them your full attention and care without worrying if one of the adult betta fish will eat them.
After fry hatch from the eggs, they will receive essential nutrients from their yolk sac and do not need additional foods until they are swimming around the nursey tank and actively searching for sources of food. During this time, the fry is too small to eat fry foods and can only eat liquid-based such as a runny egg yolk from a boiled egg. Adding small amounts of the egg yolk allows them to easily consume it from the water column. This can make the water foul quickly and the filter should be cleaned a few hours after you add the runny yolk.
Preparing the Fry Nursery
If you have not yet created a nursery tank for the fry, it is a good idea to create one after they have hatched in the spawning tank. Another option is to remove the parents from the breeding tank and only keep the fry in the tank. The tank should have a small sponge filter and lots of live plants like hornwort, java moss, and other bushy plants. These plants will provide shelter for the fry so that they can feel more comfortable and freer of stress which will lead to them growing into healthy adults. It is also easier to feed them in a tank that has no other fish that will beat them to the food. If there is not adequate surface agitation, you can place a small air stone or bubble wall in the tank to encourage better oxygenation. The tank does not have to be extremely large; a 10-gallon long tank will suffice.
This is the first type of liquid food betta fry can eat besides a runny egg yolk. This is a portion of good food for newly hatched fry because the small size of infusoria can easily be eaten by the fry. This should not become their primary source of food and they should only eat infusoria until their mouths are large enough to eat small particles. You can easily raise an infusoria culture from the pet store or an online fish store. An infusoria hatchery should be started as soon as the eggs have been laid and deemed fertile. Infusoria move fast through the water which will appeal more to the betta fish fry and they will have fun catching the infusoria.
To feed your fry the infusoria culture, you can catch them in an eyedropper and squeeze them directly into the fry nursery tank. You only need to feed a few infusoria at a time depending on the amount of fry in the tank.
Baby Brine Shrimp Nauplii
Once the betta fish fry has been fed egg yolk or infusoria for the first week, it is time to feed them a more protein-rich food that is slightly larger. Baby brine shrimp are a good food source that is high in meat-based protein and can easily be eaten by week-old fry. The baby brine shrimp can be collected the same way as the infusoria culture using an eyedropper. Starting a baby brine shrimp hatchery system can ensure that you have a constant food source on hand for the betta fish fry. Adult brine shrimp will be too large for the fry to consume and should only be used as breeding pairs.
Frozen and Freeze-Dried Foods
Once the fry has reached between 3 to 4 weeks of age, you can start to feed them frozen or freeze-dried foods. The food should be finely crushed using a blender until they form a powdered texture. Frozen foods should be thawed out overnight and then grounded into powder before feeding. Grounded food can be stored in the freezer for several days so that you do not have to ground the food every day. Some good frozen or freeze-dried betta fry foods are:
- Tubifex Worms
- Micro worms
These foods are high in protein and mimic a similar diet the fry will eat in the wild.
Commercial Betta Fish Fry Foods
If you feel that it is too confusing to deal with live cultures, you can purchase commercially created foods that are marketed as fish fry food if the fry is over a month old. These foods will typically come as micro pellets or in the form of a powder. Commercial foods are not the best source of nutrition for betta fry and can cause them to grow much slower than if they were being fed live protein-rich foods. Some fry will not eat micro fry pellets or flakes, so you should feed them a sample before buying the whole container of fry food only to find out that the fry does not accept it. In that case, you can ask the pet store if they have live cultures of insect larvae that have already been established.
Foods to Avoid
Betta fish cannot digest plant matter well and this can lead to bloat. Bloating can also cause a delay in the digestion and absorption of protein foods which will cause your betta fry to grow slowly. Avoid feeding the betta fish fry algae or leaf matter. Commercial fry foods can contain algae in the formula, which makes it important to check the ingredients before purchasing fry foods. Carnivore micro pellets for fry are the best option in this case. There should be little to no traces of plant matter in the ingredients list.
The amount and type of food you feed your betta fish fry is going to determine the growth rate of your fry. Betta fish fry grows faster when they are fed a varied diet that includes many different types of protein-based foods whether live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. Live foods seem to increase their growth rate after the first few weeks, whereas infusoria grows betta fast in the first and second week. Ensuring that you feed the fry small meals throughout the day will ensure their dietary needs are being met.
Featured Image Credit: airdone, Shutterstock