Choosing a commercial betta food based on the Ingredients Label
Bettas are carnivores, and therefore need a protein based diet to be healthy.If that is so, then why do most commercial betta foods start off their ingredients list with wheat and flour? Those are cheap fillers that pet food companies put into their food, making it cheap to produce and less costly for the consumer, meaning more people will purchase that item, ending in a greater profit for the manufacturer. This also means less nutritious for your pet.
You can avoid foods like such by simply reading the ingredients label and knowing what to look for when doing so. So, what exactly should you look for?
Meat/protein as the first ingredients and fillers such as wheat or flour as far down in the list as possible. The ingredients label is listed in order from most concentrated to least concentrated. So, the first ingredients are the most important, and should be good quality proteins.
Take, for example the ingredients list on this Wardley betta food... Wardley Betta Pellets Ingredients: Fish meal, whole grain wheat, shrimp meal, soybean flour, brewers dried yeast, wheat germ meal, wheat gluten, fish protein concentrate, fish oil, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, crayfish extract in soybean oil, iron oxide, vitamin premix containing (wheat middlings, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, pyridoxine HCI, thiamine mononitrate, d-biotin), choline chloride, marigold petal extract, canthaxanthin, ethoxyquin (as a preservative).
It is good to take a look at the protein content % in your betta food, but be aware that some fillers, such as soybean meal, are not quality protein, but will still contribute to that %. So that is not the only thing to look at when choosing a good food.
Pellets Versus Flakes
There are two types of commercial betta food to choose from- pellets and flakes. But which is better?
Pellets are preffered by most because they make it easy to feed your betta the right amount each time, where as flakes come in many different sizes. Pellets tend to be not as messy as the flakes that break apart and float around the tank, which just creates ammonia. There are, however, bettas that are picky and will only eat flakes. In that case, it is up to that owner to do their best in not under or over feeding, as well as cleaning up any remaining food left behind.
How often should you feed your betta?
Everyone has their own routine, but most would agree on feeding twice daily. This makes it less likely for your betta to not overindulge and become bloated. This allows their system to slowly take on their food and helping to prevent your fish's digestive system from getting upset, which could lead to constipation. However, once a day is the minimum you should feed your betta.
Although not a required part of the betta fish's diet, many owners like to give their bettas treats now and then. What are considered treats- and how often should they be given?
Most would agree that treats should not be given more than twice a week. Treats should not be a staple in the betta diet, which would only leave them malnourished.
Frozen There are many different frozen treats available in stores such as petco and petsmart- the most popular choices being frozen blood worms and frozen baby brine shrimp. These treats are less likely to bloat a betta than freeze dried, and offer a different type of taste and texture to our bettas who eat dried foods on a daily basis.
Freeze dried There are many freeze dried treats available as well. These are available at most pet stores, and even Walmart. They are cheap and do not have to be kept in the freezer beside your ice cream or pizza rolls, which is a bother to some people. They are also very convenient to use and dont have that gross factor of dealing with the frozen treats.