Daphnia for Betta Fish: Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried

daphnia for betta fish
Table of Contents

Daphnia are tiny crustaceans that live in ponds and lakes.

They feed on algae and bacteria, and they also help clean the water by eating the bacteria from decomposing plants and animals.

My betta fish loves his food. He eats almost anything he can get his mouth around, including daphnia.

If you haven’t tried feeding your betta fish daphnia, you should!

Here’s my guide on why I think daphnia is good for betta fish.

Continue reading.

What Is Daphnia?

Daphnia – also known as water fleas – are tiny crustaceans that look like miniature shrimp. They are commonly used in aquariums to feed fish, but they aren’t just for feeding purposes. These animals play an integral role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

They eat algae and other organic matter that would otherwise clog up filters and harm aquatic life. When kept in large groups, daphnia can consume enough food to sustain themselves and reproduce rapidly. Because of this, they are considered beneficial organisms.

lots of daphnia swimming in a aquarium

They are very easy to care for, and they require no special equipment. Their diet consists mostly of organic matter, and they reproduce every three weeks. Because of their low maintenance requirements, daphnia is popular among hobbyists who use them to feed their bettas.

Is Daphnia Good for Bettas?

Daphnia is nutritious for bettas because it contains protein and fat. Protein is necessary for growth and development, while fat is needed for energy production. Daphnia also contains vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for betta health.

Can You Give Betta Fry Daphnia?

There are several reasons why you might want to feed newborn betta fish daphnia. One reason is that it’s easy to do so as it’s easy to buy and keep your own daphnia. Another reason is that it’s fun to watch your betta fry hunt.

Feeding daphnia to baby bettas is a great way to introduce them to food early on. At the same time, it’s a safe introduction since daphnia isn’t harmful to betta fry.

Most importantly, daphnia are nutritious and will encourage your betta fry to grow quickly before you can feed them other types of foods.

Different Species of Daphnia

There are two types of daphnia commonly used in aquariums: Daphnia Magna and Daphnia Pulex. Both species are very similar, but there are differences in their sizes.

Daphnia Pulex are smaller in size and have a slightly reddish colour. Daphna Magna, on the other hand, is bigger and redder than Daphnia Pulex.

daphnia magna

So if you’re trying to feed newly hatched betta fry, it’ll be better to try and find some Daphnia Pulex so that your bettas can definitely eat them.

Otherwise, a bag of Daphnia Magna is likely to contain baby daphnias that your fries can eat.

Despite the size differences, both are safe live foods to feed your betta fish and can be found in most local fish stores.

Feeding Live Daphnia to your Bettas

Live daphnia is a natural food source for betta fish. It’s easy to feed live daphnia to your bettas, and it’s a fun activity for both you and your pets.

To begin, you’ll need to purchase live daphnia from a reputable source online or in your local fish store. Make sure that you choose a reputable vendor who sells healthy daphnia.

Next, you’ll need to prepare the tank. You can either set up a temporary aquarium or build a permanent home for your daphnia. Either way, you’ll need to provide enough space for the water to circulate freely.

After that, add the daphnia to the tank. Depending on the type of daphnia you purchased, you may need to wait several days until the daphnia is large enough to eat. Once they reach the proper size, use a bay brine shrimp net (or extremely fine net) to scoop the daphnia up and place them into the tank with your betta.

It’s recommended that you change the water every week. This allows the daphnia to grow and thrive while keeping your bettas safe.

Be careful when handling daphnia. Never handle daphnia with bare hands; always wear gloves. Also, never put daphnia directly into the mouth of a betta fish. Instead, gently transfer the daphnia to a bowl or container where the betta can safely consume it.

Make sure that you clean the betta and daphnia tanks regularly. Remove dead daphnia and empty the water daily.

Pros of Feeding Live Daphnia

There are pros and cons to feeding live daphnia to betta fish. Some of the benefits include:

  1. Increased growth rates due to live daphnia being more nutritious
  2. Your bettas will be more colourful due to increased nutrition
  3. Better health
  4. Improved behaviour as they showcase hunting behaviour that is not available with commercial fish foods
  5. More stable water conditions as the remaining daphnia feed on bacteria that could be harmful
  6. Conditions your betta for breeding

Cons of Feeding Live Daphnia

On the other hand, there are drawbacks to keeping daphnia in your aquarium including:

  1. Additional maintenance costs to maintain tanks of daphnia or to purchase them often
  2. With all live food, there is a possibility of disease transmission, although daphnia is considered one of the cleaner live foods
  3. Poor water quality as daphnia dies fairly quickly if not kept properly
  4. An overcrowded tank may cause die-offs if your culture of daphnia is booming
  5. Daphnia cultures are prone to crashes and you will need to maintain multiple separate cultures
  6. You need to grow green water or have things decomposing in your daphnia tanks in order to feed your live daphnia.

It’s important to consider both sides of the story before deciding whether or not to feed live daphnia to your bettas. There are many factors to consider, including your budget, space availability, and personal preferences.

Feeding Frozen Daphnia to your Bettas

frozen water flea daphnia

One of the easiest ways to feed fish is to buy frozen foods such as frozen daphnia.

To do this, place the cube of frozen daphnia in a plastic bag and seal it shut. Then, drop the bag into the tank where your fish lives. The daphnia should quickly thaw out.

The reason why I recommend putting them in a bag is so that the air doesn’t contaminate the daphnia. It reduces the risk of bacteria and parasites from being introduced to the tank.

Once it thaws, pour the daphnia into a fine net before feeding them to your bettas.

Pros of Feeding Frozen Daphnia

  1. Freezing the daphnia kills any parasites that may live on them. This means that your bettas won’t have to worry about getting sick from parasites anymore.
  2. Frozen daphnia is easier to handle than live daphnia. You don’t have to worry about water conditions, culture crashes, and space to store live daphnia.
  3. There is still a lot of nutritional value available for your bettas.

Cons of Feeding Frozen Daphnia

  1. You may need to teach your wild bettas that the frozen daphnia is food.
  2. Frozen foods have less nutritional value as compared to live daphnia.
  3. Your spouse/family members may not be too happy with you keeping “bugs” in the freezer.

Feeding Freeze-Dried Daphnia to your Bettas

Freeze-drying daphnia is a popular method of feeding aquarium fish.

Freeze-drying is a method used to preserve food by rapidly freezing it and then slowly drying it until it becomes completely dry.

When freeze-drying food, water molecules are removed from the food while other nutrients remain intact. So, when you feed freeze-dried daphnia to your bettas, you’re essentially giving them a healthy snack.

While freeze-drying is a great option for keeping your fish healthy, it does require a bit of preparation.

I’m going to share with you a very easy trick that I learned from a friend who had success feeding his Betta fish daphnia. He was able to feed freeze-dried daphnia to his bettas and they loved it.

So here’s what he did… he bought a pack of freeze-dried daphnia from Amazon and put the amount he wanted to feed his bettas into a bowl full of aged water. He covered it in plastic wrap and left the bowl for a few hours.

After he was done, he scooped up the freeze-dried daphnia and fed it to his bettas.

I asked him why he did this and he mentioned that soaking freeze-dried daphnia lets them soak up the water and expand. Doing this helps you not to overfeed your bettas which might cause them to be sick.

If you feed freeze-dried daphnia without soaking them, your bettas will overeat and the daphnia will expand in their stomachs, causing problems down the road.

Pros of Feeding Freeze-Dried Daphnia

  1. Freeze-drying ensures that your fish always receive a steady supply of food. This is especially helpful if you have multiple tanks or fish species.
  2. You can keep freeze-dried daphnia at room temperature in a dry place.
  3. When you feed freeze-dry daphnia, you end up with a powdery substance at the bottom of the pack that can be used as fertilizer. There’s no leftover waste to dispose of.
  4. Freeze-dried daphnia minimises the risk of bacteria and parasites.
  5. Freeze-dried daphnia is much less expensive than purchasing live foods.

Cons of Feeding Freeze-Dried Daphnia

  1. Since freeze-drying removes moisture, it can affect the nutritional value of the daphnia. Some brands offer freeze-dried daphnia that contains additives to compensate for this issue.
  2. Troublesome to prepare before feeding your bettas.
  3. Not something your should feed your fish daily due to the risk of it expanding in your bettas’ stomach.
  4. If you’re keeping a wild betta, you may need to train them to eat freeze-dried foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Daphnia Should You Feed Your Betta?

As betta fish comes in various sizes and are in different life stages, it can be difficult to determine how much daphnia you should feed your bettas.

For example, a baby betta will eat lesser than a full-grown betta, and a betta macrostoma might eat more than a betta imbellis.

My rule of thumb when feeding betta fish is to slightly underfeed them as bettas are prone to overeating which may cause problems.

How I figure this out is to test out how much my bettas can eat until it becomes clear that they are full.  Based on this amount, I reduce the number of daphnia by 10-20% and use this amount to feed them in the future.

It is always a good idea to test the perfect amount for young and growing fish since different stages of growth require different amounts.

How Often Should You Feed Your Betta Daphnia?

Daphnia can be fed to bettas twice a day in one whole portion or two halves. This depends on your availability to feed your pets.

Are you working from home? Then twice a day with half portions might be best.

Besides keeping your betta active and alert, feeding twice keeps him engaged and gives you the pleasure of watching him eat.

But if you can only feed once a day, it’s fine too.

Is Daphnia Good for Constipation?

Daphnia is good for constipation in betta fish as they contain lots of fibre – obtained from the algae in their diet. As betta fish are prone to constipation, you can feed them daphnia to encourage them to poop.

However, feeding too much might cause constipation as well. Again, bettas tend to overeat and this is a problem if you don’t manage the amount of food they eat.

In this scenario, feed lesser daphnia or let your betta fast for a day or two so that it clears its digestive tract.

Also, if you’re feeding freeze-dried daphnia, always remember to soak it, or it might cause constipation as well.


In conclusion, feeding daphnia to bettas is a great idea because it’s full of nutrition that keeps your bettas healthy and conditions them to breed.

That said, daphnia is very beneficial to you especially if you’re trying to raise baby bettas. They provide a nutritious food source for your bettas, which means that they help them grow faster and healthier than they otherwise would.

In fact, daphnia is often used as a supplement for bettas, since they contain high levels of protein and omega fatty acids.

As far as the bettas themselves are concerned, they won’t really care whether they’re fed daphnia or anything else. Just make sure your bettas are properly fed and their nutrition is met.

But if you’re planning on breeding them, you’ll definitely want to use daphnia as part of their diet.

What do you think – what type of daphnia will you be feeding your bettas?

Let me know in the comments below.

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