Can Betta Fish Eat Bloodworms? (Great Answer!)

When it comes to keeping a Betta colorful, healthy and happy, feeding them a variety of good quality foods is definitely the secret. 

Having spent 20 years keeping and breeding Bettas, in my experience, Bettas want a good mix of live, frozen, and dried foods which should include bloodworms.

Betta fish can eat bloodworms.  Bloodworms are high in protein and fat and make an excellent addition to a Bettas diet.  Bloodworms can be fed to a Betta in either live, frozen, or freeze-dried form. Bloodworms should however be fed in moderation, with feedings restricted to two or three times a week.

What are bloodworms?

Bloodworms are not true worms.  They are actually the larval stage of the non-biting midge fly, which is correctly known as the chironomids.

Bloodworms get their characteristic bright red coloration from the very high levels of iron-porphyrin protein which can be found in their blood and body tissues.

Bloodworms naturally have very high levels of hemoglobin, which allows them to live and thrive in water that has very low levels of dissolved oxygen or even in heavily polluted waters.

In natural streams, rivers, and lakes, bloodworms form an essential part of the food chain.  Almost every fish will naturally eat bloodworms.

Are bloodworms good for Betta fish?​

Bloodworms are extremely good for Bettas, providing they are fed in moderation.  As a hardcore carnivore, a Betta loves to eat all sorts of worms, bugs, and waterborne creatures including daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp.

I try and feed all my Bettas bloodworms at least 2 or 3 times every week.  I normally feed my Bettas bloodworms in frozen form, just because that is most convenient for me.  However, when I have the chance to buy live bloodworms I take.  There is something about a wriggling bloodworm falling through the water which really brings out the hunting instinct in Bettas.



What forms do bloodworms come in?

Bloodworms are available in 3 main forms for our Bettas.  They are live bloodwormsfrozen bloodworms, and freeze-dried bloodworms. Each form has its advantages and disadvantages.

Live bloodworms

Live bloodworms can usually be purchased from any good local fish store.  Live bloodworms are usually sold either in a plastic bag or a small cup.  To keep them fresh, live bloodworms should be sold from a refrigerator.  

Before you purchase live bloodworms, give the bag or cup a gentle shake and check the bloodworms are moving.  They should be wriggling and not laying static on the bottom of the bag or cup.  The water they are in should be clear or have a slight pink tinge to it.  If the water is a deep red or brown color, it suggests the water may be polluted or the bloodworms have started to die off.

I really enjoy feeding my Bettas live bloodworms, although I do not have access to a reliable supply, so I don’t feed them as often as I would like.

One of the main advantages of feeding live bloodworms to Bettas is that any uneaten bloodworms will continue to live on in the aquarium until the Betta eats them, meaning there is a low chance of them polluting your Bettas tank water.  Live bloodworms are also very good at stimulating a Betta which is reluctant to eat.  Their wriggling motion seems to really fire up the Betta’s instinct to hunt.

The disadvantage of live bloodworms is they have to be fresh otherwise you are just feeding dead and rotting worms to your Betta.  Personally, I don’t have a reliable source close to where I live, otherwise, I would feed live bloodworms far more regularly. 

Frozen bloodworms

Frozen bloodworms are my ‘go-to’ bloodworm to feed to my Bettas.  Because the bloodworms are frozen, you know the nutrients are locked in until you feed them to your Betta.  I can buy frozen bloodworms in bulk and store them until I need to feed them to my Bettas.

Another advantage of feeding frozen bloodworms to Bettas is the fact there is little chance of passing disease from the bloodworms to your Betta (which is a small possibility when feeding live bloodworms to them). I can also take one cube out of the freezer, dip it into multiple Betta tanks so they all get a few bloodworms, then drop the remains of the cube into a community fish tank somewhere else in the room, meaning there is little to no waste with frozen bloodworms.

The major disadvantage of frozen bloodworms is there is no way to tell the quality of the bloodworms before they were frozen.  You have no way to know if those bloodworms were wriggling around loving life before being frozen or just a soup of dead and decaying bloodworms.  The only thing you can do is buy from a reputable supplier.

Freeze-dried bloodworms

If I am honest, I don’t feed my Bettas a lot of freeze-dried bloodworms.  I have in the past, but mine seem to prefer live or frozen bloodworms instead. When I do feed my Bettas freeze-dried bloodworms, I used these ones that I get delivered from Amazon.

There are advantages to feeding a Betta freeze-dried bloodworms, namely the fact that a packet will last for months, possibly longer.  Once freeze-dried the bloodworms decay very slowly, so a small pot will last a long time.

On the flip side,  a disadvantage of freeze-dried bloodworms is they ideally need to be rehydrated prior to feeding, meaning you should try to soak them before giving them to your Betta.

What other live or frozen foods can be fed to Bettas?

Bettas have evolved eating live bugs and crustaceans, so there aren’t many live or frozen foods they won’t eat.  I feed my Bettas a mix of the following;

  • Brine Shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito Larvae
  • Cyclops
  • Mysis Shrimp

I try and vary it as much as I can, but I typically feed whichever ones I happen to have in the freezer at the time.



My final thoughts on ‘Can Bettas eat bloodworms?’

I feed my Bettas a lot of bloodworms.  Bloodworms are full of protein and good fats that help keep your Betta healthy and allow them to show their best coloration.  Whether you feed live, frozen, or freeze-dried doesn’t matter, providing you don’t overfeed bloodworms to your Betta.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
Editor

Article Sources

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/biology-and-control-of-non-biting-aquatic-midges

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202326/

https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/midge-fly-larvae

Image Credit:

KG Tropicals – YouTube