My Betta Only Eats Bloodworms – Is This Okay?

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Worrying if it will be okay if my Betta only eats bloodworms?

This is a valid question because we as Betta fish owners only want the best for our fish and it is a major concern if the only food your Betta will eat is bloodworms.

In this article, I will discuss if this is a problem or not and how feeding your Betta bloodworms will affect their health and care.

Can A Betta Just Eat Bloodworms?

The short answer is no.

It is not advisable for your Betta to only eat bloodworms.

I can compare it to your 3-year-old child only eating cake and nothing else.

Your child will survive but at what cost?

He or she will most definitely suffer from poor growth and be prone to major illnesses.

The same applies to your Betta.

Betta fish need a high-quality varied diet to stay healthy and strong.

In the wild, they will eat all kinds of insects, worms, and insect larvae.

They are also known to snack on daphnia and brine shrimp.

In captivity, we need to feed a good all-round diet to ensure that your Betta fish gets the nutrition that it needs and only eating bloodworms is not going to be good enough.

Bloodworms can be a part of your Betta’s diet but it cannot be the only food that it eats.

What Are Bloodworms?

The bloodworms used to feed our freshwater fish are not worms.

They are small red larvae from midge flies that will eventually mature into flies if left long enough.

Bloodworms have a bright red color because of the amount of iron found in their blood and tissue.

They are typically found in soft ground in freshwater ponds and pools.

They can survive in polluted waters because of the high levels of blood in their bodies.

Different types

There are 3 different types of bloodworms available for you to buy depending on availability and what you want to use them for.

Bloodworms are available as live, frozen, or freeze-dried.

Live Bloodworms

The absolute best form of bloodworms that you can feed your Betta is fresh live ones.

Not only are they the most nutritious but feeding live food to your Betta awakens their hunting mode.

Hunting mode stimulates their brain and helps prevent boredom.

The downside is that they need to be eaten within 2 to 3 days.

This is the time it takes before they transition into midge flies.

Besides this, live bloodworms can be contaminated with parasites and bacteria which can be harmful to your Betta.

These contaminants are removed when bloodworms are frozen or freeze-dried.

Always buy fresh bloodworms from a trusted Pet Store.

Frozen Bloodworms

Frozen bloodworms are a great alternative to live food.

They do lose a little bit of their nutritional value but ease of use and storage is much easier.

They can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months so it is much more cost effective.

This form of bloodworm is not as risky as live bloodworms as parasites and bacteria are often killed during the freezing process.

Do not feed your Betta a whole cube at a time.

Break off a small piece and place it in a tea strainer.

Rinse them under cold water to remove any water that was frozen with them.

Make sure to remove any bloodworms that have not been eaten within two minutes to prevent polluting the tank’s water.

Freeze-Dried Bloodworms

Freeze-dried bloodworms should only be fed as a treat.

They must be rehydrated before feeding to prevent your Betta from becoming bloated and constipated.

A lot of the bloodworms’ nutritional value is lost during the freeze-dried process making this form the least desirable.

The plus side is that they last a long time and are easy to use.

Just soak them in a little tank water for a few minutes before you want to feed them to your Betta.

They should float on the water’s surface making it easy for your Betta to eat.

Freeze-dried Bloodworm

What Happens If Your Betta Only Eats Bloodworms

The first thing to mention is that if you only feed bloodworms then your Betta could become a picky eater and refuse to eat anything else.

Secondly, it can cause your Betta to get very sick.

Feeding just bloodworms can cause:

Constipation and Bloat

Constipation is the most common result of your Betta eating just bloodworms.

A Betta’s stomach is tiny and can easily become impacted and bloated.

Bloodworms are very fatty and are not as easily digested as other Betta foods like pellets.

Moderation is the key here and bloodworms should only be fed as a treat.

Swim Bladder Disease

This disease is normally fatal. Just like with constipation, too many bloodworms can be harmful to your Betta.

Parasites and Bacteria

There is always a chance of parasites and bacteria being introduced into your tank when feeding live bloodworms.

If you feed a lot of bloodworms then the risk becomes greater.

Thirdly, too many bloodworms can cause an ammonia spike so be sure to remove any uneaten bloodworms after a few minutes.

Can I Feed My Betta Bloodworms Every Day?

Bloodworms should only be fed as a treat and should not be fed every day.

They contain very little protein and lots of fat.

You can feed your Betta bloodworms once or max twice per week thus ensuring a nice variation to their diet but not endangering them in the process.

How Many Bloodworms Should I Feed My Betta?

Bettas love to eat and can gorge themselves if fed too much.

A safe amount would be 1 to 2 bloodworms at a time.

Don’t let your Betta’s sad or hungry look encourage you to feed them more than that.

The same amount applies to frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms.

how to feed bloodworms

How To Feed Frozen Bloodworms

Never just add bloodworms straight to your fish tank.

They must first be rinsed to prevent contamination and to remove debris.

I break off a small amount from the frozen block and place it in a tea strainer.

I then rinse it under a tap for a minute or so.

After that, I shake off any excess water.

I take the tea strainer containing the bloodworms and make sure my Betta is watching me.

He knows when it is coming and swims to the side of the tank.

I try and place the bloodworms right in front of his face.

I have used a turkey baster in the past.

I suck up the bloodworms with a small amount of tank water and then squeeze them out right in front of him.

I squeeze just one out at a time.

Can You Feed Bloodworms To Betta Fry?

You can feed bloodworms to older fry by chopping them up very finely and giving them a tiny amount.

Very young fry are too small and should be fed freshly hatched brine shrimp instead.

Never feed your fry freeze-dried bloodworms as even when it has been re-hydrated they are still hard to digest.

Feeding Freeze-dried Bloodworms To A Betta

Freeze-dried bloodworms first have to be re-hydrated before feeding them to your Betta.

Take a small container and add a little bit of tank water to it.

It is important to use tank water as the water will remain inside the worms.

Drop in a couple of worms and push them down into the water.

Leave them to soak for a good 5 to 10 minutes.

Use a toothpick and press the bloodworms against the side of the container.

This will remove any air and allow them to soak up more water.

You should see air bubbles escaping from the worms as you press them.

Drain off all the water or pick out the bloodworms and feed them to your fish.

Where To Buy Bloodworms

Frozen and freeze-dried bloodworms should be readily available from your local pet store.

Live bloodworms are not as common but bigger pet stores should sell them.

You can also buy freeze-dried bloodworms from Amazon.

Make sure you buy the highest quality possible as freeze-dried bloodworms have the least nutrition.


Bloodworms should not be the only food that your Betta eats.

They need a varied diet to thrive.

They can and should be used as a treat and if fed live then the bloodworms will help combat boredom and initiate your Betta’s hunting mode.

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Irma Bense is the founder of She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

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