Can Platy Fish Eat Betta Food?

Platies and Bettas have a lot of similarities in terms of how they are cared for.  They have the same water chemistry requirements as they’re both freshwater tropical fish.  Caring for them is in fact similar enough that it’s possible to add a Betta to a tank of 3 Platies. 

The similarities don’t end with water parameters though. Let’s try and find out if they eat the same food, too.

Platies and Bettas have very comparable diets, so Platies can eat Betta food.  There is a slight difference in that Bettas eat less plant-based organisms than Platies.  This is because Bettas need a little more protein than Platies do.

Put a bottle each of commercial Platy food and Betta food side by side and you’ll notice both have almost the same ingredients.  So if you run out of Platy food, they can survive on specialized Betta flakes and pellets.

But to make sure all their nutritional requirements are met, you need to supplement your Platy’s diet with some vegetables.

The technical difference is that Platies are omnivores and Betta fish are more carnivorous.

An animal that eats both meat and plants are called omnivores.

The ability to eat a combination of meat and vegetables make Platies omnivores. 

What Do Platies Eat?

Both Platies and Bettas are undemanding, they’ll eat whatever they can fit into their tiny mouths. 

Platies are omnivores and they eat a variety of:

  • Nutritious pellets and flakes
  • Tubifex worms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Spirulina
  • Blanched or boiled vegetables (cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, squash)

These are basically what Bettas eat, too, except that they prefer a more carnivorous diet.

The preparation in which these food come from can be live, freeze-dried, or frozen.  Others like flakes and pellets are dry.

Platy eats betta food
Can platy fish eats betta food?

If you are interested in learning more about your fish behavior, check out the links below:

Animals that depend on a meaty diet to live are carnivores.  Carnivorous animals are also called predators.

If you notice Betta fish preferring live food, it’s because they’re natural-born predators.  Even if they’ve been captive-bred all their lives, Bettas have the instinct to go after moving prey.  Wiggling and swimming worms and larvae particularly pose a bit of a challenge to a predator, and they love every bit of the chase.

Insectivores are animals that feed mainly on insects.

Specifically, Betta fish are insectivores.  They have access to aquatic insects in their habitat in the wild such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, bloodworms (which are also a type of larva), fruit flies, and brine shrimp.  Shrimp are considered sea insects as they are scavengers.

Bettas are particularly good insectivores that—despite the lack of substantial data on efficiency—governments around the world have used them to help eliminate dengue- and malaria-causing mosquitoes.  Betta fish simply feast on mosquito larvae.

Platies can go on the same meaty diet but would need more plant-based food to help aid their digestion.

What Does A Betta Fish Eat?

In order to compare with Platy food, let’s list down some of what Betta fish generally eat.

Betta fish diets consist of:

  • Quality pellets and flakes
  • Mosquito larvae (live variety not available in some states)
  • Bloodworms
  • Tubifex worms
  • Brine shrimp
  • Fruit flies
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Spirulina powder or tabs (bluegreen algae)

They even eat smaller fish such as fry and fish eggs.

Betta fish will eat vegetables such as boiled, shelled peas or cucumbers if no other food is available.  Peas are a known laxative to Bettas and are useful if the Betta is constipated.  Cucumbers are said to enhance the color of the fish and also aid in fish digestion.

Looking at the list of food for both fish, you won’t be convinced there’s a difference.  Let’s look closely to see.

If you are interested in learning more about your fish behavior, check out the links below:

What Are The Nutritional Requirements Of Fish?

Fish need nutrients, too, in order to stay active and disease-free.

Fish run on proteins, fiber, some fat, and trace nutrients. Carnivores like Betta fish need 50 to 70% protein, while omnivores like Platies need 30 to 50%.  Fiber requirements for Bettas are low at about 5%, while Platies need around 8 to 10%.

Platy eating betta food
Does platy eats betta food?

The differences you see are mainly because Bettas are carnivores.

What Vitamins Do Fish Need?

Trace nutrients needed by aquarium fish are provided by minerals in the substrate and of course the variety of food you give it.

Aside from protein, among the vitamins and minerals aquarium fish need are:

  • Amino acids
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • B Vitamins
  • Manganese

Since some of these are also absorbed by the live plants in your aquarium, your Platies need quality food without the unnecessary fillers some commercial food have. 

Now you see the difference mainly in protein requirements, we have to understand the reason why protein is significant to fish.

Why Do Fish Need Protein?

Proteins are the building blocks of life.  Fish uses protein to grow, and therefore is necessary in their diets especially while as a fry or when breeding.

Aside from trace nutrients, the rest of a fish’s diet mainly consists of energy-giving carbohydrates.

If you’re using commercial food, check your fish food label.  Some manufacturers stuff fish food with unnecessary additives that aren’t beneficial to fish.  Some of these include fish meal, corn starch, wheat flour or wheat gluten, preservatives, food coloring, and other similar additives.

Some additives for Betta food are there for the purpose of enhancing the color of the fish.  While these may or may not work for your Platies, they’re not an essential part of its diet.

Is Fish Meal Bad For Fish?

Some of the additives in commercial fish food are not only unnecessary, but may be harmful to fish.  This includes some preservatives like Ethoxyquin and synthetic vitamins.  Others, like forms of canola and wheat flour, are not digestible by fish and can also be seen as fish junk food.

Fish food fillers basically become nothing but ammonia-causing fish poop in the tank.

Effects from long-term use of Ethoxyquin-laden fish food may range from excessive pooping or constipation, all the way to organ disease.

If the Betta food you’re planning to give your Platies contain too many preservatives and colorings, more carbohydrates than necessary, and very low amounts of protein, change your fish food brand. 

Why would manufacturers add vitamins to fish food if the main ingredients are already nutritious?  You know what we mean.  So stick with organic and live food or switch to another manufacturer.  This will help your Platies (and Bettas) achieve their healthiest.

How Often Do You Feed Platies?

There is no specific amount to give Platies because that varies with your fish and their activity.  If they’re very active, they tend to eat more.

Platies can be fed twice a day with an amount they can consume in about a minute or two.

It’s important to feed the right-sized food as sometimes they spit them out if it’s too big for them.

Betta food
Platy eats Betta food

With any type of pet fish, size and variety is key. 

Giving Platies (and Bettas) different kinds of food ensures that they’re getting the right amount of nutrients in their little bodies.

Is It OK To Change Fish Food?

If your Platies are already used to flakes and pellets day in and day out, introducing new food might be a little hard.

What you can do is mix their usual Platy food and the new food together so they’ll take to it.

You can also try not feeding them or a couple of days and then feed them the new food.  Don’t worry, this is not cruelty.  Platies (and even Bettas) can skip feeding for way more than that.  You just want to starve them enough to accept another kind of food—food that’s actually good for them.

Just a reminder though: remember to remove any uneaten food after half an hour to avoid building up ammonia.  High-protein content food results in higher ammonia-causing fish poop constitution.

Don’t be impatient if your Platies don’t take to the new food right away.  They might ignore it or leave it to sink at the bottom of your substrate.

Should I Remove Uneaten Fish Food?

Okay, so your Platy doesn’t like the new food. 

Yes, uneaten fish food will rot and cause a rise in ammonia levels if they are left inside the tank.  High protein foods in particular are notorious for ammonia production.

How Do I Get Rid Of Uneaten Food In My Fish Tank?

If you see uneaten food floating around and your Platy isn’t interested in it, scoop it out with any clean tool or fishnet. To clean your substrate better, use a gravel vacuum available at your pet store to remove food that may be hidden from view.

You can also try to add bottom feeders in your tank.  They naturally feed on waste and keep your tank healthy.

Some good bottom feeders for your Platy tank are plecos, loaches, and snails.

How Long Does Fish Food Last Once Opened?

The general rule for storing fish food is that all the contents of each opened container—packet or bottle—must be fully consumed within a month. 

So if you’re keeping only a few fish, don’t go buying big bottles or packs because you’re not going to save money anyway if uneaten fish food go bad.

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