Q: I purchased my 1st Betta for my office about 2 weeks ago. I am in my office Mon to Fri and I need to know what to do about feedings on the weekends. I have read to feed a Betta everywhere from 3 times a day to 3 times a week. So far I have been feeding him once a day and skipping the weekend feedings. Any suggestions?

Question submitted by Brandy, Lawrenceville - Georgia

A: Any suggestions? Me? You bet!!! :P My middle name is "Miss unsolicited advice" so if you solicit it you betcha you're gonna get it (and lotsa it). Here is the deal with betta's bellies. They can stretch (A LOT). :)) Bettas will eat almost as much as you will feed them, turning into little balloons with fins. Don't believe me? See for yourself:

DVC00051.JPG (95292 bytes)

OK, now that my credibility is no longer in question ;), I can give you my two cents. Bettas can be rather flexible when it comes to food. They can eat up to 10000 times a day (see above photo LOL), or they can stay without eating for up to 3 weeks and survive. In short they are piglets survivors. From this we can conclude that:

  • the piglet mode: it is up to the owner to regulate the food intake of Mr. Betta. Left to his own device Mr. Betta is very happy to be a full fledged glutton and eat to death (piglet mode). Fully grown bettas should eat once a day. If you have a lot of free time on your hand (send me some LOL), you can feed twice a day if you want but be careful to make the portions 1/2 as big then. 

  • the survivor mode: if you cannot get to your betta (gone on vacation for a few days, not in the office on the week ends, etc...) then Mr. Betta will switch to 'survivor' mode and simply do without food until the next feeding. It will not kill it. It will not even hurt it if done occasionally. Mr. Betta is tough :). You might consider giving him a larger feeding on Mondays when you return to the office, but not so much that he looks like betta above LOL, and not so much that uneaten food is left in the bowl to rot.

Although bettas can skip a day or two (or even three) of feeding when you are gone, this is not to say that not feeding your fish on a regular basis is good or even acceptable. As a matter of fact if one does not feed their fish regularly, skips too many days or skips feeding too often, then two things can happen: A)- the betta will get stressed and become sick and B)- see drawing below (click on it):  ;P