Can betta fish eat ants?

In this article we will discuss,if we can feed ants to bettas.This guide will give an idea about their feeding preferences in terms of ants.We will also discuss the pros and cons of feeding ants to bettas.


In this blog

  • Can bettas eat ants?
  • Ants classification
  • What is the acid produced by ants? 
  • What do bettas prefer to eat in the wild?
  • What do bettas eat in captivity?
  • Are black ants suitable for bettas?
  • Are brown ants suitable for bettas?
  • Are fire ants suitable for bettas?
  • How many ants, bettas should be fed?
  • Do ants trigger spawning in bettas?
  • Is it necessary to quarantine ants before feeding bettas?
  • What precautions should be taken before feeding ants to bettas?
  • Are there any ant eggs brands available online or in pet stores?
  • Do ants alter the water chemistry? 
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Can betta fish eat ants?

Nutrition is important for betta health.Some fish dealers say that betta can’t eat plant-based foods and don’t eat roots.Insects and larvae are the staple foods of wild betta.

The betta fish is a carnivore that feeds on insects and insect larvae. They should be fed a balanced pellet or flake diet daily. Bettas should not be overfed, as this leads to obesity and other health problems.

Insects such as ants have a high protein content which makes them ideal for the growth of betta fish.

Ants classification


What is the acid produced by ants? 

The acid produced by ants is called formic acid.The most common black ant species in the United States is the black ant, which releases small amounts of formic acid through its jaws when it bites.

They use formic acid as a chemical defense mechanism in the wild to protect themselves from their predators.

What do bettas prefer to eat in the wild?

In the wild, bettas are carnivores, or more precisely, insectivores, and their most common prey is aquatic larvae such as mosquito larvae, zooplankton and crustaceans, but they can swallow anything.

  • Small insects
  • Larvae
  • Invertebrates
  • Tiny fish occasionally
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Small fly larvae
  • Midges and their larvae
  • Common water fleas (Daphnia)

What do bettas eat in captivity?

Bettas can be trained in captivity to have a variety of food.Initially they wont accept,if you introduce them to something new,but gradually they will learn to eat different food in captivity.

You can do a trial and error method to feed them a different variety of food,and by doing this,you will get an idea about their food preference and what they actually like to eat and hate to eat.

Here are some of the food which they have been trained to eat in captivity,bettas are 100 percent carnivores and mostly prefer meaty diets,but bettas do feed them plant based food and fresh veggies and fruits from their kitchens and they do eat those.

  • Frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms.
  • Tropical flakes
  • Spinach
  • Seafood
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fibrous vegetables and fruits
  • 75%-90% meat-based foods

Are black ants suitable for bettas?

Black garden ants are completely harmless.Like all other Formicinae, it has no puncture wounds and, unlike the wood ant, does not spray formic acid.

The jaw is the main defense of black ants, but it is not strong enough to break someone’s skin.Many ants are toxic, but even normal black ants have some form of irritating toxin on their skin. This does not kill the fish, but it can make the fish uncomfortable for quite some time.

You may find two main types of black ants around your property, the large black ants or western black carpenter ants, and the small black ants. Both types of ants can be found in your home and can become pests if not handled properly.

As part of an efficient food chain and ecosystem,the black garden ant is actually an important food source for fish, other insects, as well as some mammals and their removal adversely affects predators.

  • Black ants have 39.79-44.64% protein.
  • About 42.07-49.77% fat content, depending on the body part. 
  • Also rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

Are brown ants suitable for bettas?

Brown ants also known as coastal brown ants or big headed ants, and is a small ant that is brown and usually 1.5-2.5 mm in size. This pest is a soil nesting ant that pushes the soil away and leaves a story-like pile of soil next to the opening of the nest.

These little ants have puncture wounds, but rarely stings.It can be given to bettas,but make sure,if they are not accepting it after 3-4 trials then kindly don’t feed brown ants to them.

Are fire ants suitable for bettas?

A small number of fire ants will not necessarily kill the fish, they kill fish as soon as they eat large amounts. Hordes of ants give the fish ample opportunity to fill the stomach in a short amount of time.

Fire ants are social insects that push up the soil and dig up the soil to create nests called mounds.They nest in almost all types of soil, but prefer open and sunny areas such as meadows, parks, playgrounds, lawns and golf courses, as well as farmlands and wilderness areas.

Can you raise ants for bettas in captivity?

You can feed your fish almost any insect that is not sprayed with pesticides or toxins.Ants and houseflies are favorites of the betta, and they are difficult to raise in captivity. 

However, if you come across a pair, feel free to feed them to your fish.If you’re lucky enough to find an ant nest, scoop up the ant eggs and feed them to your fish.Eggs are nutritious and your fish will gobble up like candy.

How many ants, bettas should be fed? 

Once you find the ant’s nest, step carefully before feeding the insects to the solid fish.Ants produce formic acid, but eating it indefinitely can be harmful to fish.So it’s okay to give solid ants, but give only a few ants a day.

Do ants trigger spawning in bettas?

Ants are typically high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.For example,weaver ant larvae and eggs provide about 7 grams of protein per 100 grams of weight.

100 grams of  ant provide some 14 grams of protein, nearly 48 grams of calcium, and a nice hit of iron.

Ants have more nutritional content and they contain more minerals and vitamins than ready-made food and stimulate the spawning instinct of fish. 

Is it necessary to quarantine ants before feeding bettas?

It is very important to isolate live food before feeding your betta fish. This will prevent unwanted parasites and diseases from entering the aquarium.

Bettas in community tanks will live with other tank mates too,so it is important to quarantine live food before feeding bettas,as it gets stressed during transportation and likely to get infections due to such stress and sometimes they are all kept in unhygienic conditions too.

By default one should always quarantine bettas live food at least for two weeks before feeding them to avoid such infections from spreading throughout the aquarium.

Fish enthusiasts should always keep a quarantine tank alone with main tanks to quarantine live food before feeding their aquatic buddies.

In the case of ants, I am not sure about quarantining them,but make sure they are not carrying pests or toxins with them.

What precautions should be taken before feeding ants to bettas?

Ants produce formic acid and these acids can be harmful to fish,if eaten indefinitely. So it’s okay to give ants, but give only a few ants a day and also keep in mind that bettas stomach is about the same size as his eyes, so you don’t need that much food to fill them.

Overfeeding is very bad for them and can cause constipation, bloating, and swim bladder disease.You can give it as a treat to your bettas.If they get indigestion problem or bloating, you can make them fast for a day to relive their digestive system.

Are there any ant eggs brands available online or in pet stores?

There are many ant eggs  brands available in pet shops or online to feed your bettas,I am listing common ant eggs which go with all insect eaters.

Supa Ant Eggs product

  • Protein content : 21.8%
  • Oil content: 31.2% 
  • Fiber content : 5.1% 
  • Ash content: 5.5%
  • This food isn’t particularly high in protein and of course contains no vegetable protein. 
  • This is an excellent food for  insect-eating fish if they are large enough to swallow the eggs.

Do ants alter the water chemistry?

If you feed ants to your bettas,and they keep on rejecting those ants,then chances are there it will keep on settling in the bottom of the tank and if it is left unattended,it will alter the water chemistry.

Bettas are very much sensitive to poor water conditions,which will stress them and can reduce their lifespan too.It is very important to remove leftovers on a daily basis using a gravel siphon to avoid ammonia pollution in bettas tanks.


In the wild, fighting fish feed on ants that fall from trees into a river or pond. Thus, ants are a natural living food that you can feed your betta. You should only feed them small black ants.

Large ants or aggressive ants such as fire ants can harm bettas.One should feed their aquatic pets the best possible diet, and feeding them a properly balanced diet can help bettas grow healthy, which in turn will reward you by showing off their vibrant colors.

Frequently asked questions

Are large ants suitable to feed bettas?

No,you shouldn’t feed large ants to betta fish.

Are aggressive ants suitable to feed bettas?

No,you shouldn’t feed aggressive ants to betta fish,this might stress bettas and will even hurt them.It’s better to avoid aggressive ants to bettas.

Are ant eggs available in pet stores?

Yes,at some pet stores, you can buy dried ant eggs that have been processed into fish feed. Many fish love them, including betta.