With all options for live food cultures for your baby bettas to feed on, there can be some confusion around what foods to feed during the growth of the fry. Some of the most popular options include vinegar eels, microworms, baby brine shrimp (bbs), grindal worms, and whiteworms. The purpose of this article is to explain these foods and to outline, in clear timelines, the order of the best feeding schedule.
Vinegar eels are very similar to microworms. They are cultured in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, apple juice, and apple bits. They wiggle continuously like microworms. The benefit to these is that they ‘remain in the water column’. Basically, unlike microworms, they don’t fall to the bottom within 10 minutes. They stay out in the open for the betta fry to continuously hunt. Microworms measure a few millimeters long and I personally believe they are one of the best first foods for young bettas. They are easy to culture, and one culture can literally last forever if properly taken care of.
Another early food for betta fry is newly hatched baby brine shrimp (usually referred to as BBS). You might have had brine shrimp in the past without even realizing it. They are the same as sea monkeys that many children grow in little jars for fun. BBS are most nutritious right after they are hatched, before the yolk sac is used up. They are hatched in salt water at 80F and will hatch within 18 to 24 hours. I usually have my ‘hatchery’ right in the fry tank so that it is easily kept at 80F. Baby Siamese fighting fish can be fed a mixture of microworms and BBS for the first 4 to 6 weeks of their lives, until they are ready for grindal worms.
Grindal worms can be considered a larger version of microworms. They are the next food for baby bettas after brine shrimp and microworms. They can grow to 1cm long, and are cultured in soil. I feed my grindal worms flaked baby food every day to maintain booming cultures. By doing this, my betta fry can be fed grindal worms every day!
Whiteworms are larger versions of grindal worms. They can grow to several centimeters long and have similar culturing requirements as grindal worms, except that they are a bit more picky about temperatures in their soil. When grindals are no longer cutting it for the juvenile bettas, I usually try to move on to whiteworms if I have some available.
Daphnia are water fleas. There are several species available, with the main difference between them being the size. They live in water, and can healthy cultures can be maintained with either yeast, spirulina, or ‘green water’. They can be fed to juvenile and adult bettas by directly transferring them to the fish tanks.