Is it wrong to feed bettas peas?

Random-storykeeper
  • #1
When I first started looking up betta care, I read a lot about using a tiny bit of de-shelled peas to feed to a betta when bloated. I even read that some people would give this small amount to their bettas once a week to help with digestion. It feels pretty recent that more and more people in the betta community are turning against this advice and telling people to never feed peas because bettas are insectivores (I saw one person refer to bettas as "insecticides" on Reddit and had a little chuckle there ).

While bettas are insectivores (based on what I've read other people say), it seems that peas are only recommended as a very small, insignificant part of their diet at the most. I've never seen people recommend them as the only thing you feed your betta, which would just be incorrect. But to use it in small amounts to treat bloat? I've seen people recommend daphnia more increasingly, which seems intuitive but also raises more questions. Would freeze dried daphnia from a treat wheel be better to feed than a deshelled, previously frozen pea? Can daphnia be fed regularly to a betta without any trouble if its consumption functions similarly to a de-shelled pea?

The other big question on my mind is if it's wrong for bettas to ingest plant matter at all. Fish foods like pellets have plant products in them, yet I've seen people say it's okay to feed pellets as part of a regular diet. Is it only okay when the pellets are mixed with other meat products? If bettas are truly just pure insectivores, then why recommend pellets at all and instead, just stick with frozen or live foods? Even BugBites have ingredients like potato and wheat in them.

That's...not to say I'm against the idea of feeding pellets or any of those processed foods, necessarily. I feel like I don't really know anything about betta care, because even when researching how to care for bettas, it really does feel like the requirements of what to do or what not to do are always changing. And I'm not always sure how many people are simply parroting information or how many people actually know. So I was just curious, in case the next time I do get a betta. Are peas officially something you should never feed a betta, even if it's just a bit to treat bloat? And if so, then why is it okay to feed bettas pellets and other processed foods as such? Would this be like feeding a pea with insect larvae or some other meat that is part of a betta's regular diet?
 
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Sien
  • #2
Good questions and I am sure this will start an interesting conversation. I will just state my opinion and what I have learned, but am open to others opinions. I think the first thing to combat bloat and constipation is to just fast and do a few epsom salt baths. You can fast for up to a week and will be fine, epsom salt baths are really great to relive constipation and fluid build up. This usually fixes it and you don't have to worry about feeding anything 'special'. I believe the pea method was originally intended for goldfish, but spilled over into other areas of the hobby. Goldfish eat plants so it is fine. Bettas do not eat plants so it can be hard for the betta to digest. Some people claim that because it is hard to digest, it goes straight through them. Just today I explained it as giving someone who is lactose intolerant milk to help their constipation. Now, it'll work! But not the healthiest and more ideal way to fix that. So IMO I do not like/use the pea method. I do like daphnia and feed it to my bettas once in a while as a treat. Have also seen it work well after fasting a betta for a few days and then feeding daphnia. Now an even easier way to combat bloat and constipation is to prevent it. Either feed your betta 3-4 pellets (or a food of your choice equivalent to that) every other day so they have a full 24hrs to digest their food. Or you can feed daily, but a small amount, and then choose to fast one day a week. If you feed daily, feed only 2 pellets or the equivalent.
When it comes to betta nutrition I am no expert on this. I personally think pellets are great to put weight on a fish because they have so much filler. I had a thin betta and fed 2-3 pellets a day (more than I normally would but he needed to put on weight). In a couple weeks he looked great and filled out. Now I do a mix of pellets, tropical color enhancing flakes, blood worms, daphnia, tropical bug bites, and once in a while brine shrimp. The mix of high protein foods has worked well for all my boys and I have had no issues with bloat, fish coloring, and their overall health. I do recommend mixing in some thawed frozen food as well. Unfortunately I cannot do this because frozen blood worms next to the ice cream would freak my parents out !
 
LoganKarl
  • #3
Following! I just discovered this evening that my community tank Betta is bloated. I only just started reading into peas as treatment. Also read that brine shrimp is a better alternative to peas to aid in digestion.

So I have no idea really and can't really add anything to help you but I am curious see too what people have to say!
 
Sien
  • #4
Following! I just discovered this evening that my community tank Betta is bloated. I only just started reading into peas as treatment. Also read that brine shrimp is a better alternative to peas to aid in digestion.

So I have no idea really and can't really add anything to help you but I am curious see too what people have to say!
Just fast the entire tank for a few days (3-4 days should do).
 
Random-storykeeper
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I believe the pea method was originally intended for goldfish, but spilled over into other areas of the hobby. Some people claim that because it is hard to digest, it goes straight through them. Just today I explained it as giving someone who is lactose intolerant milk to help their constipation. Now, it'll work! But not the healthiest and more ideal way to fix that. So IMO I do not like/use the pea method.

That's quite interesting! Do peas have the same effect on goldfish as they supposedly have the same effect on bettas or other fish in general (in that they're used to aid with digestion/bloat/constipation)?

I was thinking about the lactose intolerant milk comparison, because I saw this post on Reddit mentioning it. If constipation already causes pain, would consuming something like milk in the comparison cause additional pain or would it be unnoticeable? Sorry if that may be worded weirdly. I guess if it's not healthy (in this case for bettas to eat peas) and there's alternatives that are more effective and healthier, then it would be best to use those methods. I read a post on Reddit about someone claiming that peas killed their betta. But I wonder if it also depends on how much you feed. Obviously feeding a betta a whole pea, complete with skin on, would be a terrible idea. But yes, it seems like the pea method should have been considered one of the last resorts - or in this case, daphnia or brine shrimp, and that fasting should be considered one of the first in an instance of bloating.

Unfortunately I cannot do this because frozen blood worms next to the ice cream would freak my parents out !
Hahaha, I can totally relate to this. Many years ago, I kept frozen bloodworms in my freezer to feed an African Dwarf Frog (this had to have been at least 10 years prior). The package ended up leaking and stinking up my family's entire freezer of bloodworms! When I had my betta last year, I immediately wrapped up my package of frozen mysis shrimp in newspaper and tucked it into the freezer's side shelf. No one's ever bothered me about keeping frozen fish food in with our bread and ice cream, and it thankfully hasn't smelled as bad as those bloodworms did since. I think it also helps that the package I bought this time had the cubes of mysis shrimp individually wrapped, whereas the pack of frozen bloodworms I bought long ago came in one giant flat rectangle that had grid indentations showing you how to break the pieces off. Needless to say, breaking them off was a lot harder than I thought, lol.
 
Sien
  • #6
That's quite interesting! Do peas have the same effect on goldfish as they supposedly have the same effect on bettas or other fish in general (in that they're used to aid with digestion/bloat/constipation)?

I was thinking about the lactose intolerant milk comparison, because I saw this post on Reddit mentioning it. If constipation already causes pain, would consuming something like milk in the comparison cause additional pain or would it be unnoticeable? Sorry if that may be worded weirdly. I guess if it's not healthy (in this case for bettas to eat peas) and there's alternatives that are more effective and healthier, then it would be best to use those methods. I read a post on Reddit about someone claiming that peas killed their betta. But I wonder if it also depends on how much you feed. Obviously feeding a betta a whole pea, complete with skin on, would be a terrible idea. But yes, it seems like the pea method should have been considered one of the last resorts - or in this case, daphnia or brine shrimp, and that fasting should be considered one of the first in an instance of bloating.


Hahaha, I can totally relate to this. Many years ago, I kept frozen bloodworms in my freezer to feed an African Dwarf Frog (this had to have been at least 10 years prior). The package ended up leaking and stinking up my family's entire freezer of bloodworms! When I had my betta last year, I immediately wrapped up my package of frozen mysis shrimp in newspaper and tucked it into the freezer's side shelf. No one's ever bothered me about keeping frozen fish food in with our bread and ice cream, and it thankfully hasn't smelled as bad as those bloodworms did since. I think it also helps that the package I bought this time had the cubes of mysis shrimp individually wrapped, whereas the pack of frozen bloodworms I bought long ago came in one giant flat rectangle that had grid indentations showing you how to break the pieces off. Needless to say, breaking them off was a lot harder than I thought, lol.
Yes peas work well with goldfish! Probably would work well for any fish that eats plant based foods. Adding additional pain would be more painful, not unnoticeable. I have heard too many stories of peas making it worse, doing nothing, or their betta not eating them. So I am not a fan of the method. Yikes! I couldn't imagine blood worms spilling in the freezer...the smell!
 
mrsP
  • #7
Randomstorykeeper, I think you made really good points there, and personally, gave me a lot to think about and most likely that will change how I feed my bettas and other fish.

I think that medications - including humans medicines - do always have their drawbacks, and difference between medicine and poison is dosage. So I would think that if someone would want to use peas as MEDICINE, meaning one off, small amount, that might work (and obviously has worked) and side effects can be tolerated also in ethical sence, but part of regular diet... no. However, there are usually alternetives. As fish are individuals, one thing that works with most of them might not work for everyone, and that might mean that thing that you wouldn't usually use, might be needed for certain individual to help them.

What goes with pellets and flakes in diet, as they do contain plant matter, I've never even thought about that. If my fish like eating certain flakes or pellets as part of their diet and even better, they have been recommended here, I haven't even checked what they contain. I'm embarrassed to say this, but I've never even thought that fish food for certain speces (like betta) might have something not suitable for them in it. And this is coming from person who is anal with getting right kibble for our cats, and that definitely doesn't contain any grains! But of course it can contain really anything, so here we go, our fish will have change of diet.... as soon as I can figure out the right one. They are already getting mixture of pellets and flakes (that part will most likely change), frozen and live foods. So, I need to learn how to cultivate mixture of live foods and how to feed my guppies without bettas getting their things. Someone mentioned putting food into filter outflow so they will be distributed around tank is brilliant idea.

And I think this opens also another line of thought that should be anyway in our sights, ethics of aquariums. I think it underlines also the need for big enough space and need for speces typical behavior. Meaning schooling fish needing other same speces fish around them etc, but I think as we are here to learn and not to shame, there's always something how we can do to better our fish tanks even in small ways (and with little to no cost) that might make huge difference to our fish.
 

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