Bettas are aggressive toward small species and look upon them as food sources. So, do bettas eat shrimp?
Yes, bettas do eat shrimp that fit in their mouths. Being carnivores, bettas feed on small insects, fish, and larvae. However, Amano and ghost shrimp are safe to keep with bettas due to their large size. You can provide ample hiding places, a sufficient diet, and a big tank to protect the shrimp.
Let’s now understand why bettas eat shrimp and ways to protect them.
Why Do Bettas Eat Shrimp?
Bettas are carnivores in nature.
They eat a lot of insects, small crustaceans, larvae, and fry of any fish in their natural environment.
According to the food chain, small fish or organisms get devoured by the larger ones.
It’s nature’s rule that predators feed on small animals for survival. The same applies to bettas.
If bettas find food in any form, they will eat it due to their natural instinct.
Some shrimp species, such as cherry shrimp, are smaller in size. They easily fit into bettas’ mouths.
When bettas see shrimp alongside them, they look upon them as a food source rather than tankmates.
Moreover, bettas are notoriously territorial and aggressive.
They harass their tankmates and attack any tiny organisms within their reach.
Bettas are also opportunistic eaters. They eat anything that’s within their reach without hesitation.
So bettas eat the shrimp around them.
Will Female Bettas Eat Shrimp?
Yes, female bettas will eat shrimp as long as the shrimp fit in their mouths.
Unlike their male counterparts, female bettas aren’t very aggressive.
However, they won’t let the opportunity of catching prey slip. Shrimp are a part of the diet in their natural environment.
Once they get a taste of shrimp in captivity, you can’t stop female bettas from attacking and eating the little creatures.
Female bettas are also more equipped to attack the shrimp due to the lack of long tails.
It enables them to swim better and get hold of the tiny shrimp.
Female bettas also consume shrimp eggs and fry.
Like most other fish, female bettas are keen to eat anything edible that fits in their mouth easily.
However, female bettas aren’t likely to eat rotten eggs. It’s because rotten eggs don’t have any nutritional value.
Alright! We now know that bettas won’t spare shrimp if they find one around them.
But does that mean bettas eat all shrimp? And are there any shrimp that are safe with bettas?
Recommended: Betta Care | How Do Bettas Sleep? | Are Bettas Freshwater Fish?
Which Shrimp Are Safe With Bettas?
Although aggressive, bettas are compatible with many aquatic pets.
It’s best to house them with peaceful fish and those that aren’t fin-nippers.
Shrimp are one of the best tankmates for bettas as they are excellent tank cleaners.
They eat the leftover food and algae from the aquarium and help to keep the tank clean.
Shrimp are also docile. Apart from creating a pecking order among themselves, they stay away from most tankmates.
The only problem with shrimp is their size. Due to their small size, they can be an easy meal for bettas.
However, some shrimp species outgrow bettas’ mouths. Such shrimp are best to keep with bettas.
Given below are the most popular shrimp that are safe with bettas and preferred worldwide by aquarists:
- Amano shrimp,
- Ghost shrimp, and
- Bumblebee shrimp.
How To Stop Bettas From Eating Shrimp?
Keeping shrimp alive in a betta tank can be a daunting task. Bettas are natural shrimp eaters.
So in all probability, they will try to make a meal of the tiny shrimp.
The best way to stop bettas from eating shrimp is by keeping them away from the reach of bettas. You can do this in a few ways.
Given below are some tips to stop bettas from eating shrimp.
1. Have a large tank.
Bettas are highly territorial. They need ample space to roam freely.
A large tank will ensure enough space for bettas and shrimp to live comfortably.
The bigger the tank, the less likely are the bettas to attack the shrimp.
If the tank is small, the bettas will constantly see the shrimp. So the chances of them attacking the shrimp will be higher.
2. Provide ample hiding places.
After investing in a large tank, the next step is to provide ample hiding places in the tank.
Hiding places will ensure that the shrimp stay from the bettas.
Shrimp are especially vulnerable during molting when they shed their outer skin and grow another.
Hiding places during such instances will allow the shrimp to take shelter until their shell hardens.
Hiding places will also make the bettas feel safe as they will find a comforting place to rest.
Adding plants, rocks, caves, aquarium decorations, and covers are some ways to create hiding places in an aquarium.
3. Feed bettas adequately.
Feeding sufficient food to bettas is another way to protect the shrimp. Bettas can get aggressive if there’s food scarcity.
They may start attacking the shrimp to satiate their hunger. Feeding an adequate amount of food will prevent this aggression.
It will keep the bettas calm and make them less hostile toward shrimp.
4. Introduce bettas to a shrimp tank.
Bettas are highly territorial. They attack all tankmates that invade their territory. So it’s best to introduce bettas to a shrimp tank.
This will help as the shrimp must have already established their territory and won’t invade the territory of bettas.
Introducing bettas later into the tank can also curb the aggression of bettas.
They won’t get aggressive in an unfamiliar environment.
5. House large-sized shrimp with bettas.
Size matters in an aquarium as larger creatures tend to eat smaller tankmates.
So, the bigger the shrimp, the higher the chances of its survival.
Bettas usually don’t attack bigger shrimp. Shrimp such as Amano and ghost shrimp are safe from bettas.
On the contrary, dwarf shrimp have a harder time living with bettas.
Keeping small-sized shrimp is an open invitation for bettas to snack on them.
Related: Do Guppies Like To Live With Shrimp? | Is Aquarium Salt Really Safe For Shrimp? | Will Tetras Eat Shrimp?
Will bettas eat cherry shrimp?
Yes, bettas will eat cherry shrimp as they are small in size and can easily fit in their mouth.
Cherry shrimp are bright in color, so they attract bettas’ attention easily.
Cherry shrimp can only survive if the bettas have a calm temperament and look upon them as tankmates.
Will bettas eat ghost shrimp?
Ghost shrimp are larger, so the chances of bettas eating them are less.
However, bettas may attempt to eat ghost shrimp if they aren’t adequately fed.
Although bettas may not eat an adult ghost shrimp, they will eat their fry.
Will bettas eat Amano shrimp?
Bettas don’t eat Amano shrimp due to their large size.
Amano shrimp don’t fit in bettas’ mouths, and hence the chances of bettas eating them are meager.
Will bettas eat brine shrimp?
Yes, bettas will eat brine shrimp. Adult bettas like to chase the newly hatched brine shrimp and devour them.
Moreover, brine shrimp are small and easily fit in bettas’ mouths.
Will betta eat shrimp fry?
Yes, bettas will eat shrimp fry. Bettas will eat anything that fits their mouth.
Shrimp fry are easy prey for bettas as they’re tiny. They can’t escape once bettas catch them.