Can Betta Fish Eat Dried Mealworms?- Do They Like It?

Does anybody in your family love fishing? Then, you must have seen the most common fishing bait also known as mealworms. It’s a wonderful treat for birds, fish, and even some mammals. But how about dried mealworms? Will your betta eat dried mealworms?

Bettas have no issue eating or digesting dried mealworms. In fact, dried mealworms are slightly better than live ones due to the size issue (too large). The protein and fat percentage in mealworms is ideal for what we look for in a Betta’s food.

Whatever form of mealworm (be it live or dried) you choose, it will affect your Betta’s daily nutrition intake. So, make sure you decide wisely. No worries though. We have everything covered in this article for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Dried mealworms are significantly smaller in size and easy to eat for Bettas.
  • Dried mealworm has a higher percentage of protein due to shrunken body matter.
  • You need to soak dried mealworms beforehand to make it easily digestible.
  • Storing live mealworms is way harder than freeze-dried mealworms.
  • Mealworms have a robust shell on top which is a little difficult to digest.

Is Mealworm An Ideal Food For Betta?

Many of us have seen mealworms when it reaches the adult stage. Yes, we are talking about the black bugs also known as mealworm beetle. That can be used as fish food. However, when it is still in the larvae/baby stage, it looks like an earthworm and is an amazing kind of fish food. We all know that, to be passed/approved as betta food, any ingredient must have a high percentage of protein in its dry matter.

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Let’s check out how nutritious a mealworm is (especially for your Betta) both in live and dried form.

Adult Size0.98 inches
Larvae Size0.4 to 0.5 inches

 Any difference you see (in numbers) is due to the shrinkage of overall matter. Dried worms definitely don’t have that much water component in them causing their size to reduce significantly. Otherwise, there’s no reason to believe that dried mealworms would have more nutrition than live ones.

Live worms have almost 62% water in their body which prevents constipation or any other digestion issue from arising. But once you prep the dried mealworms, it slowly gains most of the moisture components again. So, we don’t have to worry about that.

Since we have mentioned the prep, let’s see how it works. take some of the dried worms out. Crush them using a small hammer. Put the pieces inside a bowl of water (room temperature). Let the worms thaw for a while. you will see the worms slowly expanding. Now, it’s ready to be eaten by your bubbly Betta.

colorful betta in planted tank
Owner: Logan Aikens

How Many Dried Mealworms Are Enough?

Dried mealworms were not originally introduced as betta food. It was specifically used as fish bait. However, the richness of protein in its dry-matter has made it popular among betta keepers. But the question is how much is too much?

Unfortunately, we can’t give you a number. It completely depends on how many pellets you offer your Betta every day. One simple method is to put three to four worms inside the tank (after you have prepped it). Check whether the fish eats all of them or not. Set a timer and see what your Betta does. Once five minutes are over, take away any leftover worm remaining inside the tank. after all, it’s meat and will eventually rot.

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Now, you know how much your betta is capable of eating within five minutes. Keep it in mind and only offer that much every time you are feeding worms. The best part about this trick is that it allows every betta fish to be different according to its size and appetite. You are not restricted by a single number.

Is Live Mealworm Better Than Dried Mealworm?

Unlike many other fish-food like bloodworms or shrimps, we prefer mealworms when it’s dried. Here are the top four reasons for that.

1. Smaller In Size

The main reason is its size. A grown-up mealworm can be anywhere between 0.7 to 0.98 inches (2.5 cm). If you look at your Betta now, you can definitely see why it’s a problem. A mature Betta might be able to chew 0.5 to 0.7 inches long insects, but there’s always a risk. And, the risk only increases if the betta itself is a baby.

So, if you want to avoid any choking incidents in the near future, you have to chop the mealworms nicely before giving them to your fish. We know it’s a hassle. That’s why dried mealworms are so much better. The size automatically decreases due to the lack of moisture component. Now, it’s just the right size to fit into your Betta’s mouth. There goes our number one reason.

2. Easy To Store

Next, let’s consider the storing factor. Imagine how you would store live mealworms in your house. Also, the mealworms you buy as fish-food only stay in this form for a short while. after a few days, the mealworms (if given the proper environment) will become mealworm beetles. That’s horrible to think about. There’s no way you can feed your fish those big black bugs.

gorgeous colorful betta fish
owner: Gabrielle Perry

3. No Change In Nutrition

Why take so much hassle when you are getting the same nutrition? Yes, you have already seen what happens to the nutrients after drying mealworms. There is no significant reduction that we can mention (except the moisture of course). Since you are not compromising on nutrition, we don’t see why you would switch to dried mealworms.

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4. No More Crusty Shell

Live mealworms come with a crusty shell on the upper body. Many betta owners fear that the shell will be difficult for betta’s teeth to penetrate. However, drying and then thawing the dried mealworms reduce the robustness of the shell. It’s still there but a little softer. So, your Betta has literally no problem chewing the worm down and devouring every bit of its flavor.

Before You Leave!

Dried food is becoming more and more common among fish keepers. It is easy to handle and of course more affordable than the live ones. That’s why we would like to introduce you to dried shrimp; another popular form of dried fish food. Check out our detailed discussion on how good dried shrimp would be as betta food.

Article title: Can Betta fish eat dried shrimp?

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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