Can Betta fish eat mosquitos

Can Betta fish eat mosquitos?

Mosquitos in Betta fish tanks

Mosquito larvae can be fed to betta fish as a treat or a regular meal. This must be given in small portions enough for one feeding frenzy only. Placing a large number of larvae in an aquarium may cause some possible concerns and might disrupt the habitat of the fish.

As long as betta fish will consume all of the larvae being fed, there will be nothing to worry about. Excess eggs or larvae may grow into full-bred adults.

To help prevent this from happening, frequent changing of water will keep its freshness which is similar to fighting fish eating algae.

Putting a net above the tank can also keep the mosquitos from laying eggs in the water.

Mosquito Larvae

Mosquitos commonly lay their eggs in stagnant waters. Mosquito larvae are what become from mosquito eggs after they hatch. They are called ‘wrigglers’ because they wriggle downwards especially when they are disturbed. They can live up to 14 days depending on the environment and temperature of the water. In this stage, they often molt or shed skin four times.

After the fourth molting, they will evolve and become a pupa. They have large heads, thorax, and thin abdomens similar to worms. Larvae hang around just below the surface of the water with tubes at the end of their abdomens where they breathe in air. 

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During the maturation period, they feed numerous amounts of algae, planktons, bacteria, and other microorganisms as they need the energy to grow and develop to become a pupa. There are species such as large mosquitos that often feed on larvae of other mosquitos sharing their environment. 

Are there dangers in mosquito larvae?

Naturally, mosquito larvae are not harmful to other larger species. They do not eat or consume organisms that are bigger than them. They mostly feed on algae that are within their habitat. Although there are studies of mosquito-borne viruses present in today’s records. Upon laying the eggs, they already contain viruses that are dangerous to animals and humans alike. But these have been special cases in other areas.

How long can mosquito larvae live in water?

These wrigglers can stay up to 4 to 14 days in water after they emerge from being mosquito eggs. Within this period, they are molting four times, and as they molt they grow bigger until they reach around one-half inch size. They also feed while they are in the water since they need nutrition to grow into the next stage called ‘pupa’. They grow in size when they are in the water. They also choose stagnant waters that are not exposed to the wind or any extreme disturbances in the environment. Even with an ounce of water in tin cans or any containers, mosquitos can lay up to 300 eggs. Larvae will then evolve after 24-48 hours.

Mosquitos in Betta fish tanks
Mosquitos in Betta fish tanks

How to raise and feed mosquito larvae for betta fish

Mosquito larvae can be raised at home since there are only a few retailers or suppliers of larvae in the market. It is also more cost-friendly since the only thing that will be spent is for the water container and water resources in building the environment where the mosquitos can lay eggs. 

  • Prepare the environment where the mosquitos will lay eggs. Choose a water container depending on the number of larvae that will be fed to the betta fish. The concept is the larger the volume of fish to feed, the larger the container will be used. A bucket, basin, or barrel will suffice enough but ensure that it is free of chemicals that will intoxicate the water and limit the growth of algae or even the larvae.
  • Mosquitos prefer dirty water for their eggs to thrive. It is preferable to get water resources from rainwater as it has the nutrients to sustain the environment that will provide the larvae to feed on. But if the season does not permit rainy weather, tap water can still be used and just eliminate or lessen the chlorine content of the water. Treat the water with a de-chlorinator to allow bacterial growth for larvae to feed on. 
  • The container should be placed in shady areas where there is lesser penetration of sunlight. The mosquito eggs will not hatch in a warm or hot environment. It is also better to place that container away from houses to avoid full-grown mosquitos from inhabiting residential areas.
  • It will take a week or two for the mosquitos to breed eggs. Wait for another 24 to 48 hours for these eggs to hatch. They will enter the stage of becoming a larva that looks like a worm with abdomens and antennae. In this state of the mosquito, these can be now fed to betta fish as a treat or a meal.

Daily feeding of mosquito larvae to betta fish

As soon as there are mosquito eggs in the container, they will hatch into larvae the next day. Since these larvae are very small, scoop them up using a dropper or a small aquarium net that can carry small aquatic life. Ensure that the tool used for harvesting is correct and that it can be transferred to the aquarium safely for the betta to consume. Do not include the water where the eggs were hatched since it may introduce algae and other aquatic matters not okay for the betta’s habitat.

Proper feeding of larvae to fish

Introduce the larvae in small amounts and observe how hungry the betta is. Ensure that the amount of larvae given to the betta is sufficient enough for one feeding only. A large volume of larvae can cause overfeeding, bloating, and constipation in the fish. Same with other food sources for the betta, feeding whether live food or not, must be in moderation. Excess food will need to be removed from the water in the aquarium to avoid poisoning the water.

To avoid breeding full-grown mosquitos, harvest all eggs and larvae even if not all of them will be consumed by the betta. Just dispose of them properly which will kill the remaining larvae. Breeding full-grown mosquitos will likely create another concern for the environment near residential areas. 

Freeze-dried and freeze-fried mosquito, and bloodworms for alternative feeding

Freeze drying of food is a method of preserving food and almost all of its nutritional values. The advantage of these freeze-dried bloodworms and mosquitos is they can also preserve the original taste that the betta fish can enjoy. Since betta fish needs more protein in their diet, these kinds of food can give them an alternative to live and frozen food. They can easily be bought in pet stores and are even relatively cheap. Freeze-dried foods have no bacteria and parasites. It is preferred that they will be soaked in water first to add more moisture content before feeding to the betta.