Can You Eat a Betta Fish? Is Betta Fish Good for Human Consumption?

Published Categorized as Journal, Ingredients Tagged

Betta fish are beautiful to look at, but can you eat a betta fish? This question is likely to prompt strong feelings of shock and discomfort for many, as betta fish are often hailed for their grace and beauty. Despite these reservations, the question is still worth answering. So, can you eat a betta fish? We’ll answer this question and more in today’s post!

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Table of Contents

Can You Eat A Betta Fish? Is Betta Fish Good For Human Consumption?

Can You Eat a Betta Fish?

Yes, betta fish can be eaten. But should you eat a betta fish? That’s another question entirely.

Betta fish are fish that are popular in the U.S. and Asia. They are tropical fish and are native to Southeast Asia. In earlier times, bettas were bred as Japanese fighting fish. Today, however, betta fish are typically kept more as ornamental and beautifully aesthetic pets than they are fighting fish.

Betta fish are known to be carnivores. This may be surprising to learn because they are so little in stature! Nevertheless, it is very true. In fact, many betta owners like to feed their bettas live food like bloodworm or brine shrimp.

So, why would one want to eat betta fish? After all, you probably purchased this beautiful fish from the pet store – and now you want to eat it?

Truth be told, people have their reasons for doing what they want to do. Rather than go through a list of reasons people may want to eat betta aquarium fish, it may be more helpful to go over what one should expect if he or she chooses to cook up their betta fish for dinner.

Can Betta Fish Harm Humans?

First and foremost, it is important to note that betta fish aren’t harmful to humans, even when digested. Keep in mind that bettas are quite small, and thus, it makes it difficult for these little fish to do harm to humans–and even other fish!

Are Betta Fish Poisonous To Eat?

Betta fish are not poisonous to eat, although many assume that they are. Oftentimes, the reasons people assume that betta fish are poisonous are because of their bright colors. Despite their colorful presentation, however, betta fish aren’t dangerous to your health. Instead, it is said that betta fish developed their bright colors after being bred in captivity. Comparatively, betta fish in the wild can actually look quite dull and gray.

One thing you should be aware of when asking, “Are bettas poisonous to eat?” is that whether or not they are fit for consumption can sometimes depend on their environment. If bettas eat something toxic or live in toxic water, they may no longer be fit for consumption. Remember, however, that this is true of nearly all fish. So, just be sure that the fish you are eating comes from a clean and safe habitat before digging in.

Can You Eat a Betta Fish?

What Happens if You Eat Betta Fish?

Nothing is likely to happen if you eat betta aquarium fish. And though this kind of fish won’t hurt you, most betta fish won’t satisfy your hunger either.

The reason? These freshwater fish are very small. As such, they oftentimes don’t make the best food. Betta fish are full of protein but may not consist of many nutrients to be worth your time. Thus, if you do decide to eat your bettas, know that they aren’t likely to be very filling – and thus, may not be worth eating!

Can You Eat Raw Betta Fish?

We recommend that you cook betta fish before eating them. Although some types of fish can be eaten raw, cooking is always preferred, as this rids fish of potential bacteria.

Can You Eat Dead Betta Fish?

You could eat a dead betta fish, but be sure you know what it died from and how long it’s been dead. Don’t eat betta fish that is rancid or that has died because of toxic or polluted waters. Doing either of these could cause you to fall majorly ill.

What Can I Do With a Betta Fish?

Betta fish are largely purchased and kept as aquarium fish. If you aren’t thinking about eating your betta fish for the day (hee hee) you could try learning how to play with it. Holding a mirror parallel to the side of the tank will cause them to swim around quickly and potentially flare. It may also cause them to defecate (which can be helpful if you find your fish to be constipated). Be sure to only do this for about 5-10 minutes though, as playing with them this way for too long may stress them out.

If you do decide to eat your betta fish, try using them in a larger dish, such as soup or stew, instead of eating them by themselves. Remember that bettas are very small, so they won’t yield a lot of meat. By placing them in a dish with liquids, grains, and vegetables, you’ll likely find them to be more filling and satisfying.

Can You Eat a Betta Fish?

What Do Betta Fish Taste Like?

The few that have eaten betta fish describe the taste as a mix between chicken and classic fish flavors. However, remember that you aren’t likely to find many that are able to describe the taste of the fish in much detail. Not only do they yield only a bit of meat with each fish, but the taste is rather subtle. This makes the fish not very exciting.

In addition, most bettas are like other ornamental species in that they are kept more for their beauty than for eating. Much like Japanese Koi fish, it may be frowned upon if you were to announce that you were going to eat your aquarium housed betta fish for supper. This is something to keep in mind before consuming your betta fish!

How Do You Cook Betta Fish?

Looking for a way to cook up your betta fish? Why not try them in a traditional fish soup?

Read on for the recipe below!

Cooked Beta Fish Soup

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium chopped onion (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley leaves
  • 1 14-ounce can of whole or crushed tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice 
  • ½ cup dry white wine (or chicken broth for alcohol-free)
  • 1 ½ pounds betta fish meat or another firm white fish cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Betta Fish Soup Directions:

  1. Sauté your onion and garlic in vegetable oil. Do this by placing your oil over medium heat. Then add your onion and sauté them until fragrant. Next, add your garlic and cook it for only an additional minute. 
  2. Add your tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Add your clam juice, white wine (or chicken broth), and betta fish. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, and let simmer until your fish meat is cooked all the way through.
  4. Add your seasonings, including salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and hot sauce.
  5. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve in a bowl along with bread for dipping. Enjoy!

Can You Eat Betta Fish? Yes! But…

Yes, you can eat betta fish. Assuming they’ve come from clean waters and have not ingested anything poisonous, betta fish are perfectly safe to consume.

Having said that, there are several qualms to keep in mind when attempting to consume this type of fish. Remember that betta fish are kept in aquariums often because of their beautiful colors, patterns, and designs. Featuring a beautiful comb tail, double tail, crown tail, or veil tail, these gorgeous fish aren’t exactly associated with eating.

As such, you should think twice when considering whether or not you should eat your bettas. While they are unlikely to harm your health, eating betta fish isn’t exactly considered socially acceptable, nor will it be likely to satisfy your appetite. Thus, it may be best to leave betta alone and pick something with a little more “meat on its bones”– like a perch or catfish!

We hope this helps answer the question, “Can you eat a betta fish?” Until next time!


Can betta fish harm humans?

No, betta fish are not known to be harmful to humans.

Are betta fish poisonous to touch?

No, betta fish aren’t poisonous to the touch. Having said that, you should not touch your betta, especially not repeatedly. Not only will your betta dislike it, but it will also make your fish susceptible to illness. They may also bite you if you do it too often, however, these bites aren’t likely to inflict much pain.

Can you eat betta fish food?

Betta are carnivores and as such eat things like bloodworms. Technically, you could eat this too, however, you may not want to. Many people are allergic to them, and you may be too. Besides, they aren’t very appetizing!

Are betta fish large?

No. Betta fish are actually quite small. This is what makes them unfit for a filling meal. Nevertheless, if you really want to eat betta fish, you can consider adding them to soups and stews to better satiate your appetite.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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