Yes, betta fish do have teeth just like you and me, and for some of the same reasons too. If you look very closely during feedings or when they gulp air at the water’s surface you may be able to see their tiny white teeth. If you can’t, try using a smartphone camera or other camera and its zoom feature. Then inspect the photo up close.
One of the main reasons betta fish have teeth is to break down whole food. This helps the digestion of their food into energy and waste too. When you feed your betta fish pellets or blood worms, for example, you’ll notice the chomping action before they swallow and move onto the next piece.
Another advantage of having lots of tiny and sharp teeth is for protection. Betta fish are territorial fighter fish and will fight, sometimes to the death. During fights, betta fish will bite and nip at other fish, especially if they are bright colored and have long fins. This aggression is embedded into the DNA and is important in the wild. Never intentionally make them fight or place more than one in the same tank.
Do Betta Fish Bite?
Another common question regarding their teeth is whether betta fish bite and the short answer is yes they do. A betta’s mouth is very strong, so strong that when comparing their jaw power to their size, it’s stronger than a great white shark. While that’s impressive, they pose no threat to you as the human skin is strong enough to go unharmed by a betta bite.
Betta fish have an upturned jaw. If you watch them feed (from the side) you’ll see their powerful jaw in action. Their jaw and teeth combine to allow them to pulverize their prey, or food into smaller pieces before ingestion as mentioned above.
You won’t be harmed sticking your fingers in your betta’s tank, however, you should make sure they are clean and avoid doing it too often. You don’t want to introduce dirt and other bacteria into their home because they can become sick.
If you want to experience a betta fish’s bite, try placing some food on your finger or simply place it in the tank and move it around slightly. Depending on their level of interest and aggression, they will inflict a bite. That bite will probably feel like a light touch or may even tickle and not hurt.
Betta Fish are Carnivores
Betta fish are carnivores (meat eaters) and in the wild, they feed on insects and their larvae on the water’s surface. Even in captivity you should still vary their diet and introduce blood worms, and brine shrimp. These menu items require teeth for feeding just like you need to chew things up before swallowing them.
Betta’s do have teeth and they do bite, but it’s for their survival. If they bite your finger it’s only because they may mistake it for food or because they’re curious what it is. Their little nibble though won’t cause any pain so you don’t have to be afraid.