How long can Betta Fish go without food?

How long can Betta Fish go without food?

The main reason you would be going through this article right now would be that you are planning a vacation. Not being sure what to do about the bettas in your aquarium is quite taxing. This anxiety may even ruin your vacation.

Don’t worry. We’ll take a look at everything that you need to make sure your bettas are healthy. Then, when you get back to see them, they will be happy and healthy. They, anyhow, do not need massive, copious amounts of food for sustenance.

Let us now break down the sequence of instructions you need to follow. These are what you must keep in mind to ensure the well-being of your precious pet while you are away.

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Short Answer :

To put it simply, bettas can go up to between 10 and 14 days without being fed. This is not at all recommended and could also be viewed as outright cruelty. Bettas are generally supposed to be fed at regular intervals that range between once every day or at least twice in three days.

This also means that you could leave them without implementing any procedures if you are out for the weekend. First, however, the fish should be well acquainted with the tank and their environment.

Ensure that the living conditions and the water parameters are ideal for the bettas during this period. It is essential in maintaining their health. Ensure that the essential equipment and water parameters are in good condition. If not maintained, they could also lead to stress-related death.

Keep it simple. You need not feed them if you are planning a short weekend getaway. But, make sure you implement one of the following scenarios if you plan to go away for a more extended period.

How long can a betta survive without food?

As we mentioned earlier, betta can survive for up to 10 – 14 days without being fed. This, however, is not at all recommended. Not feeding your pets for so long is a callous act and must not be committed.

How long your betta fish can go without food depends on three main factors – the size of the tank they live in, whether or not the tank is filtered, and the general health of the betta.

The smaller the tank size for the fish, the more critical it becomes to change the water in the tank. However, if they live in a larger tank, the decline in water conditions occurs at a far slower rate.

A lot of betta fish owners tend to keep their tanks unfiltered. If they are kept in a bowl and get enough oxygen when they come up to the surface, changing their water is sufficient. However, if there is not too much surface area, you might want to consider getting a filter for your tank. Also, if you plan on leaving your fish for some time, getting a filter for your tank is an absolute must.


The third factor that you have to keep in mind is the general health of the fish. Every fish has an individual health meter. Some may have problems that others do not, which has to be taken into account before leaving them alone for too long. Fish with preexisting health conditions need special care even in the same environment. Moreover, You must consider factors like age, metabolism rate, stress levels, and general health before leaving them alone for a while.

The amount of food that a betta fish requires is not too much. The owners generally overestimate the amount of food that they need to survive. The stomach size of a betta fish is no larger than the size of its eye. This is very small, and hence they do not require too much food. Moreover, betta fish are picky eaters who do not eat the food you provide for a day or two but will then go ahead and gulp it down.

However, as a responsible owner of a betta fish, you must be asking yourself not how long your fish can go without food. How long it takes for your fish to start starving is the question you must ask. 10 to 14 days is how long bettas can survive without being fed. They usually begin to starve after a period of about 4 to 5 days without food. Once your fish begin to starve, they start getting very stressed. Stress is a nasty factor that affects your fish. It may also lead to stress-induced diseases or stress-related failure.

This is the main reason we recommend not leaving your fish alone in the aquarium for more than four days at a time. However, if you plan an excursion longer than that, ensure you have a contingency plan like one among the few we shall discuss later on in this article.

Possible Fish Care Options When Going on Vacation

Four clear options come to mind when we talk about the possible things we can do to prepare for the fish when going out on vacation.

The first and ideal option would be to make someone come in and check on them like a fish sitter. Someone who can ensure the fish are fed, the water conditions are habitable, and keeping an eye on the equipment is perfect. Moreover, they could also call you in case something goes wrong and can help correct it.

The second option that you have is one we spoke about earlier. If you are going away for the weekend or a couple of days, it is okay to leave your betta without food. They will be fine without being fed for a couple of days. Any longer, and you will need an alternative. Just make sure you do not overfeed your fish before leaving.

The third option that you could consider would be to invest in a mechanical auto feeder. These are handy little gimmicks that you can use to feed your fish proper amounts of food at regular intervals. They are ideal if you plan to go on a vacation that is not too long but longer than just a couple of days. That way, you can feed your fish, and you will be worry-free on your vacation.

The fourth and final option we suggest would be to opt for a block feeder. They are essentially large blocks that are placed in your tank. These blocks then release the food that is stored in them as the block slowly disintegrates. However, we do not recommend the se highly as they tend to mess with the water conditions of the tank and keep the parameters of the water far from ideal.

What do Betta Fish Eat?

Betta fish usually have a carnivorous diet and tend to eat food that is generally high in protein. A plant-based diet may keep them alive for some time. However, they will perish if they do not have access to the nutrition they require or too long.

So, their primary diet must consist of high-protein pellets or flakes that are available in aquarium stores. Supplement this with the occasional freeze-dried brine shrimp or bloodworms. It would help if you fed them their diet of pellets or flakes once or twice a day and at least once in two days. Ensure that your fish are never overfed, as this deteriorates their health and ruins the condition of the water they live in.

How to prepare a Betta fish tank before leaving it for a few days

  • The preparation you need to perform before leaving depends mainly on the amount of time you will not be present. If you plan to be away for a short period (3 to 4 days), keep the water ideal when you leave. Make sure the feeder is working, and the filtration system is running smoothly. This should help keep the stress levels of your betta at a minimum.
  • Follow these steps if you plan on leaving for a more extended period (10 days or more). They will ensure your bettas are in perfect condition. This way, they won’t get stressed to the point of having stress-related diseases or organ failure.
  • A week before leaving, check the filtration systems, clean up leftover food and debris. Check the water quality, trim the plants, and ensure that all other equipment is working well.
  • Ensure the water temperature is in the proper range and perform a significant water change when you leave. Feed your betta right before leaving.
  • If you have not been able to prep beforehand, call a fish sitter and leave clear instructions.

Wrapping Up

Leaving on vacation is not always easy when you have pets that need constant attention. However, if you take the precautions we have talked about in this article, you should come back home to a perfectly healthy and happy betta.

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