How Long Can a Betta Fish Go Without Food? Complete feeding Guide

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Are you going on tour for a few days? Will your Betta fish be alone in your home during this time? There will be no one at home to look after him. That’s why you’re wondering how long betta fish go without food.

Honestly, you’re thinking that means you’re a true betta fish lover. In this post, I will discuss in detail how long can a betta fish live without food or How long can a betta go without food. Let me tell you how your betta fish will get food in your absence. Let’s get started.

Betta fish go without food 10-14 days, but there are many factors that contribute to this long period of fasting.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about leaving your betta for long periods of time. You will learn How Long Can Betta Fish Survive Without Food and the different methods you can use to feed them while you are away.

Natural Feeding Process of Betta Fish

The first thing you need to know when planning your betta’s care is how they feed naturally.

In the wild, betta fish are carnivores and are constantly on the lookout for insects in the water.

They also find and eat small crustaceans and larvae. Not all hunts are successful, so betta fish in the wild have to go without food for many days.

The internal beta version retains some of this functionality, albeit to a lesser extent. Therefore, not eating for a short period of time will not adversely affect them.

Fasting is a natural part of a betta fish diet and you can easily go on short trips without worrying about your fish’s health.

Regular fasting for your betta fish

Even when not on vacation, many betta owners will fast their fish one to two days a week.

Alternatively, a “daily” feeding schedule can help ensure that your betta is not overfed and that they have time between meals to digest their food.

Always make sure the food you are giving your betta is high quality and fresh. Add a weekly treat of live or frozen foods to round out their diet.

How long can a betta fish go without food?

As mentioned earlier, betta fish can survive 10-14 days without food. However, this does not apply in all cases. And there are some conditions for that.

In the wild, betta fish can survive for more than 10 days without proper food. This is because food is scarce in their natural habitat, and their hardy bodies are used to the cycle of starvation.

However, the betta fish in the aquarium are different. Betta aquarium fish are not used to hunger and can get very stressed if they are not fed for a long time.

However, bettas are still generally hardy fish. They can survive without food for 10 days to two weeks.

However, keep in mind that betta fish are very weakened in this state and may be more susceptible to disease. Even if your pet isn’t starving to death, it’s still not a good idea to leave your pet without food for long periods of time, as stress and illness can cause death.

How long can a betta go without food depends on some major factors:

1. The Health of Your Betta Fish

You have to remember that there are different species of betta fish. Also, there is a difference in fitness between wild betta and aquarium-bred betta fish. And not all betta fish will react the same, even when faced with the same environment.

How long your betta fish can go without food depends on their age, physical ability, and health. It also depends on whether they can stay stress-free and disease-free.

Everyone knows that a healthy and sick Betta fish will not have the same ability to withstand hunger and stress, right?

A younger betta may be able to handle stress better, but an adult may have more fat reserves to draw upon when hunger strikes. Two fish will not react exactly the same way.

Remember that you should never fast your betta fish for more than a few days. This should not be a regular occurrence either.

Healthy Betta vs Unhealthy

2. Betta Fish Tank Size

Try to use a tank larger than 5 gallons for betta fish. A smaller tank will need to be cleaned more often.

If you keep your betta fish in a small tank, the tank water will quickly become contaminated. And these polluted waters can be harmful to betta fish. It’s more dangerous than your betta fish not eating for a few days.

If you keep your betta fish in a larger tank, the tank water will be less contaminated when you are out or on your tour.

3. Filtration system of the Tank

The presence and quality of the filter in your tank is another factor that determines how long can a betta go without food while you’re away.

The filter helps remove all the dirt, food waste, and other particles in the tank. An unfiltered tank will require more time for you to maintain, but depending on how long you plan to leave it, an unfiltered tank will accumulate a lot of dirt that would have been easier to remove if a filter was available.

4. Tank Environment for Betta Fish

Betta fish prefer warm water. A temperature of 78 to 82°F is ideal for them to live. If the water temperature drops, the Betta fish’s immune system will decrease, and your fish will get sick. Keeping betta fish at the right temperature is essential for their health. When you are leaving your betta fish alone for a few days, care must be taken to ensure that the water temperature does not drop in any way. For this, you can use a good heater.

5. Give your Bettas day and night!
Bettas are from shallow tropical waters; they need periodic sleep and rest.

Bettas need periods of darkness and light every 24 hours to stay happy and healthy. Use a timer switch to turn off lights in the evening when you’re out.
For lighting, you can use LEDs. It provides a bright, attractive light with excellent longevity.

Betta Fish Care While on Vacation

What happens if your betta go without food?

Not eating can even benefit your betta for short periods of time. Even if your betta doesn’t eat for a day or two, he won’t starve immediately; the waste will be processed and excreted in his body.

This is why, for some betta fish, fasting becomes part of their regular diet, especially if they suffer from ailments that cause them to be bloated or lethargic. Fasting can be beneficial for betta fish if done for just a day or two.

However, if you go too long without food, your beta will get sick.

As with any living thing, depriving it of food deprives it of nutrients that can be used to fuel its body. Your betta fish will become weak and lethargic, stop moving after 10-12 days of not eating, and eventually die.

In addition to feeling lethargic and weak, you may also experience stress. Stress can weaken the fish’s immune system and cause illness.

How To Feed  Your Betta and Keep Healthy While You’re Away

If you have to leave your betta alone for a few days, there are a few things you can do to feed your betta while you’re away.

Use an Automatic Feeder

The biggest obstacle you will face on your journey is feeding the betta fish regularly.

Even though they can live without food for a long time, that doesn’t mean you should be willing to give them up, especially if you can do something about it.

To ensure your beloved betta is fed, purchase and use an automatic feeder. This device dispenses small amounts of food at regular intervals and is adjustable for as long as you need it. This means your beta will have something to eat even if you don’t have to go and feed it.

Be sure to adjust the feeder correctly to avoid overfeeding.

What to check while using an automatic feeder

If the automatic feeder is incorrectly calibrated, it can overfeed your fish. So check it thoroughly before using it.

There are many cheap automatic feeders available on the market. But they break easily. Even all the food can be thrown into the tank at once. This can pollute the tank water and kill the fish.

For that reason, use a high-quality automatic feeder, as they are less likely to break.

Keep high-protein food for them in the feeder

Betta fish are carnivores. They need a high-protein diet. Keep a variety of high-quality foods in the feeders for them. Which will keep your betta fish healthy. So put food in your automatic feeder that will nourish your betta fish and help them stay healthy.

Some of the best foods for Betta fish

Betta fish are carnivores. They should eat a protein-rich, balanced, and varied diet. To keep your betta happy and healthy, they need variety in their diet.
Here are some foods that will give your beloved betta fish the necessary nutrients and help it live a healthy life.

  • Bloodworms
  • Daphnia
  • Brine shrimp
  • Fairy Shrimp
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Wingless fruit flies
  • Mysis Shrimp.
  • Vinegar Eels
  • Pellets/flakes specially made for betta fish

Another Feeding option is “vacation Block Feeders.”

There is also another feeding option known as a”Block feeder”. These rather large blocks are placed in your tank before you go on vacation and slowly break down in the tank, releasing food as they break down.

Fish can’t eat more than they need because it takes a long time for food to come out of the block.

However ‘holiday block feeders’ are not recommended as they pollute the water and we have seen many comments and reviews where they have dangerously elevated ammonia levels which can be harmful to your fish.

The other problem with feeder blocks is that if they are left in the tank for too long, the food will start to rot and decompose, which then starts to produce large amounts of ammonia and release it into the water. Ammonia is extremely deadly to fish, even in small amounts, and if too much food rots, your filter won’t be able to handle it.

Health problems from overfeeding

An inexperienced caregiver can easily overfeed an opportunistic beta. Regular overeating can lead to unhealthy weight gain, bloating, constipation, and swim bladder disease.

This way, a short period of fasting will not harm Betta and will give his digestive system time to process the food.

Bettas have small bellies, about the size of their eyes. As a result, they need very little food.

Generally, a healthy dose and schedule of 2-3 beta pills twice a day are recommended.

Health problems from underfeeding

Aside from the obvious starvation, letting your betta go days without food is dangerous to their health.

Not only does this increase their stress levels, but it also weakens their immune system, leaving them vulnerable to bacterial or parasitic infections. Chronic starvation can lead to organ damage and eventual failure.

How Long Can Betta Fish Fry Live Without Food?

Adult bettas are different from baby bettas, so you may be wondering how long a baby betta can go without food. Young betta fish have slightly different aquarium conditions and nutritional requirements. When Betta fish are young, they need more care and feeding. You cannot leave your beta fry for more than 3 days.

Because young betta fish are actively growing, they have a faster metabolism than adults and need nutrients to maintain a healthy body. Lack of food during growth disrupts the growth and health of beets. Young bettas should be fed 3-4 times a day, which is double the amount needed by an adult betta.

If your betta is new, you can leave it alone until it starts swimming. At this time, the beta baby receives the necessary nutrients from the egg sac. However, once the fry starts swimming, you need to be careful how you feed them if you don’t want to jeopardize your betta’s health.

You should use them only if you have no other options and they are not recommended.

Before leaving your betta fish, there are a few things you must do

Do a partial water change of the Tank

Although betta fish can survive without food for some time, they must always have access to clean water. Otherwise, even if you use auto-feeding, you may revert to a sick or dying beta.

Clean and refill your beta tank before leaving. Change at least 50% of the water. If you get water from your tap, a water softener will remove chlorine and other contaminants.

Check The Environment of the Tank

Betta fish are sensitive to temperature and need to be kept in a warm, well-ventilated area. If you live in a cold area, make sure your heater is on and maintains a stable temperature.

Additionally, do not place the tank near direct sunlight or areas that generate strong heat. Too much sunlight can drastically change the temperature of your tank, causing excessive algae growth.

Ensure Betta’s Health Before Leaving

Take necessary precautions to ensure that your fish do not get sick in your absence. Make sure they are healthy before you leave home.

Observe your fish a few days before your departure; If they are sick, take the necessary measures to treat them quickly. If your beloved pet is healthy, there is nothing to worry about, and you can proceed as planned.

Even if what you can do is somewhat limited, knowing your pet’s health will at least not surprise you when you return.

How To Prepare A Betta Fish Tank Before You Go Away

By preparing well before your trip, you can minimize the effects of leaving your aquarium and betta fish unattended for long periods of time.

To keep your tank in ideal condition before departure, you need to keep your betta’s stress level low and withstand about 3-4 days of fasting.

Even if you have to leave your betta tank alone for 10-14 days, you can avoid stress-related illnesses and general health problems.

If you plan to leave your aquarium alone for 10-14 days, these steps will help prevent illness and stress-related illnesses. If you follow these steps, you have a good chance of restoring a healthy fish and betta tank.

Keep your betta tank’s conditions Optimal

If you have to leave due to an emergency, you probably won’t have much time to do it before you have to go away.

But if you have time, clean the tank and change the water. This will keep your betta healthy. If you leave your tank in poor condition, it will lead to poor health for your betta. Before going out, make sure that the water and tank are in good condition.

Depending on how much time you have before departure, you can divide the stages of preparing the tank condition into three timelines.

If you have A week before leaving

  • Check the tank’s filtering system and change or clean clogged filter media.
  • Siphon gravel to remove the remaining food and debris.
  • Test the water quality using an aquarium test kit. Make sure the pH level is between 6.8-7.5.
  • Trim all aquatic plants and remove dead plant matter.
  • Check all the tools in your betta tank to make sure they are working properly. Check that filters, heaters, air pumps, automatic feeders, light fixtures, etc. are working properly.

The day of your Departure

  • Ensure the water temperature is somewhere between 75-80°F.
  • Perform a larger-than-usual water change: 80% for small beta tanks (less than 5 gallons) and 50% for large tanks (5-10+ gallons).
  • Even if your betta is in a community tank, do a 50% water change.
  • Do a simple health check on your betta fish.
  • Just before you leave, feed your betta the same amount of food as you normally would.

If it is absolutely necessary that you go out and you have no time to prepare in advance, you should arrange for a fisherman to pick you up.

Give the fish sitter some easy-to-follow guidelines to follow

  • Leave in a container of tap water for 48-72 hours, and then do a 50% water change.
  • Give the fish sitter guidelines on how much and when to feed the betta fish. Be sure to make it clear to your fish sitter that underfeeding and overfeeding are both harmful to beets.
  • Betta Fish is a master at jumping. Make sure that the lid is on the tank properly, so that he cannot jump out of it.
  • But the lid of the tank should have holes through which air can flow easily. Make sure your betta has plenty of room for oxygen to reach the surface of the water.

Check the heater of your betta fish tank

Bettas are tropical fish, so their tank temperature should ideally be in the 75-80 degree Fahrenheit range. This is the best range for bettas health. In this range, their color will remain bright, and they will be active.

If you plan to leave your tank unattended, follow these steps:

  • Make sure the heater is working efficiently, and set the water temperature to 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid placing the aquarium in direct sunlight, especially if it is a small aquarium. This can cause sudden temperature changes and overheating, which can have negative effects on your beta.
  • Place the tank in a place without air bubbles, away from cooling vents and heaters.

Control your tank lights with a timer to maintain a daily schedule

This is a precautionary measure. That keeps your betta fish’s stress levels to a minimum. Following a daily schedule is a great way to self-regulate your fish.

It will be stressful for Betta fish if they don’t get light while you are away. Again, keeping the lights on constantly will cause bettas to feel stressed. Just as we do when we stand in the sunlight for a long time or keep the light on for a long time, or are in the dark for a long time, fish also feel discomfort.

If you set the tank on a timer for 8-10 hours of light and the rest of the time in darkness, your betta fish will rest in the dark and swim and explore during the light.

Place a secure lid on your betta fish tank.

Betta fish are used to feeding at surface level, and they often use their labyrinth organs to come up in the air.

Because the water quality will eventually decline, if you are away for more than 3-4 days, the bettas will come more for oxygen and will even try to take a break for it.

Making sure your tank has a secure lid is the only way you can prevent a betta from jumping out of the tank when it is unattended.

They are good jumpers, and even though your betta hasn’t jumped out of the tank yet. Yet a sudden deterioration in water quality causes stress for the bettas in it. In this condition, they may try to jump out.

It is better to keep it safe so as not to be sorry after returning!

Make sure your betta fish has enough oxygen

Betta fish are part of the suborder Ambantoi. In short, the betta fish is a type of freshwater ray-finned fish with one characteristic that all fish in this subclass share. It is a labyrinth organ.

This unique organ allows bettas to obtain oxygen directly from the atmosphere above the water.

This is how this amazing fish can survive in wild habitats with insufficient oxygen, such as rice fields, slow-flowing waters, and large ponds.

It is important to allow the betta fish to supply its own oxygen at the surface.

All you have to do is:

Make sure the tank lid has an unobstructed ventilation area.
Do not fill the tank to its maximum capacity.


If you’re planning to go on vacation, keep this complete guide in mind to keep the beta safe while on vacation. Let’s summarize the important points we have learned here.

A Betta fish can survive two weeks or 14 days without food.
Fish health, water treatment, and tank size are the most important factors in determining when it is okay to leave a betta without food.
Baby bettas need more food than adults and cannot go more than 3 days without food.
Proper preparation before leaving the aquarium will help keep your fish healthy and active while you’re away.
With these precautions and tips, you can plan your next trip for up to two weeks without having to worry about your fish. Pay attention to all the advice and avoid mistakes that could be fatal for your fish.

Question:- Can I leave my Betta fish without food for two weeks?

Ans:- Although betta fish can survive up to two weeks without food, they should not be kept without food for that long. Have someone to feed them or use an automatic feeder.

Question:- Will fasting my Betta fish improve their health?

Ans:- Fasting is beneficial to prevent problems caused by overeating. But it should be done for 24 hours every 10/12 days. Never fast your betta fish for long periods of time.

Question:- Can overfeeding harm my Betta fish?

Ans:- Overfeeding can cause many health problems for betta fish. They may experience bloating and constipation. Their bellies look white and very large. Their immunity decreases. If the uneaten food is not removed immediately, the ammonia level in the water can increase and that can be very harmful to the fish.

Question:- How Often And How Much Should You Feed A Betta Fish?

Ans:- Betta fish need a small amount of food each day. A betta fish diet should consist of high-quality pellets and live food. To give your betta the best possible diet, feed him small portions twice a day.

How long can bettas go without food?

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