How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food? [Complete Guide]

When in the right tank and living environment, bettas are active, curious and entertaining fish, with vibrant colors and full fins. They can actually survive without food for a considerable amount of time. Here, we’ll cover How Long Betta Fish Can Go Without Food.

 How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

A healthy, well-fed betta can go without food for approximately 14 days, however it’s not a sustainable way to feed your fish.

About Bettas

Bettas, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are one of the most appealing and sought-out species in aquarium shops around the world. They belong to the gourami family, known to be territorial in their habitats.

Bettas tend to have a diet consisting of insects, larvae, shrimp, small worms, fish flakes and pellets.

Being a predatory fish, they have a short intestine. This means their feeding frequency is lower compared to other fish species. They thrive best on only a small amount of food a few times a day.

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food

Can My Betta Survive a Few Days Without Food?

There’s a common myth that bettas need a day or two every-once-in-a-while to digest unprocessed foods in their bodies. However, in reality fish experience significant physiological stress when their routines, such as eating consistently each day, is disrupted. This stress can cause losses to the fish’s muscular mass, corporal score and immune system, which can lead to disease.

That said, if you’re not taking weekend trips that often, your betta will survive a short period of time without food. You can also take a few precautions to keep your bettas safe during your holidays.

Slightly reducing the temperature of the water will slow down the metabolism of the fish, along with limiting the daily light for the aquarium to 6 hours instead of 12 hours of daylight. With the reduced photoperiod and lower temperatures, the betta will burn fewer calories and that could cause them to feel less hungry.

Should I Overfeed my Betta Before I Go?

It’s recommended you keep to your regular feeding schedule and amounts in the days leading up to before you leave.

Overfeeding can pose additional concerns such as water quality degradation in the tank, obesity and problems in the animal’s digestive system.

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8 Factors That Determine How Long Betta Fish Can Go Without Food

There are various aspects that can affect or benefit the health of your fish while you’re away on holiday. The overall health of your fish impacts how long it may be able to survive without food.

1. Water Quality

Bettas, like other fish, release ammonia into the water. This substance can impact water quality and may become toxic to the aquarium.

We recommend doing a few tests before you leave to check nitrogenous levels, along with doing water changes or periodic maintenance to keep the water clean and pure, if necessary.

Ensuring you have a filtering system that suits the size of your tank is a way to keep your aquatic environment clean.

2. Fish Health

Ensuring that your betta fish aren’t showing traits of being sick or weak is important being leaving them to fend for themselves. Such traits include having dulled colors or droopy, frail fins.

Ill fish can’t survive for a long period of time without food and proper care, so making sure they are living in a nourishing, comfortable tank environment is the best way to keep your betta’s health in check.

3. Temperature of Water

Betta fish do require a heater for them to thrive. The water temperature should be kept at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler water can kill betta fish, as their immune system will slow and make them susceptible to illness. It is OK to reduce the temperature a little for short periods of time. Reducing the temperature slows their metabolism, thus they won’t need to eat as much.

4. Check Your Tank Equipment

Fish that are well-fed and kept in suitable parameters, are more adaptable to changes, such as leaving them alone and without food for a weekend.

Therefore, double-checking that the equipment keeping your aquarium stable are still running smoothly and without malfunctions is a good step. This way, you can trust the tank’s water environment to remain in a perfect, clean condition.

5. Don’t Keep Bettas in Small Bowls

Betta’s are most likely to thrive in aquariums of at least 15 gallons, with heating and filtration systems. A big, well-matured planted tank can support a betta for weeks. The larger the tank, the greater the animal’s life support.

6. Don’t Use Vacation Feeds.

Vacation feeds is an advertised way to distribute food by using solid feeding blocks that slowly dissolve into the tank water.

This type of feed is often low quality and usually come in gel or bock form, which isn’t suitable for betta’s mouth.

Ultimately, the vacation ration will dissolve in the water, leading to an ammonia spike and a toxic water environment.

7. Regular Day and Night Cycles

Bettas should have a normal day-to-night cycle, especially in the days leading up to you going on your small vacation. Feeding your betta the same amount of food as usual is necessary, to avoid overfeeding before your leave.

A lot of aquariums may have a canopy light above the water instead of natural lighting. Getting lights that can be set on a timer means that your betta may still keep their routine of day and night, creating a less stressful environment.

8. Tank Size

Smaller, unfiltered tanks are more likely to have polluted water conditions and can be detrimental to your betta’s health.

Larger, filtered and planted tanks provide an environment more suitable for thriving fish.

 What to Do When Going On Longer Vacations[Complete Feed Guide ] How long Betta fish can go without food?

Whilst betta can technically survive without food for two weeks, there are plenty of protocols you can put in place if you’re going on a longer vacation.

Preparing Betta Tanks Before Leaving on Vacation

Stressed-out fish can be avoided by creating a stable tank environment for the time you are away. Following similar steps to shorter vacation leaves, making sure all your equipment is in working order, and temperatures and lighting will remain consistent will all contribute to happy and healthy fish.

Automatic Fish Feeder

Automatic fish feeders will consistently disperse food to your betta’s every day. Mechanical motor feeders are a popular option, assembling their contents using a small container before dispensing them with rotating pieces.

Always making sure to read product reviews to ensure you’re investing in a feeder that won’t malfunction while you are away.

Asking Someone to Look After Your Fish

If an automatic feeder doesn’t sound like an option you’re into, asking a family member, friend or neighbour to feed your fish while you’re away can save you plenty of stress.

Teaching the pet sitter how to feed correctly, watch out for the aquarium, see danger signs and perform simple emergency maintenance means that your betta and tank can remain in fine condition whilst you’re enjoying your holiday.

How Long Can Betta Fish Fry (Babies) Go Without Food?

How Long Can Betta Fish Fry Go Without FoodBetta fry, which are baby bettas, get nutrients from the egg during the first few days of their life. After that, they can be fed 3-4 small meals a day.

Like virtually all vertebrates, baby fish cannot live without food for more than 30 hours. It’s recommended to avoid going on trips with newborn fish at home and avoid using automatic feeders, or get someone to watch them.

Final Thoughts

Betta fish can be left alone and without food for short vacation of a few days. Any longer and it’s recommended to employ to use of an automatic feeder or pet sitter.

The quality and stability of your aquarium environment can also impact How Long Betta Fish Can Go Without Food. So, make sure your tank is filtered and clean while you’re away.