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

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.


Top [2023] 9 Best Betta Fish Food – Betta Feeding Guide

Best Betta Fish Food

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The colours, health and energy levels of your betta fish are greatly influenced by their diet and how much or little they are fed. It’s important to ensure you’re feeding your pets high quality, good food that’ll enhance their well-being. So, here are our recommended 9 Best Betta Fish Food to help look after your pets.

Comparison Table

Even fish can be picky eaters, and finding a food that they might take to while still being nourishing can be a bit of a challenge.

A variety of high-quality, high-protein fish foods for you to try with your betta are mentioned below.


Top [2022] 9 Best Food for Your Betta Fish

Best Betta Fish Food Reviews


1. Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets

The Hikari Betta Bio-Gold Baby Pellets are a great option simply because they float. Since bettas prefer to eat on the surface, this floating grain is more palatable.

Floating pellets can also allow you to track how much your fish have eaten, helping to avoid overfeeding and the risk of uneaten food polluting water quality down the track.

It’s made up of high-protein fish meal, which is dehydrated and concentrated fish meat.

These granules also contain stabilized vitamin C to promote a healthy immune system. Along with natural enhancers that assist in keeping the color of you betta vibrant.

The pellets are small and it’s recommended you feed your betta between 5 to 10, 3 times a day depending on their size.

4.8/5 STARS


  • Floats
  • Color enhancers
  • Vitamin C
  • High-protein


  • Inconvenient packaging
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2. Fluval Bug Bites Granules

Fluval Bug Bites Granules are 40% composed of black soldier fly larvae, making it a very nutritious food option for bettas and other fish.

In addition, it contains a number of other high-quality ingredients helping to strengthen fish skin, fins and scales. Ingredients like whole salmon, rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6. They also contain amino acids, essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet.

Fluval is made in Canada and contains no artificial colors, preservatives or fillers. It’s processed in small batches, which ensures the highest quality product your fish will love.

4.7/5 STARS


  • 40% Black fly larvae
  • Rich in Omega 3 & 6
  • Slow sinking granules
  • No artificials
  • Small size


  • Not best choice for larger fish
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3. TetraMin Tropical Granules Nutritionally Balanced for Small Fish


The TetraMin Tropical Granules are the ideal well-balanced diet for tropical aquarium fish. It’s best for mid-level feeder fish, especially shy or juvenile ones.

The granules break down slowly. Tetra created them to minimize waste as they improve the utilization of food in the tank.

This fish food contains plenty of vitamin C and a number of other minerals and vitamins all working to enhance the color of your betta.

It’s recommended to feed bettas only a few pellets per feeding. The pellets sink relatively fast and it’s important to avoid having too much excess food resting on the bottom of the tank.

4.5/5 STARS


  • Granules
  • Inexpensive
  • Balanced nutrition


  • Sinks too fast
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4. Ocean Nutrition Atison’s Betta Food

Ocean Nutrition Atison’s Betta Food is another floating pellet option. It’s made up of 36% protein with minimal fillers providing a balance, nutritious choice.

The natural ingredients work to enhance the color of the beta fish without having any negative effect on the water.

This fish food comes in smaller grains, which is a good option for picky or smaller bettas.

We recommended about 7 granules twice a day, depending on the size of your betta. Once you’ve opened the Atison container, the contents should last for up to 6 months.

4.7/5 STARS


  • Supports color
  • Includes feeding spoon
  • Floats


  • Ingredients not quality
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5. Omega One Betta Food

If you have a beta fish that prefers granules over flakes, you could try Omega One Betta Food.

The main ingredient is salmon, with natural pigments in the skin of the salmon helping your betta to have a clear and vibrant appearance. These pellets also include herring, shrimp and halibut.

So, it’s a high-protein meal that Omega One also uses all-natural protein binders to keep the pellets from breaking down once they hit the water.

This means food scraps are easy to clean and won’t change water chemistry in the tank.

4.6/5 STARS


  • Color enhancing
  • Omega 3 & 6
  • High-protein


  • Sinks too quickly
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6. New Life Spectrum Betta Fish Food

The New Life Spectrum Betta Fish Food is packed with Antarctic krill, herring, squid, and mussels. All these natural ingredients raise the protein content and have been added to enhance and maintain the colors of your fish.

While protein is the main ingredient, this food also includes seaweed meal, along with fruit and vegetable extracts to provide a complete diet that includes all essential vitamins and minerals.

The granules are slightly larger than usual at 1mm each. They are semi-buoyant and should stay towards the top of your tank with a slow sink to the bottom.

The ingredients have been carefully chosen to be easy to digest and leave as little waste as possible.

4.5/5 STARS


  • Color enhancing
  • Quality natural ingredients
  • Main ingredients- krill & squid
  • Easy to digest


  • Finicky eaters may not like
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7. San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Bloodworms

San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Bloodworms are considered more of a treat for your bettas.

It’s important to note that you can use freeze-dried animal foods such as shrimp, krill, and daphnia to replace meals once or twice a week, but they should not be used as the main ingredient due to their low nutritional value.

They’re a great way to change up what you’re feeding your fish, particularly for picky eaters.

3.9/5 STARS (only a few reviews)


  • All natural
  • Good for finicky eaters
  • Treats


  • Not a complete meal replacement
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8. Repashy Spawn & Grow Freshwater 3 Oz JAR


Repashy Spawn & Grow offers premixed gel foods that can be combined with boiling water to form a gel. The gels can be frozen and stored as a food reserve.

It’s main ingredients are made up of krill and squid and it’s an economic and efficient option for your betta.

Preparing Repashy Premix Gel:

1. Boil some water.

2. Mix well 1 part Repashy Gel Mix with 2-3 parts boiling water.

3. Pour the solution into a mold tray.

4. These gel mixes can be cut into smaller pieces and fed directly or frozen for future use.

5. Frozen gels must be completely thawed before feeding by adding each one to warm water.

4.7/5 STARS


  • Specific for carnivor fish
  • Main ingredients: krill & squid


  • Finicky eaters may not like
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9. Brine Shrimp Hatchery Dish + 3 Months Supply of Brine Shrimp Eggs

The Brine Shrimp Hatchery Dish is an interactive, fun and economical way to keep your bettas fed. Brine shrimp are small saltwater crustaceans that lay dormant eggs that you can store for long periods of time, feeding your fish daily.

To incubate your own brine shrimp is a relatively simple process, but there are a few factors to consider.

Finding a container that you can keep aerated once you’ve added water without chlorine. For every 40 ml of water, add 1.25 grams of aquarium salt. Then add your aerator and leave for 12 hours before adding the brined shrimp eggs.

You can buy a brine shrimp hatching kit to have a consistent, live food source for your betta, whilst keeping yourself interacted and entertained.

4.6/5 STARS


  • Live food
  • Fun to raise brine shrimp


  • Not always successful when raising brine shrimp
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Betta Feeding FAQs

How Much Should You Feed a Betta Fish?

How much your betta fish should eat at one meal really depends on the size of your pet. A betta’s eye is roughly the same size as its stomach, so fish with larger eyes and size can be fed more.

You can base this on trial and error. For example, if you find granules left over after a meal, try reducing the amount of food you put in the tank.

Another option is to try soaking dry pellets in a little water before placing them in the aquarium. This will prevent them from expanding so much inside your fish’s stomach and may help regulate their appetite.


How Often Should You Feed a Betta Fish?

Bettas need to eat once or twice a day. Adult bettas can usually survive on one meal, while babies or young fish that are still growing need 2 meals a day.

It’s important not to overfeed your betta fish. If you are not at home and are skipping an evening meal, it is better to skip it than to feed twice as much in the morning.

(This article answers the question: How often should you feed bettas bloodworms?)


What Happens When You Overfeed a Betta Fish?

One of the main problems that overeating can cause is constipation. Especially when using low-quality foods with fillers that are harder to digest.

If you notice that your fish’s belly is bloated, it’s stopped wasting, or lost its appetite, the problem is likely constipation. This has the potential to become something more serious, like a swim bladder disorder. The swim bladder is a part of your fish’s body that allows it to swim up and down in the water.

More on Betta diseases found here.


What to Feed Betta Fish When Out of Food?

A betta fish can eat pieces of tuna or shrimp, so long as they’re small and you remove uneaten pieces from the tank afterwards.

You can also feed your betta boiled peas, one at a time. Ensure that you peel off the skin and cut them into small pieces.


How to Feed a Betta Fish While on Vacation?

There are a few options for feeding your betta while on vacation.

First, you can always ask some one to look after your fish while you’re away. However, if you’re only gone for a few nights or a long weekend, your betta will be fine on their own until you come back.

Another good option is investing in an automatic feeder. This is the best way to leave your fish stress-free and a lot of automatic feeders are able to disperse food accurately without over or underfeeding.

Food blocks are another great option if you’re away less than a week, but don’t want to leave your fish without food. They are designed to float in water and dissolve slowly to release small amounts of food at a time.


How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

A betta can go without food for about 14 days, so if you are concerned that the fish is overeating, it is not a big deal to go without food for a day or two.

It can also take the stress off of small vacations too, knowing your bettas will be okay.


Final Thoughts

All the Best Betta Fish Foods we’ve mentioned here have been nutritionally formulated to help your fish thrive. All of our selections are nutritionally formulated for bettas and will help them live their best lives. Our most recommended foods would be protein packed meals that include krill, squid and fish, while still including green extracts for valid minerals.