How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

Do you know how long can betta fish go without food? This could be a common concern among these vibrant Siamese fighting fish owners. Known for their colorful display and captivating personalities, betta fish have become popular pets, each requiring its unique care and attention.

In this article, we explore their survival capabilities without food, providing advice to ensure your betta fish’s health and well-being during your absence.

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

Betta fish, in their natural habitat, often encounter periods of scarcity where food becomes hard to find. This trait of withstanding periods without food has been ingrained in their biology, enabling them to survive for up to two weeks without food under optimal conditions. This remarkable resilience is a testament to the betta fish’s hardy nature, making it a favored choice among aquarium enthusiasts.

However, while betta fish can survive these extended periods without food, it’s vital to note that this should not be the norm. Starvation puts a significant strain on the betta fish’s health, causing undue stress that can lead to adverse effects on their immune system and overall well-being. Therefore, even though your betta fish can endure fasting, it’s not a situation you should purposefully put them through.

In circumstances where you will be unavailable to feed your betta fish, such as during a vacation or a business trip, you can ensure that your pet’s nutritional needs are met. This leads us to prepare your aquarium in anticipation of your absence.

Preparing Your Aquarium Before Travel

If you’re planning on being away for an extended period, there are steps you can take to prepare your aquarium to ensure your betta fish’s stress levels remain low and its health is maintained.

Checking the Aquarium Conditions

Seven days before your departure:

  • Thoroughly inspect your filtering system and clean the filtering media. This step ensures that the aquarium’s water remains clean, reducing the chances of your betta fish developing stress-related diseases.
  • Clean the gravel to remove any debris and leftover food. This process aids in maintaining a healthy environment for your betta fish.
  • Utilize aquarium test kits to verify the water’s pH level. The pH level should ideally be within the range of 6.8 – 7.5.
  • Trim any aquatic plants and remove any dead matter. This step helps keep the tank clean and free from potential disease-causing organisms.
  • Ensure all items in your tank, such as the air pump, heater, and filter, are in good working condition.

On the day of your departure:

  • Confirm that the tank’s temperature is within the range of 75-80°F. This is the optimal temperature range for betta fish.
  • Perform a larger water change than usual. If your tank is 3 gallons or less, perform an 80% water change. For larger tanks, a 50% water change should suffice.
  • Conduct a health check on your betta fish to ensure it’s in good health before you leave.
  • Lastly, feed your betta fish, but avoid giving them a larger portion than usual.

Maintaining Optimal Tank Conditions in Your Absence

In your absence, ensuring that your tank remains optimal is essential. Here’s how to achieve that:

Regulating the Tank’s Temperature

Betta fish are tropical species; thus, they thrive best when the tank’s temperature is between 75-80°F. Ensure your heater is functioning effectively and set to maintain this temperature range. Avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight, especially if it’s small, as it can cause sudden temperature fluctuations, potentially harming your betta fish. Also, position your tank in a draft-free area, away from cooling vents and heaters.

Setting a Light Timer

Maintaining a consistent light schedule for your betta fish is crucial to reduce stress levels. If your betta fish is deprived of light while you’re away, it could be as stressful as being in constant light. Set a timer to provide 8-10 hours of light daily to help your fish maintain its regular routine of resting at night and playing during the day.

Keeping the Tank Lid On

Betta fish feed at the surface level and frequently come up to the water’s surface for air. As the water quality in the tank can decline in your absence, they might try to jump out of the tank more frequently. Thus, keeping a lid on the tank is recommended to protect your bettas from jumping out. When covering the tank with a lid, ensure it is not filled to its maximum capacity to allow space for air when the fish surface.

Feeding Your Betta Fish in Your Absence

Being away from home doesn’t mean your betta fish should miss out on their regular feeding schedule. There are 2 ways that you can resolve the feeding issue: Automatic feeder or vacation food blocks.

Automatic feeder

Here’s how to ensure they continue to get their nourishment even in your absence using an automatic feeder:

  1. Understanding the Role of Automatic Feeders: Automatic feeders are devices designed to dispense specific food portions at set intervals. They are especially helpful when you’re away and unable to feed your betta fish personally.
  2. Overcoming Picky Eating Habits: Betta fish are selective eaters, often preferring a particular diet. The food dispensed by the automatic feeder should be acceptable to your betta fish. Run a trial period of ten days to observe whether your betta fish readily consumes the food dispensed by the feeder. If not, you may need to try different food types or brands.
  3. Managing Portion Sizes: Overfeeding can lead to food waste, which decays and pollutes the tank water. Establishing the right portion sizes to satisfy your betta fish’s nutritional needs is critical without contributing to excessive waste. The trial period allows you to adjust the portion sizes dispensed by the automatic feeder, maintaining the tank’s water quality while ensuring your betta fish is adequately fed.
  4. Setting Up in Advance: Install the automatic feeder at least a week before departure. This time frame allows you to make necessary adjustments and ensures your betta fish is comfortable with the new feeding arrangement.

Vacation Food Blocks

While an automatic feeder provides a sophisticated solution for feeding your betta fish during your absence, we understand that some owners may seek an alternative due to cost considerations or other factors. This is where vacation food blocks come into play.

Zoo Med Betta Banquet BlocksZoo Med Betta Banquet Blocks are an innovative solution for feeding your betta fish, especially when you’re away. These food blocks are designed to dissolve gradually over seven days, ensuring your betta fish receives steady nourishment even in your absence.

The blocks are meticulously crafted, incorporating whole micro betta food pellets and krill – a balanced blend of nutrients essential for the health and vitality of your betta fish. As the block dissolves, these nutritious food pellets appear, providing your pet a consistent and familiar diet.

Krill, a small marine invertebrate, is a high-quality protein source that provides omega-3 fatty acids, enhancing your betta fish’s overall health and promoting vibrant colors.

While Zoo Med Betta Banquet Blocks offer a convenient feeding solution, it’s important to maintain regular aquarium care practices. This includes performing routine water changes weekly to ensure optimal water conditions, contributing to your betta fish’s well-being and longevity.

Choose Zoo Med Betta Banquet Blocks for a worry-free solution that nourishes your betta fish with minimal effort.

Following these steps, you can ensure your betta fish receives their necessary nourishment even in your absence. This careful planning and preparation contribute significantly to your betta fish’s overall well-being, allowing you to travel with peace of mind knowing your aquatic friend is well cared for.


While betta fish can survive without food for up to two weeks, this situation is not ideal and can be stressful for the fish. Hence, preparing your aquarium and betta fish adequately at least a week before leaving is crucial. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can help ensure your betta fish remains healthy and stress-free while you’re away.

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