How Long Can a Betta Fish Go Without Eating?

A betta fish can survive up to 14 days without eating, but you probably shouldn’t go that long without feeding if you want to make sure your little friend stays healthy and happy.

Can My Betta Fish Survive Without Food While I’m on Vacation?

If you are getting ready to go on vacation, you have a lot of preparation to do. You’re all packed and ready to go, but will your betta fish be alright while you’re away?

If you are leaving for the weekend, you have nothing to worry about. Betta fish can easily go two to four days without food, and this will not cause any issues.

However, if you are going on a longer trip, you might want to think twice about leaving your betta without food the whole time you’re gone. While a betta can survive for up to 14 days without food, after just 5 to 6 days they can enter starvation mode. If your betta begins starving, its stress levels will increase, which could lead to disease and organ failure.

While your betta will likely survive without food for a week or even two, the stress and other issues caused by this period of starvation can lead to a less healthy fish. A betta that regularly goes for several days without food will likely end up with a shorter lifespan than a betta that is fed an appropriate amount of food on a regular schedule.

To be safe, you probably shouldn’t leave your betta fish without food for more than 7 days, and this fasting should not be a regular habit.

Pink and Red Betta

Can I Just Give My Betta Extra Food Before I Leave?

You might think that if you’re going to be gone for a few days you can just throw some extra food into your betta’s tank before you leave. This can be extremely dangerous to your betta.

While it might seem like a good idea, this can cause multiple issues for your fish. The extra food can cause your betta to overeat. Many fish will gulp down food whenever it is available, which could lead to unhealthy weight gain and even digestive distress and bloating.

Any food your betta does not eat will pollute the tank. You should generally remove any uneaten food from your betta’s tank immediately. Since you will not be present to clean your betta’s tank for a while, this uneaten food will remain in the tank until your return, creating a hazardous environment for your fish.

Can I Give My Betta a Vacation Food Block?

You may have seen little white blocks of food advertised as “vacation food.” The idea is that the block will slowly dissolve while you are away, releasing food a little bit at a time. These blocks are not recommended for betta fish.

First of all, many of these vacation food blocks do not contain adequate nutrition for a betta. Bettas are carnivorous fish that require food with high levels of protein. Most vacation food blocks are made out of plant-based fillers that are not appropriate to feed a betta fish.

Another issue is that vacation food blocks do not dissolve at a standard rate. You have no way of knowing if the block will dissolve too slowly, leading to starvation, or too quickly, leading to overeating and pollution of the tank.

How Can I Take Care of My Betta While I’m on Vacation?

Best Choice: Ask Someone to Feed Your Fish

If you have a dog or cat, it goes without saying that they will need someone to care for them while you are away. While it may seem unnecessary to hire someone to care for your betta fish during your vacation, having someone continue their regular feeding schedule is your best option to ensure your betta continues to thrive.

If you have a friend who has a betta or has experience caring for fish, they would be an ideal person to ask to feed your betta. However, if you leave detailed instructions you can ensure your betta gets high-quality care while you are away. An easy way to be sure your betta is fed the correct amount is by using a pillbox with food portioned out for each day of the week.

If you absolutely cannot find someone to come to your home to feed your fish, consider bringing your betta to someone else’s house for them to take care of it during your trip. Chances are that taking a fish on your vacation would not work logistically, but driving your betta over to a friend’s house may be a minor inconvenience that puts your mind at ease knowing your fish is well taken care of while you are away.

Another Great Option: Buy a High-Quality Automatic Feeder

You can buy an automatic feeder to feed your betta while you are on vacation.

Don’t skimp on this and buy the cheapest model you can find. Many inexpensive automatic feeders can be unreliable. They might feed too much food at once, or they might not dispense food when you expect them to.

Find a high-quality automatic feeder. The best models have a built-in timer and have compartments for you to portion out food for each day, some for as long as 14 days.

No matter which automatic feeder you choose, be sure to try it out before you leave on vacation so you can be sure it is working correctly and your betta is receiving the correct amount of food.

Final Thoughts

So how long can a betta fish go without eating? The short answer is 14 days, but the longer answer is that if you want to ensure a long, happy life for your fish, you should try not to go longer than a few days without feeding it.

Try to maintain a regular feeding schedule for your betta, even while you are on vacation. An occasional weekend without feeding your fish should not be a problem, but the more consistent their feeding schedule is, the healthier your betta will be.