How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

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Betta fish are very popular because they are beautiful and easy to care for, don’t require a big aquarium, and can be left alone for a couple of days. But how long can bettas go without food?

Bettas can survive without food for quite a while, some say that bettas can go without food for up to 10-14 days. However, this long starvation will put your pet in a really bad condition toward the end. Its weakened immune system would make it almost inevitable to get a serious disease.

I recommend you not to starve your fish for more than 4-5 days, which allows them to stay in good health. If you want to leave your house for a longer period of time, then it is best to find someone who will feed your fish occasionally.

If this is not possible, then there are other alternatives as well. In this article, we are going to share some additional tips about how to ensure that your Betta is well-fed while you are on a vacation. We are also going to talk about why vacation feeders and automatic feeders are a complete waste of money.

What to Feed Betta Fish When Out of Food?

If you are out of betta fish food and you don’t have the chance to buy some food in the next 3-5 days, you can prepare the food yourself. I’ve written a detailed article about how to make food at home for your betta fish.

Never feed your betta feed bread or junk food that humans will eat. Also don’t feed your fish cat or dog food, because these will pollute the tank water and make your betta fish sick.

When out of food, then you can start thinking about what foods you have in your kitchen. Most vegetables are out of the question except spinach, boiled peas, lettuce and cucumber. You can prepare a tiny amount of either of these and give it to your Betta fish.

However, if you can find some meat at home, then it should be always prioritized over veggies. The best thing you can do is to boil some chicken meat in plain water. Salt or other flavors are not healthy for Bettas. Other meats that are acceptable include beef, pork and tuna, but only if the tuna is packed in water.

The ones packed in oil are way too fatty for your Betta fish to consume. Keep in mind that they consume meat for protein content and not for fat content. Those meats that are recommended for Bettas and are a bit fattier should be fed to your fish as occasional treats.

Otherwise, it can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea and bloat.

Should You Use an Automatic Feeder?

Although buying an automatic feeder might seem like the perfect solution to your problem, this is often not the case. In general, we would not recommend you to use any of the available automatic feeders at all. They are not worth your money and are not recommended to use without any supervision.

The main problem with them is that they dispense too much food throughout the day. This also means that there will be a lot more leftover food. If you are on a vacation in the meanwhile, then you won’t be able to remove it. As a result, the water will be more and more polluted thanks to the decaying food.

The water would quickly become cloudy and it is going to be a question of whether your filter can deal with the ammonia spikes or not. If not, then the water can potentially become dangerous for your Betta fish.

Are Vacation Feeders Good for Bettas?

Vacation feeders are just as dangerous as any automatic feeder. Although your fishes will surely have something to eat while you use them, they will cause a lot more harm than good. You need to take into account that there is no one to deal with the water pollution caused by the vacation feeder while you are away.

On the day when you arrive at home, you will only find a messy and cloudy tank with your Betta fish floating motionless. There is literally nothing you can find in the market that is automatic and reliable enough so that you can leave for a vacation with peace of mind.

If you want to, you can test it out and see it for yourself before you leave for your vacation.

How to Feed Your Betta Fish on Vacation?

The answer is simple: Ask a friend or one of your relatives to feed your fish. Bettas don’t even need to be fed every day if that is an issue for them. However, it would be nice if your fish could get some food every other day.

As we mentioned, Bettas are relatively fine without food for about 4-5 days. Any more than that and the risk of getting infected by diseases will increase as their immune system weakens. When you ask your friend or neighbor to take care of your fish, make sure to leave strict instructions.

After all, that person might not be experienced in fish keeping so you better not leave anything to be confused about. All you need to include on a piece of paper are feeding instructions and dates when the water changes need to be done.

If it is not a problem, then also ask your friend to remove the leftover food once your fish has done eating. This helps a lot because it can greatly reduce water pollution on the long term.

Add Live Food to Betta Aquarium

A great way to keep your Betta fish well-fed for a while is to keep live creatures in your aquarium. You can add some glass shrimp, daphnia, brine shrimp or any other creature that can be considered as live food for Bettas.

Out in the wild, they constantly hunt for them, as pretty much all the above-mentioned creatures are available in their natural habitat. The best thing about keeping them is that your Betta will occasionally eat one of them when he gets hungry.

This can ensure that your fish has enough live food to eat for several days. Since the creatures are alive, they won’t pollute the water that much until they get eaten. Compared to automatic feeders, this approach ensures that there is way less pollution going on in the aquarium.

It is also a great way to take care of the dietary needs of your Betta fish while you are on a one-week vacation. You can try this out at any time, as your pet is going to have a lot of fun in the meanwhile.

Wrapping Up

We can conclude that it is acceptable to leave your Betta fish without food for about 5 days. Anything more than that can put the health of your precious little pet at risk. It might seem like there are some great options out there with all the vacation feeders and automatic feeders.

It would be great if these feeders would know exactly how much food your Betta needs. Unfortunately, they don’t, which is why people end up with plenty of leftover foods instead that pollute the water. Go for the simpler option and ask one of your friends or relatives to take care of your Betta fish.

Or, buy some live creatures and your fish is going to enjoy hunting on them. You can even perform an experiment by putting a few of these creatures in the tank and watch how long it takes for your Betta to eat them.

This way, you will know exactly how much of them you are going to need if you plan to leave for a one- or two-week vacation. Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out how to ensure that your Betta is well-fed while you are away.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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