How to Prepare Your Betta Fish Tank for Vacation?

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So you are planning to take a few days or week off and want to travel. Maybe you want to visit your family or relatives. Or just want to go on vacation.

But what should you do with your betta fish while on vacation?

This problem arises with many when they find out that their fish will be left to fend for themselves.

This article applies to whenever you might travel, not just for the upcoming holidays.

Here, we will take a look at how to prepare your betta fish tank before you leave on vacation, so you return back to as healthy betta fish as possible.

It can be a problem leaving the pets behind when you travel. You might worry that when you return, you will find your bettas dead in your fish tank.

In order to avoid that, you can take some measures to ensure they stay healthy when you’re gone. You can, of course, ask someone to tend for them during this time.

This option might not be possible for everyone, though, and it is better to take some precautionary measures before you leave. Here, we will take a look at how to prepare your betta fish tank for vacation.

Preparing Your Betta Tank

If you follow these steps, then you will be able to leave for a holiday with peace of mind that your bettas will stay healthy when you are gone.

Clean the Aquarium Filter

One of the first things you should do to prepare your tank would be to clean the filter in your aquarium. Your filter might be clogged up due to the high amount of waste already, so it should be your primary goal to clear the filter first.

When the filter is not cleaned, it will not work to its full capabilities and consequently, the water in your tank will not get filtered. This means that it will be dirty, and that can start affecting your fish. Leaving with a dirty or clogged up filter is already bad, imagine how dirty the water would be if the filter would not be working when you are gone?

It can have serious consequences for your bettas. You should be cleaning your filter regularly anyway, even if you are not leaving on holiday. But you should do it before you leave to ensure that the fish will remain healthy and the water as clean as possible. The filter will get filled after a week already, so cleaning it before you go is a great idea.

Vacuum the Substrate

The substrate can become a collection of dirt and debris, and it can affect your fish and the quality of water significantly. Depending on the type of substrate you have, it will get dirty inevitably – debris might start collecting, and that can diminish the quality and clearness of the water significantly.

The substrate is used in your tank for decorative purposes, but it also plays other important roles. The substrate can affect the ph of your water, and if it is dirty, your ph levels will be inconsistent. Additionally, it makes the tank a more natural environment, and it allows you to place plants and vegetation in it.

The substrate is also the breeding ground for beneficial bacteria. If there is too much debris there, the beneficial bacteria will not be able to spawn and your water will be bereft of beneficial bacteria.

So, before you leave, make sure that you vacuum your substrate. The whole process is pretty straightforward, and it will only take you a couple of minutes, but the effect will be massive.

Water Change

The water will inevitably get dirty once you are not there for a prolonged period. That will also happen if nobody is tending to your aquarium and actually changing the water regularly. An important thing to do before you leave would be to change the water in your tank.

When your fish are eating, there might be leftovers in the tank from the food that doesn’t get consumed. Also, the fish will inevitably produce waste materials.

The water will get dirty, and some additional unwanted substances will start to get produced – nitrates and phosphate waste, and you don’t want that in your tank.

As the water will already get dirty once you’re gone, you should take precautionary measures. Again, you should already be changing your water on a regular basis, but it is even more important to do it now before you leave.

Depending on how your tank is stocked, you should take just a small amount of water out and change it with fresh water. If your tank is heavily stocked, then take about 20% of the water and replace it with fresh water. It is very important that you do this step before you leave.

Remove Dead Plants

This one should be self-explanatory and obvious. Removing dead plants from your tank should be a part of your regular routine. Dead plants can be very harmful to your tank, not just for the fish in it, but also for the whole ecological balance of the tank.

Once the plants start to decompose, they start emitting certain chemicals that are unwanted in your tank. These chemicals can harm your bettas, and you want to prevent that from happening.

Before you leave for holiday, trim the plants that are dead and inspect whether all the plants are healthy. Even if some plants look like they might start to die, you should cut them. As you will leave, these plants might die and start decomposing, which can have a negative effect.

You don’t want to return to see your tank water green and with dead fish inside. To avoid it, get rid of dead plants and remove even the plants that are at danger of dying.

Check for Potential Diseases

Before you leave, please check whether your fish look healthy. It is ensuring that they are healthy which is one of the most important steps to do before you leave for the holiday. See how they behave, do some tests that check the fish’s health, and make sure that they look ready for you to leave.

It will be a really bad idea to leave if your fish are not looking alright. If they are ill, then don’t leave and contact your vet. If they look healthy, then you are all set to go.

But just make sure that you do all those checks that we discussed above, and that will go a long way for keeping your fish stay healthy and happy when you are gone. Checking for diseases is another important thing that you can do for your fish.

How Long Can Bettas Survive Without Food?

A couple of days without food will not result in the death of your fish. Like most creatures, fish are well adapted to food shortages and have been forced to do so when they were in their natural habitat. Their bodies will adapt, their metabolism will slow down, and they will start to regulate their movement to the shortage of food.

Ideally, you should not let that happen to your bettas at all. But if there is a crisis and they do not get fed for some reason, the bettas can last up to 14 days without food. Again, try to not let that happen – you can get an automatic feeder if there are no other options to feed your bettas.

Feeding Betta Fish While Away

There are more options than you can take advantage of in order to feed your bettas when you are away. The best option would be to ask someone to do it for you once you are gone. However, that may not be an option for everyone, and there are still some things that you can do to feed your fish. In the worst-case scenario, you can refrain from feeding your bettas if you will only be gone for a couple of days. For a longer stay away, consider some of these options.

Ask a Friend or Family

The best option to do while you are gone is to ask one of your friends or someone from your family to come to feed your fish. This is the most reliable option to do when you are gone, but do provide them with clear instructions as to what to do. Not all people know about your fish as you do, and only you know what your fish prefer.

Also, tell the person that will be tending to your fish not to overfeed them and make sure that they are fed properly and at proper times. Overfeeding can be a potential issue, so make sure to make it clear that the bettas should not be fed more than once or twice a day.

Hire a Fish-Sitter

This is also a very reliable option if you don’t have a friend or someone from the family to ask. You can find good fish sitters online or through advertisements. Although it might cost you some money, at least you will be able to go away with a clear mind. A fish sitter is surely going to be an expert in dealing with fish in your tank, and hiring one would certainly present a good option.

Fish sitters are a good option if you have no other options – you will have to pay for one, so be prepared to spend some money on a good fish sitter. At least you will be able to go on vacation in peace, knowing that your betta is being taken care of by an expert.

Buy an Automatic Feeder

Automatic feeders are a fantastic choice if you are gone for longer than a few days. These devices will help you feed your bettas while you’re away – you can instruct it when to feed it, how much to feed it, and choose the food of your choice. Some feeders are really well made and reliable, so you will be able to go away in peace.

They are also not too expensive, and you will be able to use them the next time you are gone as well. As for which feeder to choose, this is our recommendation of a good automatic feeder.

Vacation Feeders

Vacation feeders can also be an option while you are away. However, we recommend that you stick away from these vacation feeders, because they can really pollute your water too much, and that can cause major issues.

These feeders work in such a way that they release food pellets into the water as they dissolve in the water, leaving a trail of pellets. While it is a good idea, it can also lead to an abundance of these pellets in the water and consequently, heavily polluted water. It would be better to stick to automatic feeders.

Avoid Overfeeding

If you are instructing someone to help you, or you are using an automatic feeder, then you should aim to avoid overfeeding. This can have a bad effect on your fish. If you ask someone to help you, then tell them how much they should feed the bettas and instruct them to not overfeed them. With the automatic feeder, you can adjust the amount that is released anyway.

No Feeding

If all other options fail, then you always have the option to go without feeding. If you are gone for a few days only, then your bettas will survive without feeding as well.

What Food to Feed Bettas While on Vacation?

The best option is pellets, but make sure that you get the high-quality pellets that contain all necessary nutrients to keep your bettas healthy. Pellets are the most sustainable source of food, and you can control it easily.


You can now leave on holiday in peace. If you follow these tips that we have provided here, then you can be sure that your bettas will stay healthy and happy once you are gone as well. If you must leave your fish behind, then you should take these steps to make sure that your bettas will be glad to see you back even more.

Author Image Fabian
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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