How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food? - AC Aquarium (2023)

Bettas are some of the most popular pets in the hobby. It’s easy to see why, with their bright colors, interesting behavior, and ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions. And like all living creatures, they need food to survive.

Keeping the fish fed and healthy is one of the biggest responsibilities of a Betta keeper. But sometimes, there may be situations that mean you won’t get to feed your fish for an extended period, such as during a trip or a vacation.

Here’s the important question: how long can Betta fish go without food?

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food? - AC Aquarium (1)

In this article, we will explore the feeding habits of Betta fish to find out how long they can go without food. We’ll also cover the potential consequences of underfeeding or overfeeding Betta fish, as well as offer tips on how to feed your Betta properly.

How Long Can a Betta Fish Go Without Food?

In the wild, Bettas can live for days to even a few weeks without getting proper food. This is because food can be sparse in their natural habitat, and their hardy bodies are used to entering cycles of starvation.

However, aquarium Bettas are a different thing. Aquarium Bettas aren’t used to starvation, and they can experience significant stress if not given food for too long.

That said, Bettas are still hardy fishes overall. They can go ten days to two weeks without eating and still survive.

Keep in mind, though, that Bettas in this state might be very weakened and are more vulnerable to diseases. If starvation doesn’t kill them, the stress or some disease will, so it’s still not a good idea to leave your pet unfed for a long period.


What Happens When Betta Fish Go Without Food?

If it’s just short periods, going without food can even be beneficial to Bettas. They won’t immediately starve if they don’t eat for a day or two, but their bodies will process and excrete the waste in their bodies.

This is why fasting is often a regular part of some Betta fish’s diet, especially if they’re suffering from something like bloating or a disease that leaves them lethargic. Fasting can be beneficial to Bettas if only done for one or two days.

However, going too long without food will make your Betta sick.

Like any living thing, depriving them of food is depriving them of nutrients that they can use to fuel their bodies. Bettas will be weakened and lethargic, and will most likely not move a lot until they die of salvation within two weeks of not being given food.

Aside from lethargy and weakness, they will also likely suffer stress. Stress lowers the immune system defenses of the fish, which can then be an avenue for disease.

Tips for Keeping Your Betta Healthy While You’re Away

There are a few things you can do to help keep your Betta healthy while you’re away:

Buy an Automatic Feeder

The biggest hurdle that you will face while you’re away is feeding your Betta fish regularly.

Even if they can survive for long without food, that doesn’t mean that you should willingly let them, especially if you can do something about it.

To make sure that your beloved Bettas are fed, buy and use an automatic feeder. This device will dispense small amounts of food at regular intervals and can be set for as long as you want. This means that your Betta will have something to eat even if you’re not there to feed it.

(Video) How Long Can A Betta Fish Go Without Eating ~ You MUST Watch Before Your Feed Your Betta

Just be sure to properly calibrate the feeder to avoid overfeeding. Some of the best options you can buy right now include the Petbank Automatic Fish Feeder, the FISHNOSH Automatic Fish Feeder, and the FREESEA Aquarium Automatic Fish Feeder.

Test Your Automatic Feeder

It’s also worth keeping in mind that automatic feeders might overfeed your fish if they’re improperly calibrated, so be sure to test them out beforehand.

Be sure to purchase high-quality equipment as getting a cheap one may result in harm down the line. Cheap feeders break easily, and might even dump all of their contents into the tank, polluting the water and killing your fish.

Only choose high-quality automatic feeders, as they are less likely to break.

Feed Them a High-Quality, Varied Diet

A varied diet is important for maintaining the health of your Betta, so make sure that your automatic feeder is stocked with a variety of fish food.

Some feeders will let you load specific portions of food for your Betta, which would be ideal for your Betta’s health while they’re away. Offer a mix of high-quality dry and wet foods, as well as the occasional treat such as brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Although – if you can only get the automatic feeder for a single food, don’t worry, your Betta will remain healthy.

Do a Partial Water Change

Betta fish can survive for a certain period without food, but they must always have access to clean water. Otherwise, you might just return to a sick or dying Betta – even if you’ve been using an automatic feeder.

Make sure to clean and refill your Betta’s tank before you leave (at least a 50% water change). If getting water from the tap, using a water conditioner will remove chlorine and other contaminants.

(Video) How long can betta fish live in a bottle?

Double-Check Their Environment

Betta fish are sensitive to temperature and need to be kept in a cool, well-ventilated location. If you live in a cold area, make sure that you have the heater on and that it will maintain a stable temperature.

Additionally, avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight or near strong heat sources. Excessive sunlight can drastically alter the temperatures of your tank, not to mention promote excessive algae growth.

Consider Getting Them a Tank Mate

If you’re going to be away for an extended time, consider getting a tank mate for your Betta. While Bettas don’t feel lonely like humans do, a companion in their tank will continually stimulate them and give them something to do while they can’t see and interact with you.

Just be sure to choose a compatible species, as Bettas can be territorial and may not get along with certain types of fish.

Ask Someone to Check Up on Your Betta

If you have an automatic feeder, it’s not necessary to have a person go to your house every day. However, if you’re gone for a long time (a month and more), it’s a good idea to have someone check up on your pet at least every week.

This way, they can at least monitor if your tank is stable and notify you immediately if there are changes. If needed, they can also load additional food in the automatic feeder or check to see if it’s still working right. This is especially important if you have multiple tanks.

Maintain a Standard Day/Night Cycle

If you have automatic timers, your Betta fish should follow a regular night and day cycle even if you’re not there to appreciate the view.

When keeping fish, it’s important to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible. While you might just think of lights as a way to see your pets better, fishes depend on them for their internal clocks. Having no night/day cycle for long periods might stress them out.

A standard cycle is all the more important if you have plants in your tank.

(Video) Can I Leave my Betta Fish for a Weekend?

Plants need a regular period of light to photosynthesize. Going without light for a long time might irreparably damage your plants, and dead plants can foul your tank’s water.

Ensure Their Health Before Leaving

It will be pretty difficult to maintain the health of your fish while you’re away – so make sure that they’re not sick before you leave home.

Observe your fish a few days before your departure; if they’re sick, you will want more involved care, ideally in the hands of another hobbyist. If your beloved pets are healthy, then there’s nothing to worry about, and you can proceed as planned.

Even if what you can do is a bit limited, knowing your pets’ health will at least prevent surprises when you get back.

Also Read:

  • How Often to Feed Goldfish?


Betta fish can go for several days without food and still be healthy, but it is not recommended to leave them without food for an extended period.

To ensure that your Betta stays healthy and well-fed, it is important to provide them with a varied diet and to feed them small, regular meals. Even if you’re away, you can do plenty of things to keep your Betta fed and healthy while you’re not there to give them personal care.

By following these guidelines, you can help your Betta stay happy and healthy even when you’re away!

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Can betta fish survive 3 days without food? ›

Keeping Your Betta Fish Healthy While You're Away

Bettas can live for up to 14 days without food; however, this is stressful on their bodies and isn't recommended.

How long can I leave my betta fish without food? ›

Betta fish can survive up to 10 days without food, however, this is not recommended! It is possible they may even survive a few more days than this, however, this is merely surviving and you are actually slowly starving your betta fish which can cause them to die easily.

Can betta fish live in AC room? ›

Yes, as long as you have a heater, the temperature should not fluctuate. I would make sure not to place the tank directly in front of airflow (especially if you do not have a hood top on your aquarium) to minimize evaporation.

Is it OK to not feed my betta for a week? ›

Outlined in the food and feeding guide, betta fish can go up to 2 weeks without food for a healthy adult. This is however not recommended because after about 5-6 days a betta fish starts to tap into its reserves and can enter starvation mode.

Is it OK not to feed betta once a day? ›

A common question we are asked, is “how often do you feed a betta fish?” Given their tropical nature, like most other warmer tanks, bettas need to be fed at least twice a day. This is especially important considering that many betta fish tend to be overfed, receiving large meals infrequently.

Do betta fish get lonely? ›

Do They Get Lonely? Betta fish are naturally territorial and should not be housed with any other betta fish because they will fight and injure each other, often resulting in death. They are unlikely to get lonely in their tank; however, if they are in a small tank, they may get bored.

How do I know if my betta fish is hungry? ›

When bettas are hungry, their eyes become clear and their stomachs begin to protrude outwards. If your betta is hungry and you can see its stomach, then they're definitely in need of a meal. Another thing to look out for if you think your betta is hungry is if they are hiding more often than normal.

How long do betta fish live in a 5 gallon tank? ›

In a tank smaller than 5 gallons, your betta won't live out his full life span. In an aquarium, a betta should live for 3 to 5 years. In a cramped 2.5-gallon tank, your betta won't live as long.

Do betta fish sleep? ›

While most fish are known for being nocturnal, betta fish spend most of their nights asleep, said Sara Ochoa, DVM and writer for Similar to humans, betta fish sleep at night. "They're also known for taking recurrent short naps during the day," Dr.

How warm is too warm for betta? ›

Though they can survive in such a small cup to some extent, betta fish should be kept in a minimum 2 gallon tank. The temperature should be kept at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder water can kill the betta, as the betta's immune system will slow and make them susceptible to disease.

How warm is too warm for betta fish? ›

In fact, they have a pretty narrow ideal temperature range – the most optimal being 78-80º F (s25. 5-26.5º C). Although betta fish can tolerate temperatures ranging between 72-86º F (22-30º C), if the water is outside of their ideal range, they're just surviving — not thriving.

Can fish be kept in AC room? ›

Even if you are keeping a fish tank in the bedroom you have to get rid of direct sunlight as algae can grow in the fish tank eventually. Avoid using AC in the bedroom if you have a fish tank as it can cause harm to the fish.

How often do you feed betta fish flakes? ›

Betta fish should be fed twice a day. You can take a small pinch of food in the morning, and a small pinch in the evening. You should make sure you do not overfeed them. Extra food will become waste and generate toxins when they sit in the bottom of the tank.

How often do you clean betta fish tank? ›

You need to clean a 5-gallon tank weekly, while a larger 15- or 20-gallon tank only needs cleaning once or twice a month.

Do bettas need live plants? ›

In general, plants are safe for many fish, bettas included. Both live and fake plants can provide enrichment to your betta's environment, giving them places to explore, hang out and hide in. Be sure to stick with plants that are specific for aquariums. Some live plants can be toxic to fish, especially if consumed.

What does an overfed betta look like? ›

If its belly looks swollen or distended, it indicates he's been overeating. Less Activity: If your betta is swimming less, hanging out at the bottom of the tank more, or seeming generally lethargic, it could be because it's slightly uncomfortable from overeating.

Do betta fish like light in their tank? ›

Do Betta Fish like Light? Yes, they won't like anything too intense, but a standard aquarium light is perfect. Bettas also love aquarium plants, which need an aquarium light to grow and survive.

How do I give my betta fish the best life? ›

Bettas are happiest in water that steadily remains 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Buy decorations and plants for the tank. Betta love having places to hide. Tunnels, caves, and plants (live or artificial) are all great decorations for a betta tank.

Is it cruel to keep betta fish? ›

In the cruel pet trade, betta fish (aka “Siamese fighting fish”) are fighting for their lives. Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even websites sell bettas who are forced to live in minuscule cups, small bowls, and even flower vases.

Can 2 female betta fish live together? ›

Unlike male betta fish, female betta fish can live together comfortably in the same tank. When they live together, the cohort is called a 'sorority'. Generally, a good number to keep together is 4-6 female betta fish.

Do bettas miss their owners? ›

Betta fish may not "love" their owners in the way that a dog or cat would show affection, but they will show a clear interest and affiliation with their owners. Bettas are also known to have good memories and can remember people despite not seeing them for several weeks or more.

Is it better to overfeed or underfeed a betta fish? ›

Underfeeding can be just as harmful as overfeeding. This includes using foods that aren't easily digested by bettas, or Siamese Fighting fish. Getting the feeding right is very important to your fish's health.

What does an underfed betta look like? ›

Underfeeding, however, will result in a bony, colorless betta with concaved sides and little or no fat storage near the tail. They will often clamp their fins and have a body that is very tapered (large near the abdomen where the organs are located and too thin near the caudal peduncle.)

What do betta fish look like when they are happy? ›

A happy betta will swim around their tank daily. Sometimes they will move almost lazily about, and other times they'll flit from side to side quickly. If the betta appears to have no trouble swimming and isn't leaning to the side or struggling, your betta is healthy and happy.

How old are bettas at Petco? ›

Because a Betta purchased at a pet shop is often one year old already. Males, in particular, are allowed to fully mature, so their fins and colors are well developed. Females may be sold at a bit younger age, but they will generally be at least six months old when offered for sale.

How long do Petco betta fish live? ›

Betta fish on average live to be 2-4 years old. The length of your betta fish's life is directly related to the environment you keep them in. By maintaining a clean tank and watching their diet, you can help them live a longer life.

Can you put 3 betta fish in a 5 gallon tank? ›

How Many Betta Fish Can I Put in a 5 Gallon Tank? There should be only one betta fish in a five-gallon tank. They're highly territorial, and a five-gallon will only have enough space for one, which would cause stress and other issues with overcrowding.

How many hours of light do betta fish need? ›

Effects of Not Enough Light

As stated previously, while there is no technical minimum of daily light required for betta fish, they should be able to achieve a natural sleep cycle with around 8-10 hours of darkness eachnight.

Do bettas need toys? ›

Yes, betta fish love having toys in their tank. They're a naturally curious and inquisitive fish that want to explore their surroundings. Betta's love to interact with their environment and can get bored if they don't have enough stimulation.

Why is my betta fish still at the bottom of the tank? ›

If you're not seeing other signs of stress, a Betta may be listless and laying at the bottom all the time because it lives in too small of an aquarium and/or is being kept in poor water conditions.

Can betta fish live in tap water? ›

Different types of water that you might use for a betta

If treated correctly, this water will be fine. Tap water is a reliable as it's constant and affordable water source. On average tap water tends to have good enough pH levels and mineral levels for a betta.

What do bettas need in their tank? ›

Bettas need an aquarium with at least 3 gallons (11 liters), a filter and a heater. Set up their new home at least one day before they arrive. The aquarium should be near a power source, in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon.

Can betta live in 70 degree water? ›

Betta fish need to be in water that's 78–80 degrees Fahrenheit. How should I maintain the water temperature for betta fish? Use a heater set to keep the tank at 78–80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is 69 too cold for betta fish? ›

Betta fish prefer temperatures around 80°F and tend to be much more active when kept in warmer waters. In the United States, where room temperatures are commonly between 67°F to 69°F, a betta fish without a heater is quite lethargic and may even become sick from the constant stress of being too cold.

Why is my betta's fins splitting? ›

Betta fin rot and tail rot (melt) is a gram-negative bacterial infection or fungal infection that is extremely prevalent in betta fish. More common in uncycled tanks and small bowls, fin rot attacks and begins to eat away at a betta fish's beautiful fins.

Do bettas like moving water? ›

Bettas don't like fast flowing water and will have trouble swimming. If the filter is too strong it can even pull the Betta onto the intake tube and the fish may drown. Great care should be taken when choosing a filter for your Betta. Sponge filters are a great option for Bettas as the flow can be adjusted for them.

What should you not do in AC room? ›

Avoid opening and closing the doors frequently to prevent the cool air from escaping the room. Prevent direct sunlight from entering the room. Use curtains, blinds and shades to keep the room cool. To prevent any leakage of air, check for spaces around the doors and windows and weather-strip them at the earliest.

Should we keep a bowl of water in AC room? ›

An easy way to improve the humidity in an air conditioned room is to place a few bowls of water around the room. The water will gradually evaporate into the air. For faster evaporation, use large, shallow bowls and place them in direct sunlight where they'll warm up quickly, such as a window sill.

Can you sleep with a fish tank in your bedroom? ›

However, the drawbacks are that aquariums can accumulate odors, making it difficult to sleep in the bedroom. The constant moving of the fish and working of the filter, air pump, or water pump, and lighting of the aquarium can disturb sleep.

Are frozen bloodworms good for bettas? ›

#1 Frozen Bloodworms

Given that betta fish eat small insects, crustaceans, and other meaty foods in the wild, frozen bloodworms (the bright red larva of midge flies) are one of the best foods you can provide them.

Can I put my betta fish back in tank after cleaning? ›

Replace the water you removed with fresh, treated water at the same temperature of the aquarium. Any cloudiness will dissipate in a few hours. Place your fish back in the tank when you think it is ready. Sit back and enjoy your clean tank.

How long should I let my betta sit in the water? ›

Let the water sit for 15 minutes.

Your betta needs this time to slowly adjust to the temperature, pH level, and mineral hardness of the water in the tank. If you rush these steps and do not give your betta time to acclimate to the water, it will be harmful to the fish's health.

Do betta fish get fed everyday? ›

It is recommended to feed your betta fish two to four pellets, once or twice per day. Pellets expand when placed in water and are very filling for your betta fish. Freeze-dried or fresh food can be substituted for their pellet feeding 1 to 2 days per week.

What is the best betta fish habitat? ›

They Prefer Warm Water

You should place them in warmer areas of your home, but the best environment for them will be inside of a heated aquarium. Bettas also enjoy waters that are calm and have a pH balance between 6.8 to 7.5.

Do betta like bubblers? ›

Conclusion. When bubbles are delivered by a gentle air pump and dispersed by a good airstone, many bettas will enjoy the presence of bubbles in their aquarium. Even if some individuals don't like to play in the stream of bubbles, your pet betta fish may benefit from the additional oxygen an air pump produces.

What fish can live with a betta? ›

5 Best Tank Mates for Betta Fish
  • Kuhli Loaches. These eel-like oddball fish grow to about 3.5 inches long and are great scavengers for picking up any excess food your betta drops. ...
  • Ember Tetras. ...
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails. ...
  • Harlequin Rasboras. ...
  • Cory Catfish.

Can fish survive 4 days without food? ›

However, an adult, healthy aquarium fish can generally last for three to seven days without food. Some species of pet fish can even survive a lack of food for over two weeks!

How do you keep a betta fish alive while on vacation? ›

How To Keep Your Fish Comfortable While You Are Away
  1. Keeping Your Tank Clean Before You Leave. Before you leave, you want to do a quick clean of your tank. ...
  2. Set Up Your Lights. You want to give your fish some lights when you are away too. ...
  3. Check Over Your Tank Settings. ...
  4. Ensure That Your Tank Is Safe And Functional.

How long can a betta live in a bowl? ›

Betta fish on average live to be 2-4 years old. The length of your betta fish's life is directly related to the environment you keep them in. By maintaining a clean tank and watching their diet, you can help them live a longer life. The role of tank quality.

How often should a betta fish be fed? ›

It is recommended to feed your betta fish two to four pellets, once or twice per day. Pellets expand when placed in water and are very filling for your betta fish. Freeze-dried or fresh food can be substituted for their pellet feeding 1 to 2 days per week.

How do I feed my fish while on vacation? ›

Feeding the fish is always the biggest concern while being away on vacation. The best and easiest solution is to use a battery – operated automatic fish food feeder. Like the timer one uses for the light, these feeders are programmable to feed once or twice a day up to two weeks or more at a time.

Why not feed fish on first day? ›

The thought is that a new fish will not be interested in food because it is still adjusting to its new surroundings. That may be true of the fish you just placed in the tank and this is a great example of where you have to make a judgement call vs. sticking to some black and white rule.

What do fish do all day in a tank? ›

Diurnal Fish Behavior

That might involve scavenging around the tank bottom for scraps of food, eating whatever flakes or pellets you scatter on the water surface, or grazing on the colonies of algae that grow on tank surfaces. Depending on the species, foraging for food can take up most of the fish's day.

Do bettas like still or moving water? ›

Betta's prefer slow moving or still water. This is why some caretakers swear by unfiltered tanks for their betta, replicating their natural ecosystem. Water quality, however, quickly declines in low volume unfiltered tanks.

What do betta fish like to rest on? ›

Bettas really like to sleep in large flat leaves, such as stick-on betta leaf hammocks commonly available at most pet stores. Bettas without leafy décor may find a spot on top of a flat rock or even laying on the bottom of the aquarium substrate.

Do betta fish sit around a lot? ›

They're very pretty and put on a colorful display, but you'll notice your fish primarily uses their pectoral fins to swim. Prolonged swimming can be exhausting for a small fish. This is why bettas are frequent resters. They like hanging out and taking a breather.

How old are bettas at Petsmart? ›

Because a Betta purchased at a pet shop is often one year old already. Males, in particular, are allowed to fully mature, so their fins and colors are well developed. Females may be sold at a bit younger age, but they will generally be at least six months old when offered for sale.

How long do Petsmart betta fish live? ›

Betta fish can live up to 3 years old. They can grow up to 3 inches long. A single male betta fish can sometimes be kept in a large community aquarium without any other bettas, but they should be monitored closely.

Can a betta live in a 1-gallon fish bowl? ›

Betta fish can tolerate a 1-gallon fish bowl.

Since betta fish are both aggressive and small, keeping a single fish in a fish bowl is appropriate. For betta fish, the 1-gallon fish bowl is only appropriate if there is a single fish. For more than one fish, the bowl is too small and the fish will attack each other.

Is it OK to use bottled water for betta fish? ›

Bottled spring water is a more expensive alternative to tap water, but unlike distilled water, it hasn't been processed to remove minerals and nutrients. This water will not have chlorine in it, either, so it is safe to use in betta tanks as long as the pH levels fall in line with safe betta levels.

Do betta fish need light all day? ›

Bettas, like most other animals, need light and darkness to stay physically and mentally well. Fish don't necessarily 'sleep'. They rest and conserve their energy when the night hits, but they still prefer it to be dark.

Are flakes or pellets better for bettas? ›

Most betta keepers decide to feed pellets because they are simple and effective. Pellets create less mess and you can easily portion them out for feedings. Live, freeze-dried, or frozen foods can be used as treats or implemented into their daily feeding routine too.


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