How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

Betta Fish

Feeding our betta fish is always an exciting and joyful experience. As they swim up to the surface during feeding, it creates a special bond between us and our fish. However, sometimes we have to leave our beloved betta fish unattended for a certain period of time, due to various reasons, including business meetings, work, or even vacation. In these situations, it is quite obvious to worry about the health of our betta fish. You might also find yourself wondering how long can betta fish go without food. Will they survive until you return?

In this article, we will discuss whether it is okay to leave your betta fish unattended for an extended period and how long can Betta fish survive without food. We will also mention some useful ways to keep your betta fish fed when you are not there. So, let’s learn everything about betta fish care.

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

A betta fish can usually survive up to 10 to 14 days without eating food. However, as the stomach of the betta fish is significantly small, even a gap of 5 days can harm your betta fish. If your betta fish is healthy, it can go without food for 3-4 days without any significant issues.

Several factors can influence how long can betta fish survive without food, such as the size of the tank, the health condition of your betta fish, and tank filtration.

  • The Size of the Tank:

The water conditions of the tank play an important role in the survival of your betta fish. Small tanks tend to become dirty more quickly than bigger tanks. Therefore, if you have a fish tank of 3 gallons or smaller, you have to clean it more often than the bigger ones. Besides lack of food, poor water conditions can also kill betta fish.

  • The Health Conditions of Your Betta Fish:

Betta fish’s health conditions, including their age, metabolism, stress levels, and other health issues play a significant role in determining how long can betta fish go without food. For instance, older bettas tend to go longer without food compared to younger bettas as they have more fat reserves and slower metabolism.

  • Tank Filtration:

The survival of your betta fish also depends on whether your fish tank has a filter or not. The purpose of a filter is to keep the tank water fresh and liveable for betta fish by eliminating food scraps, debris, and other particles from the water. An unfiltered tank will create an unhealthy environment for your betta fish and eventually harm them.

How to Keep Your Betta Fish Fed When Unattended?

When you have no option other than leaving your betta fish unattended, you can still keep your betta fish fed by following any of the below-mentioned methods.

  • Use Automatic Fish Feeder:

An automatic fish feeder is useful for keeping your fish fed when you are not there. You have to attach this device to the tank properly and then program it for a periodic dispense of food. This automatic feeder has a small container where you can put the food. You can also set the feeding frequency so that the device continues to dispense the food after a certain period of time. However, one of the major drawbacks of automatic fish feeders is that it can result in overfeeding. Therefore, use the automatic feeder only when you are away. You should also check whether the feeder is suitable for your tank set-up and verify its functionality so that it works properly when you are not there.

  • Ask Fish Sitter:

When you are leaving your fish for a few days, you can ask someone who can look after your betta fish in your absence. Ask your friend, family, or neighbor whom you can trust for the job. You can also take service from a commercial fish sitter and pay for the service. However, before you leave your fish, you should inform the fish sitter of all the necessary details about your betta fish and ask them to contact you in need.

  • Use Block Feeder:

If none of the above-mentioned options are available to you, you can go for a block feeder. There are multiple large blocks in a block feeder that contain food and break down periodically to release the food into the tank. However, there are two major issues with the block feeder- i) it can cause overfeeding, and ii) it will make the tank water dirty. Therefore, only use a block feeder when you have no other choice.

Wrapping Up

If you are planning to go on a trip for a few days and want to leave your betta fish unattended at your home, then first of all, you should know how long can betta fish go without food. A betta fish can survive up to two weeks or 14 days, however, their health conditions will start to deteriorate after 5 days. To keep your betta fish healthy when you are on vacation, you can use an automatic fish feeder, ask someone to take care of your fish, or even use a block feeder. Besides relying on any of these solutions, you should make sure that tank and water conditions are optimal for the survival of your fish. You should also check the water’s pH level, examine the filtering system, and verify the tank temperature. Hopefully, your betta fish will stay healthy and safe until you return.


Can a betta fish survive 3 days without food?

If your betta fish is healthy and the tank environment is safe, then it can easily survive without food for 3 days, without any significant issues.

Can a betta fish go for 5 days without food?

A healthy betta fish can go for 5 days without food in an optimal tank environment. However, a gap of 5 days is a bit too long and it could weaken your betta fish. So, in this situation, it is better to use an automatic feeder or ask a fish sitter to take care of your fish.

Can a betta fish live for a week without food?

Most betta fish will survive a week of no food. However, as a responsible owner of betta fish, you should not keep your betta fish unfed for this long. This is because a long starvation may cause permanent damage to your fish. Therefore, you should always consider options like an automatic feeder, fish sitter, or block feeder to keep your fish fed in your long absence.

How frequently should you feed your betta fish?

As the stomach and intestines of a betta fish are very small in size, this fish can digest food quickly and release undigested matter. This is why betta fish requires small but regular feeding. In general, a betta fish requires two to three times meals every day.

Hey! I'm Srima, a travel lover and food enthusiast. On my blog, I share my adventures exploring different cultures and cuisines, hoping to inspire others to embark on their own exciting journeys.