How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

Bettas are beautiful!

You seem to be happy having a shoal of betta fish, cool. But one day, you planned to go for a vacation. You packed everything hurriedly. That’s a long trip and you are excited. 

Suddenly, you remembered your betta. Now worries shadowed you. Your inner self asks you, “who will feed my betta?”

You need not worry about that. We know the solution. And we will let you know how long can betta fish go without food? Calm down…

Happy? Now move…

How long a betta can go without food?

Betta fish is one of the most beautiful pet fish. You know that. But it’s a matter of concern that how long they can survive? Because they can survive a lot more days than the others.

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?
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Betta fish usually survive for 10-14 days without food. This is huge for a small fish like betta. 

But the time frame is not consistent. Because they fluctuate depending upon the condition of a betta. 

 Like what?

Well, Humans are believed to be alive for 1 month without food. But this is for a sound environment where the other factors are okay. If those factors decline, the 1-month time frame will come to 20 or 25 days, even less than expected. The same thing goes with a betta. 

Usually, leaving the betta unattended for 2-3 days is okay. Experts suggest pausing a break in feeding. Cause, that will leave the body to digest and empty properly. When they don’t get food after 4-5 days, they start to break down their fats. This process is starvation, and it affects the body of a betta. A well-fed betta is more active than a betta that faces such long intervals. 

You need to follow some instructions to keep other things sound and okay.

What are those?

  • Tank size
  • Filtered vs unfiltered Tank.
  • Betta’s general health.

Tank Size: 

Your betta’s house should be as clean and spacious as yours.

A betta is perfect to move in a 3-gallons of the tank. This is only for one betta fish, not many. If you keep it in a community of different fishes, you need more spaces for the movement. 

Keep 1 gallon of water for every inch of a mature fish. The betta grows 3 inches long. That’s why 3 gallons are recommended.

Even the aquarium should be kept away from direct sunlight, heavy sound, and near the power source.

Enough water means a spacious room to breathe freely. If you leave less space for your betta, then they will feel suffocated and congested. Meaning they will feel stressed to go with the inclined situation. But you need maximum life with a short reserve. That’s why fill the tank with enough water.

The tank should be spacious with enough water and placed in a temperate place.

Filtered vs Unfiltered Tank:

Typically, filters rectify the waste from the water. 

In an aquarium, this is a primary need even if you care for your fish daily. Because the tank is filled with lots of plants and uneaten foods which is highly potential for producing harmful chemicals like methane, ammonia, etc. Plus, pet fishes also produce chemical waste from excrement and respiration.

Usually, unfiltered water is not harmful to the betta. They can live with it easily. But to keep in mind, the bowl must be a reasonable size. And the pet fishes have enough space to move freely.

Due to piles of uneaten foods and the decomposing plants during your absence, the water would be suffocated to the betta. Because when the water will be fresh, then it would not have any hassle to surface and breathe. But due to unfiltered water, it would try to surface frequently, and that extra attempt will cost the reserve of the betta. Meaning, this will reduce the adaptability of the betta. At the end of the day, the betta will die.

So, it’s a wise decision to attach a filter and keep the betta in a spacious aquarium. So that, it does not get died due to an excessive amount of waste.

Betta’s general health:

Before leaving your betta alone, you need to check your betta’s health. Because a healthy betta can survive more than a sick betta. A sick betta can not even take food like a sound one. This is because a sick one’s metabolism doesn’t work properly.

Betta’s are picky eaters. Feeding depends on their mood. They may eat a lot. Conversely, they may not eat for one or two days. This habit helps build up feeds in the tank. At the end of the day, ammonia and other chemical waste from uneaten feed cause sore to fins and body of betta. You don’t want that, right?

So, before leaving for vacation, check your betta’s health. Clean up the uneaten feed. Change the water fully and keep the other things active so that they don’t feel suffocated.

What does betta eat?

Betta fish is a carnivorous species. They live on meat. meaning betta fish eats protein-riched feed. 

Usually, a betta eats worms like California blackworms, mosquito larvae, blood worms, common fruit fly, house fly, and tiny earthworms. Frozen brine shrimps are on their favorite list.

But as a fishkeeper, it would be stressful for you to bring these worms and other small creatures. That’s why you need to buy frozen feeds, live feeds, flakes, and pellets.

They don’t eat plant-based feed. So giving them plant-based feed will add an extra pile of uneaten feed.


Bettas are tropical species. They stay better in between 75-76 degrees of Fahrenheit. That’s why try to keep your aquarium near the sunlight. But don’t let the sunlight fall directly on the aquarium. It will put extra speed on metabolism and will finally create stress in the body. Make sure your aquarium heater works smoothly. 

Options to do while away:

Now it is not advisable to let your betta unattended for longer than 4-5 days. Meaning before the start of their starvation. But if you have to do that, you can inform one of your neighbors to feed them once a day. Or you can hire a fish sitter. A friend of yours is the best option. You need to instruct them clearly so that they don’t overfeed them.

You can set a programmed auto feeder. There are ample amounts of auto-feeder in the market. But choose a quality auto-feeder. Keep in mind that the auto feeder doesn’t malfunction. You can give a test run while you are at home.


  1. How often should I feed my betta?

Ans: It is advised to feed betta once a day. Because they are picky eaters. But if you feed twice a day, make sure to give a small amount.

  1. Do bettas like plants?

Ans: Yes, they love plants. But don’t overfill the tank with plants. The excessive amount of plant debris will produce ammonia.

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Betta fish is a little costly. Because you need lots of things to maintain their health.

If you plan a holiday or a long tour, you need extra mileage to keep your betta happy. Their average lifespan is 3-5 years. But if you neglect to follow proper guides, you may see them dead when you return home.

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