How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

Last Updated on August 6, 2020

There is always a possibility that you will not be at home for a certain number of days because of a lot of reasons. Something may come up and this will prevent you from following the regular feeding schedule of your betta fish. This situation may make you worry that your betta fish will starve to death.

How long can betta fish go without food? Let’s discuss this so you don’t have to worry so much the next time you can’t be home to feed your fish.

Can your betta go a week without food?

A betta can survive for a week without food. If it has been living in a well maintained betta fish tank with optimal conditions, then this can even extend another week. A betta fish will survive for 14 days without food but do not make this a regularly occurring pattern of starvation.

On the 5th to 7th day without food, your betta will starve and will rely on its fat storage.

At this point your betta fish’s immune system weakens. If you keep it in a very healthy environment and fed with nutritious food, then it has a stronger immune system and this will delay its being prone to disease.

Your betta fish can enjoy a day or two without food since this will clear out its digestive tract. Having too much food can lead to constipation, bloating, and eventually lead to dropsy which is very difficult to treat.

Related: Best Food for Betta Fish to Keep it Full and Well

Can I leave my betta fish for a week?

When you have a weeklong vacation planned it is best to make sure that your betta fish will be in a suitable environment while you are away.

Perform a partial water change a day before you leave

This will minimize all the harmful substances such as ammonia and nitrites in your tank. Expect that your betta fish will produce waste while you are away. This will slowly increase the amount of ammonia and nitrites.

Make sure you have a fully cycled betta fish tank and that it has a good filtration system

This will deal with the produced ammonia and nitrites while you are away. Beneficial bacteria called Nitrosomonas will consume ammonia and convert it into nitrites. Next will be Nitrobacter which will consume Nitrites and convert it into less toxic Nitrates. A good filter in a cycled tank will give you peace of mind that the ammonia and nitrites will not increase while you are away.

Ask someone for help

If you have a trusted family member or a friend who is responsible enough not to overfeed your betta then you can request them to feed your betta once a day while you are away. The disadvantage of this would be overfeeding. You can prepare small packets of food in small ziplocks and label them for every feeding. Although you can’t really control anyone’s impulse to overfeed a fish while you are away. Be sure to explain why overfeeding will be hazardous for you fish.

Try automatic feeders or “vacation blocks”

An automatic feeder is a device that can be times to dispense food to your betta fish at certain times and a specific amount per day. This is an excellent choice if you can’t find anyone to do the feeding. The disadvantage to this is that water vapor can get inside it causing mold to form in the fish food or making the fish food too sticky that it doesn’t get dispensed. Place it at a height that will prevent water from the water surface of your tank from splashing into the feeder.

Vacation blocks are compressed food that you can put into the tank. It releases food slowly into the water throughout the days you are away. The disadvantage of this is you cannot control the amount of food entering your betta fish’s tank at all.

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food

How often should you feed a betta fish?

You can feed your betta fish twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. Make sure that the amount of food you give them is consumable in 2 to 5 minutes. Remove any excess especially if you are using processed food. This will contribute to more ammonia in your fish tank.

Perform a test run with your automatic feeder a few days ahead of your vacation with this feeding schedule programmed in. This will give you more time to tweak the feeding time and amount to your liking.

Related: How Often Should I Feed My Betta?

What type of foods should I feed my betta fish?

betta fish are carnivorous fish. In the wild they feed on insects, insect larvae, small crustaceans, worms, and sometimes smaller fish such as fry.

It is best to replicate this by feeding your betta fish a varied diet of high protein food.

  • Processed pellets made specifically for betta fish are a good choice. These came from high protein sources and do not have too much starchy carbs that may cause constipation to your betta. 2 to 3 pellets per feeding would usually be enough.
  • Bloodworms are a good source of protein but you should only give it once or twice a week as a treat. Live bloodworms will give your betta much stimulation but this can be a source of parasites. Frozen bloodworms are a good idea because the freezing process can eliminate parasites.
  • Baby brine shrimp and daphnia are also a good source of protein but may be inconvenient to get for beginners in the hobby. betta fish enthusiasts, especially breeders, really invest into systems to cultivate their own colony of shrimp or daphnia.


Giving your betta a day without food is actually a healthy practice. This allows your betta the chance to expel most of the food accumulated in its digestive tract. A healthy betta fish can survive without food for a week. It will survive for 2 weeks if it is an optimal environment and if it is healthy with no disease.