How Long Can A Betta Fish Go Without Food? (Expert Advice)

how long can betta fish go without food

Although betta fish have been known to survive without food for a maximum of two weeks, it is not advisable to subject them to this condition.

Betta fish need a balanced and appropriate diet to keep them healthy and maintain their overall well-being. Extended periods of fasting can negatively impact their immune system, making them vulnerable to diseases.

Furthermore, malnutrition, which can lead to severe health issues such as organ failure, can arise as a result of insufficient food intake.

Is It Possible for Betta Fish to Survive for a Week Without Food?

The answer is a resounding yes! Based on our experiences, betta fish can go without food for several days with no harm to their health.

💡This is because betta fish can enter a metabolic state known as torpor, which reduces their need for food. Torpor will produce physiological changes in the fish, such as slowing the heart rate and temperature, that allow them to survive long periods without sustenance.

Many of us in the aquaria industry have seen firsthand that an individual Betta can survive long distances without weekly meals. In fact, when we are transporting our fish from Indonesia to the US, we are required to fast them for an entire day before packaging them up and sending them on their way.

The journey generally takes between 6-7 days before they reach our transhipper in USA. Even then, the majority of Bettas arrive safe and sound after foregoing any food during this period.

EpicFishTank Note:

Proper packing is crucial to maintaining their well-being during transportation. We have observed that placing the fish in a spacious plastic bag with a water and air ratio of 30% and 70%, respectively, allows them to move without restraint and minimize stress and injury.

Several factors can determine how long a betta fish can survive without food when there is no one around to feed them. Some of these factors include:

#1 The health and age of your betta fish

A healthy and young betta fish will have a better chance of surviving longer without food than an older or weaker betta fish. If a betta fish is already weak or sickly, going without food for even a short period can further weaken their immune system and make them more susceptible to diseases.

If a betta fish is already weak or sick, it’s best to make arrangements for someone to feed them or use an automatic fish feeder to avoid any further harm to their health.

#2 Tank size

A larger tank can provide more space for betta fish to swim and explore, and it can also hold more beneficial bacteria to help maintain water quality. In a smaller tank, waste can accumulate more quickly, leading to poor water quality, which can stress and weaken the betta fish. 

Therefore, it is recommended to keep betta fish in a tank that is at least 5 gallons in size, and larger if possible. A larger tank can help to provide a more stable and healthy environment for betta fish and increase their chances of survival in case of prolonged absence of food.

#3 The quality of the water

    It’s essential to maintain the water quality in the fish tank by performing regular water changes, ensuring proper filtration, and monitoring the water parameters such as pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels.

    A clean and well-maintained aquarium can help to reduce stress and maintain the health of betta fish, increasing their chances of survival without food for a limited period.

    How long can a baby betta fish live without food?

    starving baby betta fish before and after

    Baby betta fish can survive for about eight hours or less without food after their yolk sac is absorbed, which appears to be what you are inquiring about.

    Baby betta can feed on infusoria or artemia and other tiny creatures in the tank if it is mature and has a small spawn, which can last for a few days.

    EpicFishTank Note:

    We used infusoria or artemia as their first food. Many people use “filter sludge” as a source of infusoria, which can be obtained by squeezing a mature sponge filter into a container of dechlorinated water and waiting for the sludge to settle.

    After a few days, the fry will be large enough to consume moina, microworms and vinegar eels, and after around a week, they should be large enough for baby brine shrimp, daphnia, and moina.

    This is because if the fry have to exert effort to feed, they will consume more calories and have less energy available for growth. Conversely, if their food is easily accessible, they will consume fewer calories and experience faster growth.

    It is feasible to cultivate vinegar eels and microworms without acquiring a seed culture, but it takes longer to initiate, and there is a risk of infecting the fry tank with parasites.

    How to feed your Betta while you’re on vacation

    If you are leaving for a vacation that is less than 3 days, it is typically safe to not feed your Betta fish for that period.

    For 7 days vacations, a simple solution would be to use a Pro Balance Betta Vacation Feeder. This product contains a one-week supply of highly nutritious, slow-release food that can be used in place of traditional feedings

    For vacations lasting up to 14 days, it is best to use the automatic fish feeder; this device can be set to provide a predetermined amount of food to your Betta fish regularly

    EpicFishTank Note:

    When utilizing an automatic feeder, it is crucial to test it in advance to guarantee it is operating correctly and dispensing the appropriate amount of food. It is advisable to have someone check on your betta and the feeder periodically to ensure that everything is functioning correctly.

    If you’re entrusting someone to feed your betta fish while you’re away, ensure they comprehend the appropriate feeding amount and frequency. Overfeeding can lead to health issues for your betta, so it’s essential to measure out the appropriate amount of food and avoid overfeeding.

    To help alleviate stress and anxiety while you’re away, consider providing your betta with extra plants or decorations to hide in. Additionally, it’s worth considering conducting a partial water change before departing to maintain high water quality during your absence.

    How To Prepare Your Betta Fish Tank Before Travelling?

    If you’re planning to travel and leave your betta fish behind, it’s essential to prepare their tank beforehand to ensure their health and safety while you’re away.

    Here are some steps you can take to prepare your betta fish tank before travelling:

    1. Clean the tank

    Start by cleaning the tank thoroughly to remove any uneaten food, debris, or waste. Change the water and replace the filter media if necessary. This will ensure that the water quality is good and reduce the chances of any disease or infection occurring.

    2. Test the water

      Nitrogen cycle in the tank to ensure that the pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels are within the safe range for betta fish. Adjust the water parameters if necessary.

      3. Add live plants

        Adding live plants to the tank can help to maintain the water quality and provide oxygen to the fish. They can also serve as a source of food for the fish if there’s no one around to feed them.

        4. Provide hiding spots

          Bettas like to have hiding spots in their tank, such as plants, caves, or decorations. Make sure to provide some hiding spots in the tank before leaving to make them feel more secure.

          5. Use an automatic betta fish feeder

            An automatic feeder is a great option to ensure that your betta fish receives regular feedings while you’re away. Set up the feeder according to the instructions and test it before leaving to ensure that it’s working correctly.

              6. Find a reliable caretaker

              If possible, find a reliable friend or family member to check on your betta fish and feed them while you’re away. Make sure to provide them with clear instructions on how to care for your betta fish and how often to feed them.


              1. Youtube Video | How Long Can A Betta Fish Go Without Eating

              The video discusses how long a Betta fish can go without eating and provides information on their diet, including their preference for high-protein foods that replicate their natural diet of wild insects.

              The video emphasizes the importance of feeding Betta fish correctly to ensure they stay healthy and live longer, as overfeeding can lead to health issues.

              The transcript also lists popular Betta fish pellets and other favorite live foods, such as live mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and wingless fruit flies. It concludes by encouraging viewers to be considerate of their Betta fish’s needs and to provide them with all the necessary nutrients for survival.

              1. Quora | Can a betta fish live for 4 days without food?

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              Reza Darmesta Agustiar Avatar

              Reza is a digital marketer and an avid freshwater aquarist. He's been keeping fish tanks for more than 10 years and has always been fascinated by the delicate balance of life in water.

              Reza loves to share his knowledge about both digital marketing and fishkeeping with others, and he is always happy to help new aquarists get started in this rewarding hobby.

              Winahyu Drajat Wibisono Avatar

              Wibisono is a freshwater fish breeder who raises and breeds different species of ornamental fish like betta, guppy, flowerhorn, and goldfish. He has been in the business since 2018 and exports his fish to different countries. He is committed to providing high-quality and healthy fish to his customers.

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