How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food? (Guide For A Vacation)

Are you wondering, how long can betta fish go without food? Hopefully, if you are, it’s because you’re leaving for vacation.

Everyone worries about their pets when they go on vacation. Are you wondering if they’ll be okay without food? Or, are you wondering how you can still care for them while they’re gone?

Keep reading to find out how to keep your betta fed and healthy. This way, you can enjoy your vacation without any worry.

In general, a betta fish can survive about two weeks before it will starve to death. But, just because it can live this long without food doesn’t mean it should.

Is It Safe For Them To Go Without Food?

Going a few days without food isn’t going to harm your betta.

But, betta fish shouldn’t go more than a few days without food. Going too long without food can leave them susceptible to illness. It may also cause problems with their organs.

If you’re only going away for a weekend trip, then it might be okay to leave your betta unfed. But, any longer than that, and you’ll need to keep your betta fed.

How To Keep Your Fish Fed Over Vacation


Not sure how to keep your fish fed on vacation? Here’s how:

Enlist A Friend Or Pet Sitter

The best thing you can do for your fish is to have someone come and check on them every day. If you can, hire a pet sitter that has experience with fish. This can even be a friend or family member who has fish.

If you don’t know anyone with experience and can’t hire a sitter, you can always coach a trusted friend. Write down clear instructions for them to follow. Tell them exactly how much to feed and when.

Even better, prepare the food beforehand. You can put each serving inside a small bag or container. So, when it’s time to feed, the sitter will give your fish the exact amount that it needs.

Use An Automatic Feeder

The next best option is to use an automatic feeder. These are great because they give your fish a specific amount of food at the same time every day. They are adjustable so you can ensure your fish get exactly as much food as they need.

Just make sure that you try out the feeder for a week before your vacation. Otherwise, you won’t know how much food the feeder is providing. You could come home to a dirty tank.

Use Slow-Release Foods

Lastly, you could try slow-release foods. These are designed specifically for vacations. The food will dissolve slowly over one to two weeks, providing your fish with just enough food.

Be careful with these foods. Some don’t break down well and may leave your tank dirty and gross.

How Else Can You Prepare Your Fish For Vacation?

Making sure your betta fish has food isn’t the only thing you need to do before leaving for vacation. Fish need consistency, and the smallest changes can stress them out. Prepare your home before leaving for vacation to ensure their aquarium is good to go.

Buy A Timer For The Lights

Fish need a proper day and night cycle just like we do. Without it, their rest can be disturbed, they can become stressed, and they may even die.

So, you won’t want to leave their aquarium light on the entire time you’re away. This would prevent them from having nighttime!

If you use artificial lighting, it’s best to keep your fish in a routine. Turn your lights on and off at the same time every day. The best way to do this — whether you’re on vacation or not — is with a timer.

You can buy a timer at the pet store that hooks up to your light. It will automatically turn your lights on and off every day so you don’t have to.

Make Sure Your Filter & Heater Are In Good Physical Condition

Before leaving for vacation, be sure to inspect your filter and heater. Make sure they are in good working order, and if they’re not, buy new ones!

If your filter goes out while you’re gone, the tank may become very dirty. Depending on how long you’re gone, a broken filter may be enough to kill your fish.

A broken heater may also kill your fish.

If the heater shuts off, the water could become cold quickly. The sudden change in temperature could shock your fish. Even if the temperature change doesn’t kill your fish, it could weaken their immune system. This will leave them susceptible to sickness.

A broken heater could also malfunction. If this happens, then the heater may not shut off when it reaches your desired temperature. Instead, the temperature will continue to climb. This leaves your fish exposed to boiling temperatures. Your fish may go into shock, die, or may jump out of the tank trying to escape the heat.

Plus, keep your house temperature as close to normal as possible. Many people shut off their thermostats while away on vacation to save money. But, this could kill your fish. Cold and hot home temperatures will affect your aquarium’s temperature with or without a heater.

Make Sure Your Betta Is Healthy

Before leaving, you should make sure that your fish is healthy. If it isn’t, consider delaying your trip if possible. Start your fish on any medications that it may need before you leave. If you can’t delay your trip, show your sitter how to distribute the medication.

If your betta lives in a community tank, you should move the sick fish to a quarantine tank. Otherwise, the illness may spread and you may come home to a tank that is completely contaminated.

Clean The Tank Before You Leave

You should clean your aquarium every one to two weeks. So, if you’re going on a longer vacation, then you’ll want to clean the tank right before you leave.

Also, make sure that the water level is good and top off your tank if needed.

Do A Trial Run

It’s always best to do a “trial vacation” before leaving for the real thing.

For example, if you’ve bought an automatic feeder, start using it a week before you leave for vacation. This way, you can see how much food the feeder dispenses, and you’ll be able to adjust it to the perfect amount.

This is also a good practice for slow-release foods and automatic timers.


Betta fish can live for several weeks without food, but it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for them to do so.

A betta’s digestive system is tricky, so it’s easy to overfeed them. So, if you’re just going on a short weekend trip, it’s probably better to let them fast while you’re gone.

If you’re going on a longer trip, please take steps to keep them fed. A trusted pet sitter is your best bet. But, you can ask friends to step in, buy an automatic feeder, or get slow-release food too.

Take a few simple steps to keep your betta fed over vacation and the trip will be more enjoyable for both of you!

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