How Long Do Betta Fish Live without Food?

If you must leave the house for a few days or a coupe of weeks and you have a Betta fish, you’re probably wondering how long can your Betta survive without food.

A healthy adult Betta can easily survive around 5 days without food. In extreme situations, most Bettas can live without food for up to 14 days. These are pretty hardy fish, as you can see!

As with all things related to fish care, there are various factors that come into play when it comes to your pet fish’s survival in case you need to go on vacation or you’re simply away long term.

We’re going to talk about all these things and offer a clear answer to your questions so that you can have an enjoyable time away from home, but also ensure that your Betta fish is alive and well when you return.

How many days can a Betta fish go without food?

Most fish – Bettas included – can easily last up to 5 days without being fed, as long as they are healthy adults. It’s not pleasant for them, but in almost all cases, it won’t cause any long lasting damage.

betta fish without food
A heavily planted tank is always a good choice

Ideally, if you go away for a while, you should find a relative or close friend to feed your fish.

In this ideal situation, make sure to leave them daily doses of fish food, especially if they are not fishkeepers themselves.

Most people with no fishkeeping experience will overfeed, no matter what you tell them. Therefore, leave them the exact daily amount that they must feed to your Betta and insist they won’t bring extras.

However, in most cases, having a friend or relative handling the feeding won’t be an option. Therefore, you’ll have to put your Betta on a diet.

As we saw earlier, Bettas can easily survive for around 5 days without any food. Most of them can go up to two weeks without being fed, although this is a bit of pushing it too far and the risk of them dying or getting sick increases.

I would never recommend you to leave your fish unfed for that long. But in extreme situations when you really have no option, it’s good to know that they might still make it out alive.

The good thing is that Bettas, like other fish, will try to eat some of the algae in their tank – if any is available. However, in most Betta tanks, the existing quantities will be minimal (if any).

This means that your Betta will get no food for the entire duration you’re away. It’s perfectly fine for 5 days, but never leave them unattended for more than 2 weeks!

However, if you are like me and prefer heavily planted tanks, then your fish will have more chances of survival as there are more natural sources of food available.

If you haven’t named your Betta yet, make sure to check out my list of recommended Betta fish names to find a great one for your pet.

Preparations before leaving your Betta unattended for several days

If you know you’re going away for a while, some preparations might be useful to increase your Betta’s well being.

betta fish lasting without food
That algae on my aquarium glass might not look nice, but it could offer a bit of nutrition

Some people try to feed them a bit more than usual for a few days before their leave. This way, they might add some extra weight – but I personally doubt the usefulness of this. I never saw an overweight Betta, so I don’t think the “extra weight” really adds up.

However, it won’t hurt to feed your pet a bit more, as long as this doesn’t mean that you just pollute the water with uneaten food that falls down to the bottom and rots. That’s worse than anything!

Also, don’t change the water in your Betta’s tank for 3 days before leaving (to allow some algae to build up), but make sure that the water is crystal clear. Dirty water decreases your fish’s chances of survival.

Finally, right before going, make sure to feed your fish a final meal. Leave the heater an water filter on (if you have those), but turn off any lights. A timer for the lights would be ideal, but having them run non stop for up to two weeks is too much.

You also have the option of adding the so-called “vacation feeders” or Betta blocks. These are larger chunks of food that your betta is supposed to feed on while you are away.

However, I never had any real success with these. I actually believe that they can do more harm than good, because there’s always the possibility that the food will rot and influence the water quality.

If you really want to use one, use a smaller block feeder – those that are labeled to be enough for 3 days. Anything more than that will be overkill for one betta.

Best option for your Betta: use an automatic feeder!

However, there is one extremely amazing piece of equipment that can solve your feeding problems: an automatic feeder.

I personally recommend this one (affiliate link), which can hold up to 14 individual feedings or in other words last 2 weeks. This would definitely solve the problem and you can enjoy your time away without having to worry about the well being of your Betta.

With one of these automatic feeders, you can be away for up to a month and still get home to a happy Betta. Or at least a living one.

However, if you’re only going away for a few days or up to a week, your Betta should have no problem surviving without food, so there’s no real need to get an automatic feeder.

Especially since sometimes these are unreliable and could result in overfeeding or not working, especially if not properly used.

I never had problem with mine, but I’ve heard some stories from other aquarists about some feeders malfunctioning. This is why you should only get solid, tested ones, like the model recommended above.


Most fish are very hardy and can survive long amounts of time without food. Bettas are included here and even though there are hardier fish in terms of food consumption, these are doing really well too.

So if you take all the precautions and you have a healthy fish, you should have no problem if you leave it home without food for several days – even a couple of weeks in extreme situations.

And now that we’ve answered the questions, why not check out some more details about Bettas, like whether or not they can eat human food. Interesting to know!

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1 thought on “How Long Do Betta Fish Live without Food?”

  1. Thanks for the useful information. I once went on an unexpected business trip, so I couldn’t prepare food for them. And it’s really fortunate that after 4 days I returned to find them alive and healthy. But later on, I prepared an automatic feeding machine for case that were away for so many days


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