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betta-fish-without-food

For How Long Can Betta Fish Survive Without Food?

If you are an aquarium hobbyist, it is obvious that you have an idea about Betta fish. Also known as Siamese fighting fish, Betta fish are one of the most vibrant and attractive fish species that you can find in almost every aquarium you will come across.

This fish species belong to the gourami family and when they are in the aquarium you will notice that they are highly territorial.

While in the wild, Betta fish are known to be carnivorous. Their favorite food comprises of insect larvae, shrimp, small worms and carrion. Those in captivity prefer feeding on flakes and live foods among others.

It is a well-known fact that aquarium fish need to be fed on a regular basis. So, what happens when you decide to go on a trip and leave your fish behind? This a common question that is asked from time to time. Perhaps you will have to look for someone to attend to the needs of your fish while you are away. But when it comes to Betta fish, you will not have to worry anymore.

So, how long can your Betta fish go without eating? Much to your surprise, this fish species is capable of surviving for about two weeks ( a maximum of 14 days) without food…

However, you should not dwell on this information and leave your Betta fish on its own for that period of time. At least you can come up with a better idea that will help your fish to survive that long without eating. Let’s find out more about what you need to do while you are away from your Betta fish.

What Should You Feed Your Betta Fish?

Bettas are a few types of fish that have upturned mouths. This means they feed right at the water surface. Their main diet consists of brine shrimp, daphnia and dried blood worm.

Sometimes this fish can become picky about what they feed on but they tend to eat their food while it is on the surface rather than being on the substrate or at the bottom of the tank. Most importantly, ensure that you provide them with foods rich in protein because Bettas are naturally carnivorous fish.

Don’t buy into the stories explaining how Bettas can survive on plant roots. All these are baseless allegations and misleading stories about the feeding habits of this tank fish.

Most of the aquarium hobbyists choose to feed their Betta fish on pellets because this type of food is simple yet effective. Pellets are less messy and are rich sources of protein that your fish need the most to grow well. You can also add a few live foods and frozen foods to their diets as a special treat to their feeding routine.

Keeping Betta Fish Healthy While You Are Away

The following simple tips will help you keep your Betta fish healthy while you are away for a certain period of time:

  • Naturally, fish are classified as cold-blooded. This should tell you that their metabolism depends primarily on their immediate environment. Those fish kept in warmer areas need to be fed more than those living in a colder environment. Since Bettas are tropical fish and cannot survive in a colder environment, you should ensure that their tank environment is conducive for their survival when left on their own.
  • Keeping your Betta fish healthy should be your major concern. In other words, you must ensure that they are kept in a stable tropical tank water temperature. And the temperature should be between 76 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too cold or too hot it can make your fish to get stressed or cause death because that is not the ideal condition for their survival. In addition, the temperature can determine how your fish feed. Low temperature changes the feeding habits of your fish by making them a little bit lethargy, thus consuming less. On the other hand, warm temperatures can speed up their metabolic rate and make them eat more food. It is advisable to adjust the temperature where your fish live to about 71 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit for better consumption of food.
  • If you know that you are going to be away for more than 4 days, then it’s a good idea to make a 50 to 100% water change before leaving for your holiday, and upon your return. Anyway, this formula depends largely on the tank size. So, it may change a little bit in relation to the capacity of your tank. Changing water plays a critical role in keeping your fish safe and comfortable within its surroundings. When your Bettas breath, they expel ammonia in the tank water along with the remnants of their food. If you don’t take drastic measures in time, you may end up subjecting your fish to unfavorable tank environment.
  • The need for a proper aquarium size coupled with perfect tank conditions should be one of the first factors to consider when leaving your Bettas for a while. Your fish will thrive better in good tank conditions as opposed to living in unfiltered tank water whose conditions are extreme, to say the least.
  • You can leave your fish in a larger tank and go away for a given period of time without worrying about their survival. A bigger tank provides the safest environment for your fish to swim around or hide when it is necessary to do so. On top of that, you should ensure that your tank has a lid complete with holes to supply oxygen to your fish in the course of your absence.
  • Provide your fish with the normal day and night conditions just like those for human beings. You can achieve this feat by ensuring that your tank receives equal hours of direct sunlight and darkness to keep your fish active or let them take a rest when it’s appropriate.
  • If you are using automatic fish feeders in your tank, make sure that they are not in use while you are on vacation. These devices can overfeed your fish, leading to food wastage. Also, the devices tend to fail from time to time, making them not a good option to use in your absence.
  • It is estimated that Bettas can survive without eating for two weeks although it is not encouraged to leave them without food for that long. Anything beyond 6 days can compel your fish to start tapping into their reserves and eventually result in starvation. Therefore, the recommended time you can leave your fish without food is 4 or 5 days.

Before leaving your fish without food, you need to make sure that they are in good health. Sick or weak fish cannot stay without food for an extended period of time. As such, take your time and check your fish to be sure that they can stay almost two weeks without eating while you are on vacation.

The best way to keep your Bettas healthy and strong is to ensure that their tank conditions are favorable for their survival. To begin with, the water temperature should be between 76 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Never let your tank water to get extremely cold or hot because your fish will get stressed or even die.

Ways of Extending the Lifespan of Your Betta Fish

Betta fish are tropical freshwater fish and they come in various shapes and color patterns. Their lifespan is three years on the average. The following factors will determine the life expectancy of your Betta Fish:

  1. Your Bettas can live longer if you keep them in the right tank conditions. Ensure that the water in your aquarium is clean with all the required parameters.
  2. Male Bettas are distributed once they are one year old. This is the time their colors and fins are visible. On the other hand, females are sold when they are six months old and their life expectancy is somehow higher than that of the males. But male Bettas are preferred by most aquarists because they are vibrant and attractive.
  3. When purchasing Betta fish for your aquarium, pay close attention to those that are strong and healthy. Most importantly, you should obtain your fish from a reliable fish store. If you notice that some fish are showing the following characteristics, don’t buy them: Ripped fins, Skin discoloration, Injured body, Protruding eyes
  4. Take those Bettas that are colorful with crystal clear eyes
  5. Make sure that the Betta fish of your choice has the best response time.

Final Thought

Betta fish are some of the most beautiful and vibrant aquarium fish you will ever encounter an aquarium setup. These tropical freshwater fish are known to be territorial and prefer feeding on the surface. Given that Bettas are hardy fish, you can leave them without food while going on vacation for a period not exceeding 5 days.

These fish can stay without eating for about 14 days (two weeks) but you are not advised to let them stay that long without eating unless you risk losing them. Should you plan to go on a short holiday with your Bettas left at home, ensure that their tank conditions are favorable for their survival.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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