How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food? We Asked An Expert!!

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Betta owners, we’ve all been there. You come home from work, and the first thing you do is race to your fish tank to feed your betta.

But what if you forget? Is it such a big deal? It turns out it might be.

We asked an expert how long a betta can go without food? and the answer might surprise you.

Bettas can go a few days without food, but how long depends on several factors. Some things that determine how long a betta fish can go without eating include the size of the tank, how often you feed your fish and how big his stomach is.

Keep reading to find out more!

How Bettas Survive Without Food

Bettas are called “fighting fish” for a reason. They can survive off the nutrients in their bodies for days, even weeks! Bettas are carnivores, which means they eat other creatures to survive. Even though they are small fish, bettas have big appetites because they are active.

When you feed your betta, he’s probably all too happy to chow down. However, how often you feed him is a big factor in how long he can go without food.

How Much and How Often Do You Need To Feed a Betta Fish

It would be best to feed your betta fish once or twice each day. Then, if they don’t eat it in two feedings, throw any uneaten food away.

This way of feeding ensures that there will always be some food available for them if they want more than what was given at the current feeding. However, this is not how to feed them if you want them to remain at their optimal weight (or better yet, lose some of that excess weight).

What Happens When Bettas Don’t Eat

If you skip a feeding, don’t worry. Bettas are built to last!

Just make sure that he has some food available at all times.

If your betta doesn’t eat for several days but has access to food, he will be fine. However, if you skip a feeding or two and notice that your betta doesn’t want to eat, there could be several reasons for this:

The temperature in the room is too low: Bettas prefer warmer temperatures, so if it’s wintertime where you live, and the temperature in your house is dropping, bettas may lose their appetite.

Your betta doesn’t want to eat: If he is not eating, it might be because he has gone through a period of disease or stress and now simply doesn’t want to eat. If this happens, don’t worry! His appetite will return as soon as his health does.

It’s also possible that you fed him too much earlier and now he is full.

Do your best to observe and decide what’s going on.

How To Feed Your Betta Fish While You Are Away

If you are away for a few days, you’ll need to arrange how your betta will eat while you’re gone.

Here are two ways you can do this;

Feeding Blocks

Tetra Vacation Tropical Slow Release Feeder Fish Food, 1.06 oz (77150)

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Feeding Blocks (pellets that dissolve slowly in the water) are an easy way to ensure your betta has food while you’re away. Unlike live foods, feeding blocks don’t go bad quickly and won’t cause any extra problems with water quality since they only release small amounts of ammonia as they dissolve.

Pros of using feeding blocks:

  • Bettas can eat as much or as little as they want.
  • The food slowly dissolves.

Cons of using feeding blocks:

  • If your betta doesn’t eat all of the food, it will rot and cause cloudy water.
  • Bettas are picky eaters and might not go for them after they’ve gotten used to another form of food.

Automatic Fish Feeder

EHEIM Everyday Fish Feeder Programmable Automatic Food Dispenser

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Automatic Fish Feeders are containers of food set to drop a few pieces into the water at certain times during the day. You can purchase them online or make one yourself.

Pros of using an automatic fish feeder:

  • Bettas can eat as much or as little as they want
  • The betta will never go hungry while you’re away

Cons of using an automatic fish feeder:

  • Bettas can get sick of eating the same thing

Should You Use An Automatic Fish Feeder?

If you are using an automated fish feeder, it is your responsibility to check how much food is being dispensed. If you don’t, the tank could become filled with more food than it needs, or you could end up starving your betta.

If you know how much food the feeder is dispensing and how often, an automatic fish feeder can be a great way to ensure your betta has food all day.

Feeding Your Betta When You Return Home

If you leave for a few days and your betta is used to eating block food, consider putting some in the tank when you return. If he’s used to eating frozen or freeze-dried foods, don’t worry! Just feed him what he’s used to.

If your betta doesn’t eat right away, don’t get worried! Bettas have been known to skip a meal from time to time…especially if they’ve been sick. So keep offering him food every once in a while until he eats.

Finally, try not to get worried if your betta picks at his food for a couple of days after you have returned home. It could take several feeding before he returns to normal.

What To Do If Your Betta Has Been Starving

If your betta has been without food for too long, it could be dangerous to feed him right away.

When a betta is starving, his digestive system will shut down. So if you feed him right away, he might not be able to digest the food, which could kill him or cause other problems in his digestive system such as your Betta becoming bloated.

If your betta has gone through any period of fasting, feed him small amounts frequently for a few days after you have returned home.

Once his appetite returns to normal, you can go back to feeding him as much as he wants.

Here are some dos and don’ts when dealing with an empty tummy:


  • Feed small amounts often (a couple of times per day) until your betta starts eating normally
  • Make sure the water is warm (73-82°F) before you feed him
  • Make sure the water is calm (no solid currents or splashing) before you feed him


  • Do not overfeed your betta! This could cause constipation or other digestive problems.

If your betta has already gone hungry for several days, start with small amounts and slowly work your way up to normal feeding amounts.

Other Tips for Feeding Your Betta Fish

Live food can also be an essential part of a bettas diet. Bloodworms are especially good for bettas but make sure they are not overcrowding the tank since bloodworms breed very fast.

Don’t forget about fresh vegetables!

Bettas love veggies like cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, and peas. Feed sparingly, though, because these foods contain lots of water that can affect your betta’s buoyancy (especially if you feed too much).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I leave my betta fish for a week?

You could leave your betta for a week without any problem. Just make sure you have enough food to keep him fed until you return.

How can I make sure my betta fish gets enough to eat?

If you’re gone for a long time, you can put some food in the tank when you leave and once or twice during your trip. If you know how much food is being dispensed by your automatic feeder, there’s no need to add any more.

How long can a baby betta fish go without food?

A baby betta can go without food for a few days as long as you’ve been consistent with feeding him before. Just make sure to feed him very small amounts when you return home.


We all know that betta fish need to be fed regularly, but what happens if we forget?

It’s no secret that betta fish need to be fed regularly. They can go without food for up to two weeks! But what happens if we forget?

If you’re like most people and sometimes forget to feed your betta, don’t worry.

First, try setting a reminder on your phone or computer.

Second, buy an automatic fish feeder. This will ensure that your betta always has food when he needs it.

Want more? why not find out how long a Betta fish can live.

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