How long can a betta go without food

Betta fish are some of the most enchantingly beautiful creatures you can find and it is amazing that we are able to have them as pets. It’s always the tanks of betta fish that small children press their noses up against so they can stare at their incredible colors.

As an adult, you’re probably also in awe of these wonderful creatures and love having them in your home. Not only are they beautiful but they are also interesting creatures. Betta fish are carnivores that can go up to 14 days without food. 

But, just because they can go 14 days without eating, doesn’t mean they should.

As with any pet, it can be difficult to remember when to feed them and you can often find yourself attempting to work out exactly when you fed them last. You don’t want to overfeed them or waste food and you definitely don’t want to underfeed them.

So, to keep your betta fish healthy, surviving, and thriving, we’ve put together this guide to tell you when, how, and what to feed your betta fish. We will also tell you (very importantly) what you should not feed your betta fish.

What to Feed Betta Fish

First things first, what do you feed these exotic and tropical creatures that look like they should be swimming around on a faraway planet? Meat. Yup, betta fish really love their protein.

In the wild, betta fish will eat creatures such as shrimp, other smaller fish, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and bloodworms. Your betta can also eat quite a few other creatures in addition to these, such as copepods, fruit flies, and moina. Essentially, anything that is tiny and packed with protein.

What Not to Feed Betta Fish

Although you can feed betta fish fish flakes and betta pellets, they are not the best for them. Betta fish thrive with fresh, frozen, or even live food. Processed fish food, even the ones specifically designed and advertised as betta food, aren’t the best options.

Betta fish should be fed as close to pure protein as possible, which is not what is found in fish flakes or pellets as they include other ingredients. 

Feeding your betta fish betta food and fish flakes won’t make them ill, but they can cause digestive issues. Betta fish can’t always digest the additional ingredients in fish flakes and even betta food. If you do ultimately choose to use betta food or fish flakes, make sure to at least supplement your betta fish’s diet with fresh, frozen, or live foods.

Even if you find betta food or fish flakes that you think will be great for your betta fish, that doesn’t mean that they will eat it. If your betta fish doesn’t find the pellets or flakes appealing, then they will probably ignore them.

To make sure you’re feeding your betta fish properly, read on or scroll down to the next section to find out how to feed your betta fish properly and how to keep track of their feeding schedule.

How to Feed Betta Fish

As we’ve already mentioned, keeping track of your betta fish’s feeding is important. The best thing to do is to set up a feeding schedule. Even if you just mark it on the calendar or set a reminder on your phone. 

This will stop you suddenly panicking when you walk past your betta fish’s tank and can’t remember when you last fed them. 

As we have also already mentioned, the best thing to feed your betta fish is fresh, frozen, or live food. This can be different from feeding other fish as for many you simply need to sprinkle some fish flakes or drop a few food pellets into the tank.

When feeding fresh, frozen, or live creatures to betta fish, they will take them straight from your hand. So, just grab one of the said creatures and hold it at the surface of the water. Your betta fish should swim right up and eat it from your hand.

This is a great way of making your betta fish’s life closer to how it would be in its natural habitat. Even if you make your betta fish’s tank or aquarium as close as possible to its natural environment, living in captivity will never be like living in the wild. This is why it’s so important to try and make their lives as close to natural as possible. Using fish flakes or pellets is fine, but using actual creatures will give them a much more realistic existence.

If you do choose to use pellets or fish flakes, then the correct amount is the same size as your betta fish’s eye. A betta fish’ stomach is, fittingly, around the same size as their eye so this is a good way to gauge how much they need.

How to Care for Betta Fish

Now that you know the what, when, and how of feeding your betta fish, here are a few other tips to keeping them happy and healthy.

  • Although, as already mentioned, betta fish can go up to 14 days without food, they should eat once or twice a day. 
  • As betta fish are tropical, they need to be swimming in warm waters. Make sure the water in your tank is between 74°F and 82°F.
  • Betta fish are considered to be quite aggressive creatures, but this isn’t necessarily true. If more than one male betta fish is kept in a single tank, then they will fight. But, female betta fish can live together well and with other community fish. One male betta fish can also live with other community fish.
  • A single betta fish should be in a tank with at least 3 gallons of water. If you plan on having multiple fish, the general ratio is one gallon of water per inch of fish. This is not exact but will help you make sure there is enough water and space for your fish to enjoy.