Skip to Content

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Between 10-14 Days

Betta fish are one of the most common types of pet fish, and they’re often inexpensive to purchase. They can go without food for a few days before becoming unhealthy.

They don’t require much attention, but they need to be fed regularly. All betta owners need to know how long their betta can go without food before it starts to die from starvation. 

Although the fish survive for a long time, it is not good to starve them without offering any food. Make sure to feed the fish regularly to retain its healthy life.

How Long Can Betta Fish Go Without Food?

TypeDuration
Betta fish go without food10 to 14 days
Betta fish life expectancy2-5 years

Betta fish are one of the most popular pets in the world. The length of time it goes without food is for 10 to 14 days depending on the age of the fish, their metabolic rate, and how often one feeds them.

If humans went without food for very long, they’d starve to death. Fish that survive freezing in winter may still be alive after 10-11 months without food. Common goldfish (cold water) can survive about 3 years (3-5 times longer than they live in captivity). 

Some small tropical fish can go 15-20 years with little or no food. Oxygen consumption measurements determined the metabolic rates of these fishes under various temperatures and feeding frequencies and a study of model species foraging on this time scale.

When it comes to betta fish, some get hungry quickly, and some go days without food if they are healthy and well-fed. The ones that can go long periods without food are usually older or ill or inbreeding conditions when females do not eat just before laying eggs to conserve their energy for reproduction. 

RECOMMENDED
How Long Do Flies Live (And Why)?

Others may refuse to eat in response to water chemistry changes, stress, illness, light intensity changes, tank mates becoming too aggressive towards them, etc., which makes it difficult.

The largest factor determining the length of time it goes by starving is metabolism – some betta fish have a greater capacity to stay alive longer.

Why Would Betta Fish Go Without Food For So Long?

A betta fish is an incredibly beautiful ornamental fish. The tank setup they require is minimal, and they can be kept in many different types of tanks. 

This makes them perfect for people with little space, sensitive to smells, or those who want a challenge. It is well known for its bright colors and elaborate finnage (fin-like appendages), which aids in attracting mates.

The betta fish can go without food for this long because of a reserve food storage in their large intestines. Betta fish can store fat from the time of feeding, allowing them to access energy when hungry. 

When food is scarce, this reserve provides them with the energy they need to survive on stored fat reserves instead of going hungry and spoiling any chance at survival. By allowing themselves only a few bites of food every few days, their fat reserves are kept intact, and they hoard a great amount of body mass for times when more substantial foods become available again. 

This trait is seen in some reptiles, including snakes, turtles, alligators and crocodiles, where they have been observed going three months without eating.

However, betta fish’s lives should not simply be about sitting pretty in their tank—they need attention. Therefore, keep the water clean as it’s very important to keep the water clean because it’s what they breathe. Change 30% every week with plain ole regular tap water that has sat out for 24 hours before using.

RECOMMENDED
How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live (And Why)?

Conclusion

A Betta fish, scientifically known as the Siamese fighting fish or simply betta for short, is a freshwater ornamental fish. Keep in mind that dirty water can kill any aquatic life living inside, so make sure to keep the water clean.

Overall, it can survive up to 10 to 14 days without food. The metabolism of a healthy betta energetically supports fasting periods over 24 hours and can readily go without food for 10 to 14 days while still swimming around. 

This is because the digestive system operates at such a low level that little or nothing is absorbed during the fast, and there’s no need to use energy for digestion. 

In reality, even though betta fish have been observed going weeks without food, they do need to be fed regularly, and it is best not to starve them.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0066185668800019 
  2. https://meridian.allenpress.com/journal-of-parasitology/article-abstract/100/3/368/6441/Phylogenetic-Analysis-of-Parasitic-Trematodes-of