Betta Fish Not Eating: Why And For How Long?

Is your Betta fish not eating? Are you wondering why is that? There are many reasons. Some shouldn’t concern you, others should make you worried. We will mention the most common situations where your fish doesn’t eat. The problem can be connected to food and nutrition, or some health issues, even disease and stress.

Maybe you are just wondering how long can Betta fish go without food because you are going on a vacation.

Whatever the cause is you will learn why your Betta fish is not eating and how long your Betta pet can live without food.

Betta Fish Not Eating

Why is my Betta fish not eating?

We have prepared a list of nine most common issues connected to problems that cause your Betta fish to stop eating.

Picky pet fish

Some Bettas are very picky when it comes to food. As carnivores in their natural habitat, they eat almost everything that moves. Being introduced to a new home- the tank a Betta needs to adapt first and then understand the new diet which is a pellet in most cases. Give it some time.

Water temperature

Perhaps the water is too cold. Bettas like their water warm and they need special water parameters to be healthy. The water should be between 76 and 82 degrees. If the water isn’t warm enough their metabolism slows down and they lose appetite. They avoid eating and start laying at the bottom. That reflects on the issue of food. Always check the thermometer and if it shows that the water is within ideal limits double check it. They are cheap and easy to break.

Water quality

If the quality of the water changes that can affect your Betta pet. Dirty water or keeping a lot of waste at the bottom from dissolved food can produce toxic chemicals such as ammonia that can cause serious health problems.

Avoid overfeeding and keep your filter running. Also, you should do the cleaning- scooping out bottom waste and you need to perform water change once in a while.

Performing all this you will avoid many conditions.

Stress problems

If your fish is stressed many problems can arise. Stress is caused by many factors. It can be connected to bad water parameters, tank mates, light, food, not having enough space, loneliness etc.

By observing you can notice what is wrong and change for the better. Check water for the best parameters possible and provide them to your pet. Introduce a tank mate, another fish or a female. Change light or move the tank to a better place. If a tank is too small have a bigger one. Provide a variety of food because Bettas know to be picky.

When you eliminate all listed you will no longer have a pet that doesn’t eat.


In some cases, Bettas are sick. By observing you will see the change and act accordingly. Illnesses such as bacterial, fungal or parasitic can show up. Depending on the kind you should start treatment. The best first step is to check water parameters first. Then take one step at a time searching for symptoms and recommended treatment. A lot of things you can do by yourself but if that is not the case try looking for professional help.


Sometimes your Betta isn’t hungry. In general, Bettas have a small stomach the size of their eyeball. It is very easy to fill in a space that small. If you give your Betta too much food you are overfeeding it. Overfeeding is bad for two reasons. First, your Betta will stop eating and secondly a lot of food finishes at the bottom of the tank turning into waste. Observe your fish every time you feed it and you will understand how much is enough per meal.

Keeping a bubble nest

Male Bettas are known for great guardians. In some cases, they exaggerate by stopping eating. If your Betta doesn’t eat because it keeps the bubble nest all the time, simply remove the bubble nest or introduce a female to mate with.

Ammonia Poisoning

If the level of ammonia rises it will mate your fish into a lethargic state and suppress appetite.

You need to change one-third of the water and add an ammonia detoxifier.

Nitrate Poisoning

This poisoning causes the same symptoms with Bettas as ammonia poisoning and that is lethargy and loss of appetite. The fish stays at the bottom. You have to react quickly by changing fifty per cent of the tank water. It can cause other problems too so it is better if you call professional help.

Betta Fish Not Eating FAQ

What happens if you don’t feed your Betta fish?

Bettas can survive without food for days, for almost fifteen days. After that, they die. On one hand, this is individual and depends on the fish. On the other hand, it is not good to starve your pet. You won’t harm your fish if it doesn’t eat for four to five days but everything over that number is starving to certain death.

Can I skip feeding my Betta for a day?

Nothing much will happen if you skip a day. Bettas can go without food for a day. In some cases, skipping feeding should be on purpose to fast your Betta a bit. It can be beneficial too.

Can a Betta fish be without food for two days?

It absolutely can. It could be a kind of a fast for the fish. Nothing bad will arise from it.

Can a Betta fish be without food for a week?

After four to five days your Betta pet starts starving slowly. All the reserves have been eaten and it is entering starvation mode.

How long does it take for a Betta to die of starvation?

After five or six days without food Bettas start starvation mode. It lasts for several days, the reserves are gone and your fish is surely a step from certain death. In most cases, they last 14 to 15 days, in rare cases a few days longer.

Betta Fish Not Eating – Final Thoughts

 Bettas belong to rare species that survive long without food. After two weeks if left without food most of them are dead. A maximum number of days is five to sex to leave your pet fish unfed, anything longer can be fatal.  So, the best thing is not to leave your fish unattended while you are away, provide it with a lot of various food to eat and your fish will have a long and happy life.

Leave a Comment