How To Feed And Care for Betta Fish When On Vacation

You can’t bring your pet Betta fish on vacation with you. It is unfortunate, but tanks are not that easy to transport, and you do not want to complicate your travel plans. Still, how can you take care of your Betta when you are away from home?

It’s not impossible to leave a fish at home for more than a few days. In fact, many pet owners leave their fish alone when they leave town. You just need to make a plan so that your Betta is fed while you are gone. 

There are a few options to choose from. You can hire someone you trust to come in and take care of your fish for you. Alternatively, many convenient devices can keep your fish cared for as well. But I’ll get into these options in more detail later!

Really, if you plan on being away for an extended period of time it is important to have the right equipment and knowledge. There are a few things that you’ll definitely want to know before you head off to relax for a vacation.

Keeping Your Fish Fed While You Are Away 

There are many ways to go about feeding your fish during a vacation. But I’ll introduce six easy methods in this section to save you time. These are effective methods that will keep your Betta well taken care of. But some options might not work if you are away for longer periods of time. So keep this in mind! 

1. Automatic Fish Feeding Device

Automatic feeders are popular devices that will keep your Betta fish fed for longer periods of time. They are not difficult to use and are easy to find online or at a local store. Quality feeding devices can cost a lot of money. But you want to invest in the best product for your fish. This way you know they are being fed right. 

The great thing about automatic devices like these is the programmability. You can time when and how much your fish is fed. Different feeders have different options. Cheaper devices might only release food once a day. Others can be programmed for exact time intervals with exact amounts of food. 

So look into specific devices before you make a purchase. If you want something that gives you precise control of your fish feeding schedule, you will have to do some research and spend more money.

Overall though, these are convenient options for any Betta fish owner. Not all automatic fish feeders will work for weeks and weeks. But if you find the right product your fish can be fed for up to six weeks. This might seem like the perfect solution. Especially if you are planning on leaving home for a few months. 

But remember that your fish needs more than food to survive in their tank. Water changes are necessary for any Betta. Most tanks need to be changed around once a week, sometimes more if your tank is smaller.

And filters and other tank devices need to be properly maintained as well. So really, you do not want to leave your fish alone for too long. Even if they can be fed for weeks with one of these machines.

Furthermore, make sure you test your feeder before your leave. If the feeder your buy is defective or does not work well, your fish will suffer. Again, buying a high-quality device is a must in this scenario. 

But if you have to go with a cheaper automatic feeder make sure it lets moisture out. You do not want your Bettas food to get mushy and soft. Otherwise, your Betta won’t eat while you are away.

2. Keep Live Food In Your Aquarium

Another option could involve a live food source. Betta can eat other fish and sea critters. And if you want to, you can put different types of live food in your tank to keep your fish well fed. Bettas are particularly fond of baby fish or fry as they are known. 

You can place fry in your tank for your Betta, but there is no guarantee that they will eat baby fish. Other small sea creatures can be put in your tank as well. Worms or shrimp can be a good option as well. 

But see what your fish likes before you leave for vacation. And know that there are some downsides to living food. Adding live food to a tank can create more waste in your tank. Fry and other living sustenance create their own waste.

Adding some live food in your tank for a short amount of time is fine. But if you plan on leaving for over a week, I would not recommend this option. Your fish will probably be better off with a feeding device. This way the water won’t have to be changed so soon.

3. Use a Food Block

Food Blocks can be used for your Betta tanks as well. There is a wide range of food block products for you to purchase. You can even get ones that are made for your Betta.

So how exactly do food blocks work? 

These products are basically compressed fish food. They are not as advanced as automatic feeders, but they can be useful. You basically put one of these blocks into your water and they dissolve into your tank. 

How long a block will last depends on which one you choose. Some food blocks last a few days. Other food blocks can be kept in a tank for a couple of weeks. But its best to only use this product for up to six days.

Really, food blocks can seem like the perfect solution. But there can be some complications with this choice. Sometimes, the food can release unevenly, and leave your fish without subsistence for days.

There is also the issue of water clouding and waste. Food blocks can unfortunately cause your water to get dirty. Especially if they are left in for long periods of time. 

If you have a really good filter, and a large tank this won’t be as much of an issue. But consider this if you are planning on purchasing a food block. You might want to go with another option that is less messy if you have money to spend.

If you still end up getting a food block though, make sure it has the right nutrients for your Betta fish. Some food blocks are not an ideal source of food for Betta fish.

4. Let Your Fish Fast

Bettas can actually go without food for up to two weeks. You never want to intentionally starve your fish for this amount of time. As this can be cruel and unfair to your pet. But if you are going away for a short time, a small fast won’t harm your pet. 

This is one of the simplest ways to solve your vacation problem. Your fish won’t be eating, so they won’t be as much waste in your tank. And you won’t worry about having to find products or people to feed your fish. 

Bettas do not eat every day in their natural habitat anyway. So this can be an okay option, especially if you are going away on a two to three day trip. There can even be some health benefits for a short fast.

Still, you don’t want to go past the three-day limit. After this amount of time, your fish will enter into starvation mode. This will create stress in your fish’s body. And if this is done often, this could lead to illness and even death. 

Younger healthier fish will be able to handle a small fast. But if your fish is a little older or is a fry. I would not recommend this method.

5. Hire Someone Or Ask Someone You Trust

If these other solutions don’t work for you, hiring someone to feed your fish might become necessary. Personally, I think this is the best option for Betta fish while you are on vacation. Not everyone is going to be able to afford this option though.

Or maybe you don’t have someone you trust to come into your home and feed your fish. Still, if you can find someone to take care of your Betta while on vacation definitely do this! 

Just make sure you give the person detailed instructions if you are leaving for a long time. You don’t want them to put in too much food or end up killing your fish when you are away. If your fish sitter has never taken care of a fish, it might be best to just let them feed your pet.

But cleaning and tank changes might become necessary, so don’t skip over explaining how to do this. If they have some experience with a Betta or other fish it will be much easier for them to care for your fish. You can even transport your tank to your pet sitter’s house for convenience. But be careful and drive slow when moving your pet.

6. Find A Pet Store to Take Your Fish

This is an unusual care option for a Betta fish. But it doesn’t hurt to see if your local pet store will take your fish in for a few weeks. You’ll have to pay money for fish care, but some pet stores do offer this option. 

Again, not everyone has neighbors or people they trust to take care of a pet. So this can be a good alternative to pet sitting. And workers at a pet store know how to take care of fish so you won’t have to worry about them too much.

Still, there are downsides to sending your pet to a store. First off, transporting your fish can actually stress them out a lot. You want to minimize stress in your fish as much as you can, so it might not be ideal to take them out of their tank so they can be looked after. 

In addition, you don’t know what kind of diseases or illnesses might be lingering in pet store tanks. If the fish at a pet store is sick, it’s likely that your Betta will get sick. So really, I would only recommend these options if you are desperate.

How To Keep Your Fish Comfortable While You Are Away

As you can see, there are many ways to feed and care for your fish when you go on vacation. You can leave your pet home without issue for short amounts of time. But for a longer vacation, a pet sitter might be necessary. 

Regardless of what you end up choosing to do, you want to keep some other care tips in mind. Your fish needs to be comfortable in their tank while you away. The following advice will help your fish stay happy and healthy during your vacation!

1. Keeping Your Tank Clean Before You Leave

Before you leave, you want to do a quick clean of your tank. Do not forget to do a partial change of your tank water. You want to get rid of as much waste as you can while you are home. So take out around fifty percent of your water. 

Depending on your tank size, you might have to take out more or less water. Very small tanks should be changed more fully. Keep in some of your tank water to maintain good bacteria levels. But replace most of it so your fish stays healthy while you are away.

With a bigger tank, you won’t have to change as much of the water. But I would recommend getting rid of at least twenty percent of your tank water.

You also want to clean your substrate with a vacuum and wipe down your glass. You want to get as much dirt and filth out of your tank as possible. Change your filter too if it has been in for a long time. Your filter will have to work well if you want to leave your fish in unchanged water for a few weeks. 

And check to make sure that your filtering device is in top shape, and that your water looks clean before you go away.

2.Set Up Your Lights

You want to give your fish some lights when you are away too. Betta fish have a light cycle just like humans and other pets. So having a light for them while you are gone is important.

You shouldn’t keep your lights on for twenty-four hours a day. This could overheat your pet and their water. However, if you don’t have an automatic or timed light this might be a problem. It could be better to leave the lights off if no one is checking in on your fish.

But if you do have a timer on your tank lights, set it up so it turns on and off on a schedule. There are some great LED systems out there for Betta. This could be a great time to get one installed in your tank.

However, if you can’t afford a light system with a timer, just make sure your fish has some kind of light source. Betta should not be in direct sunlight, but you can place them in an area with some amount of light. This way they can stay on their light schedule while you are away.

3. Check Over Your Tank Settings

In addition to cleaning up your tank, and looking over your tank lighting, you want to check over the rest of your Betta’s aquarium. Your heating device should be set properly and work well. Your Betta should not be left in unheated water. They should stay in the right climate and the temperature should stay consistent.

Bettas like to be in temperatures around 76-81 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a warm area you probably won’t need a heater. But if it’s cold where you live or you have indoor climate control, you’ll need a heating device to control your tank water.

It might not seem like a big deal for aquarium water to change temperature often. But if your tank conditions shift too much your fish can get stressed out. So make sure everything is working right in your tank before you leave home. This way you come back to a healthy fish!

4. Ensure That Your Tank Is Safe And Functional

You also want to make sure that pumps or other devices are functioning correctly. If you have a filter with a pump, check over any tubes. Ensure that there are no leaks, and your pump system is working well.

Make sure your filter and heater is plugged in and turned on too. And check over the settings so everything is right for your Betta.

Lastly, your tank wires should be placed around your tank safely. Most aquarium devices are waterproof and shockproof. But you never want to risk your pet’s life. So check over this before you leave as well. 

Bart Sprenkels

I have been keeping multiple aquariums since I was 18 years old. Just like many of you, I started with two goldfish but quickly learned they were not suitable for aquariums. Later, I switched to a tropical community tank and I also have two pet musk-turtles in a bigger aquarium. You can read more about me here.

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