One of the biggest questions most fishkeepers ask is how to feed betta fish while on vacation. Fortunately, there are lots of different solutions for you. So if you’re scratching your head wondering how to feed your betta fish while on vacation, then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to find out 6 different methods you can use to make sure your betta doesn’t starve while you’re on vacation!
- The best option to feed betta fish while on vacation is to ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to feed the betta, as they can follow instructions and even perform water changes.
- Fasting the betta for short periods (up to 4 days) is a natural and beneficial option, mimicking their wild feeding patterns and aiding in digestion.
- Using a high-quality mechanical auto-feeder is a reliable choice, with caution against cheap feeders that may malfunction and overfeed the betta.
- Feeding blocks are an option but may not disperse food evenly and might lack necessary nutrients for the betta.
- Feeder fish, especially fry, can be introduced to the tank if it’s large enough, providing live snacks for the betta.
- Leaving the betta in a pet store while on vacation is a last resort option, with potential downsides such as transportation stress and exposure to diseases from connected tanks.
How To Feed Betta Fish While On Vacation
There are 6 common ways to feed betta fish while on vacation. Obviously, none of them are going to be as good as if you feed him yourself. However, for short periods of time, they can work. Here are the best options.
Ask A Friend/Family Member/Neighbour
This is by far the best way you can make sure your betta is fed while you’re on vacation. Getting someone to feed him every day is going to cause the least amount of stress for you and your fish.
As long as they follow your instructions then they’re going to do a great job of feeding your betta. As well as feeding, they’ll also be able to check your betta and make sure that everything’s okay.
If you’re going away for a longer period of time and they’re willing, they can also perform water changes for you which will be extremely beneficial.
However, there are some problems with letting other people feed your betta. First of all, they may feel bad for your betta only getting a couple of pieces of food, and overfeed him. Not only is this bad for his health but any food he doesn’t eat will also pollute the water and potentially cause an ammonia spike.
A good way to overcome this is to use a pillbox to ration out his food. If you do this, then they can only give him so much a day. If you don’t want to use a pillbox then make sure they know how important it is that they don’t overfeed your betta.
Even though they think he looks hungry, remind them that he’s just being greedy.
Don’t Feed Him
This is another option that may sound cruel, but actually, maybe quite good for your betta. If you’re only going on a weekend break (no more than 4 days) then you don’t need to worry about your betta being fed.
Think about it this way, in the wild, they wouldn’t get food every day. And not only is this going to mimic the natural way of life for them, but it’s also going to help their digestive system. Fasting bettas is fairly common, and it’s a great way of reducing the chances of them becoming constipated.
However, be warned, you shouldn’t fast your betta for more than 3 days. After 3 days your bettas body will go into starvation mode, which will stress him. This stress can often result in an increased chance of sickness.
Lastly, this may not be recommended with juvenile bettas or bettas that are elderly. They’re not going to be as strong as a healthy adult betta.
Use A Mechanical Auto-Feeder
This is the second-best option on the list IF you buy a decent auto feeder. If you buy a cheap one then it could be extremely damaging and even fatal to your betta.
Mechanical auto feeders work by rationing food out daily that you put into them. When you have a high-quality one they release the food exactly when you set them. However, if you have a low-quality one, then trouble can normally occur.
A lot of the time with low-quality auto-feeders, the food doesn’t get dropped out at all, or even worse it all drops out at once. Your betta simply can’t eat all the food that’s dropped out at once and it quickly starts to rot. And obviously, once it’s rotting the ammonia levels in your tank begin to soar.
As well as not being the most reliable, cheap feeders can often let moisture into them. When moisture enters them it ruins the food that you’ve been storing. In a lot of cases, it will clump together which once again results in large amounts coming out at the same time or getting stuck completely.
So if you’re going to buy a mechanical feeder, make sure you buy one you can trust. I personally like to use the EHEIM Automatic Feeding Unit, which can store more than enough for a couple of weeks on holiday!
Lastly, when choosing a mechanical auto feeder there are two things you need to consider. If you get a battery-powered one, then there’s a chance the batteries are going to run out. However, if you get a plugin one, then there’s the chance that it could short circuit. While the chances of this happening are slim. It’s still important not to rule it out.
Using Feeding Blocks
Another choice is to use feeding blocks. These are similar to auto-feeders in theory. You just put the block in your tank it will disperse food over a certain time period. That’s what they’re supposed to do anyway.
However, most of the time they don’t disperse food evenly. Your tank just ends up with too much food being released at once causing pollution. Or not enough food being released which means your betta spends a lot of time going hungry.
On top of this, a lot of the feeders don’t have the required nutrients your betta is going to need in them. They’re most often made for omnivorous tropical fish. If you’re going to use feeding blocks, you should use them as a last resort, when all other options aren’t going to work.
Use Feeder Fish
If it’s possible, you could always let your betta eat feeder fish if you’re going on holiday for a short period of time. When we’re talking about feeder fish, I don’t mean fully grown fish, but rather fish fry.
All kinds of fry can work, just make sure that you’re adding enough to keep your betta satisfied, but not too many that they’re going to grow to adolescence.
If you want to add feeder fish, it’s best off only doing it if you have a larger tank. If you’re keeping your betta in anything smaller than 10 gallons and the feeder fish grow to full size, then the bioload will be too much for a smaller tank.
Leave Them In A Pet Store
While this option isn’t as common anymore there’s no harm in asking. Some pet stores allow you to leave your fish with them for a couple of weeks if you’re going on holiday (for a price of course).
The benefit of this is that you know that your betta is going to be looked after and not fed too much etc. However, there are also some downsides.
First of all, it’s never good to transport fish too much as it’s going to cause stress. Not only are they going to be stressed by transportation. but they’re also going to have to adjust to different water parameters which will affect their body too.
Lastly, a lot of pet stores have tanks that are all connected. If there’s a disease in one of the tanks, then it could end up reaching your betta.
Just like using a feeding block this one should be a last resort and not the first thing you should go for.
Check out this video on how to care for your betta during vacation!
Final Thoughts On How To Feed Betta Fish While On Vacation
As you can see there are a lot of great methods you can use for feeding your betta fish (and some that you can use as a last resort). Ideally, you should find a friend, neighbour or family member that will look after your fish while you’re away. And if you’re only going away for a couple of days then don’t be afraid to fast your betta.
Failing mechanical feeders make great choices and if you can’t get one of those then try adding some feeder fish to your tank.
Lastly, if you really have to, try leaving your fish at a pet store or leave food blocks in your tank for them.
Now that you know how to feed your betta while you’re on vacation you may think your jobs done. However, tank maintenance will still be required if you’re gone for longer periods of time.
If you want to master the tricks of Betta fish care, you need a complete guide. Click here to read one!