Even betta enthusiasts need to take a vacation once in a while, and that means leaving your fishy friend on his lonesome for a week or more while you’re away.
So, how do you ensure your betta buddy has enough to eat while you’re not around to care for him?
In this guide, we review six of the best vacation feeders that are available on the market today. We discuss how vacation feeders work and how to choose one.
Also, we take a look at some other practical solutions for making sure that your betta gets all the nutrition he needs while you’re away.
Quick Summary: Best Betta Vacation Feeders
|Eheim Twin Battery Powered Feeder
|Eheim Auto Vacation Feeding Unit
|TOPBRY Digital Auto Vacation Feeder
|Zacro Rechargeable Timer Vacation Feeder
|UStyle Auto Vacation Feeder
|Torlam Auto Vacation Feeder
Our Top Pick – Petrip Auto Vacation Feeder
- Convenient Worry-Free Feeding For Healthy Fish
- Easy To Set Up And Use
- Includes Easy Start Guide
- Uniwood Automatic Fish Feeder
- Aquarium Tank Timer Feeder Vacation & Weekend 2 Fish Food Dispenser
- Easy To Install
- With USB Charger Cable
- Large Capacity
- Long Work Time
- Minimizes Food Wastage
- Maximizes Growth And Health Of Aquatic Pets
- Prevents Overfeeding And Underfeeding
- USB Recharging
- Easily Add Food
6 Best Automatic Betta Vacation Feeders
Vacation feeders enable you to take time out to relax somewhere away from your usual routine without worrying that your precious betta and his tropical fish tank mates won’t get enough to eat.
Here are our top six favorite automatic betta vacation feeders.
When you see the perfect vacation feeder for your betta, simply click on the handy in-text link that we’ve provided and place your order.
Eheim Twin Battery Powered Feeder
Betta fish enjoy a varied diet, which can present a problem for most regular automatic betta fish feeders.
However, this feeder from Eheim enables you to provide your betta buddy with multiple types of food!
This feeder features two separate barrels for your betta’s food and dispenses both diets independently. That means you can feed your betta one type of food in the morning and offer him a different meal in the afternoon if you want to.
The feeder is programmable and features an LCD display screen for easy reference. You can program the feeder to dispense up to three meals every day in double or single portions.
Like the other Eheim feeder featured in this article, this model has a manual feeding bypass option and a low-battery alert. You can either mount the feeder on your betta’s aquarium or sit it on top.
This feeder can be set to dispense pellets, flakes, tablets, or sticks, making this ideal for use in a betta community or larger tank.
What We Like:
- Twin barrels hold two different diets
- Suitable for different types of fish food
- Barrels operate independently and are programmable
- Features an LCD screen, random feeding settings, and manual feeding bypass
Room for Improvement
- Quite complicated to set up and not especially user-friendly
- Holds about 60 ml of food, so rather limited capacity
Eheim Auto Vacation Feeding Unit
- Great for everyday use whether you are home or away
- Set it and let if feed your fish everyday
- Convienient worry-free feeding for healthy fish
The Eheim Vacation Feeder is the perfect choice for you if you don’t have a big budget, but do want to buy a reliable feeder for your betta fish.
The product is easy to set up and use and focuses on delivering accurate portion sizes, which is a very important consideration when feeding bettas.
Depending on the number of fish you’re feeding, one fill can last for up to six weeks. The hopper takes up to 100ml of food and is suitable for dry foodstuffs only.
The hopper is transparent, making it easy to see how much food is left inside and whether it needs refilling or not.
Setting up the feeder is a breeze thanks to its universal installation clamp, and the product will fit a variety of aquariums.
What We Like:
- Simple to set up and use
- Consistent feedings
Room For Improvement:
- Unsuitable for multiple food types
- Not moisture resistant
TOPBRY Digital Auto Vacation Feeder
- 🐳【USB RECHARGING】- Built-in large-capacity lithium battery, according to different settings of feeding, the automatic fish feeder can be used for 3 - 6 months when it is fully charged by usb cable.
- 🐳【FOUR EXACT FEEDING TIME DESIGN】- You can set up to 4 exact feeding time every day and 1 - 3 rotation every time. According to your different demands, you can set up different exact time at vacation.
- 🐳【EASILY ADD FOOD AT THE TOP】- Adding the fish food at the top of the fish feeder, not to take down the food bucket, so you can increase or decrease easily the amount of dispensed food. Because of the 360°rotation of the pedestal of digital fish feeder, you can rotate it to the satisfying position after it is installed.
TOPBRY Digital Auto Vacation Feeder is an invaluable piece of kit for betta lovers who want the peace of mind that USB rechargeable batteries bring.
Once the feeder is fully charged, it can be used for up to six months without requiring further charging.
The feeder can be set for four feeding times daily, dispensing single, double, or triple portions as required. Unlike some feeders that can be fiddly to operate, the TOPBRY feeder is loaded from the top.
The feeder can be set to rotate 360 degrees, enabling you to rotate the feeder to the correct position to deposit the food.
The feeder accepts a variety of foods, including flakes, powder, and pellets, and holds up to 200ml of food.
If you have frogs or turtles, you can use this feeder for them too.
What We Like:
- Can be set for four daily feeding times
- Easy to load with food
- Two different installation options
- Suitable for frogs, fish, and turtles
Room For Improvement:
- The feeder can be tricky to set up
- Portion sizes dispensed can vary
Zacro Rechargeable Timer Vacation Feeder
- Environmental & convenient: Equipped with a USB charging cable, this automatic fish feeder is suitable for various charging scenarios. No need to repeatedly buy batteries, energy saving and environmental protection.
- Long work time: Powered by a large-capacity battery, Petbank auto fish feeder can be charged and discharged up to 800 times. According to the number of feedings set, it can be used for 3-6 months on a single charge.
- Large capacity: 200ml large-capacity feed bucket fish feeder automatic dispenser, suitable for a variety of fish feed such as granules and powders.
The Zacro Vacation Feeder can be operated by batteries or USB.
That’s going to save you money on new batteries, and you won’t need to worry that your fish will be left hungry if the batteries run out while you’re away.
The feeder runs on lithium batteries, which can be recharged up to 800 times. Even better, depending on how often you use the feeder, one charge will last you for up to six months.
The 200ml feed hopper takes plenty of fish food and accommodates flakes, powder, and granules.
The set-it-and-forget-it design accommodates up to four feeds per day, and the feeder can dispense small portions of food up to three times per feeding.
What We Like:
- Two power supply options
- Up to six months lifespan on a single battery charge
- Large feed hopper
- Clever set-it-and-forget-it design
Room For Improvement:
- Works best in a 158-gallon tank, not suitable for small aquariums
- Sometimes dispenses too much food
UStyle Auto Vacation Feeder
The UStyle Vacation Feeder can be used to feed frogs, newts, and turtles, as well as your precious betta fish. The feeder holds various food options, including powders, strips, flakes, and pellets.
The food dispenser is adjustable so that you can set it to serve the correct amount of food every time. That helps to improve water quality and reduce waste caused by uneaten food.
The handy LCD display feature enables you to program the unit to feed your fish at specific times of the day. The food hopper is transparent so that you can see when it’s time to refill it.
What We Like:
- Suitable for several species
- Accommodates many food types
- Reduces food waste
- Prevents moisture from getting into food
Room For Improvement:
- Digital setup can be tricky to master
- The amounts of food dispensed are not always accurate
Torlam Auto Vacation Feeder
- USB Recharging: Built-in large-capacity lithium battery, according to different settings of feeding, the automatic fish feeder can be used for 3 - 6 months when it is fully charged by usb cable.
- Programmable: The torlam’s timer allows you to set up to four automatic feedings per day. You can program it to feed at any hour of the day or night and have it deliver either a single or double or triple feeding. At the same time, you can also feed manually and experience the fun of feeding.
- Two Different Fixed Methods: The feeder has 2 install methods for you to choose. One is to fix the feeder to the tank wall by using the holder. Another is to paste the feeder with double-side sticker on the tank cover.
The Torlam Auto Vacation Feeder features an AquaBlue timer that enables you to set up four feedings every day.
You can program the feeder to deliver food at any time of the day, and it also serves double or triple feeds if required.
You can also use the feeder in manual mode when you are at home, and you want to feed your betta buddy yourself. The feeder can be fixed to the tank wall in the holder provided, or you can use double-sided tape if you prefer.
The hopper is moisture-resistant, so the food inside won’t get damp. So, you can use flakes, pellets, strips, powder, and crisps safe in the knowledge that the food won’t get soggy and go moldy.
What We Like:
- The feeder can be programmed to deliver four feeds per day
- There are two installation methods, providing you with flexibility
- Moisture-resistant food hopper
- Generous hopper capacity
Room For Improvement:
- The instructions that come with the feeder are somewhat confusing
- The quantity of food dispensed can be variable
What Is a Vacation Fish Feeder?
A vacation fish feeder is an automatic device that you can program to dispense food for your fish at specific times each day. Many feeders can accommodate several feeds throughout the day.
Automatic feeders are powered either by battery or electricity via a power cord and mains connection.
Battery-operated feeders are the most popular, as they cannot fail due to power outages, although you do need to remember to check that the battery is fully charged.
Some fish feeders come with multiple containers that you fill with fish food. The auto feeder rotates the containers on a special timing setting and drops the food into the tank at the time you’ve pre-selected.
How Do Automatic Fish Feeders Work?
Automatic fish feeders can be mounted on the side of your aquarium or placed on top of the tank. The feeder releases food at preset times and in portion sizes decided by you.
Automatic betta fish feeders have three primary parts:
- a hopper
- a timer
- a means of selecting portion sizes and time intervals
The food hopper is the receptacle that holds the food. All you need to do is fill the hopper with food, refreshing it periodically.
The automatic feeder’s timer rotates the food hopper, dispensing your betta’s meals in the process.
The feeder will have a means of selecting feeding times and portion sizes, depending on the model you choose.
Automatic feeders are powered by mains electricity via a power cord that you plug in or by batteries, depending on the model.
The main disadvantage of battery power is that you must remember to either replace or recharge the batteries periodically so that the device doesn’t fail while you’re not around to feed your pet.
Some auto-feeders can be fixed to the inside of the aquarium viewing panes via suction cups, while others can be mounted on brackets that hook over the tank side.
Alternatively, you could simply place the feed on top of your tank.
Many newer automatic feeder models feature a “feed now” that enables you to test the feeder without having to wait for your programmed feeding times to come around.
Basically, you press the feed now button, and the food drops into the tank.
Newer designs of automatic feeders can be controlled from your phone, so you can even decide when to feed your betta buddy while you’re out and about.
What Are the Different Types of Automatic Betta Fish Feeders?
There are two primary designs of automatic betta fish feeders that you can buy in fish stores or online: barrel-style or portion control feeders.
So, what’s the difference between these types of feeders, and which is the best for you?
Rotating Barrel Fish Feeders
Most of the automatic fish feeders on today’s market are rotating barrel feeders.
Barrel feeders feature a central hopper to contain the food that rotates, funneling portions of food through a dispenser that sits over the tank.
When the device’s timer is activated, the dispenser door opens, allowing the food to drop into the aquarium.
Rotating barrel fish feeders are a good choice for several reasons:
- A barrel feeder offers greater capacity than a portion control feeder, making this a better option if you’re going to be away for a few days or even a couple of weeks.
- Barrel feeders offer more flexibility in that you can program the feeder for multiple daily meals to fit your betta’s feeding schedule. In fact, many barrel feeders can dispense double or even treble-sized portions.
- There are lots of different brands and models of barrel feeders available, and plenty of online information on their operation, modification, and troubleshooting.
However, there are a few downsides to using barrel feeders, including:
- Often, you can only use one type of betta food at a time, so you might need to use multiple feeders if you have a community tank.
- Depending on the model of feeder you choose, you can only use a few types of food. For example, you can’t use an auto-feeder to dispense live or frozen foods.
- Barrel feeders are usually fine for betta pellets, but they don’t work so well with flaked or powdered foods. Those foods tend to clump, and portions can fluctuate, making over or underfeeding a potential problem.
- To prevent food from clumping and clogging the hopper, you’ll need to clean the device once or twice a month.
So, there are pros and cons to using barrel feeders, although these tend to be the most popular style of auto-feeder.
Portion Control Fish Feeders
A portion control betta fish feeder works like a miniature cat feeder.
The device consists of a rotating base with slots for every meal. You fill each lot yourself, allowing you to choose the precise amount of food you want your betta to receive.
When the timer is activated, the fish food is pushed through the slot into the top of the fish tank.
Portion control feeders can dispense a precise amount of food or even a mixture of different foods.
Portion control feeders offer the betta keeper several benefits, including:
- Portion feeders can work with almost all types of commercially produced betta foods and can dispense multiple varieties of foods in every meal. That means you can fill the dispenser with a mixture of powder, pellets, flakes, and wafers, making this the ideal choice for a mixed community betta setup.
- This style of feeder is extremely precise since every slot is hand-filled with the exact quantity and mixture of food you want your betta to receive, ensuring consistent portion sizes. That makes portion control feeders perfect for use in a mixed community betta setup, too.
However, there are a few drawbacks to using portion control feeders.
- Portion control feeders don’t offer as much capacity as barrel feeders because most can only accommodate a maximum of 14 meals at a time. That makes it difficult to keep your betta fed if you’re away for extended periods.
- The food slots on a portion control feeder are quite small. That’s not a problem if you only have one betta fish to cater to. However, in larger community tanks, a portion control feeder might not be suitable.
- The programming options are somewhat limited and not as flexible as those offered by a barrel feeder. That often makes it difficult to auto-fast your betta or skip meals.
- Portion control feeders require more direct input on your part because you need to measure out the meals and fill the dispenser slots every 14 days.
- There are not many brands and versions of portion control feeders available.
So, if you’re likely to be away for a long period of time, you might be better off choosing a rotating barrel feeder, such as the double Eheim option mentioned earlier in this piece.
Choosing a Vacation Fish Feeder
There are several considerations to bear in mind when choosing a vacation fish feeder:
What Size Feeder Do You Need?
Automatic fish feeders come in a range of sizes, so pick one that suits your tank size. If you have a small tank with your betta and a couple of tankmates, you don’t need a huge feeder that could cater to the needs of dozens of fish.
Bear in mind that a tiny food hopper is awkward to fill, and one that is too big will create an unwanted distraction from your fish if you have a small display tank.
Reliable Timer and Food Dispenser
The best way to feed your betta is to offer two very small feeds each day rather than dumping too much food into the tank, which could cause your fish to overeat.
So, you’ll need to choose a feeder that has a reliable, accurate timer and a food dispenser that delivers servings of the appropriate size.
Ventilated Food Hopper
If the food in the hopper is allowed to get damp, it will quickly become stale and moldy. So, look out for a feeder that is equipped with a fan that creates good air circulation around the hopper.
Alternatively, ensure that the feeder is water-resistant and check the food regularly to ensure that it is still fresh.
It’s extremely important that you know when the battery on your vacation feeder requires replacement or recharging. A flat battery means that your betta won’t get the nutrition he needs while you are away.
Look for a feeder that has an easy-to-read LCD display, which tells you how much life is left in the battery.
Where To Locate the Automatic Betta Fish Feeder
Most automatic fish feeders are designed to be placed on top of your betta tank lid.
That means you might need to modify your aquarium hood so the food drops into the correct place.
Avoid Your Lighting Fixture
If possible don’t put the feeder too close to the aquarium light unit.
The heat generated by the light will affect the quality of the food in the feeder and might cause condensation inside the hopper. That can cause the food to clump, especially if you use flaked foods.
Avoid the Filter System
Don’t put the feeder too close to the filter system. Again, that can expose the hopper to evaporating water and condensation, increasing the danger of clumping.
Use a Feeding Ring
Some betta owners like to put the automatic feeder near the filter outlet, as that can help to distribute the food right through the whole tank.
However, avoid placing the dispenser close to the filter intake or the food will be sucked into the filter.
You can get over that problem by using a feeding ring to prevent the food from drifting into the filter.
How To Attach or Mount the Feeder
Most automatic feeders have a couple of options for placement on your aquarium.
Usually, you can choose to put the feeder on the top cover of your aquarium, mount it on the side of the tank, or hang it from the rim.
If you don’t want the feeder to detract from the appearance of your aquarium, go for a low profile or side mount option rather than one that you put on the top of the tank.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Vacation Fish Feeder?
Investing in a vacation fish feeder has many benefits for you and your betta.
- Although a betta can survive for two weeks without receiving any food at all, most owners don’t like to think of their fishy friend’s tummy rumbling while they’re away enjoying a vacation. Also, some betta tank mates do require regular feeds to keep them healthy.
- Now, you could ask a friend or neighbor to feed your fish for you while you’re away. However, that job could easily be forgotten, especially if someone is busy. Automatic vacation feeders can be set to dispense food up to four times every day, and most have timers too, so there’s no danger of your betta buddy being forgotten.
- Automatic fish feeders enable you to control the portion size that your fish receives, whereas a well-meaning friend might overfeed your betta, potentially causing serious health problems for your fish.
- When you buy an automatic vacation feeder, you also buy peace of mind. You won’t need to worry about your fish going hungry while you’re away on vacation or on business.
Other Feeding Solutions for Your Betta While You’re on Vacation
If you seldom go away, you may not want the expense of buying an automatic fish feeder. So, what other options do you have?
Don’t Feed Your Betta
Did you know that a betta fish will be perfectly fine if you don’t feed him for up to two weeks? In any event, if you’re only away for a few days, you need not worry about your fish starving.
In the wild, bettas don’t necessarily get food every day. Also, a fast is good for your fish’s digestive system, helping to keep him in good health and guard against constipation and bloat.
That said, you should not leave your fish without food for more than three days. After that length of time, your fish’s body will go into starvation mode, and that will be very stressful for him.
Stress is a primary cause of sickness in betta fish, and stressing your betta should be avoided whenever possible.
Feeding blocks are a possible alternative to auto-feeders. You simply place the block in the tank, and it gradually dissolves over a couple of days, releasing food into the water.
That sounds great in theory, but there are a number of flaws with the idea. Firstly, the food doesn’t disperse evenly, potentially resulting in a load of uneaten food polluting your tank.
Secondly, the food tends to accumulate at the bottom of the tank, and bettas are surface feeders.
Feeder Fish Fry
A possible viable option for feeding your betta for a couple of days is to add feeder fish to the tank. Feeder fish are actually fish fry that your betta will gradually pick off and feed on while you’re away.
Feeder fish fry is best used in a large tank. In a tank that has a capacity of fewer than 10 gallons, the feeder fish may place much pressure on your filter system, leading to poor water quality and health problems for your betta.
You could try adding platies or Endler’s livebearers to the tank if it’s big enough. These species make suitable tankmates for a betta, and they are continually breeding, producing plenty of fry that your betta can feed on.
If you’re going on an extended vacation, you’ll want to be sure that your betta is happy and well-fed while you’re away.
You could ask a friend or neighbor to feed your fish, or you may decide to simply fast your betta if you’re only away for a few days.
However, most conscientious owners prefer to provide their fish with their usual regular feeds, and the best way to do that is by using a vacation feeder.
A vacation feeder allows you to choose how many individual meals you want your fish to receive, at what times during the day your fish should be fed, and how much food you want him to have.
Many auto-feeders allow you to use several different kinds of food too.
Choose one of the feeders we’ve recommended in this guide, and you can be confident that your betta will enjoy your vacation as much as you do!