How Long Do Goldfish Live without Food? (Answer Might Surprise You)

Today my mum told me that we are going on vacation tomorrow. And I was looking at my aquarium and wondering how long do goldfish live without food?

I did some research and found out that goldfish can live for about 2 weeks without food. 

So if you are away from your home and can’t feed your fish for two weeks then it will be fine. 

If you are going to stay out of your home for more than 2 weeks then you should ask your neighbor or friend to feed your fish.

how long do goldfish liv without food image

I found a very interesting news story related to the topic that goldfish actually survived 134 days without any food after an earthquake in New Zealand.

But chances are those goldfish survive on algae or any other plants in the aquarium in those 134 days.

What if you have goldfish in the pond?

Goldfish can easily live for a couple of weeks without food in the pond.

A pond usually has various insects, algae, etc which is good food for the goldfish.

If you are too concerned then you can add some plants in the pond and goldfish can eat them when they are hungry.

Arrangements can you do if you are going to be away from your home for more than 2 weeks?

If you are going away from your home for more than 2 weeks then you will have to make some arrangments to feed your fish.

how to feed your fish when you are on vacation infographic

1. Ask your neighbor or friend to feed your fish

The simplest arrangement you can make is to ask your neighbor or friend to feed your fish when you are away from your home.

How often should they feed the fish?

Ideally, they should feed your goldfish 2 to 3 times a day. But as now that we know that goldfish can survive about 2 weeks without food, you can ask your neighbor or friend to feed your fish once a day or even once in 2 to 3 days will be just fine. 

Obviously, feeding goldfish less than 3 times a day is not a very good idea. And it will definitely affect their growth.

Also, it is very easy to overfeed a fish and a person who doesn’t know anything about fishkeeping can easily overfeed a fish.

So I highly recommend you tell them the quantity of food they should be feeding your fish.

How much you should feed your goldfish at a time?

A good rule of thumb is to feed your goldfish the amount of food it can consume within 2 minutes or feed your goldfish food equals to the size of the eye of it.

Once you know the amount of food your goldfish should eat the simple way to make feeding your goldfish easy for your neighbor or friend is to use a pill organizer.

In the pill organizer, you can fill up the quantity of fish food your goldfish need to be fed in each little box and then your neighbor or friend will just have to empty one box at a time in your aquarium.

How often should I feed the pond goldfish?

Usually, you should feed once a day to your goldfish and you should feed the amount of food that the goldfish can consume under 2 minutes. 

The amount of food you should feed to your goldfish also depends on the temperature of the water and the season.

For example during the spring and summer, the water is warm and also the fish are very active so you will need to feed more food these days.

On the other hand in winter you will need to feed relatively less food.

2. Use an automatic fish feeder

Another simple and easy way to feed your fish when you are on vacation is to use an automatic fish feeder.

The automatic fish feeder is great you just have to feel up your fish’s favorite fish food and set timer on the automatic feeder and then it with automatically dispense the food.

Also, some automatic feeders can hold fish food that can last for 6 weeks which is a lot of time to enjoy your vacation.

Check out our Automatic Fish Feeder recommendation

3. Use slow-release fish food

Slow-release fish food is probably the cheapest option to feed your fish when you are on vacation.

Slow-release fish foods come into two categories

  1. Weekend feeder blocks– This fish food will keep your fish fed for 3 days. So if you are planning for a weekend vacation then these blocks are perfect.
  2. Vacation feeder blocks– These blocks can keep your fish fed for up to 14 days. So if you are planning for a long 2 weeks vacation then you can use the vacation feeder blocks.

Here’s the table of some slow-releasing food products, their validity and for which type of fish they are suitable for.

BRAND LASTS FOR SUITABLE FOR
TetraPond14 DaysPond fish
Tetra Weekend14 DaysTropical fish
Zoo Med14 DaysBottom feeder
Zoo Med Mini7 DaysGourami and small fry
Zoo Med Betta7 DaysBetta
Pyramid Automatic feeder3 DaysAll types of fish

Conclusion

Goldfish can live for about 2 weeks without food. But it’s not a good idea to keep your goldfish unfed for that long. So if you are planning to go on a long vacation you should make some arrangments to feed your goldfish.

The simplest arrangement is to ask your neighbor friend to feed your fish when you are on vacation.

If you don’t want to bother anyone then you can use an automatic fish feeder.

Besides using slow-release fish food is also a cheap way to feed your fish when you are away from your home for a long time.

FAQ

What can a goldfish eat? (Besides fish food)

Besides fish food goldfish can eat a lot of other human foods.

Goldfish can eat vegetables like:
1. Carrots 
2. cucumber 
3. Spinach
4. Kale
5. Peas
6. Broccoli
7. Cucumber

Goldfish can eat fruits like:
1. Apple
2. Grapes
3. Orange
4. Watermelon
5. Banana

Anything else:
1. Cooked rice

How much human food is good for a goldfish?

As you can see goldfish can eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but it should not be the primary food for them. 
Feeding fruits and vegetables after 2-3 days regularly is good for their overall diet.

Can goldfish eat bread?

People commonly feed fish with bread but it is not good for them.
If you run out of food then don’t ever feed bread to your goldfish.
You can feed other foods like fruits and vegetables mentioned above.

How do I know if my fish is hungry

There are various signs that can tell you if your fish is hungry
1. If you noticed a slow or sluggish behavior in your fish then it is hungry.
2. If you found your fish digging around the substrate that means that it is searching for food and is hungry.
3. If you found your fish coming on the top and waiting for feeding then it is hungry
4. If you noticed any behavioral change in your fish like aggression then it is hungry.

Do fish stop eating when they’re full?

Fish may eat for a while even when they are full. But once they are really full they will stop eating. You should not overfeed them.
You should feed them the amount of food that they can consume within 2 minutes or are giving them the amount of food equals to the size of their eye is a good rule of thumb.

What is better for goldfish pallets or flakes

In their natural habitat goldfish eat food from lower or middle water levels.
When you feed pellets to the goldfish it sinks into the water and goldfish can eat them as they would it in their natural habitat.
But the drawback of feeding pallets to the goldfish is that they can rot. And this rotting can increase ammonia levels in the tank which is bad for the fish.
On the other hand, when you feed flakes to the goldfish it floats on the surface so it will not cause any ammonia problem because you can easily remove it. But to eat the flakes goldfish have to come on the surface and while eating flakes they make gulf air as well which causes swim bladder disorder.

How do I know if I am feeding my fish enough?

You should feed your fish to 2-3 times a day. And you should feed them the amount of food that they can consume within 2 minutes. Or you should feed your goldfish equal to the size of their eye.

2 thoughts on “How Long Do Goldfish Live without Food? (Answer Might Surprise You)”

  1. I am V.K. Dubey from UP India…I have 3 feet aquarium with 9 fishes 5 shark and 4 gold fish…..During lockdown for COVID 19 I was at Prayag raj from 22 March 2020 to 21 May 2020…I was mentally prepare d that my fishes died for lack of food….Even I forget to give holiday food when I was leaving for Prayagraj. When I came back after 61 days ..I was shocked even my family too….All fishes were fine…Water Laval was 33% and filter was not working…That was miracle for me…..I immediately top up water and clean filter ,I tried to feed but very first day they don’t feed …From second day they were normal…..I am really thank ful to GOD for saving them all.

    Reply
    • That certainly seems like a miracle. Your fish literally lived for 2 months without food!
      However, if the fish are big enough they can live longer. Also, Goldfish may have fed on algae or plants in your aquarium.
      The live plants also help to keep ammonia low.
      Does your tank have any live plants?

      Reply

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