How Long Do Goldfish Live Without Food (Interesting Facts!)

How Long Do Goldfish Live Without Food? Just like a betta fishGoldfish can also survive for up to two weeks without food, but it’s not the best idea to keep your fish in this state. Goldfish are omnivores, and they need both plant-based foods and meaty treats to stay healthy.

Since they’re cold-water fish, their metabolism is slower than other types of fish like tropicals or Cichlids. That means that if you leave them with no food for a few days, you won’t find an emaciated corpse when you return; instead, your little guy may look plump as ever!

However, your goldie will be suffering from malnutrition if they are unfed for an extended period, which could lead to all sorts of health problems down the road. So a better idea would be to feed him regularly. 

What should you do if your fish goes hungry while away on a business trip or vacation? If this is something that has been worrying you, I have good news. There are plenty of options for ensuring they eat well and don’t die from hunger! 

This article will discuss different techniques you can apply before going on vacation to keep them fed. You’ll also see how you can tell if your Goldfish is hungry, how much, and how often to feed your Goldfish. Keep reading!

Some Equipment to Help Feed Your Goldfish While You’re Away

How Long Do Goldfish Live Without Food?

The question of whether or not your Goldfish will survive when you’re away is an uncertain one. As I mentioned before, Goldfish can stay for two weeks without food, but it’s not worth risking their health. 

Being unfed for a prolonged period could cause health problems, weaken their immune response and cause changes in coloration due to stress. 

An interesting extreme case was reported in which two fish survived for 134 days without being fed in Christchurch, New Zealand. The whole city residence was off-limits due to widespread damage from quakes that made it impossible for people to access any supplies or check upon them. But how did they survive?

How long Goldfish can live without food

It’s believed by some experts that these guys may have feasted upon algae and whatever other deceased residents in their tank when all hope seems lost!

Just because Goldfish can go for as long as two weeks without food, it doesn’t mean you should keep them unfed for such long! It’s incredibly unfair and will make them malnourished.  

It’s absolutely ok to leave them without food for three or four days, but if you’ll be away longer than this, then it’s up to you to make alternative arrangements.

Temperature considerations on how long can Goldfish live without food.

Keep in mind that most pet fish have ectothermic bodies, meaning their body temperature is almost equal to the tank temperature. As the water warms, fish’s metabolisms burn faster, their immune systems function more effectively, and they produce more baby fish.

Not being a tropical fish, Goldie can handle some cooler temps between 60-80 °F (15 – 27 Celsius)! However, at the lower edge of this range, their metabolism slows down significantly! As a result, they become less energetic and burn fewer calories.

So, temperature hugely impacts the lifespan of Goldfish while keeping unfed. Therefore, reducing their tank temperature before you leave may increase the lifespan. As long as the water is not frozen, your fish will be ok.

Here is the table below that you can use to estimate how long Goldfish can live without food under different tank temperatures. 

Water TemperatureDays Survive Without Food
32 to 55 °F 1-2 Weeks
55 to 60 °F6-8 Days
60-65 °F5-6 days
65-70°F4-5 Days
70-75°F3-4 Days
75-85°F1-3 Days

How can you feed your Goldfish when you’re away?

Fish sitters-Ask A Friend, Neighbor, Or Family Member

You can find anyone from your neighbor to a commercial sitter to look after your fish. Their presence can literally save your fish’s life. 

Many public aquariums, such as those in hospitals, schools, etc., provide commercial sitters. You may have to spend some money to make sure your fish survive, but it’s one of the best ways. 

However, the most efficient way to get the job done is by asking someone. If you have a friendly neighbor or family member interested in taking care of your fish, their support would be invaluable!

How often do they feed the fish? Ideally, you should provide them 2 or 3 times per day. But with the knowledge that these little guys can survive for two weeks without food now – we know they will be just fine with one feeding once a day or even once in 2 to 3 days!

Arrange a fish sitter

Goldfish are very easy to overfeed when you don’t know anything about fishkeeping. They also need a lot of care and attention, so I highly recommend you train your friend or neighbour before letting them feed your fish!

Now the next question is how much to feed Goldfish? Well, a good rule of thumb is that you should offer as much food as they can finish in 2-3 minutes. This is because they are voracious eaters; if you don’t limit their food intake, they can be overfed easily, leading to various health problems. 

A pill organizer can make feeding your Goldfish easy for your neighbor or friend once you know how much food your Goldfish should eat. This allows you to fill each little box up with fish food that your goldfish demand. Then your friend or neighbor will just empty each bin into your aquarium one at a time. 

Automatic feeders

Suppose you’re going on vacation and need to take care of your fish. In that case, another simple way is by using an automatic feeder. Some of those can hold food for up to six weeks. So, it can supply food for more than enough time.

Automatic fish feeder

This automatic fish feeder is a great way to make your pet feel loved and well taken care of. All you have to do is find out what type of food they prefer, set the timer on their favorite brand, then sit back while this dispensing machine does all the work for them!

Even with this smart strategy, someone should still check on your equipment every few days to make sure it is operating as it should.

Related Read: Best automatic fish feeder to feed your fish when you’re away

Slow Release Fish Food

If you’re going on vacation and want to make sure your fish are well-fed, consider feeding them slow-release food. Slow-release fish food will probably be the cheapest option for feeding your fish.

If you’re going for a few days or even just the weekend, different types of slow-release fish food will keep your Goldfish well fed the entire time you’re out of the home.

Slow Release Fish Food

You’ve got two different options:

Weekend Feeders – Are best for a weekend trip since they provide fish with food for three to five days.

Vacation Feeders – With these, you can take an extended vacation without worrying since these will be able to keep your Goldfish full for up to 14 days.

Goldfish will eat anything, but what kind of food you feed them is crucial. Be sure to see the labels on your packet and take into consideration that some types are meant for Goldfish. The reason is, tropical, bottom feeder, and pond fish require a different brand!

I know a lot of people are really into slow-release foods, but I have never been able to get on board with this trend. Honestly, I don’t prefer slow-release foods. Moreover, I have noticed a lot of reviews and complaints regarding the increased ammonia levels, which are harmful to your fish.

I suggest testing with a brand of feed block and observing how it affects the tank. If you are satisfied by what happens when this goes in there, leave your fish without any worries!

Keep Live Plants In Your Tank

Fortunately, there are some easy ways that they’ll get by without food! One of them is just adding live plants into their aquarium. Live plants in an aquarium can provide some food to Goldfish if they are severely hungry.

Fish are known for snacking on the algae and plants that grow in their environment. Goldfish also rely on these types of foods if there are no other alternatives.

Keep live plants

The plants will provide just enough nutrition for your Goldfish in the event that your automatic feeder fails or your neighbor forgets to stop by.

When Might You Skip Feeding Your Goldfish?

There are many reasons people can’t feed their Goldfish, but most of them have to do with them being on vacation, visiting family, or being out of town on business. But there are other reasons why you might hold back on feeding the fish for a short time.

You might want to withhold food for a few days if your aquarium is experiencing water quality issues. That way, the tank’s waste will be reduced. But, of course, this isn’t a long-term solution; if you want to solve a problem, the first step is figuring out its cause. 

We all know that Goldfish can be really tricky to keep clean and happy. However, a better filtration system can positively change the tank’s environment. 

Reducing the feeding amount or skipping the meal will clear up the water temporarily. However, you should seek a long-term sustainable solution to keep your Goldfish healthy. 

Another good reason to stop feeding your Goldfish is if they suffer from swim bladder disease. It happens due to the blockage in their digestive tract. If that’s the case, I recommend that you fast for up to three days, which will help get rid of the problem. 

What About Goldfish Ponds?

Goldfish usually survive longer without food if you have them in an outdoor pond. This is because ponds develop algae and other microorganisms that Goldfish can eat. Still, it might not be their finest moment!

Luckily for these unfortunate fish, they will still scavenge nutrients from the environment even when there’s nothing left. So, before leaving, assigning someone to feed your Goldfish would be best. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Goldfish live a few days without food?

Although Goldfish can survive for as long as two weeks without food, the recommended time frame is 4-5 days. You shouldn’t keep them unfed beyond that point because it might make them sick and malnourished. 

Do Goldfish eat their own poop?

Yes, Goldfish indeed eat their own poop, but there’s no need to worry if you find your tank free from this. The reason for this? It can be because the poop has been broken down into small particles. However, some might spit it out in cases where there is a large quantity. 

Can Goldfish feed on other waste material? 

Yes, Goldfish feed on anything that grows naturally in the tank. Therefore, avoid poisoning your aquarium by removing any waste or excess food.

What is the Best Goldfish food brand?

Some of the best goldfish food brands include:


How long do goldfish live without food? The answer is not very long. Goldfish are omnivores, and they need a balanced diet to stay healthy. If you’re going on vacation soon or won’t be home for more than 4-5 days at a time, there are many ways that you can make sure your fish aren’t underfed while you’re away. 

In this article, I’ve discussed several options you can consider for that type of situation. Now, it’s up to you what you prefer. One suggestion is never ever to leave them underfed for more than a few days. 

If you have something more to know, please leave a comment below. I’ll be right back with the answer. 

Sujit Modak

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