How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food: 3 Ways To Feed Them When Your Not Home.

Estimated read time 10 min read

A Goldfish can live for two weeks without food. However, we don’t suggest going “as long as you can” without feeding them, as there are plenty of other options to ensure your fish is well-fed while you’re away.

In this article, we’ll see how you can tell when your Goldfish is hungry, how much, and how often they need to be fed.

We’ll also show how you can keep them fed if you’re going on vacation.

Let’s go.

Some Equipment To Help Feed Your Goldfish While Your Away

Before we get into your options to feed your Goldfish while your away, let’s first look at how you can tell if your Goldfish is even hungry and needs to be fed.

How Do I Know If My Goldfish Is Hungry

There are a few different ways to tell.

They might be hanging around the surface and waiting for you to feed them or appear excited when you approach the tank.

Your Goldfish can also appear sluggish and lethargic, and they might even be digging around the bottom of the tank looking for food.

If you see any of this behavior, it might be time to feed them.

How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Goldfish Enough Food

You’ll know you’ve fed your Goldfish enough food if you see them letting food float right past their mouths.

That said, Goldfish tend to continue eating no matter how full they become; in fact, they might even eat themselves sick.

They will eventually stop, but you don’t want to overfeed them.

A good rule of thumb is to feed enough food that all your Goldfish have a chance to eat and provide enough that will be completely gone after about two minutes.

Is It Okay To Feed Goldfish Once A Day?

It is okay to feed your Goldfish once a day.

Goldfish can eat a lot of food in a short amount of time, and they can no doubt eat enough in one feeding to keep them healthy for 24 hours.

How Can You Feed Your Goldfish When You’re Away?

If you’re away for longer than a few days, you’ll want to have a plan in place to ensure your Goldfish have something to eat while you’re away.

Below are a few things you can do if you will be away for longer than five days.

1. Fish Sitters – Ask A Friend, Neighbor, Or Family Member

The most effective and easiest way to get the job done is to ask someone to help you.

If you have a friendly neighbor, or a family member interested in learning about fish keeping, that would be the best way to go.

Ensure this is a trustworthy person you feel comfortable letting into your home when you’re not there.

This person should feed the Goldfish at least once every other day.

When you’re home, you might be feeding them two or three times a day, but it’s hard to ask someone to do that for you.

Feeding them once a day or every other day is fine.

It would be best to let this person know any specific care needs, diet, and routine care for your fish or any uncommon pets that might be living in your house.

If possible, have the person over to your house and show them how much you feed them, where the food is located, and how to feed your fish.

I like to portion out the food before I leave and leave them with a feeding schedule. I use pill planners like this one, or you can use little baggies.

This works great because you know your Goldfish will get the right amount of food at each feeding, and it helps make it a little easier for your friend.

2. Automatic Feeders

If you’re going on a long trip and you may be gone for a few weeks, it might be a little easier to get an automatic fish feeder.

Many of these can hold food for as long as six weeks, which gives you more than enough time.

You’ll load the automatic feeder, set it to how often you want it to dispense food, and let it do its thing.

While this is a great strategy, you should still have someone stop by every few days to ensure all your equipment is running. After all, there could be a power failure.

3. Slow Release Fish Food

These types of food work reasonably well.

If you’re leaving for a few days or even a couple of weeks, different types of slow-release fish food will keep your Goldfish well-fed the whole time you’re gone.

You’ve got two different options:

  • Weekend Feeders – These ensure your fish are fed for up to three-five days—best for a weekend trip.
  • Vacation Feeders – These will keep your Goldfish full for up to 14 days so you can take an extended vacation and not have to worry.

Be sure to pay attention to the type of slow-release fish food you buy because some are made for Goldfish, but others are food tropical fish, bottom feeders, betas, and even specifically for pond fish.

In my honest opinion, I don’t like slow-release foods. I find they foul my water, and I’ve had fish die shortly after returning from holidays.

I’m not sure if the slow-release food that killed my fish, maybe they didn’t eat, who knows.

But I know that my water was cloudy and smelled awful, because of that, I wouldn’t say I like to use them.

4. Keep Live Plants In Your Tank

This next one isn’t a way to feed your fish while your away. However, keeping live plants in your aquarium can provide some food for your Goldfish if they are desperate enough.

Goldfish and much other fish are known to nibble on algae and plants if they have no other available food.

If for some reason, your automatic feeder stops working or your neighbor forgets to stop by, your Goldfish can nibble on the plants, and it might just be enough to keep them from starving.

What Should You Feed Your Goldfish

Goldfish are used to eating food in the middle section of the water in their natural habitat, so using pellets works best because they sink.

I like to feed a few pellets at a time and watch my Goldfish eat them up before they reach the bottom. This helps prevent any pellets from sinking to the bottom of my tank and rotting.

However, Goldfish are great at sifting through the gravel and eating any food that reaches the bottom.

You can also feed your goldfish flakes; they float, so your Goldfish will need to come to the surface to get them, which isn’t ideal for Goldfish.

How Much Should You Feed Your Goldfish Each Time

Each time you feed your Goldfish, give them enough to ensure all your fish get something to eat and that all of the food is consumed within two minutes.

How Often Should You Feed Your Goldfish

You can feed your fish once, twice, or even three times a day.

How often you feed your fish depends on a few things like;

  • How many you have
  • How big they are
  • How fast they eat

When you feed your fish, your goal should be to ensure that all your fish get something to eat and that they appear full.

You can do this by spacing out your feedings throughout the day if you notice they become a little sluggish in the afternoon.

But if you notice that one feeding a day keeps them active and healthy, feed them once.

It’s something you’ll need to learn about your pet, and each one is different.

Is It Okay To Skip Feeding Your Goldfish?

It is entirely normal to skip a feed from time to time.

Many experienced fish keepers skip at least one day of feeding each week to help clear out the digestive tract of their fish.

You don’t need to do this, but if you forget, your Goldfish will not die in one day. You could feed them a little more food at the next feeding time if you feel guilty.

What About Goldfish Ponds?

Goldfish can go much longer without food if you have them in an outdoor pond.

These ponds develop algae and other microorganisms that Goldfish can eat. This might not be their greatest moment, but they’ll eat it if they have no other choice.

It would be best if you still had a plan in mind for someone who will come and feed your Goldfish.

Video: How To Feed Fish Properly


Here are a few more frequently asked questions;

Can You Leave Your Goldfish For 2 Days Without Food?

You can leave your Goldfish for two days without food, and they will be just fine. It is recommended in some cases to skip a day or two to allow your Goldfish to clear out its digestive system.

Can A Goldfish Survive Without Food For 3 Days?

A Goldfish can survive without food for three days. Three days is a relatively short amount of time, and your Goldfish shouldn’t experience any adverse effects and will likely feed on dead plants and algae while your away.

Can You Leave Your Goldfish For 5 Days Without Food?

A Goldfish can last for five days without food. However, five days is a long time to go without food and not recommended in any way.

Can A Goldfish Last A Week Without Food?

A Goldfish can last a week without food. As mentioned above, Goldfish can survive for about two weeks without food.

However, just because you can – doesn’t mean you should do it.

If you’re leaving the house for anything longer than a few days, you should make arrangements to ensure that someone is there to feed your fish at least once every other day.

Or, use one of the other options noted above, like an automatic fish feed or slow-release food.

Doing this will ensure your Goldfish don’t starve and are healthy when you return from vacation.

Learn More About Goldfish:

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