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How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food

Many people wonder how long goldfish can go without food when planning a vacation or trip away from home. During this time, you might worry that your goldfish will starve while you’re gone.

We don’t suggest going “as long as you can” without feeding them, as there are plenty of other options to ensure your goldfish is nourished when you’re not home.

Further Reading: Interested in keeping Goldfish learn everything you need in our Goldfish Care section.

Equipment To Keep Feeding Your Goldfish While Your Away

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How Long Is Too Long Without Food?

Fish experts believe that goldfish can survive as long as two weeks without food. Now, just because we said this – doesn’t mean you should do it. There are cases of goldfish living much longer than that, and factors such as algae and other dead fish play a role here.

If you’re leaving the house for any longer than a week, you should figure out arrangements to ensure that someone is there to feed your fish at least once every other day. This process will ensure they’re adequately nourished and healthy when you’re away.

What About Goldfish Ponds?

One situation where goldfish can go much longer without food is 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.

You should still have a plan in mind for someone who will come and feed your goldfish.

Feeding Your Goldfish When You’re Away

Knowing how long goldfish can go without food is only half the battle. If you’re away for longer than a few days, you’ll want to get a plan in place.

There are a few different ways to do this:

  • Ask a friend or neighbor
  • Set up an automatic feeder
  • Purchase slow-release food

Let’s break each of these into more detail so you can determine how you’ll feed your goldfish while you’re away from home.

1. Ask Someone

The most effective and easiest way to get the job done is to ask someone to help you. If you have a friendly neighbor, 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, but it may impact their growth.

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

2. Using an Automatic Fish Feeder

If you’re going on a long trip and you may be gone for a few weeks, it might benefit you 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. This method lets you leave your neighbors alone so you don’t have to inconvenience anyone so you can go on vacation.

While this is a great strategy, it might only work for indoor fish, so if you have a goldfish pond outside, you might still have to ask your neighbor to come over and feed the fish.

3. Slow-Release Fish Food

These types of food are cool, and they work 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 a long 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. You’ll want to feed them the right food because they might not eat it, and if they don’t, they won’t be able to survive the whole time you’re gone.

FAQ’s About Goldfish Feeding

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to go along with “how long can goldfish go without food.”

Q: How to know if my fish is hungry?

A: There are a few different ways to tell. They might be hanging around the surface and waiting for you to feed them. The fish can appear slugging or slow, and they might even be digging around the bottom of the tank looking for food.

Q: Do fish stop eating when they feel full?

A: You should always feed them the right amount because goldfish will continue eating for quite a while, even if they feel full. They will eventually stop, but you don’t want to overfeed them.

Q: Are pellets or flakes better for Goldfish?

A: Goldfish are used to eating food in the middle section of the water in their natural habitat, so feeding them pellets mimics this because it sinks. The problem is, pellets rot, and many will sink to the bottom. This creates high ammonia levels in the water.

When you feed your goldfish flakes, they float, but the fish need to come to the surface to get them. They may inhale air while doing this, which causes swim bladder disease.

Final Thoughts

While your goldfish can survive for up to two weeks without food, we don’t recommend it. If possible, find someone who can help you feed them or use one of the other methods suggested above.

By following these tips, you’ll come back home to a well-nourished fish and hopefully no frustrated neighbors!

Learn More About Goldfish:

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food