How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Food?

goldfish survive without food

How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Food?7 mins read

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goldfish survive without food

Goldfish are very popular, but there are myths about their maintenance, so if you are wondering How Long ‘Can A Goldfish Go Without Food?’ you may have encountered misleading information. Goldfish are some of the most popular fish you will find in tanks. They are hardy, especially as a newbie aquarist. However, if you see your Goldfish Not Moving suddenly, it can be alarming.

There are some myths about how long goldfish can go without food. However, in this article, goldfish, diets, and what you need to know about feeding them will be covered. If you’re wondering how long can a goldfish go without food, this guide answers that question. We will also explore the Causes of Goldfish death and what to do about a goldfish not moving.

How To Tell When A Goldfish Is Hungry

Hungry goldfish
When you noticed your goldfish is swimming around in a specific spot it should be an indicator that it might be looking for food and is hungry.

Goldfish are best cared for with a feeding schedule. As their primary caretaker, you must stick to a schedule and ensure that your goldfish don’t go hungry. If your domesticated fish misses a meal, it can mess with its routine. In addition, when your fish is left unfed for too long, it can manifest into signs of stress and even lead to illness.

If you find your goldfish swimming around in spots, this should be an indicator that it might be looking for food within your tank. Scavenging for food around your tank can be easy to spot if you’ve got a good sense of your goldfish’s behavior. If you spot it hanging around the top of your aquarium, this might also serve as a way to show that it is expecting a meal.

Aggression can also be a clear sign of your goldfish being hungry. An aggressive goldfish isn’t something easy to notice, but watching how it consumes food when it is eventually given a meal is another good indicator. Eating food quickly and not taking breaks between consumption can be bad for your pet’s digestion. Certain goldfish may even begin to harass their tankmates when they are hungry.

On the other hand, if your goldfish is not eating, you may need to figure out the cause before you feed again. If additionally you see your Goldfish Not Moving, then consider whether it may be sick.

Factors To Consider When Feeding A Goldfish

Factors to consider when feeding a goldfish
There are some factors that you need to consider when feeding your goldfish. It’s important to know about these factors because they might affect your fish’s appetite.

Goldfish are generally good eaters and will rush toward food when fed. However, different factors may affect your goldfish’s appetite. These are two important ones to consider:

1. Age

When a goldfish has fully matured, it doesn’t need as much food. In contrast, younger goldfish need more food for healthy growth, so at this stage in their life, frequent meals are necessary. A goldfish is typically fully grown when it is about a year old. Once it has reached two years of age, it may start to slow down, and because they are slower, they require less energy. Therefore, you may see your aquatic friend’s appetite get even smaller.

2. Water Temperature

Goldfish require water temperatures of 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit. So this means they can be comfortable in colder rooms. However, going above or below these temps can adversely affect your goldfish’s long-term health. If the water temperature goes below the recommended temperature, your goldfish’s metabolism may begin to slow down. This is why your fish may start eating less. Poor tank parameters are one of the leading Causes of Goldfish death.

3. Pregnancy

Pregnancy and gestation are some of the most delicate parts of the goldfish mating process and life cycle. Therefore, if you find yourself with a pregnant female, you need to feed her more. This can be up to twice a day with one feeding being more nutrient-rich foods such as daphnia.

How To Feed A Goldfish When You Are Not Around

Feeding a goldfish while on vacation
If you’re planning to go on a vacation for a long period of time it’s best to ask a friend to take care of your fish or buy an automatic feeder for your goldfish.

If you’re planning to go on a vacation as an aquarium owner, there’s going to be one thing at the back of your mind: caring for your fish. Without enough knowledge of particular concerns, like how long can a goldfish go without food, it can be a bit scary to just leave them there.

To help with this, we’ve got some ideas on what to do if you’re planning a vacation while your fish are at home. Goldfish typically last between 8 and 14 days without food, but the tank conditions are where things can get really concerning.

If your filters aren’t working, the water quality is poor, and temperatures are incorrect, problems in your tank can escalate, completely changing the life expectancy of your unfed goldfish. Suppose caution is not heeded. You might return to the horrific sight of your goldfish not moving.

1. Automatic Fish Feeder

For goldfish owners who are worried about their pets, there’s a solid solution that most fish owners use for feeding while on vacation. An automatic feeder is one of them. They come in a variety of brands and designs. Although they are a popular solution, you’ll need to approach your use of them with some caution.

While selecting a suitable automatic feeder, consider certain things, like the fish in your tank. One of the causes of goldfish death is overfeeding, so you’ll need to ensure that your feeder isn’t feeding too much or too little.

You should also pay attention to the quality of your feeder. A cheap one might have a friendly price tag, but the actual performance might lead to dangerous consequences for your fish. This can even result in you finding a sick or dead goldfish when you return from vacation. If you have time before your vacation, it’s best to buy the feeder and watch how it works beforehand. This way, you can ensure that the product is actually user-friendly.

Another thing to remember when using an automatic feeder is that condensation can build up, and clumped food can clog it. Certain mechanisms depend on it being free from clogging, so your automatic feeder can become ineffective if these mechanisms have been halted through no fault of your own.

2. Block Feeder

A block feeder is another great way to ensure that your goldfish don’t end up frustrated from a lack of food. As the name indicates, a block feeder is a solid block of food that slowly breaks down to release bits of food in your tank while you’re away. So rather than spending a lot of time wondering, “how long can a goldfish go without food?” you’re bound to feel much more comfortable with a block feeder in place.

However, using a block feeder comes with its own share of risks. For one, the dissolving food particles that are not eaten create more waste in the water. In addition, the worsened water quality can be highly uncomfortable, and you might want to avoid returning to your goldfish not moving.

If you want to get the most out of using a block feeder, your best bet is to test it first. By trying it out, you can verify whether or not the brand you’re using is of good quality. Also, testing it will help gauge how long it takes for the feeder to dissolve chunks of food. If it dissolves too quickly, you risk water pollution and overfeeding. As one of the most typical causes of goldfish death, avoiding overfeeding while you’re away should remain a top priority.

3. Hire Someone To Watch Your Fish

Hire someone to watch your fish
Caring for goldfish involves a lot of attention. So, if you hire a fish sitter, choose one that has prior experience in caring for goldfish.

This option is probably the best, but it also comes with arguably the most significant risk. First, you’ll need to consider your location. Where you are primarily situated directly correlates with the types of fish sitters in your area. If it is in a small town where fishkeeping isn’t a known hobby, your chances of finding a good fish sitter are low.

You may encounter a few people who claim to have the ability to do it, but there’s no way of verifying it. On the other hand, staying in a bigger city with fish shops and aquarist groups will give you a more convincing way to contact a fish sitter.

Caring for goldfish involves a lot of attention. When you’re choosing a fish sitter, ensure that they are aware of your regular routine for caring for a goldfish. They should ensure that the pH, temperature, and filters are all in the right place. Plan ahead and prepare the right foods that should be given to your fish.

Also, provide them with a feeding schedule to follow. If your fish sitter has prior experience caring for fish, they’ll have a better chance of spotting unusual behavior, such as your goldfish not moving.

What You Need To Know About Goldfish Survival

Goldfish survival
Based on studies, goldfish can go without food for 8 to 14 days. However, each fish responds differently to being unfed.

If you simply want to know the answer to “how long can a goldfish go without food,” the fact is that they can last for up to 2 weeks. However, this figure depends on a variety of factors. Therefore, there’s no guarantee that all the goldfish in your tank will live for 2 weeks after being unfed. Each goldfish responds differently to being unfed for long periods. So what works for one may not work for the other.

Many aquarists have found ways to keep their goldfish fed while on vacation. A few genius methods of fishkeeping have emerged over the years that help fish lovers keep their pets well-fed.

How Long Can A Goldfish Survive In A Pond

Goldfish survive in a pond
Goldfish can’t last too long if left unfed. However, in a pond, they can survive longer without being fed.

If you’re one of the rare aquarists who keep their goldfish in a pond, this answer is specifically for you. One of the causes of goldfish death is starvation, so keeping it in a pond is an excellent way to avoid that fate. They can last much longer than their tank counterparts.

This is because they can access food from insects, plants, and algae in this environment. In addition, because of the environment, they are in, they learn how to scavenge successfully. This not only keeps them fed but also improves their physical health and keeps them sharp.

While ponds require less maintenance than tanks, you’ll still need to keep a close eye on the conditions to tell if it is safe for your goldfish. For ponds, “how long can a goldfish go without food” becomes much more varied. However, expect that they will surpass the 2-week threshold of their tank counterparts.

They can last for months and sometimes even longer. In the winter, pond goldfish enter into hibernation to slow their metabolism and reduce the need for regular feeding sessions.

The Bottom Line

Goldfish are wonderful pets
If you have a budget, hire professional fish-sitters. They’ll know how to take proper care of your aquarium when you go on a vacation.

Goldfish are wonderful pets that make for good company. The best way to care for them is by keeping an eye on their needs. This guide provides all you need to know about feeding a goldfish and maintaining a good routine. Using this knowledge, you’ll stand a better chance of enjoying a vacation without worrying about your goldfish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my goldfish is hungry?
Goldfish have a few telltale signs that indicate they are hungry. For one, if you ever notice your goldfish not moving or acting really sluggish, that can be a sign of hunger. Also, a goldfish digging around in your tank is another sign that it is searching for a meal. Sometimes, hungry goldfish also tend to float to the top of your tank, waiting for you to throw some food in. This is one of the easier signs to spot. Watch out for these signs, and you'll stand a better chance at keeping your goldfish satisfied.
Should I be feeding my goldfish pellets or flakes?
Goldfish should have a diet that naturally consists of a fair bit of pellets. These pellets tend to sink to the bottom of the water, so it's easy for your fish to reach them. However, there is a risk with pellets when they are left uneaten. An uneaten pellet can begin to rot, and in such conditions, your tank water may develop increased ammonia levels. With flakes, the food tends to stay at the surface of your tank, making it easy to remove. However, because goldfish prefer to eat in low to medium water levels, flakes are a tad bit risky. So when your goldfish swims to eat some flakes, there's a chance that it might contract swim bladder disease, particularly because it is gulping too much air at the surface.
Can goldfish stop eating when they are full?
Goldfish tend to eat even when they don't really need it. If you're putting excessive amounts of food in the tank, it's best to stop this immediately. These creatures are very susceptible to the dangers of overfeeding. Only feed them enough food that they will finish in under 2 minutes. The size of the food should also be relatively small. Some aquarists recommend giving them food that is equal to the size of their eyes.
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Tal Halperin

Tal is an avid fish keeper and has been raising ornamental fish for decades. As a little boy, he drove his father crazy to buy him an aquarium with all the necessary equipment. Now, after a career in the field, he has set up Your Aquarium Place to offer the most comprehensive guide to ornamental fish keeping available and share his passion for the different species he has looked after.