How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Food? Complete Diet Guide

    How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Food?

    Today, we’ll talk about a situation in which many fish owners found themselves at some point. It’s the holiday season, and you’re all set for your vacation, but you can’t bring your pet with you. You’re probably thinking, how long can a goldfish go without food? There’s no need for that, as there are several solutions.

    Goldfish can go without food for around two weeks. Their metabolism can withstand a long time without nutrients, but it’s not a smart thing to practice. Even though goldfish don’t eat every day in the wild, if they got used to feeding two or three times a day, staying without food for long can harm them.

    How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?

    How long can a goldfish go without food

    Goldfish can go without food for about 15 days. However, there’s no need or reason to leave your pet hungry.

    If you have plans to go for a more extended vacation, you need to ensure that your fish and aquarium are adequately taken care of by asking someone to feed your fish or by choosing some of the vacation feeders that’ll keep your fish fed.

    How Do I Know If My Goldfish Is Hungry?

    How do I know if my goldfish is hungry?

    If your fish has an eating schedule it got used to, it’ll be undoubtedly hungry if you miss providing food on schedule.

    It’s pretty normal for the goldfish in the wild to miss a meal as they don’t eat every day, but they eat only when they catch the food.

    On the other hand, captive goldfish you have as a pet will get used to its eating schedule, and missing a meal will make your pet hungry and possibly somewhat angry, for sure.

    Even if you know how long your goldfish can go without having a meal, it may sometimes still express signs of hunger.

    It’ll express hunger in different ways, and here are some of them:

    • If your goldfish swims in areas of the aquarium it usually doesn’t go to, it means it’s looking for food. You need to pay attention and see if it’s digging the substrate as it means it’s hungry and it’s looking for food.
    • Fish that normally don’t scavenge but start scavenging or inspecting the top of the aquarium all of a sudden might make you wonder what’s happening. These indicators suggest that your fish is hungry and it’s searching for food.
    • In case your goldfish shows signs of aggression, or if it eats quickly, it’s another sign that your fish is hungry. Even though they do eat quickly, if you see that it eats faster than it usually does, it’s because it was probably hungry for some time.
    • If you notice that your goldfish is slow or acting sluggish, it’s possible that it didn’t get enough food for some time and it needs to eat.
    • Some fish tend to attack and harass other tank mates when hungry, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hungry, as numerous reasons could’ve caused their aggression.

    How Often Should You Feed Your Goldfish?

    How often should you feed your golfish?

    You should try to feed your goldfish two or three times per day.

    You need to realize that overfeeding your fish can make it hard for it to digest the food, which will result in aquarium water contamination.

    Here’s a nice visual guide showing how to feed your goldfish:

    Factors That Affect How Frequently Should You Feed Your Goldfish

    In most scenarios, you should feed your adult fish once a day, but there are some exceptions to consider as you’d need to adjust its meal frequency:

    The age of the goldfish – depending on the maturity of your fish, you need to adjust the feeding frequency. If your fish is young (less than one year old), you need to feed it two or even three times a day as frequent meals will help its healthy growth. 

    Water temperature – when the water temperature is between 65° and 85° F, the metabolism of your fish is in an optimal state, and you should feed it two to four times a day. If the temperature is between 50° and 60° F, you should feed your fish once in 24 to 48 hours as its metabolism is slower and it won’t digest food properly.

    If the water temperature in your goldfish tank drops below 50° F or goes above 90° F, you should stop giving your fish food entirely.

    Feeding during breeding season – You can provide your goldfish as much as it can eat in a 15-30 minutes period, and do it 3-4 times per day, but make sure to clean the water in your tank. Providing enough protein to female goldfish is what helps them develop healthy eggs.

    Multiple fish – if you have more than one goldfish in your tank or pond, it’s a good idea to practice a meal routine of 2-3 times a day, and amount-wise, don’t give them more food than they can consume in two minutes.

    Here’s a table that breaks down goldfish feeding frequency:

    Age of Goldfish Feeding Frequency Types of Food Special Considerations
    Less than 1 year 2-3 times a day Pellets, flakes, live, freeze-dried foods Frequent meals for healthy growth
    Adult (Water Temp 65°-85°F) 2-4 times a day Pellets, flakes, live, freeze-dried foods Adjust feeding frequency based on water temperature
    Adult (Water Temp 50°-60°F) Once every 24-48 hours Pellets, flakes, live, freeze-dried foods Slow metabolism due to lower temperature
    Adult (Water Temp <50°F or >90°F) Stop feeding N/A Metabolism too slow or too fast for proper digestion
    Breeding Season 3-4 times a day Pellets, flakes, live, freeze-dried foods Provide enough protein for egg development
    Multiple Fish in Tank 2-3 times a day Pellets, flakes, live, freeze-dried foods Don’t give more food than they can consume in two minutes

    What Should You Feed Your Goldfish?

    what should you feed your goldfish

    You should feed your goldfish with live, frozen, freeze-dried foods like bloodworms, crickets, mealworms, brine shrimp, ghost shrimp, daphnia, etc.

    Providing your fish with appropriate food is of utmost importance so your fish can grow and thrive.

    Even though goldfish are opportunistic feeders (they won’t stop eating as long as there’s food), you can control their eating frenzy. If you don’t, your fish might suffer from digestive issues due to overfeeding, resulting in death.

    Remember that the more your fish eats, the more waste it produces, and large amounts of waste produce toxins that can overwhelm your tank. Ultimately, these toxins can cause various diseases and even kill your fish.

    Therefore, it’s crucial to know how fish eats and learn which foods are good for your fish to live a healthy life in your home.

    Goldfish Diet In The Wild

    Goldfish diet in the wild is variable, and it includes aquatic insects and plants, small crustaceans, and algae.

    Because wild goldfish have to adapt to an ever-changing environment, battle the water currents, and evade predators, they tend to forage for food so they’d have enough energy to support this incredibly active lifestyle.

    Basic Feeding Information

    When living in the wild, goldfish are far more active than goldfish in an aquarium.

    Since your aquarium fish aren’t as busy, they require less food to stay healthy.

    You can easily find specially formulated food meant for goldfish, and it’s recommended to feed your pet with it as it has a much lower protein concentration.

    Goldfish have trouble digesting large amounts of protein. Therefore, even though their diet requires protein in it, it has to be in small quantities.

    Additionally, the goldfish diet requires a more significant concentration of carbohydrates, and there are some excellent products available in the market.

    Food for goldfish has many forms, and you’ll quickly find special pellets and flakes for goldfish. Both these types have everything your pet needs.

    Remember that pellets sink to the bottom of your aquarium while goldfish flakes will float at the top.

    This allows you to choose the food type according to your pet’s eating habits, as it can feed on different tank levels.

    Other Fish Foods

    Besides pellets and flakes, goldfish love eating things like ghost shrimp, daphnia, brine shrimp, crickets, bloodworms, mealworms, etc. You can choose any of these items in several forms: live, freeze-dried, or frozen.

    Which Human Foods Can Your Goldfish Eat?

    Fish food isn’t the only food you can give to your goldfish.

    There’s a variety of human foods that you can treat your fish with if you prepare them properly. The foods we’ll mention below shouldn’t become their base food items, but rather supplements to their existing diet.

    Before we list all the human food items you can feed your goldfish with, we have to mention that you should always provide your fish with minimal amounts so your pet could eat it in one or two minutes.

    Also, you should clean your home aquarium from excess food after it’s done eating.

    Additionally, you should prepare all these items per instructions before giving them to your fish:

    • Shelled peas – remove skin and feed your fish with small pieces.
    • Leafy greens – your goldfish can eat spinach, lettuce, chard, kale, etc., but chop it into small pieces before giving it to your fish.
    • Cooked rice – you can feed your fish with cooked rice, but make sure to serve small amounts, so you don’t overfeed your pet.
    • Broccoli and corn – make sure to boil (or microwave) it, and then dice it before serving.
    • Carrots and zucchini – first, you must peel them, boil (or microwave) them, and then dice them before serving your fish.
    • Cucumber slices – Slice a cucumber and then boil or microwave the slices before serving them to your pet.
    • Grapes – this fruit is excellent for your goldfish, but before serving, you have to skin and chop it first.
    • Orange and watermelon slices – like grapes, these fruits are a fantastic addition to your goldfish’s diet. Make sure to chop them into tiny slices before serving your fish.

    How Much Food Should You Feed Your Goldfish?

    How much should you feed your goldfish

    You should feed your goldfish with the right amount of food it can eat in a minute or two, two or three times a day. Ensure you don’t give your goldfish food pieces that are larger than its eye, as that’s how much it can bite at a time.

    The key is small amounts of food several times per day. Goldfish have small stomachs, so they should eat frequently.

    Rather than one large meal that could foul the water, give smaller portions that the fish can fully consume within a minute or two. This allows the food to be processed without excess rotting and contaminating the tank.

    When determining portion sizes, watch your fish eat. The flakes or pellets should be gone within a minute or two max. If food remains after a couple minutes, you’re feeding too much.

    It’s better to slightly underfeed than overfeed when figuring out the right amount.

    As mentioned earlier, you can also use the eyeball rule – pieces should be no bigger than the goldfish’s eye diameter. This prevents your pet fish from choking on pieces that are too large.

    In terms of frequency, aim for 2-3 feedings per day. Spacing feedings about 8 hours apart works well. For instance, you can feed them in the morning, mid-day, and evening.

    Regular small meals are ideal for goldfish digestion and maintaining high water quality. The food gets fully eaten, and their little stomachs have time to empty before the next feeding.

    Follow these guidelines on goldfish meal size and frequency, adjust amounts based on appetite, and avoid oversized food pieces. This will keep your fish healthy, happy, and eager for every mealtime.

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

    How can you feed your goldfish while you’re away?

    We all know that cats and dogs are easy to manage when going on vacation. You can bring them with you or even send them to pet hotels, kennels, etc., where professionals will take care of them each day.

    However, there’s no goldfish hotel yet, and even if there were, it’s just not possible to move your fish aquarium around that easily.

    It’s vacation time, and your bags are ready, but you still don’t know what to do with your goldfish, how long your goldfish can survive without eating, and how to solve the feeding issue that you’re facing.

    You shouldn’t worry as there’s a solution for every problem, and we’ve prepared several!

    Before we show you our list of solutions, we have to assure you that your goldfish will survive even if it’s not fed for days. It doesn’t matter how long you think goldfish can survive without eating because, the fact is, it can survive without eating for up to two weeks.

    Even though you shouldn’t leave your pet at home without food for that long, at least you don’t have to worry too much. There are some of the methods that’ll help you solve the feeding issue when you’re out of home on holiday:

    Feeding Blocks

    Feeding blocks provide fish keepers with security and peace of mind when there’s no one to feed their fish during the holiday season.

    Your fish will have enough food while you’re away on vacation as feeding blocks dissolve in water over time.

    Depending on how many days you’ll be away from home, you should get an appropriate size of feeder block.

    Automatic Dispensers (Automatic Feeders)

    You can find automatic feeders in various sizes and shapes in almost every pet store or online.

    Automatic feeders for goldfish are usually small, and these feeders usually go on the side of the aquarium.

    Depending on how many fish you have in your aquarium, an automatic fish feeder will release food periodically, ensuring all your fish are fed but never overfed.

    Hire A Fish-Sitter For Your Goldfish

    If you’re not into feeder blocks and automatic feeder gadgets, there’s another solution for you.

    You can hire a fish sitter to take care of your goldfish while you’re not home. Like you’d do for any other pet (cat, dog, parrot, hamster), you can find a pet sitter to help you out with providing food to your fish.

    On the plus side, it doesn’t require walks in the park.

    Regardless of the fish sitter and automatic feeder solutions above, you shouldn’t be worried because fish in your tank are pretty resilient, meaning that goldfish can easily go without food for an extended period.

    When Should You Skip Feeding Your Goldfish?

    There are numerous common reasons because of which people can’t feed their fish, including business trips, going out of town for a family visit, going on holidays, etc.

    However, there are also some other reasons to consider, because of which you should skip giving food to your fish.

    Suppose your tank has terrible water quality or any other water quality issue. In that case, it’s recommended to stop giving food to your fish for several days until the amount of waste in the tank reduces. Since you already know for how long your goldfish can go without a meal, you can do this without any worry whatsoever.

    Of course, this won’t solve the problem. Therefore, you have to inspect what’s causing the water quality in your tank to go wrong and quickly resolve it.

    You can either try with smaller meals or with a better filtration system for your tank. This should help you clear up the water in your aquarium quickly and prevent your fish from getting sick.

    Another common reason because of which you should temporarily stop giving your fish its meals is if it’s suffering from swim bladder disease

    Swim bladder disease occurs when their digestive tract is blocked. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t feed your goldfish for a maximum of three days, and it’ll help resolve the blockage.

    FAQs About How Long Goldfish Can Go Without Food

    FAQs about how long goldfish can go without eating

    How do I know If I’m feeding my goldfish enough food?

    You will know if you are feeding your goldfish enough if it doesn’t swim upside down. When goldfish swims that way around the tank, it means it’s suffering from swim bladder issues that happen due to lack of food.

    Can goldfish go a full day without food?

    Yes, a goldfish can go a day without food with no problems. In some cases, it’s advisable to skip feeding your fish for one day, like when the water temperature in your tank is below 50° F or above 90° F because its metabolism is way too slow to digest food.

    Can goldfish go 2 days without food?

    Yes, goldfish can go 2 days without food. In the wild, goldfish don’t eat every day since they’re unable to catch food that frequently naturally in ponds. Goldfish can survive this time without issues.

    Can adult goldfish go a week without food?

    Yes, adult goldfish can go without food for a week, but it’s not recommended as a practice. Leaving your goldfish without sufficient food for 3-4 days likely won’t seriously harm your fish, but try to avoid depriving them if at all possible to help them avoid health problems.

    Can goldfish go without food for three weeks?

    No, goldfish can’t go without food for three weeks. Goldfish are able to go up to two weeks without food, but it’s not recommended to leave your fish without food for so long because captive goldfish has its daily feeding schedule.

    If you are away for longer than three or four days, make arrangements so your goldfish gets its food on a schedule.

    Do goldfish like floating or sinking food?

    Goldfish will readily eat both floating and sinking foods. It’s good to offer a mix to accommodate different feeding styles.

    Sinking pellets are great for bottom feeders while flakes floating on the surface allow mid-dwelling goldfish to feed.

    Variety keeps them active and healthy.

    Do goldfish prefer flakes or pellets?

    Goldfish don’t really have a strong preference between flakes or pellets. It’s best to offer both types to provide texture variety and nutrients.

    Some enthusiasts recommend sticking to one or the other for convenience, but mixing it up is ideal for rounded nutrition and engaging natural behaviors.

    Just be sure to soak pellets before feeding.


    Goldfish are incredible, especially when it comes to their feeding habits.

    Even though you’re aware of how long a goldfish can go without food, please don’t test them. As much as goldfish can survive without food for an extended period, it’s not advisable to leave your pet unfed for many days or weeks.

    In some scenarios that include water temperature variations, swim bladder issues, etc., your goldfish should fast for a couple of days as fasting won’t do them any harm. On the contrary, it’ll help them empty their bladder or get their metabolism to work faster.

    If there’s anything else you’d like to know about goldfish, please let us know!

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