How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?


As a goldfish owner, if this is your first time fish keeping, you might have wondered how long can goldfish go without food, at least once. Well, this is not something that one should practice without consulting an expert as it could affect the life of your goldie.

Nonetheless, this practice is not similar to fasting and should not be used as an excuse for skipping the meals of your goldfish.

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?

To answer this, we have to look into some factors like the water temperature,  the health of your goldfish, and the time you stopped giving it enough food. 

1. Environmental Conditions Around The Goldfish

Goldfishes are ectothermic, which means the temperature of their body is the same as that of water. Hence, in the warm water, their body temperature eventually rises to match the temperature of the water.

However, goldfish are not tropical fish. Thus, it can flourish in only a limited temperature range, between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 27 degrees Celsius.

Thus, to sustain your goldfish, you have to keep a regular check on the tank temperature. As said above, the tank temperature should neither fall below 15 degrees Celsius nor rise above 27 degrees Celsius.

If the tank temperature goes closer to the lower end of the spectrum, the metabolism rate will fall, and energy demand will decrease. However, make sure that the temperature is not too low for the goldfish, or else it will start freezing.

Lowering the tank temperature is a pretty risky idea to make your goldfish go without food. However, one can use it in emergencies.

Steps To Lower The Tank Temperature Of The Freshwater Aquarium

  • Lift the tank, take some help from your family member and take it to a lower floor of your building. If you have a basement, you can shift your goldfish there. Don’t forget to take the lights.
  • Take a few cubes of ice and slowly start adding it to the tank. It’s better to use an ice tray available at home that makes ice cubes that are smaller in size. Don’t put large chunks of ice into the tank; lastly, add a water conditioner.
  • If you own an outdoor pond, you can lower the temperature by creating shade over the pond. For this, you can use umbrellas or create a DIY shade for your goldfishes.

2. The Diet of Your Goldfish

What your goldfish eats affects how long it can go without food. If you regularly feed your goldfish, the chances are high that your goldfish will pass the starvation period with less difficulty.

To decrease the food intake, you have to feed it with enough fish food content with low ammonia as a byproduct. That is goldfish food that is low in protein. Remember, every goldfish must have 30% of the protein in its diet. 

The Diet of Your Goldfish

In this way, the metabolic demand would decrease, and you could go on your trip without any worry.

But if your goldfish has been already starving for days or has skipped meals, then we advise you not to withhold food from your fish. 

3. The Health Condition Of Your Goldfish

Analyzing the health condition of your goldfish could be hard. Unlike other pet animals, visual evaluation of a goldfish is not easy because it is not reflective on the outside.

The Health Condition Of Your Goldfish

For instance, one can detect a change in behavior of their cat or dog by their barking or meowing, but that’s not the case with the goldfish. Not only that, even goldfishes have different types. Thus, giving a common solution is not easy.

However, one can assume a goldfish with a muscular build and good pad storage and who has not pulled in for the past few days can skip meals and easily live through its nonfeeding phase.

From the above, you know the important factors that determine how long can your goldfish live. As per an estimate by professionals, here is a list elaborating on how certain water temperatures can determine how long your goldfish can stay without food for days.

What Should You Feed Your Pet Goldfish?

A diverse diet that includes various nutritional components can increase the health of your goldfish, also known as Caricias orators.

Generally, a goldfish store owner will suggest you feed a mixture of specialized granules and goldfish flakes because they are its staple diet. However, you can feed other things to your goldfish: brine shrimp or a mixture of frozen brine shrimp.

If you do not have it fresh, you can also feed daphnia and the vegetable mix. If you want to feed them something vegetarian, then you can try duckweeds.

Goldfish eat vegetables and other smaller fish. Apart from that, you can feed your goldfish with blood worms. 

Note: Don’t feed bread to your fish as it can affect its digestive tract. 

How Many Times Should You Feed Your Goldfish?

A goldfish diet must contain carbohydrates in good amounts. Don’t feed dry food directly to your goldfish as it can upset its stomach. To keep your goldfish in its pink health, you must feed it two to three times a day.

Unlike other pets, goldfish can’t burp when they are full. Thus, as for the rule of thumb, you must feed them for a maximum of two minutes in smaller meals and should not try overfeeding them.

 Moreover, if you are not aware of how much food you should be to your goldfish, then you should speed it at least the size of its eye.

What Kind Of Plants And Vegetables Can A Goldfish Eat?

You know from the previous section that there is a wide range of food you can give to your goldfish to keep it healthy, but how to plant it properly and give in what proportion? Let’s find out.

What Kind Of Plants And Vegetables Can A Goldfish Eat

Generally, Goldies living in the wild eat algae and other aquatic plants to fulfill their diet.

But, you cannot find aquatic plants and algae if you reside in a metropolitan area far from ponds. These aquatic plants are short-lived. Therefore, you cannot store them in the refrigerator.

However, there are several human food-like plants and veggies that your goldie would love to have.

List Of Veggies To Feed A Goldie

  1. Peas
  2. Lettuce
  3. Spinach
  4. Broccoli
  5. Potatoes
  6. Zucchini
  7. Carrots
  8. Lima beans
  9. Kale
  10. Chard
  11. Pumpkin
  12. Cucumber slices

List Of Fruits To Feed A Goldie

  1. Pears
  2. Apple
  3. Banana
  4. Rascal berries
  5. Mangoes
  6. Strawberries
  7. watermelon
  8. Grapes

These plant-based items contain a good amount of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and low carbohydrates and fiber.

How to Know My Goldfish Is Hungry?

Are you wondering when your goldie feels extremely hungry? Well, the answer lies in its feeding schedule. A goldie most probably will feel hungry around its eating hours. However, if it is floating on the water surface, attacking other fish, or digging in the gravel, you can feed pellets, dried food, and even human food like cooked rice to your goldie.

How Can You Feed Your Goldfish When You Are Away From Your Home For A Week?

 You don’t have to feed your goldfish when you are away from your home as your goldie is a pond fish which means it can find its food on its own.

However, you can use slow-release fish food or hire fish sitters that can serve as weekend feeders and look after your pet once in a while, while you are away from your home.

How Can You Feed Your Goldfish When You Are Away From Your Home

As per a study, goldfish survive up to two weeks when their owner temporarily withholds food. In addition, goldfish can survive even without small meals or live plants in their natural habitat for a few days easily.

However, you can take certain measures to keep it alive and get its stomach full on time. These measures are as follows: 

1. Vacation Feeder

The easiest way of feeding goldfish is to use vacation feeders. You can get them in multiple sizes like- 2-day (weekend), 7-day, and 14-day. They come in two varieties where the first one is a calcium block with fish food and the other one with food in the gel. 

These blocks dissolve in aquarium water, allowing you fish to feed on them.

2. Automatic Fish Feeder

Automatic fish feeders are available in both plug-in and battery-operated variants. Automatic feeders have timers that one may configure to deliver the right amount of food at the right time one or more times per day. one can adjust the food-holding dispenser’s opening to provide a certain amount of food at each feeding.

 The automatic feeder is fit to use at any time, and if you get one before going on vacation, you can change the schedule and amount of food supplied to ensure that the goldfish are fed correctly every day.  

An automatic fish feeder is very handy and efficient out of the two. However, as a pet owner, you can choose either and enjoy your vacations carefreely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can goldfish go without food?

Yes, goldies can go without food for many days. An adult goldie is said to survive without food for more than a week.

Can You Overfeed A Goldfish?

No, overfeeding a goldfish can result in constipation. However, experts do not preach overfeeding as it can be passive for your fish and can make it ill, resulting in a damaged digestive system. Not only that, giving it more food can contaminate the aquarium and clog the filters, making it difficult for your fish to survive.

Can A Goldfish get accustomed to a feeding schedule?

It depends on your goldie. In most cases, fishes like goldie can get accustomed to a feeding schedule. However, like other pets and animals, they can feel hungry and start digging the gravel beneath.

Can a goldfish feed on other waste material?

They may, but they also may not. Goldies, like other fishes, tend to nibble on whatever is floating in the aquarium. However, they can puke out non-edible items like their excreta.


How long can goldfish go without food depends on a lot of factors that one cannot ignore? As we have discussed above, you can skip feeding your goldie for up to two weeks. But, here’s a catch! If, after resuming the feeding habits, the fish stop eating, then immediately seek veterinary advice. 

To make your fish continue eating, make sure you revert the changes in water temperature, loss in fish’s weight, and condition of aquarium water (check for water pollution).


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