How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Eating Food?

There might be times when you are not available to feed your goldfish yourself, like going on a vacation trip.

When such situations happen, your goldfish may have to survive without getting food if you haven’t made any proper arrangements.

While this is an undesirable situation, it is important to know how long a goldfish can go without getting its proper nutrients.

In most cases, a goldfish can go without eating food for up to two weeks.

Let’s look at the goldfish’s dietary patterns and eating habits in detail.

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Eating Food?

Surprisingly, in a fish tank, a goldfish can survive for two weeks without eating food.

If you have goldfish in a pond, that period extends much longer, up to a couple of weeks. This is because ponds have all sorts of insects and algae, which can be a good source of nutrients for your goldfish.

There are several factors that influence their metabolism, enabling them to survive for this long.

However, just because it is possible doesn’t mean goldfish owners should actively neglect to feed them.

In case you are planning to go for an extended vacation, you need to make arrangements for feeding your goldfish.

Factors Affecting Goldfish Feeding Schedule

It is recommended to feed your goldfish once a day.

However, there are certain factors that require you to adjust their feeding schedule.

Water Temperature

To ensure that your goldfish has the optimal level of metabolism, the water temperature should range from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

At this temperature, your goldfish should be fed two to four times a day.

Lowered water temperature, like 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit will noticeably slow the metabolism of the goldfish.

In such cases, you should feed them once every 24 to 48 hours.

Note that the optimal water temperature for goldfish is 72-75° F. So you shouldn’t keep them at a lower or higher temperature for an extended period of time. This can lower their immunity and make them prone to dieseases.


The age of your goldfish is a major factor that can affect its feeding schedule.

For younger goldfish that are less than a year old, they should be fed twice or thrice a day.

Number of Fish in the Tank

In case you have multiple goldfish in your aquarium or pond, it is best to introduce meal times twice or thrice a day.

Goldfish meal times last approximately two minutes; hence you should avoid giving them excess food.

Also read: What Fish Can Live With Goldfish? – 10 Best Goldfish Tank mates

Goldfish Diet

Goldfish typically can eat a variety of food, including aquatic plants, smaller fish, fish eggs, insect larvae, and crustaceans, making them an excellent omnivorous pet.

Goldfish owners should remember to feed their goldfish a balanced diet to ensure they get all the nutrients.

Generally speaking, your goldfish should be fed more carbohydrates instead of protein. Below are some of the food items that you can give your goldfish.

Gel Food

Gel food is one of the easiest food items to make, although you can get ready-made gel food from the market.

It has a large number of nutrients required to keep your goldfish healthy.

Gel food is essentially a mixture of different vegetables like peas, carrots, broccoli, garlic, lettuce, and unflavored gelatin.

It is arguably the most natural way to feed your goldfish.


There are certain goldfish flakes that are excellent for providing your goldfish with a lot of nutrients.

While they are the most common type of goldfish food, their nutritional value is slightly reduced when they are put in water.

Although it is not a problem for goldfish owners, they should, however, be mindful of the fact when they are feeding their goldfish.


Pellets are another common goldfish food item. Pellets can both sink and float in the goldfish tank, depending on the type.

Floating pellets make it easier for the goldfish owners to remove in case there is some leftover food.

On the other hand, sinking pellets have a more natural element for the goldfish.

For their digestion, sinking pellets are preferable as the goldfish won’t take in as much water as floating pellets do.

The downside is that the goldfish owner will have a hard time cleaning up the fish tank.

Are There Any Human Foods Edible for Goldfish?

It may come as a surprise to know that goldfish can also digest some human foods.

However, these food items should merely act as a dietary supplement instead of their main diet.

Goldfish are able to eat many human foods like shelled peas, cooked rice, grapes, carrots, and zucchini, among various others.

For some foods, like grapes or shelled peas, it is important to remove the skin before feeding your goldfish.

How to Check If Your Goldfish Is Properly Fed

For goldfish owners, it is important to know if the diet you are giving them is enough for their health or not.

Following are some of the indications that tell you if your goldfish is properly fed.

Sluggishness and Lethargy

Goldfish, in their normal state, are quite active and energetic.

This is why, if you happen to notice your goldfish swimming slowly, it is usually indicative of something wrong.

It isn’t necessary that their lethargy stems from improper feeding as there can be various other reasons.

However, you do need to check their diet before crossing that off.

Behavioral Changes

Typically, you won’t see any aggression in goldfish as they are normally quite peaceful.

But when a goldfish isn’t fed properly, you are more likely to see them display signs of aggression like swimming after other occupants of the fish tank.

Fluctuations in Weight

This is an obvious yet important sign. Just like any other living being, if a goldfish isn’t getting its proper diet, you will see a visible decrease in its weight and size.

Although this can happen from diseases or other issues too, the most common reason is lack of proper feeding.

Swimming Near the Top

Goldfish are bottom feeders, but if a goldfish isn’t getting its food requirements, it will often be found near the top of the aquarium.

This is because they know their food source comes from the top; hence the goldfish will be trying to locate their food.

Also read: Why Is Goldfish Sitting at the Bottom of the Tank?

How to Feed Your Goldfish When You Are Away

As mentioned above, it is not wise to leave your goldfish unattended if you are unavailable for a certain period of time.

For this, you can adopt various methods to ensure everything happens smoothly.

Automatic Feeder

An automatic feeder is an excellent device that gives out fish food at regular intervals.

The timing and the amount of food to be released can be configured as per your requirements.

The main issue in using automatic feeders is that not all of them are reliable. Hence, you need to do your proper research before buying one.

If you are planning to go away for a few days, test the automatic feeder before leaving.

You will be able to see what problems are arising, if any, and address them immediately.

Also, check if the automatic feeder is able to dispense the food properly to the fish.

There have been several cases where the food had clogged up the mechanism and was stuck in the feeder.

Slow-Release Fish Food

Slow-release fish food is another method of making sure your fish is properly fed if you are away. There are two types of slow-release fish food.

Weekend feeder blocks – With this type of slow-release fish food, your goldfish will be fed for three days.

These are most suitable if you have a weekend vacation trip.

Vacation feeder blocks – With this type of slow-release fish food, your goldfish can be fed for 14 days.

This is mostly used when you have an extended trip coming up.

Pet Sitter

For a more human element, you can ask a pet sitter to take care of your goldfish.

Their job would be coming to your house at the goldfish feeding time and making sure they are properly fed.

Pet sitters can even be tasked with cleaning up the tank. However, the primary concern of hiring a pet sitter is that it can get expensive.

Sometimes, they might not even be available for a day or two.

While the goldfish can survive without food for some days, the whole point of hiring a pet sitter is to ensure proper and timely feeding.

Can Overfeeding Become a Problem?

Both over and underfeeding can pose a health hazard to your goldfish.

If your goldfish is underfed, they will likely exhibit signs of stress and health problems because of a weakened immune system.

On the other hand, your goldfish may suffer from blocked intestines if they are overfed. Blocked intestines can itself cause more problems like bladder issues.

To know if your fish has bladder issues, you will see your goldfish swimming upside down near the aquarium top.

Too much-unattended food in the aquarium will increase the pollution level.

This happens because any food which is not eaten eventually sinks to the bottom of the aquarium, where it decomposes.


To summarize, goldfish are quite resilient and can survive without food for up to 2 weeks.

However, you should always make sure you have everything arranged for them if you do plan on being unavailable for a longer period.

The best solution is to ask a friend or neighbor to make sure your goldfish are properly fed.

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