How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?

Curiosity gets the best in people. Once you acquire a goldfish, you wonder about its feeding habit. What will goldfish eat? How long can goldfish go without food? And it is okay to wonder and research. This gives you the benefit of the doubt.

Goldfish are quite ahead in the hunger game and can survive 2 weeks without food. But it is never a good idea to starve your fish for that long as they can be highly malnourished and, no doubt, extremely hungry.

The capacity of goldfish to endure hunger and hold on for a longer time does not allow you to leave them hungry. You must feed them once a day and never skip a meal for more than 4 days.

In this article, you will clear every doubt you have about your goldfish. These beautiful small fish may look easy to handle, but their feeding habits and the questions it brings can be quite a pull.

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Feeding Habits Of Goldfish

Goldfish have feeding habits as simple as the fish can have. If you see their wild feeding habits, you will find them eating from plants to small insects.

Goldfish are omnivores and eat small plants and insects like mosquito larvae, zooplankton, detritus, etc.

But here, the question is, what do goldfish eat in captivity?  Goldfish are easier to feed, they can eat dried flake or pellet food, but that does not stop here.

You can feed them vegetables and fruits, along with some other human food, while you are short of fish food.

The food for goldfish needs to be slightly different than tropical fish. They demand more carbohydrates and less protein in their diet.

Just remember to feed them a few things they devour in the wild. This will keep them healthy and happy.

I have also written an article about ‘How To Feed Your Aquarium Fish?’. Check it out!

How Often Should You Feed Your Goldfish?

So, now is the question you ask the most when you get any fish. How many times should you feed your fish? And what should be the size of the food for goldfish?

Goldfish are quite full of wonders, and the capacity to overfeed or no feeding at all works like quite a charm here.

You need to feed your goldfish 2-3 times a day. However, they can go up to 4 days with no food and still remain intact and healthy.

Here are some health benefits of keeping an aquarium fish for you!

After the feeding limit, there comes the size limit of the food. The amount of food you have to feed goldfish should not exceed the size of its eye. It is the ideal thumb rule to feed a goldfish.

In other words, feed them food that they can consume within 2 minutes. Overfeeding brings serious issues in your goldfish and can even result in death.

Learn more about ‘Why my fish is getting fat?’.

If there is any leftover of the food in the tank, then it is certain to produce ammonia while decaying increases the toxicity.

Get more information about how ammonia can poison your tank from here!

You need to be extra careful with the feeding amount and feeding times of your goldfish. It is even better to feed them only once a day with an ideal amount. They will be just fine with this as well.

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?

Here comes the question you have been longing to get an answer for. And the answer is quite simple but dangerous if experimented with.

Goldfish have a wonderful capacity to survive nearly 2 weeks without food. But it is unhealthy to not feed them for 2 weeks though.

There is even the incident in New Zealand, where two goldfish survived for 134 days after the earthquake. They, although fed on the algae and dead bodies of other fish for a while.

You can also check our article on Algae in Fish Tank: Type, Cause, and Control.

You should, however, never exceed more than 4 days without feeding goldfish. After 4 days, these goldfish start showing issues related to malnourishment.

Goldfish may remain healthy and cheerful up to a week, but after that, they become slow and shaggy. This hunger-induced stress can cause the death of your goldfish.

If something can handle things does not mean you need to push their limits. You need to feed your goldfish according to the ideal time and amount as required.

How Can Goldfish Go Without Food For So Long?

Most of the fish, including goldfish, are poikilothermic. It is just a vast word to describe the simple things that they get their body temperature from the environment they live in.

The metabolism activity in goldfish depends upon the temperature around them—the lower the temperature, the lower their metabolic activities.

And goldfish need no heater and prefer water at room temperature and even chiller water. Low metabolic activity, thus, results in no need to feed frequently.

And the other factor is, they do not fight gravity for movement as they are floating around in the water.

These both factors help the fish to conserve energy and can easily hibernate when necessary. This is what happens with the goldfish when you deprive them of food.

Also, the pre-health condition of the goldfish determines their capacity to remain without food.

A healthy and sound goldfish can go long enough 2 weeks in the absence of food, whereas goldfish with diseases can die sooner, even within a few days.

So, here you know why your goldfish ask for less food and survive longer in the absence of food. But that does not give you a window to let it sit without food in the aquarium.

Remember to feed your fish, or else you will have a stressed, unhealthy, or dead fish floating in your aquarium.

How Can You Provide Food To Your Goldfish In Your Absence?

There are certain ways to make sure your goldfish is getting enough food to survive in your absence. It is a bad idea to leave them unfed when you are on vacation for longer than 4 days.

The simple ways are:

Ask Your Neighbor Or Friend

Most people rely on the next-door neighbor as it is easy and simple for them to visit once a day to feed your goldfish.

And the other option is a close friend. Ask them to visit them once in 2-3 days to feed your fish.

You should, however, make them understand the amount of food to feed your fish, what. You can get a pill to organize and fill many boxes with a certain amount of food that is to be fed.

Ask them to empty each box in each visit; that will help them as well as you to make sure your goldfish is well-fed.

This process will help when your neighbor or friend has zero knowledge about fish-keeping and fish food amount.


Some people who can afford the luxury to hire people to do the job can go for a babysitter. You can hire a babysitter who will occasionally feed your fish.

Unlike the common babysitter you get for your baby, this one can have expertise in the fish-keeping as well as has enough knowledge about goldfish.

You will have the assurance about your fish when an expert is handling your fish while you are away.

Automatic Fish Feeder

This thing might also cause a dent in your wallet, but if you want a reliable fish feeder, then you must go for the branded ones.

The automatic fish feeder feeds your fish at certain intervals with the amount that is ideally appropriate.

A well-tested product can give you undeniably better assistance in feeding the goldfish while you are away. One good automatic food feeder can hold enough food that can last for 6 weeks.

Zacro Automatic Fish Feeder is a rechargeable timer fish feeder with USB Charger Cable, Fish Food Dispenser for Aquarium, or Fish Tank. I would recommend it as it is quite reliable.

Slow-Release Fish Food

This might be the cheapest escape to save your fish from starving in your absence. This comes in two categories: weekly block feeders and vacation block feeders.

The weekly category of slow-release fish food keeps feeding your fish for 3 days, and the vacation feeder bocks last till 14 days.

The best option for the fish slow release feeder is (4 Pack) TetraPond Vacation Food Slow Release Feeder Block, 3.45 Ounce Each. The whole package is quite affordable, based on the quantity.

What Are The Food That You Should Never Feed Your Goldfish?

You can easily feed vegetables and fruits to your goldfish, and even they devour it with no issues. But there are certain things you should avoid feeding your fish.

These foods not only harm your goldfish but also cause their death as well. Be careful and suspicious before feeding anything to your goldfish.

Here is the list of some of the foods you need to completely avoid:

  1. Cereals
  2. Grains
  3. Bread
  4. Rice
  5. Wax Worms
  6. Tropical Fish Food
  7. Betta Food

Things You Should Not Do For Goldfish

Here is the list of certain things you need to avoid with the goldfish:

  1. You should not overstock your goldfish tank. This leads to serious issues like unequal food division.
  2. You need to feed your goldfish once a day and never skip a meal for more than 4 days.
  3. Never overfeed your goldfish in any condition whatsoever.
  4. You should never add a heater to a goldfish tank as they prefer room temperature and can die with high heat.
  5. Always keep your goldfish in the tank, not in a small bowl, as they like to swim and explore.
  6. Keep certain human foods and uncooked food away from your goldfish. Learn more about ‘Can fish eat human food?’.
  7. Never feed them bread or any grains.
  8. Check the water quality before adding goldfish to the tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Goldfish Go A Week Without Food?

Yes, your goldfish can easily survive without food for a week and remain healthy and cheerful. But it is never better to keep them hungry just that they can handle it.

How Long Does It Take For A Goldfish To Starve To Death?

These cute small fish can go without food for 2 weeks—any more than that, they start showing issues and eventually die due to hunger.

Is It Okay To Feed A Goldfish Once A Day?

It is okay to feed a goldfish once a day, and even the ideal thumb rule supports it. The ideal thumb rule is to feed your fish what it can consume within 2 minutes.

Can Goldfish Eat Bread?

Yes, Goldfish can eat bread, but they can eat does not mean it is good for them. It is better to feed them fruits and vegetables rather than bread, as bread can affect your goldfish.

Bread swells up in the intestine of goldfish resulting in constipation and eventually death.

What Is Poisonous To Goldfish?

Well, as we know, most of the chemicals are poisonous to goldfish except Epsom salts and non-iodized salt. And lead, copper, Bronze, and Zinc, these non-ferrous metals are highly poisonous to you goldfish as well.


In conclusion, your goldfish may have the capacity to remain foodless for a certain period but do not test it just to prove your point. Believe this, and no good comes from keeping your fish hungry and starving.

Remember to feed you goldfish once a day, and if you cannot make it, ask someone else to do it. You need to be responsible and careful while handling a fish. No aquarist becomes an expert by keeping their fish hungry.

Remember to feed your goldfish on time within the limit, and you will have a happily swimming goldfish in the tank.

Happy Fish Keeping!

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