How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food

Are you planning to go on a trip, leaving your goldfish without food? Do you know how long can goldfish go without food?

Will your fish be dead by the time you are back from your trip?

This article contains the necessary details about goldfish and how long they can go without food.

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food

Goldfish can survive from 8 days to 2 weeks without giving them food. They will survive starvation if they have needed requirements and are under adequate conditions.

Can Goldfish Starve to Death?

With the right conditions and requirements, goldfish can live 10 to 50 years without any complications.

However, it is very unlikely for goldfish to die of starvation because of their hardy status. They will only die of starvation if an underlying problem causes them not to eat.

Some of the problems that can prevent goldfish from eating include;

  • Water quality

Water quality is one of the significant factors that affect the health of goldfish. It can also affect the way goldfish feed or how much food they eat. When the tank’s water quality becomes depreciated, your fish might stop eating the food you give to it.

Every activity and life of a goldfish is in the water, making the water a determinant of its existence. If the water temperature becomes unbearable for the fish, it will deprive them of good health and prevent them from eating. They will also stop eating if the dissolved carbon dioxide is high and oxygen is low.

If the water pH is wrong, your goldfish will stop eating the food you give to them. They will also stop eating if the ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate level is high. Your goldfish will also refuse to eat if the toxins level in the water is high.

The water quality is so essential that it can affect the health of your fish. And once your fish starts finding trouble with its health, it won’t have much time thinking about food. You have to provide adequate water requirements for your goldfish.

  • Diseases and infections

Diseases and infections are also one of the factors that disrupt your goldfish from eating. You cannot expect your fish to be battling for their health to start gulping down pellets and flakes. Even humans find it difficult to eat when they fall sick.

Several disease-causing organisms like worms, protozoa, fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc., affect goldfish. These diseases and infections are contagious and are most commonly spread by new plants, fish, decoration, etc., into the tank. These diseases cause the goldfish to lose appetite and stop eating foods.

One of the diseases that cause fish not to eat is the swim bladder disease. The swim bladder is a sac filled with gas that makes the goldfish float and maintain balance in the water. When the swim bladder develops any problem, the fish will start experiencing swimming and will not eat.

If your goldfish is constipating, it will also not eat any more food. Constipation occurs when your fish has a problem with digestion and is unable to release food waste. You will notice this when the goldfish stays or scoots at the bottom of the tank; at this period, the goldfish has better things to think of other than food.

These diseases do not only prevent the fish from eating but also affect its health. If you do not provide the necessities, the fish might end up dying from the disease. You have to carry out proper diagnosis and administer the needed treatment for the fish.

  • Taste or type of food

Your goldfish taste might have changed over time, causing it to reject food it likes before. It is usually not a problem as the underlying cause is not a problem to its health or wellbeing. Your goldfish might also not eat if the food you give is not the type of food it likes.

You do not have to worry, as the change in taste will change to its default state when there is no food on the ground. Goldfish can go days without eating, so your fish will be fine throughout the time it refuses to eat. Your fish might also get filled and might get bored of eating.

You only have to be sure that your fish’s refusal to eat is not a result of health problems nor water quality. The two causes can be lethal and even lead to the death of your goldfish. But if it refuses to eat because of a change in taste, you do not have to worry as it will change its taste over time.

Can I Leave My Fish Without Food for a Week?

Leaving your fish without food for a week depends on how well you can handle it. Freshwater fish can go days without food, so yes, you can leave your fish without food for a week. You only have to do these if you meet other requirements for their survival.

You have to make sure the water quality is top-notch. You cannot add to the fish’s troubles by making their water dirty and full of organic waste. You also have to ensure that water filters, water pumps, and other devices are working perfectly.

The water temperature is also important when leaving your fish without food. Coldwater slows the metabolism of fish, while hot water increases the metabolism rate. An increased metabolic rate causes the fish to eat more, while reduced metabolism causes it to eat less.

So, you have to make sure the water is cold for a reduced metabolism rate. You also have to make sure the water’s oxygen level is intact and the carbon dioxide rate is low. If you can meet another requirement for fish survival, your fish will be able to stay for a week without food.

YouTube video

How Often Do Goldfish Need to be Fed?

Feeding your goldfish will
require you to pay attention to the fish while feeding it. It is best to feed the goldfish 2 to 3 times a day and leave it to enjoy the rest of its day. You can also measure the amount of food you feed to the fish by checking the amount of food it can finish in two minutes.

After checking the amount of food it finishes in two minutes, you should know the amount of food to feed it. You can also give it the amount of food equivalent to the size of its eye. It is also a good metric to measure the food for your goldfish.

You also have to avoid overfeeding when feeding your goldfish. When your goldfish stops eating, you should stop pouring the food in the water. Overfeeding can contaminate the water and put the health of your goldfish at risk.

Overfeeding can also cause indigestion in your goldfish. Prolonged cases of indigestion can lead to constipation, or worse, the death of the fish. You have to feed your goldfish adequately, and at the same time, avoid overfeeding.

How Can I Tell if Your Goldfish is Hungry?

There are several ways you can tell if your goldfish is hungry. All of these require you to pay attention to them. One of the behaviors that tell your goldfish is hungry is when it starts digging the substrate in search of food.

When your goldfish is hungry, you will see the fish waiting and moving around the surface of the water or spot where you usually feed it. You will also start to notice aggressive behavior in your fish. You will also notice the fish is moving slowly as it is trying to conserve its energy.

In case of prolonged hunger, you will notice the change in your goldfish’s weight and size. You have to pay attention to the fish and notice the change in their behavior before you can tell if they are hungry. You also do not have to wait until they are hungry before you feed them when you have a feeding routine.

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food in a Pond?

Goldfish are hardy fish and can go about 8 to 14 days without food. They can even survive for more days when kept in a pond with the necessary resources for their survival. The amount of time they spend in a pond depends on the size of the pond.

They tend to stay alive more in larger ponds than smaller ones. The number of algae in the pond determines how much they can stay without food as they will have something to munch. They can also live indefinitely if they have insects and every other necessary condition, even without feeding them.

How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food in Winter?

Goldfish can stay without food as long as the winter lasts. It is because they hibernate when the temperature gets to a specific temperature. They experience dormancy during this period and do not need much feeding until the temperature becomes higher.


Goldfish can stay alive for up to two weeks without food. You can also leave them for a trip, provided you put every other necessary thing in place. Your fish will even live longer if there are insects or algae to munch during the period without food.

John Brandon

John has kept fish all his life (since he was about 5). He started with keeping guppies and fell in love with fish keeping almost straight away. That was 40 odd years ago. These days John still keeps fish and currently has two large tanks where he keeps many different types of fish such as Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Goldfish, Guppies and many more.