If you have goldfish, you’ve probably asked yourself, “how long can goldfish go without food?” That’s a good question because goldfish, like any other fish type, have their dietary requirements to stay healthy.
While you do everything you can to ensure that your goldfish gets all the food it needs, sometimes, personal and professional commitments may require you to spend considerable lengths of time outside.
In such a scenario, you may not be able to feed your goldfish. So the natural question to follow is: for how long can goldfish survive without food?
Eating Habits of Goldfish
Before we talk about how long a goldfish can go without food, it’s important to discuss a goldfish’s eating habits. Goldfish are known to have an insatiable hunger.
No matter how much you feed them, they always seem to be willing to eat more, which is why the ideal thing to do is to feed your goldfish at least four small meals every day.
However, in many households, particularly the ones in which all members have jobs/school/college, goldfish are fed two big meals a day; a morning meal and an evening meal.
Experts recommend feeding a goldfish in two-minute spells. Whatever a goldfish can eat inside two minutes should be good enough to sustain it until the next meal. Feeding a goldfish for over two minutes may result in overfeeding.
The Possible Effects of Not Feeding Goldfish
It’s time to answer the main question: how long can goldfish go without food? A healthy goldfish can go without food without experiencing serious adverse effects for four days.
While they can live without food for up to two weeks, there may be a wide range of adverse health effects. Going without food for that long may take its toll on the goldfish’s immune system and you may also witness a change in your goldfish’s color.
Ultimately, how long a goldfish can live healthily without food depends on factors like its health, age, and size. If you know that you can’t feed your goldfish for more than four days on the trot, you should make an arrangement so that it gets its daily dose of nutrition.
See also: Is air pump good for goldfish?
The Ways to Feed Your Goldfish When You Are Not at Home
Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that your goldfish gets the food it needs while you are away on work or vacation. Read on to know what they are.
Vacation feeders are machines that release feed into the aquarium at regular intervals.
Such machines are gaining in popularity, particularly in households where members frequently have to stay out for extended periods.
Some of the advantages of using vacation feeders include low food costs, a variety of food for your goldfish to consume, and reduced wastage of food.
Automatic feeders are in many ways like vacation feeders. However, owners can set the timer depending on how often they want their goldfish to be fed.
While the advantages of automatic feeders are similar to those of vacation feeders, there is one major disadvantage. Fish Mate F14 automatic fish feeder is an excellent choice.
Automatic feeders have filters that may be worn down from continuous feeding without regular cleaning.
In time, the filters may stop working completely, which may lead to the release of pollutants in the water. These pollutants may significantly damage the health of your goldfish and in extreme scenarios, may even lead to death.
Hopefully, this answers the question of whether or not goldfish need filters.
Fish sitters work similar to baby sitters and if you would rather trust a human to do the feeding instead of a machine, then they are the ideal people to consult if you can’t feed your goldfish.
With a fish sitter, you don’t have to worry about your goldfish going without food. They are particularly helpful when you have a large tank with many goldfish or various fish types.
Apart from feeding your goldfish, fish sitters can also maintain the aquarium and ensure that the water has no pollutants that can harm the health of your fish. Some people also tend to rely on their neighbors for feeding their fish.
You just need to ensure your fish sitter knows what fish eat and can actually feed them.
How long can goldfish go without food? The signs of a hungry goldfish
Even if you feed your goldfish four small meals every day, it may still need more food depending on its appetite. In this section, we will take a look at some of the common signs that indicate that a goldfish is hungry.
See also: Do goldfish turn black when sick?
In case you have to go away for a few days and ask a neighbor to take care of your goldfish, you can share this information with your neighbor so that he/she can learn to understand the signs as well.
If you find your goldfish digging inside the aquarium through the substrate, it’s a clear sign that it is hungry and wants food desperately.
When a goldfish is hungry, it may swim up to the surface in search of floating food. A goldfish typically demarcates an area for itself to swim inside an aquarium.
However, if you see your goldfish swimming out of its demarcated area, it may indicate hunger. A goldfish that occasionally moves slowly is not something to worry about.
However, being consistently slow or sluggish may indicate a severe lack of energy and nutrition.
An aggressive goldfish that gobbles down food faster than usual is typically indicative of prolonged hunger. In extreme circumstances, your goldfish may resort to attacking other fish in the aquarium due to its frustration at not being fed.
What Should You Feed Your Goldfish?
To meet your goldfish’s nutritional requirements, you can use the following types of food:
- Gel Food: Of all the popular types of fish feed, gel food contains the maximum number of nutrients and it is also a type of feed that goldfish can digest easily.
- Pellets: Floating pellets carry a lot of nutritional value. However, fish have to ingest air while consuming these pellets, which may take a toll on their digestive systems.
- Flakes: While flakes are better than pellets in terms of their effects on a goldfish’s digestive system, their nutritional value is lost when they touch the water.
Ultimately, you should make sure that your goldfish does not miss out on its meals. Even though a goldfish can survive without too many problems for four days, you should make every possible effort to ensure daily feeding.
References and Citations
Aquatic Veterinary Services: How long can goldfish go without food?