How Long Can Fish Go Without Food?

Imagine you live alone in your appartment and one day, you’ve to go out of city for work or personal commitment.

The worst part is, you’ve no idea on your point of return.


In the meantime, how will your aquatic fish survive? Will they DIE?

Or somehow survive?

Well, the answer varies from one fish to another.

Some fish can continue living straight for 1 weeks without food whereas some can last for over 2 weeks.

Once you’ve all the timelines, you can schedule your trip accordingly.

So, with that in mind, here you’ll get to know about:

  • fasting tolerance of your aquarium fish.
  • automatic feeders.
  • fish sitter.
  • vacation feeders.

Let’s get started:

Type of Aquatic FishHow Long Fish Can Live Without Fod
Angelfish1 Week
Harlequin rasbora1 Week
Rainbow FishUp to 10 Days
GoldfishUp to 10 Days
Tetras7-10 Days
African Cichlids7-10 Days
Loaches7-10 Days
PlatiesUp to 14 Days
PlecosUp to 14 Days
Japanese carpUp to 14 Days
ZebrafishUp to 14 Days
MolliesUp to 14 Days
OscarsUp to 14 Days
SwordtailUp to 14 Days
BarbsUp to 14 Days
ClownfishUp to 14 Days
Cory CatfishUp to 14 Days
DiscusUp to 14 Days
GouramisUp to 14 Days
Siamese fighting fish7-14 Days
Chart determining fasting capacity of your fish

Automatic Feeders

Today’s automatic fish feeders are an awesome way to make sure that your pet fish get the food they need even when you’re not there.

Automatic fish feeders can be programmed to release small amounts of food at specific times of the day, or to dispense one large serving at the end of the day.

Some models will even have an alarm system that will alert you when it’s time for your fish to eat, so you never have to worry about forgetting a feeding schedule.

Automated feeders are great for busy people who want their pets to be healthy and well-cared for even when they aren’t at home.

You can set up your automatic feeder to work however you like.

Therefore making it easier for you to manage your fish from a far away location.

This feature comes handy if you’re traveling; on vacation or business trips, you’ll know that your aquarium will be getting its food on schedule and you won’t have to worry about that problem while you’re gone.

Vacation Feeder

When you leave for a trip, your pet fish will be at home alone and unable to eat on its own.

This can result in the fish losing weight because it has stopped eating or even death if not given adequate food upon returning.

It is a very common problem amongst pet fish owners.

A vacation feeder is just as important for a fish as a water conditioner is for the water it swims in.

In order to avoid such problems when leaving your fish alone, you need to buy a vacation feeder that will automatically dispense food into the tank when needed.

This will ensure that your fish gets adequate nutrition while you are away and prohibit starvation.

The most common type of feeders available on the market today are those that dispense sinking pellets.

They contain some sort of mechanism which causes the pellets to sink at a slow rate rather than float to the surface like most food would do.

This ensures that only your fish can consume them and ensures that they don’t pollute your tank water.

These types of feeders are best suited for small tanks because if they release too many pellets into the tank, they may cloud the water and cause problems with oxygen levels, thereby proving fatal to your pet fish.

Fish Sitter

It’s hard to imagine someone not being willing to take care of their aquatic pet while they’re away.

But with the many responsibilities and obligations in our daily lives, it’s understandable how that might be the case.

That’s why there are services like Fish Sitter, a service dedicated to helping you make sure that your fish is healthy and well-fed while you’re away.

In order to understand this service better, I reached out to some fishkeepers for their views.

And one of answered. “As an owner of several freshwater tropical fish tanks myself, I have experienced first hand the anxiety that one can go through when leaving on vacation or business trip for an extended period of time. While some pet stores offer services where they will stop by on a daily basis for a feed and cleaning, these can be expensive and inconsistent.”

Before-You’re Away Fish Care Checklist

Before you go on and plan your trip, there’s a checklist of what you need to do before you leave.

Check Physical Condition of Your Fish

A day before you leave, make sure none of your aquarium fish look to be sick.

Please check with a local fish store or aquatic vet if you see anything out of the ordinary.

In case, you missed this important part of this checklist, get ready to witness a fish tank full of sick or dead fish in your home aquarium.

Leave Important Contact Details With Your Fish Sitter

Always leave your fish sitter with your phone details and pet store’s located near your appartment. 

This will help them contact you in case of emergency or buy nutritious fish food from a pet store.

Check Water Temprature

The temp. of your tank water should always be relatively stable.

Fish in their habitat are used to slight variations in temperature throughout the year. 

However, a sudden shift can lead to stress and potentially expose them to disease.

If your trip falls in the winter, don’t forget to keep your tank warm and keep the heat up in the home.

Tropical fish do not perform well in water levels below 65 ℉, and thrive when the water is between 74-78 ℉.

If you leave your air conditioner set to turn on whenever the temp. reaches 80 ℉, your fish will be OK while you’re gone.

It is important to get somebody to regularly monitor on the fish in their absence.

Set up a Timer to Turn off Aquarium Lights Automatically

Turning off aquarium lights at night and turning them back on during the day, is standard practice.

Acquiring a clock is a simple solution for managing your tanks’ lighting conditions.

As long as it cycles the aquarium lights on and off daily, any cheap or affordable clock will do the job for you. 

The lighting should be left on a schedule at all times.

There will be less maintenance required to maintain a regular day/night cycle for your fish.

Avoid Feeding Your Fish

Fish don’t need you to hand them water because they already live in a place where they can get it on their own.

When it comes to food, freshwater fish can go for days with no food.

Adult fish in good health can live without food for up to two weeks.

Young fish, however, lack the fat reserves of their adult counterparts and hence cannot survive for extended periods of time without their favorite food.

That doesn’t imply you should leave your fish to die and go on a long trip. 

However, remember that nutrition is not the only thing to think about when planning a vacation.

If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, you should also check the filter, water heater, and lights to ensure they are in good working order.


Vacation and fish care can never go together.

There can be a time when you’ve no option but to leave your aquatic pet alone for days (if not weeks).

If you don’t want your fish to face the deadly fate, it’s better go through the sugessions listed in this post.

Besides, if you’ve got any question related to this, feel free to reach us in the comments.