How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Eating?

If you are planning on going away on holiday, you might be wondering if it is necessary to ask a friend to come in and feed your goldfish while you’re gone. Can you leave goldfish without food for a few days? A week? How long can a goldfish go without eating?

Goldfish can go for a surprising amount of time without being fed, especially in a fish pond. Goldfish in a fish tank can survive for eight days to two weeks without you feeding them. In a pond, they can last almost indefinitely without feeding. Keep reading to learn why and assess how your personal goldfish fit in!

How Long Can A Tank Of Goldfish Survive Without Food?

Many experienced aquarists are vehemently against the idea of another person feeding their fish. They would rather not feed their fish for ten days rather than risk a well-meaning friend overfeeding them and polluting the tank water. 

But, how long can a goldfish go without eating? Despite always looking super hungry, goldfish in a well-established tank can survive for between eight and fourteen days without being fed. 

Goldfish are a kind of carp, so they feed on a wide range of things. In the absence of fish pellets or flakes, they snack on algal growth and other organic debris in the tank. 

Therefore, if you are going away for less than two weeks, you do not have to ask someone to feed your goldfish while you are gone. 

However, if you are leaving home for more than fourteen days, you should look at getting an automatic feeder or find someone to feed your fish while you are away.

How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Eating In A Pond?

Goldfish living in a pond can access far greater quantities of natural food than those in an aquarium. They can feed on algae, aquatic plants, detritus, and small insects and grubs. 

Therefore, goldfish in a pond can survive for a very long time without being fed. Some people with goldfish ponds hardly ever feed their fish. 

If you are leaving home for a while, do not worry about your goldfish pond at all! There is no need to ask someone to feed them or to get an automated feeder. 

How Long Can A Goldfish Go Without Eating

How To Tell If Goldfish Are Hungry

When you come back from a two-week holiday and feed your goldfish, you will notice them behaving rather differently. It can be because the fish are hungry. 

The following are signs that goldfish are hungry:

  • Swimming around the tank frantically looking for food
  • Fish are less energetic than usual
  • Fish are aggressive to their tankmates, especially when you feed them

How To Tell If Goldfish Are Underfed

Chronically letting your goldfish go for days or weeks without feeding them is bad. You must feed goldfish on a regular schedule. 

If goldfish in a tank without natural food sources are underfed for prolonged periods, the fish become stressed, and this makes them more susceptible to diseases and parasites. 

The following are signs that goldfish are underfed:

  • Head that looks disproportionately big
  • Protruding gills
  • The area between the body and tail fin bows inward on both sides
  • Bellies are sunken in with a concave shape

If you feed your goldfish every day, but they are showing symptoms of being underfed, you need to check them for parasites.

How Often Should Goldfish Be Fed?

How long can a goldfish go without eating also depends on the age of the fish. Goldfish that are younger than a year should be fed more frequently, two or three times a day.

When they are older than a year, you can get away with feeding your goldfish only once a day. 

Goldfish prefer eating a few small portions of food per day rather than one big portion. It is also better for the tank’s water quality to feed small amounts of food more regularly. 

Uneaten fish food pollutes the tank water. As it decays, it releases nitrates and dissolved organic carbon into the water. This can lead to imbalances in the tank’s water chemistry and result in algal blooms or murky-looking water. 


Hopefully, we’ve answered the question of how long can a goldfish go without eating. If your goldfish is in a tank, it can likely be left without feeding for one to two weeks. If you are hesitant to leave your goldfish without food for that long and don’t want to find a fish-sitter, there are automatic feeding solutions available. If your goldfish live in a pond, they will have plenty of natural feeding options available, and you seldom have to worry about feeding them.

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