How Long Can Fish Go Without Eating?

Who never had to leave the house in an emergency and ended up forgetting to feed their fish? Or did you go on a trip, but ended up coming back later than expected, leaving your little fish longer than expected without eating? It is certainly not ideal, but hardly an aquarist with many years of experience has not experienced it. But how long can our fish go without food?

Depending on the conditions of the fish, it can go from 3 days to 1 week without food, however, some species can go up to more than 2 weeks without food and still survive. There are even some species in the wild that can live for more than a month without food when caring for their young. So don’t despair if you have to stay an extra day on your trip, or if you have to go away for a weekend.

Despite this, it is worth remembering that nutrition is one of the main factors when keeping your fish healthy, so feed your fish with quality feed, at the correct frequency. Another important point is that each species of fish has a different limit on how long it can go without eating, without major consequences. Next, we’ll talk more about this difference between species and also how to feed your fish when you’re out and about.

How many fish can go without eating?

Most people end up overfeeding their fish, this is one of the main causes of ammonia and other pollutants in the aquarium. So it makes a lot of sense that people are so afraid that their fish will die if they go a day or two without eating. However, in nature it is extremely common for fish to spend many days without finding food and yet they survive.

Many factors affect how much food a fish needs each day, and therefore how long it can go without food. Some of the main ones are size, activity level, water temperature and age. Larger and slower fish tend to be able to go longer without eating, while active and smaller fish tend to need food more often. Likewise, older fish have slower metabolisms, so they eat less. The temperature of the water they live in also influences their need for food, as colder water slows down their metabolism.

How long can each species go without eating?

It is difficult to have an extremely precise answer on this, as a scientific study on the subject would require the suffering of many fish.

Fish Maximum time you can go without food without major consequences
betta 1 to two weeks
Kinguio Up to 1 week and a half
Guppy/Guppy Up to 1 week and a half
tetras Up to 1 week and a half
platys up to 2 week
molly up to 2 week
Acara Flag up to 1 week
disks up to 2 week
shellfish up to 2 week
Oscars up to 2 week
Corydora up to 2 week
Gouramis up to 2 week
Table Table

How to Feed Your Fish While You’re Away

There are at least two possible approaches, so it is possible to prevent your fish from going hungry during your vacations and absences. The first option is very similar to the one we use when we leave our dogs and cats at home. So if you’re going to be away for a long time, it’s worth asking friends and family if they can drop by your house from time to time and feed your little fish. It is certainly not the solution but technological or exquisite, but it is efficient.

So, grab your contact list and see if anyone can help you with this pleasant task of feeding your fish. Ah, but don’t forget to teach the proper amount of food, so you don’t end up affecting the fish’s health negatively, by overeating.

The second option is great for when you don’t want to ask someone to come to your house to feed your animals. Today there are already extremely efficient automatic feeders, with a wide range of price and capacity, so it is possible to use them in all types of aquariums.

With this device, you’ll have full control of your fish’s diet while you’re away. Not only will your fish survive, but it will also maintain its normal diet (or very close to it), ensuring the animal’s nutrition and well-being. Another advantage of this approach over the previous one is that the automatic feeder will never give your fish too much food, as it always delivers exactly the portion you set. When we ask someone to feed our fish, it is quite common that too much feed is used, harming the fish and the quality of their water.


In fact, fish are resistant animals and can survive for a long time without receiving food, some being able to go up to weeks without receiving any kind of feed. However, with the technology we have today, there is no longer a need to put your fish through this. So if you’re going to be away for long periods, buy an automatic feeder, or at least get someone you know to feed your little fish while you’re away.

Read More – How Long Can Guppies Go Without Eating?