How Long Can Fish Live Without Food

How Long Can Fish Live Without Food: 1 or 2 Weeks?

Have you ever wondered how long can fish live without food? 

Well, you’re not alone! The answer depends on a number of factors, such as the type of fish and the environment it’s in.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of food for fish, the different factors that influence how long fish can go without food, and the effects of starvation on fish.

We’ll also look at how to keep your fish fed during a vacation.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular feeding is essential for fish to stay alive and healthy.
  • Different species of fish have varying lifespans without food.
  • Larger fish can survive longer without food than smaller fish.
  • Proper water temperature and quality are important for fish’s ability to go without food.

Importance Of Food

You need food to stay alive, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating regularly. Fish sitters and automatic fish feeders are great for when you’re away, as they can provide regular feeding times for your tropical or active fish.

Regular feeding and taking care of your fish will ensure they live a long and healthy life.

Factors Influencing How Long Fish Can Go Without Food

Understanding how long a fish can go without food depends on several factors. For instance, the species of the fish, its size and age, the water temperature and quality, and the health condition of the fish all play a role.

So, when considering the question of how long a fish can live without food, it’s important to take all of these elements into account.

Species of the fish

Different species of fish have varying lifespans, and how long a fish can live without food will depend on its species.

Pet fish, such as goldfish, can survive for 2-3 weeks without food, while other species of fish, like bass and carp, can survive for up to two months.

Fish fry, which are young fish, can only survive a few days if they do not have access to food.

Generally, fish that have sufficient body fat and can maintain their body temperature and weight will be able to survive without food for longer periods of time.

Size and age of the fish

The size and age of a fish can have a big impact on how long it can go without eating. For example, a large fish in a tank will be able to survive longer than a small fish in the same tank.

Also, an adult fish will be able to go longer without food than a juvenile fish. Generally, a fish can go for several days without food depending on its body mass. 

Water temperature and quality

Maintaining proper water temperature and quality is essential for your fish to thrive – so be sure to monitor it closely.

The range of water temperature and quality should be appropriate for your type of fish, and it can vary greatly depending on the species. Ideally, the water should be between 68-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

To keep the water clean, it is important to maintain water levels and perform regular water changes.

It is also a good idea to use a feeder block, as it can help reduce the amount of food that is left in the aquarium for extended periods of time. With the right conditions, your fish can go for a week without food, but the gap of days can vary from species to species.

Health condition of the fish

Keeping an eye on the health condition of your fish is essential for their well-being. If your fish go without food for too long, periods of time or days of fasting, their health can be compromised.

You should monitor your fish’s health during extended periods without food, and take appropriate action if necessary.

How Long Can Different Types Of Fish Live Without Food?

When it comes to understanding how long different types of fish can go without food, there are several factors to consider.

Different tropical fish, goldfish, betta fish, and other common household fish all have different lifespans and needs when it comes to sustenance.

To better understand how long each type of fish can go without food, it’s important to understand the difference between each type of fish and the specific requirements they need to survive.

Tropical Fish

Tropical fish can be a great addition to your aquarium. However, they require careful attention to their diet and cannot go without food for long. The amount of time they can survive without food varies depending on the species. For example, a colony of guppies can go up to a week without food. But to maintain their vibrant body colors, they should be fed a single meal a day. 

Larger species, like angelfish, can go without food for longer periods, up to a few months. However, if guppies and other species are left without food for too long, they may start to die off. This can result in dead guppies in your tank.


Goldfish can survive for a few weeks without being fed. They can go up to a couple of weeks without being fed, although they may not be as active. A bit of time without food can be beneficial for goldfish, allowing their digestive system to rest.

Betta Fish

Betta fish can go a few days without eating, so it’s important to keep an eye on their feeding habits. They have small stomachs, so they should only eat what they can consume in a few minutes. It’s recommended to feed them small amounts several times a day.

If betta fish don’t eat for more than a few days, they will become weak and may not survive. Providing the right nutrition is key to keeping your betta fish healthy and vibrant for many years. It’s important to provide a balanced diet with a variety of foods, such as freeze-dried bloodworms, pellets, and brine shrimp.

Other Common Household Fish

You may be familiar with betta fish, but there are many other common household fish that can also go without food for an extended period of time.

Goldfish, guppies, and mollies can all survive up to two weeks without food.

Catfish can go up to a month without eating, and angelfish can even survive up to two months without a meal. Check out the table below that explains the lifespans of fish without food.

How Long Can Fish Live Without Food?

Fish SpeciesDuration Without Food
Betta FishUp to 14 days
GoldfishUp to 14 days
GuppiesUp to 2 weeks
Oscar FishUp to 2 weeks
AngelfishUp to 10 days
TetrasUp to 10 days
MolliesUp to 8 days
CichlidsUp to 1 week
Discus FishUp to 1 week
SwordtailsUp to 1 week
PlecostomusUp to 10 days
GouramisUp to 8 days

Effects Of Starvation On Fish

Starvation can be a serious issue for fish, leading to both immediate and long-term effects. The immediate effects can include lethargy, loss of appetite, and difficulty swimming.

Long-term effects can include stunted growth, organ failure, or even death.

It is important to understand the effects of starvation on fish in order to provide them with the best care possible.

Immediate Effects

Without food, a fish’s health can deteriorate quickly. Starvation has a direct impact on the fish’s body, leading to a decrease in energy and muscle mass. Weight loss, listlessness, and loss of color are just some of the immediate effects of starvation.

Over time, the fish’s organs and tissues will become weak, making it more vulnerable to diseases and parasites. Its immune system will also be compromised, leading to a decrease in its lifespan.

Without food, a fish won’t survive more than a few days.

Long-term Effects

If you don’t provide your fish with a regular source of food, it can have long-term effects on its health. These include reduced growth and body mass, an unhealthy coat and skin, increased susceptibility to disease, poor fertility and reproductive success, and premature death.

How To Keep Your Fish Fed During a Vacation?

If you’re planning a vacation but don’t want to leave your fish without food, there are a few methods you can use to make sure they’re taken care of.

An automatic fish feeder is a great option that will dispense food at regular intervals. You can also try fish food blocks, which will slowly release food over time.

Finally, if you’re really worried about your fish, you can always hire a fish sitter to come to your home and feed them while you’re away.

Automatic Fish Feeder

Using an automatic fish feeder can help ensure your fish receive regular meals even when you’re away. It’s an especially useful tool for those who take vacations or are away from home for long periods of time.

The feeder works by releasing a set amount of food at a predetermined time, so your fish will still eat even if you can’t be there. It’s a great way to have peace of mind knowing that your fish are being taken care of while you’re away.

Fish Food Blocks

You can provide your fish with an easy-to-use, convenient meal solution by using fish food blocks. Fish food blocks are a great option for those looking to feed their fish. They are easy to use, offer a balanced diet, and last longer than other food sources.

Here are just four of the many benefits of using fish food blocks:

  • They provide a balanced diet for your fish.
  • They are easy to use.
  • They last longer than other food sources.
  • They can keep your fish healthy and happy for longer periods of time without needing to be replaced as often.

Fish food blocks are an excellent choice for providing your fish with the nutrition they need. You don’t have to worry about overfeeding or having to replace them regularly.

Hire a Sitter if Needed

If you’re unable to care for your fish on a daily basis, consider hiring a fish sitter to ensure they get the attention and care they need.

A fish sitter can help maintain a healthy environment for your fish, by feeding them regularly and ensuring that their water temperature and pH levels are in the optimal range.

They can also monitor your fish for signs of stress or illness, and take the necessary steps to correct any problems.

Additionally, they can provide your fish with the stimulation and socialization they need to remain healthy and active.

With proper care from a fish sitter, your fish can stay healthy and happy for years.


You’ve learned the importance of providing food for your fish, as well as the factors that influence how long they can go without it. Different types of fish have varying lifespans when deprived of food, with some able to last up to three weeks and others only a few days.

Starvation can have serious consequences for your fish, so it’s important to take steps to ensure they remain fed even when you’re away. With the right precautions and a bit of planning, you can make sure your fish stay healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best type of food to feed a fish?

    It’s important to feed your fish a variety of foods to ensure their health and wellbeing. Smaller fish should be fed a diet of flakes, small pellets, freeze-dried brine shrimp, and frozen or live brine shrimp. Larger fish may require more nutrient-rich foods like bloodworms, earthworms, and krill. Variety is key for a healthy fish diet.

  2. Do fish need to eat every day?

    Yes, fish need to eat every day. They require a balanced diet of protein and other nutrients to stay healthy. Feeding them too much can be harmful, so stick to the recommended amounts.

  3. How do I know if my fish is getting enough food?

    You can assess whether your fish is getting enough food by observing its behaviour. Look for signs of activity, such as swimming, searching for food, or responding to being fed. Also, you can monitor your fish’s appetite, noticing if it eagerly eats its food or if it’s losing interest.

  4. What is the best temperature for a fish tank?

    The ideal temperature for a fish tank is between 72 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to maintain this temperature range to ensure your fish stays healthy and happy.

  5. How often should I change the water in a fish tank?

    You should change the water in your fish tank at least once a month to keep your fish healthy. If you have a more heavily stocked tank, you may need to change the water more often.



Meet me, your dedicated author and fish aficionado. With a deep-rooted passion for all things aquatic, I bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to this fish and aquarium website. As an avid fishkeeper myself, I understand the joys and challenges that come with creating a thriving underwater world. Through my articles, guides, and recommendations, I strive to provide you with accurate, reliable, and engaging content that will enhance your fishkeeping journey. Join me as we dive into the fascinating realm of fish and aquariums, and together, let's make your aquatic dreams a reality.

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