Being a fish keeper there are times in life where we have to be away from our pet fish for days, weeks, or even months. At such a time this question often pops up in our mind, how long our fish can survive without any feed. For a goldfish (the most popular freshwater aquarium fish), this question is quite common.
Yes, a Goldfish can survive around two whole weeks without food. This means a goldfish will be fine without any food for two weeks. Although it’s quite unethical to push your fish to such extreme conditions, just to check their survival skills.
Hence, today we will be discussing the ability of goldfish to survive in wild, aquariums, or ponds without food.
How Long a Goldfish Can Live in Wild Without Food?
In the wild, there is a variety of food options for fish such as insects, crustaceans, plants, algae, plankton, protozoa, and many more. Thus, it is quite favorable for a fish living in wild.
For a goldfish living in wild habitat, there is plenty of food and they can survive for a fairly long period. What if one option is completely eradicated from the ecosystem, goldfish can always rely on any other food option.
In Ponds, How Long Goldfish Can Survive Without Food?
Once there was a huge earthquake in New Zealand, leading to massive destruction. Surprisingly, a goldfish was found alive and healthy in a pond after round about 145 days.
The reason why the fish was able to survive without any food intake is that a pond is a complete ecosystem. Ponds have several components that can be consumed as food by fish such as plants, algae, and small insects.
Thus, a fish living in a pond can survive a lot more than two weeks without getting fed at all.
How Long Goldfish Can Survive Without Food in Aquarium?
Freshwater fish living in an aquarium has a limited supply of food and food sources, thus, all they can eat is what’s given to them. For an aquarium goldfish diet and feeding time should be carefully regulated.
A goldfish inhabiting an aquarium can easily live for 10-14 days without any food. After such a long span if they are still left unfed its can lead to a decline in their immunity, lethargy, malnourishment, and increased susceptibility to infections.
The healthy and adequately nourished fish require food every 4-5 days, starving periods greater than that can affect their health, growth, and work.
Factors Affecting Diet and Feeding Time of a Goldfish:
Several factors influence the dietary requirements of a goldfish. Mainly their habitat, body, growth rate, growth period, age, and quality of food usually available.
During the growth period that is the first 6 months to one year of life, goldfish need to be fed properly and multiple times a day. Similarly, during the mating season, female goldfish can eat like crazy.
In the later stages of life when goldfish are fully grown, they need limited food, and they have difficulty digesting food as well.
How Often Should I Feed My Goldfish?
According to the requirements of a goldfish, you need to feed them once a day. The daily feed should not exceed more than what they can consume in 2 minutes at most.
As mentioned before the climate, environment, health, and age greatly determine the quantity and quality of food required. A fish in its growth and breeding stage requires multiple dosages per day.
While a goldfish living in hot climate areas will need more frequent feeding as compared to a fish living in a colder climate.
How Much Should I Feed My Goldfish at A Time?
It is often said that feed your goldfish according to the size of their eye. Although there is very little truth to this thing there is a general rule of thumb, and it applies to many other fish species as well.
Feed your goldfish no more than what they can easily eat in 1-2 minutes. With time, you get used to the fact how much fish can consume.
If there is someone else feeding your fish instead of you, you can set aside measured portions for them, so they don’t overfeed your fish.
How Can I Feed My Goldfish While I’m Away?
Well, you can’t risk your fish’s health in any case, thus while you are away you should arrange for a proper feeding schedule for your fish. There are multiple options available now such as automatic fish feeders, slowly releasing fish feeds, and nowadays there are fish sitters available.
Automatic fish feeders:
If you are away from your fish and are unable to feed them on time, automatic fish feeders are there to rescue them. These fish feeders are capable of holding the food for a few months.
These feeders once filled to the top can dispense food slowly according to the dosage and timing scheduled by you. Thus, these feeders are the best alternative to fish feeding problems.
Slow-release fish feeds:
Slow-release food is among the most economical fish feeding options available. Multiple options release at different rates.
- 3 days slow release feed
- 14 days slow release feed
There are different brands available that vary in their specifications.
Nowadays fish sitters are also available that can manually feed your fish according to the requirement. The dosage and timing can be adjusted according to the needs of the fish.
Fish sitters are unique and economic options for fish feeding.
How Can I Know That My Fish Is Hungry?
Fish can’t tell you that it’s hungry or not, you must notify them carefully to know the signs of hunger. Mostly a fully satisfied fish is agile, active, and happy, so similar signs are seen they need to be fed.
Following are the important signs that indicate that your fish needs food, and you need to feed them quickly.
Looking For Food:
When your fish is hungry you will notice them looking for food around unusual places. They will dig around the substrate and sometimes will try to engulf the gravel particles. This is an indicator that it’s to feed your fish and they are hungry.
Lethargic And Slow Swimming:
Without food, your fish will lack the energy to move around and swim actively. When they are swimming slowly and don’t show a quick response, they are most probably hungry. If the behavior is improved after feeding, then you will know that your fish needed food.
While being hungry hostility and aggression is a common behavior and you will notice your fish attacking its tankmates. Moreover, they will swiftly grab on the food and eat in hurry indicating hunger.
What Are the Signs of a Malnourished Fish?
Sometimes we are feeding the right portion and right quality of food but it’s still insufficient to fulfill their needs. In such a case your fish is malnourished and is unable to perform its normal functions in the right manner.
Malnourishment is often seen in females during the mating season and young offspring’s during their developmental stages of life.
Following are the signs that show extreme malnourishment in your fish.
- Your goldfish will swim slowly and will be extremely lethargic.
- Usually, lack of food and nutrition leads to drastic loss of weight, and a marked reduction in size is also visible.
- Prolonged hunger can lead to slow and retarded growth.
- Goldfish are naturally very peaceful, energetic, and social, but a lack of significant nutrients can lead to changes in behavior. Aggressiveness, hostility, and lack of interest are major signs of malnourishment.
- A malnourished fish will be often seen digging around the substrate in search of food and will be found in unusual places around the aquarium.
- Lack of responsiveness is another vital sign of prolonged hunger.
Can A Goldfish Live For 2 Weeks Without Food?
Goldfish can survive without food for multiple days and still be functioning normally. Their habitat and needs play an important role in determining how much hunger they can endure. Even though your fish can survive without food for days it is quite unethical to keep them hungry.
Thus, the above-mentioned are some easy and handy methods to feed them on time. It is important to understand the needs of your goldfish, the quantity, quality, and variety of nutrients they need. Moreover, the feeding schedule is very significant to develop, and it may vary according to your fish.
I hope this article will prove beneficial to you while taking care of your goldfish.
Best of luck with your fish!!!!