How Long Can Fish Go Without Food

Written by Milabro

You are going on vacation and you have no one to ask to come and feed your fish? Since you can’t take them with you (it’s not recommended), you may wonder if they could go without food for a few days… The answer is yes! Explanations!

Generally, most fish can go without food for 2 to 3 days. So if you are going away for the weekend, you don’t have to worry about your fish.

On the other hand, if you are going on vacation for one or two weeks, you will need to consider several factors to ensure that your fish can survive without food.

The fish diet

Depending on the species your fish belong to, their diet can be omnivorous, carnivorous, herbivorous or limivorous. Omnivorous fish eat plants and other animals. Carnivorous fish eat only other animals. Herbivorous fish eat plants and algae. Finally, the limivorous fishes feed mainly on organic matter contained in the mud. These are very useful in an aquarium as they can help keep it clean.

As a general rule, carnivorous fish can survive longer without eating than other fish. This is because in the wild, they do not necessarily catch prey every day. Conversely, herbivores and limivores need to be fed regularly. And for good reason, in the wild, they spend most of their time looking for food. The reason? Plant material has less nutritional value!

The fish size

Large fish, such as discus for example, can generally fast longer than other fish. This is because their body mass is greater and they are able to store more fat. Thus, fish measuring more than 10 cm can often survive up to 2 weeks without eating.

As for smaller fish, notably tetras, guppies or goldfish, they should not stay more than one week without food.

The fish age

The older a fish is, the longer it can survive without feeding. This is because old fish often have fat reserves. On the other hand, baby fish cannot go more than a day or two without eating.

The aquarium age

If an aquarium has had a well-balanced environment for a long time, the fish living there are able to survive longer without eating than fish in a newer aquarium. Not only do the fish get along well, but they are also perfectly acclimated to their aquarium

Our tips for safely leaving your fish without food for several days

There are several steps you can take before leaving on vacation to ensure that even without food, your fish will remain healthy:

  • Lower the water temperature by a few degrees to slow down the metabolism of the fish. This will decrease their need for food.
  • Limit the daily amount of light in the aquarium. With a timer, you can set the aquarium to have 6 hours of light per day instead of 12 hours. This will limit the activity of the fish. They will burn fewer calories, which will limit their hunger.
  • Clean the aquarium’s filtration system.
  • Perform a partial water change.
  • Use an automatic feeder or feeding blocks.
  • Ask a friend or family member to come and feed the fish. However, be careful to explain how much food to give them and how to check that the water quality is good. Indeed, if he were to overfeed your fish without knowing it, the food remains could quickly pollute the water of your aquarium and cause the death of your fish.

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