View Full Version : How Long Can Tropical Fish Go Without Eating?

07-13-2013, 05:04 PM
Summer time is a good time to address this issue since many people are heading out for vacations. How long can a healthy and hardy tropical fish go without feeding? Before you suggest auto feeders, fish sitters, or feeding blocks, that is not the question... So... simply put, how long would you leave your fish without food?

Lady Hobbs
07-13-2013, 05:13 PM
People claim one week but personally, for me, I would not go more than 4 days simply due to my own conscious.

07-13-2013, 05:26 PM
I've done 5 days before (might have been a day longer or shorter, can't remember for sure). I did a large water change before and after. Seamed to work fine

07-13-2013, 07:56 PM
I've only ever gone maybe 2 or 3 days. I only feed my fish once a day and rarely do I ever come close to over feeding. I don't think my fish could last more than a couple of days without food. Especially my apistos.

07-13-2013, 08:24 PM
Size also comes into it. Micro species like the chili rasbora need to eat more frequently than something bigger.

My gold marble bristlenose just finished a nest and he hasn't eaten anything for more than 3 weeks.

07-13-2013, 09:04 PM
This is true. Size and type are important considerations. Also, the type of environment and food availability the fish deal with in their original habitat. Even though these fish, and many generations before them were bred in captivity, the behavior pattern and tendencies are built in. Many fish don't eat for days or weeks in the wild with no issue whatsoever. Black Skirt Tetras, for example, can go more than a week, and up to two weeks without food.

07-13-2013, 09:13 PM
I once had an auto feeder malfunction while we were on a two week vacation, on a tank with lots of fry. They all survived. The tank did have a lot of moss, however.

I've since taken 12 day vacations and not fed my fish, all of which were fine. Fish can go a long time with our feeding them.

07-13-2013, 10:34 PM
Easily a week, probably even two. One exception to this rule is mbuna, which need to constantly eat because of their metabolism. Mine will start looking anemic after 2 days.

07-14-2013, 06:14 PM
As others have said, depends on the species. I keep cherry barbs and they were fed very lightly with an automatic feeder when I went away but it obviously wasn't enough for them as they all turned on my plants and completely obliterated one species of plant whilst I was away! Naughty pigs.