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If you are planning for a trip then you must be wondering on how long can fish go without food or how long they can survive without any water change. Read on to know the answers for your questions.

How Long Can Fish Go Without Food in Aquarium?

In general, an adult fish can survive around from 3 to 7 days without food. However, it depends on the size of the fish, the species, the activity and the metabolism of the fish, temperature of water, etc.

Fish owners must remember that not feeding fish for over 3 days is not good for their health.

If you have a fry (a baby fish), you need to feed them multiple times per day. So, it is best to have an automatic feeder or find a fish sitter to cater fry’s needs.

How Long a Tropical Fish Can Live Without Food?

Be it tropical fish, a betta fish, a goldfish, or any other fish, the thumb rule is larger, older, and carnivorous fish can live without eating for a longer duration than smaller, younger, and herbivorous fish.

Older and larger fish can live longer without food than the younger and smaller ones as they have fat reserves and higher body mass.

Carnivorous fish don’t eat everyday. They can happily stay without eating for nearly a season. On the other hand, herbivorous fish need to eat every day.

How to Keep Feeding Your Fish While You Are Away?

There are three ways where you can keep your fish fed every day or almost everyday.

Ask a friend, relative, or a fish sitter to give the fish food. You need to tell clearly what you need them to do apart from feeding food like refilling the carbon dioxide canister.

You must tell them about how many times you want them to clean the tank and change the aquarium water. Give them your contact details to contact just in case of any emergency.

You can get vacation feeders if the first option is not feasible. These are packed slow-releasing food blocks. The main problem is if the fish doesn’t like the food present in the feeder, then it may not eat and stay hungry.

The uneaten food can also reduce the water quality. To tackle this, you can get two of them and try one when you are at home to make sure that they eat.

Use an automatic feeders for fish. In these, you can add dry food in it and program it dispense food to your fish once or twice daily.

You can even adjust the timing so that the fish gets to eat at the same time everyday. You can adjust the amount of food to be dispensed in every feeding.

For How Many Days a Fish Can Survive Without a Water Change?

It is always good to change around 10% of water every week. If you have a small tank and multiple fish, change 25% of water every week.

So smaller aquariums require frequent water changes. The duration of your holidays, the size of your aquarium, and the number of fish determines the percent of water change.

If you are going for a holiday for a week, it is good enough to change the water ahead of time. But if you are going on vacation for longer than a week, get a fish keeper or your friend to check on the water quality and change it partially if needed.

You must keep an eye on fish after a deep clean and changing the water completely. So, don’t do such changes the night before you are heading for a vacay.

How Many Meals You Need to Give Your Fish in a Day?

You can feed fish once a day or you can divide the meal into two smaller portions to give them food twice. Slow grazers and baby fish need to have access of food for longer time like four to five times a day.

Most of the fish are active during daytime. So, feed them 15 minutes after you turn on the lights of the aquarium so that all of them are awake and ready to eat.

However, if you have nocturnal fish then give them food 15 minutes after you turn off the lights of the aquarium.

How Much Food to Feed Your Fish?

It completely depends on the fish. Just like humans or other animals, some fish may gobble as much as they can and some can be picky. So, a good indicator is the roundness of their stomachs from side and top views.

When your fish have a round belly, stop giving them food at that time. It may be a little tricky with some species like balloon mollies but look for photos of those fish online as reference.

How Do You Know That You Are Overfeeding Your Fish?

If your fish is pooping a lot, has a swollen stomach, and is not eating during mealtime then, it is most likely that the fish is eating more. Other indicators of overfeeding are as follows:

  • Uneaten food accumulated at the bottom of the aquarium
  • Growth of algae
  • Increase in the number of worms and snails
  • Water getting polluted faster
  • High levels of ammonia

Overfeeding causes a lot of health issues in fish like constipation, bacterial infections, fatty liver disease, fungal infections, etc.

To avoid such issues, remove any uneaten food after 10-15 minutes. Clean your tank regularly. Let your fish fast for a day to give some rest to its digestive system.

How to Adjust Your Fish Tank Before Going for a Holiday?

Before going to your holiday, you must take care of few things of your aquarium to keep the fish comfortable.

The checklist is:

Cleaning filter – Just 2-3 days before you go for your vacation, clean the filter. If you have a sponge filter, clean it with aquarium water (don’t use tap water as it has chlorine). If you have hang-on-back filter or a canister filter, remove the debris from mechanical filter while not touching the biological filter to preserve the colony of bacteria.

Change the water – Keep changing around 10% water if your tank is of proper size or change 25% of water if it is a little small.

Clean the aquarium – Remove any dead plants and algae, sick fish, dead fish, uneaten food, etc. Dead fish, uneaten food, and algae all are responsible for the growth of ammonia in the tank.

Lighting – Keep a timer on lighting as just like other animals, fish are either nocturnal or diurnal (awake in daytime). So, it is important not to break this cycle to keep them healthy and to maintain a routine. If your fish is diurnal, adjust the timer in such a way that the lights are on during daytime and turn off at nights.

Factors That Determine How Long Your Aquarium Fish Can Survive Without Food

There are several factors that determine for how many days you can leave your fish unfed. Some of them are as follows:

Size – Larger fish can stay for a longer period without eating that smaller fish as they have slower metabolism. Large fish also have fat reserves that small fish lack.

Food – Carnivorous fish can stay days without being fed but herbivorous fish need to eat every day and that too in a little larger quantity as the food of herbivorous fish is hard to digest, so they have ingest more to get the same amount of nutrition.

Activity – Activity also determine how long your fish can go without eating. More active fish needs more food than less active ones. More active ones are to be fed like two to three times a day.

Water temperature – Fish in warmer water temperature need more fish food in general. Fish in a little cooler tanks require less food usually.

Are Automatic Feeders Good for Your Fish?

If you don’t get your hands on a fish keeper, then the next best alternative is to get automatic fish feeders. You can add the dry pellets of your fish’s choice, They can dispense the same amount of food at the same time every day or many times a day (determined by you).

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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