March 21

How to Feed your Fish While on Vacation – An On-Point Guide


It is natural to be worried about your fish when you are going on a vacation yourself. Well, that’s pretty obvious, you can’t carry it along with you but the thought of leaving it home alone is really scary. Fishes do need a lot of caring as they are living in an artificial environment, totally dependent on you.

So you definitely need to figure something out for its caring and feeding. But don’t worry much, we have got you covered. We will provide all the information you need to know in this regard. This question has no straightforward answer but there are a few options you can go for.

In short, the first option is just to leave the fish on its own if you are leaving for a few days only. Then, you can get hold of readily available fish-feeding blocks. And there are automatic fish feeders which might be on the expensive side but are quite handy.

The final and the best option is just to ask or hire someone to take care of your fish. We will be talking about these options in more detail.

1. Leave Fish On their Own

For How Many Days A Fish Can Survive Without Feeding?

Yes, a fish can survive without feeding, but it depends on various factors like its type, size, body metabolism, and health of the fish. Normally an aquarium fish can go three days to a week without food.

However, you need to keep in mind the important factor that the number of days of survival of a certain fish may vary from the other fish.

Depending upon the size, small fishes are more active than the larger slower ones and this means they need to feed more frequently. Due to their activeness, it’s more likely their metabolism will be high and thus will need to be fed from time to time. 

While on the other hand, larger adult fishes have stored fat reserves of food, so they can easily go a week or maybe two without feeding. Type of the fish is also an important factor to keep in mind.

Here are some common species of fish discussed below on how long they can survive without food. But we definitely don’t recommend stretching them to the limit.

Different Types of Fish and Their Survival Time without Feeding

different fishes


Angelfish can survive usually three days without being fed. But if you have a very healthy adult angelfish it can even go as long as two weeks without eating.

So it mainly depends on the size, age, and health of your fish.


Most studies show that cichlids can live up to 7 to 10 days without eating, especially if they are large and healthy.


They can survive up to 7 days or even 2 weeks. Once two goldfish survived for about 134 days without eating after the NZ earthquake, yes it’s true but, don’t try to break this record.


Their last limit is up to 10 days but 2 to 4 days are ok. Any longer than this can affect your fish. 


As a common rule, Glofish tetras and barbs can go for one to three weeks without food. Sharks can also go for a similar duration. Goldfish tetra bettas can live up to 10-14 days.

    However, Glofish danios can last for up to 2 weeks.


    They can survive for about 1-2 weeks without feeding


    Platys can last for up to one week without having to feed.


    Generally, tetras can live for up to one to two weeks without food. If you have a normal setup, they can go for a week. However, if you have a planted tank, they can go for about three weeks.

    As you can guess, if you’re going on a small vacation like two to five days then you can leave your fish on their own. Most fishes can surely survive three to four days without food.

    But in case it’s a long trip, this option is not a smart one. Even though some fish can live up to weeks without feeding, still it isn’t good for the health of the fish.

    So we definitely don’t recommend you test your fish’s limit of surviving without food. For long weekend trips, there are other options you can take into consideration.

    2. Use Automatic Fish Feeders

    The world has progressed a lot. There are machines for almost everything. Yes, there’s a machine designed to feed your fish too and you would agree that they are a great option for any fish keeper.

    An automatic fish feeder automatically releases the food in the container at a certain time of day, and the exact pre-programmed amount of food. Fish feeders are simple to install and they don’t have any complicated features.

    You can easily operate them after just reading the manual that comes along with them.

    How Do Automatic Fish Feeders Work? Are They Reliable?

    So basically, an automatic fish feeder contains varying numbers of chambers which are to be pre-filled manually, the exact amount that is to be given to the fish. In this, you set the time on which you want the feeder to release the food. 

    The feeder will rotate its chambers in the clockwise direction and release the food at a predetermined time. This way you can feed your fish even when you’re away eliminating the issue of overfeeding.

    Frankly, the reliability of this method depends on the model you choose. If you’re thinking about buying an automatic feeder, we would suggest investing in the one that is high quality and reliable.

    There are many automated feeders available in the market, so it can be a fuss choosing one. We list some of the best-automated fish feeders below, so it can be a little easier for you to choose.

    1. Eheim Everyday Fish Feeder

    The Eheim fish feeder has got to be the most popular among others and easily one of the best-sellers around. It requires no special skills to set it up and operate smoothly. You also get an easy start guide which you can consult along the way. 

    This model operates on a battery and comes with a two-stage battery indicator. This relieves you from the concern of running out of battery suddenly. It includes a universal installation clamp and can fit onto most aquariums.

    Moreover, it has digital programming and this enables you to go as far as eight meals per day. It comes with a manual release button that allows you to feed outside pre-programmed times.

    What is really likable about this feeder is its ventilation system that keeps the food dry. Finally, it comes with splash-proof buttons too. Overall, a great option to have.

    2. Fish Mate F14

    Next up we have a versatile fish feeder. You can mount it easily over your aquarium with brackets that come with it. This is the best fish feeder if you want to feed your fish different types of food.

    Instead of a single large hopper, it has 14 small hoppers. Which allows you to feed your fish different meals each day.

    This is especially a great option if you have a variety of different fish in your aquarium with different feeding needs. When we talk about its timer, it goes as far as four meals per day.

    Fish Mate F14 operates on a battery and also has a battery indicator. If worried about humidity, install an airline, this will blow out the air keeping the food fresh and dry.

    3. Lifegard Intellifeed

    The best feature about the next fish feeder on our list is that it keeps the moisture out so the food remains fresh and dry. Unlike the previous two feeders, this unit uses a plug so messing around batteries isn’t anything you need to worry about.

    It comes with built-in rechargeable batteries for ease of use. So, it’s an option totally depending on your demand.

    It gives you an option of a maximum of 12 meals daily with 2 meals per day depending on the number of fish in the aquarium. You can set the timer and desired amount of food and it’ll do the job perfectly.

    The keyboard is digital so you can easily operate it. It comes with a versatile tank mounting bracket for easy installation.

    All said it is quite expensive when we compare it to some of the commonly available fish feeders.

    4. Neptune AFS

    This automatic feeder is especially great for pellet or flake food. It stands out as a good option if you want to feed your fish consistently and safely.

    Moreover, it prevents overfeeding and allows you to program the exact amount of feed to release in the tank.

    Neptune AFS integrates nicely with an apex controller that allows you to control it from where ever you are. This enables you schedule to feed a small amount of food one to several times a day.

    On top of that, you can even set the exact days you want to provide feed. Thus, this gives you the option to even skip days. How’s that for a feature.

    You can even hold the feeding if there is an issue and continue as it was programmed. However, although not a deal-breaker, this model has received criticism for being on the louder side.

    3. Use of Fish Blocks for Feeding Fish When on Vacation

    Fish blocks are typically slow-release food products, which can just release in your aquarium and it can keep your fish fed up to days. They are hard, densely packed little blocks that dissolve over a period of time in the water.

    They allow you to be free from feeding your fish for days or weeks. Fish blocks are light on the pocket, you can buy them easily and are simple to use. All these factors make them a popular option for fish keepers.

    However, fish blocks may result in partial dissolving or not dissolving at all turning your tank water into a cloudy mess. Therefore, it is necessary that your fish has good filtration and ample water movement. 

    Do Fish Blocks Really Work?

    Yes, they do work but some factors may apply. We can’t assess how a fish will respond to fish blocks. To know whether your fish will eat the fish block, take a trial before going on a vacation.

    Fish blocks are really handy and easy to use, you don’t need a lot of instructions to deal with them. Just put it in the water and your fish will be fed for days or weeks.

    Types of Fish Feeding Blocks

    fish food feeder block in aquarium

    Fish blocks do not only vary in size or shape, but they also come with different ingredients and flavors too. You can basically get all types of flavors to satisfy different types of fish. Food blocks vary from one brand to the next, but there is one constant thing.

    That is the capacity of a fish blocker, for how long it can keep the fish fed. According to this fish blocks are categorized as:

    There are essentially two types of fish blocks:

    1. Weekend Feeding Blocks – these can last for up to three days and that is long enough to keep your fish fed if you’re going on a small weekend trip.
    2. Vacation feeder blocks – these can be used when planning a long vacation, as they last up to 14 days. 

    Drawbacks of Fish Blocks

    Fish blocks are only good for smaller fish, and you need to make sure that there are not too many fish. This is because fish blocks normally don’t have a lot of feed in them.

    Thus, if you have a tank with a good number of fish, they are probably not the best option.

    One of the great concerns is that they make the tank messier. After all, you have put a large block of food directly in the water where it will start to dissolve and degrade immediately. And of course, you are not home to clean up the mess and change the water.

    However, there are some options available that can counteract this issue. They use such ingredients that don’t disintegrate on their own and cloud your aquarium.

    4. Hire A Fish Sitter

    Probably, the best and easiest option is to find a sitter. You can ask someone from your family or friends to take care of your fish, or you can go for options like professional fish sitters too.

    If you are opting for a person that doesn’t know much about fish, better teach them all about your fish.

    Keep the amount of feed you want to give in mind and it should be just the right amount. Some fishes are really greedy, if you’re feeding them more than usual they will ask for even more. People who don’t know much about fish could make the mistake of excessive feeding.

    So, teach them properly on how and what amount of food to be given.

    You can take the above-mentioned options to feed your fish or just go with the fish sitter. Obviously, this is more reliable than any other option. If your fish is sick and needs extra care, don’t even rethink about having a fish sitter.

    Hiring some professional fish sitter is far better than asking any person who knows nothing about fish. This will provide you with the peace of mind you need during your vacation.

    But guidance about your fish is a must thing you should do before handing over your fish to anyone even professionals.

    Tell them about your fish condition, their eating habits, and everything necessary you can think of. Stay in touch with the person so you get notified of how your fish is doing.

    You can even ask them to send you photos so you may have a relaxed and tension-free trip.

    Final Words

    Worrying about your fish’s food needs is the last thing you want while enjoying your vacations. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can use to keep your fish well-fed while you are away.

    Above, we talked about these options, and it’s now up to you to decide which option suits you and your fish’s needs best.


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