How Long Can Guppies Live Without Food?

how long can guppies live without food

Are you planning on going on vacation and wondering how long your guppies can survive without food?

Adult guppies can survive about 2 weeks without food and guppy fry can survive about 2 days without food. However, guppies will eat algae and other small critters in your tank, which means you do not necessarily have to feed them if you have a mature tank.

That’s the short answer for how long guppies can live without food. Hopefully, you feed your guppies everyday, but I know it’s hard to find someone to watch your fish while on vacation.

Due to that, this article will focus on what you should do to prepare your tank before going on vacation.

Preparing a Guppy Tank Before Vacation

Here are some quick tips and general guidelines to follow for preparing your tank before an extended vacation.

It’s important to note that guppies are a hardy fish, so these steps are a little bit of overkill. But it’s still worth doing to keep your tank healthy.

Big Water Change

I recommend a 50% water change a few days before you go on vacation. This is the most important thing to do to keep your tank healthy.

It will greatly reduce the ammonia in the tank for the next few weeks, which should be enough for all but the longest vacations.

Really, you can skip everything else on the list if you do a massive water change before vacation.

Clean Your Filter

Keeping a filter clean is important. I recommend cleaning out the gunk from the filter before vacation.

However, do not replace the filter material before going on vacation because the filter material has a lot of bacteria in it that feed off of the ammonia. And you will have an ammonia buildup in the tank because you can’t change out the water.

Set a Light Timer

Light management is also important. I recommend keeping your light on an automatic timer if possible.

This will keep the fish comfortable and ensure that any plants you have in the tank keep growing.

If you don’t have a timer, then you’re much better off leaving the light off than on. Timers are not very expensive, though.

It’s easy enough to purchase a cheap timer to control the light. It doesn’t have to be a fancy fish timer, either. A standard outlet timer works perfectly fine.

Trim Your Plants

Trimming your plants is not necessary for the health of your tank – it just makes everything easier when you return.

How far back you trim your plants depends on how long you will be gone. If it’s only a week, then you probably don’t need to trim your plants unless they’re really fast growing plants.

If you are going to be gone for six weeks, then you should trim your plants short or else you’ll have a mess to deal with when you return.

Remove Dead/Dying Fish

I know, it’s sad. But if you have dying fish in your tank, then you should remove them before going on vacation.

The fish will likely die without you there to care for them and their death will mess with the water parameters. This could cause even more fish in your tank to die.

As for dying fish, you should remove them as soon as you see them. If you are one of those aquarium owners that just let dead fish sit on the bottom, then remove those dead fish.

Note: Snails will eat dead fish, so it’s not always necessary to remove dying fish before you go on vacation. But I still recommend it.

Setup An Automatic Feeder (Optional)

In my experience, you do not need an automatic feeder if you have an established tank. The tank will have enough algae for the guppies to survive.

I know this because my mom rarely fed my guppies when I was in college and they did fine when I was away.

Now, guppies prefer to have food than algae. I’m just saying that it’s not totally necessary to go out and purchase an automatic feeder for your guppy tank.

Other fish are a different story, but guppies are fine without an automatic feeder.

Are Guppy Fry OK Without Food?

Guppy fry can live two to three days without food. They will eat algae and the pieces of insects that fall into the tank.

Guppy fry will not eat bread or goldfish food.

I recommend using an automatic feeder if you have guppy fry. They do much better on a proper diet than one that consists mostly of algae.

Of course, they will live on algae. It’s just not the ideal food for a guppy fry.

Guppies Will Eat Algae

It’s been mentioned a few times, but it’s worth repeating.

Guppies will eat algae.

You should have algae if your tank is an established tank – a few weeks old, generally. Now, algae is not the ideal food for guppies because they do need a little protein. But your guppies will live perfectly fine eating the small algae off the glass, soil, or structure.

I’ve even seen guppies eat their own poop, which probably is not good for them. They do eat it, though.


Well, that covers it for how long guppies can go without food. Guppies can go about 14 days without food, but that is assuming you don’t have any algae in your tank because guppies eat algae.

In practice, you can leave guppies in a fish tank without food for an indefinite amount of time because every fish tank has algae. I don’t care how clean you keep your tank – there is algae on it somewhere. And algae is especially like to form on a tank if you aren’t scrubbing it off for a few weeks.

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