How Long Can Guppies Live Without Food? (Surprising answer!)

Affiliate Disclaimer: is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn a commission.

If you are planning to go on vacation, and you have an aquarium with guppies living in it, you may be wondering How long can guppies live without food?

Guppies are very hardy. Healthy adult guppies can easily survive for up to 2 weeks without food whilst you are on vacation. Younger guppies would be able to survive for around 1 week without food. Baby guppies (fry) can only go for 1 or 2 days without food.

I have been keeping guppies for over 30 years. During that time there have been countless occasions where I have had to leave my fish without them being fed. For short periods, guppies will be fine.

Should You Arrange For A Friend To Feed Your Guppies?

In my experience, arranging for a friend or family member to come in whilst you are on vacation to feed your guppies almost always ends up with your guppies being overfed. Non-fish people always seem to think fish need more food than they actually do.

Overfeeding an aquarium can easily cause an ammonia spike which could wipe out all your guppies.

Should You Use An Auto Feeder?

If you have an auto feeder on your aquarium already, then you certainly can use it. Personally, I have never bothered with an auto feeder. When guppies are well fed and I follow the steps below to prepare my aquarium, I find my guppies can easily survive a week or two without being fed.

How To Prepare Your Aquarium For Your Vacation

When preparing to go on vacation, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your guppies stay happy and healthy until you return.

  • Carry out maintenance on your filter
  • Trim and remove any dead or dying plants
  • Check your heater is working properly
  • Check the timer settings on your light
  • Make sure your fish are well fed in the weeks leading up to your vacation
  • Carry out a large water change

Carry out maintenance on your filter

Carrying out some routine maintenance on your filter before you leave for vacation reduces the chances of your filter failing whilst you are away.

If you are using a hang-on-back filter, make sure any sponges or pads are clear of debris. Rinse them well in a bucket of tank water or replace them completely as necessary. Make sure all chambers of the filter are free from debris.

If you are using a canister filter, rinse the sponges and media in a bucket of tank water. Check all the hoses are connected properly and make sure there are no leaks. You don’t want your aquarium draining onto your floor whilst you are away.

Removing debris and detritus from your filter lowers the chances of nitrate or ammonia levels spiking whilst you’re on vacation.

Trim and remove any dead or dying plants

Any dead or dying aquarium plants are a potential source of ammonia in your aquarium. Removing them reduces the chances of high ammonia or nitrate levels whilst you are away.

A second potential problem with dead or dying plants left in the aquarium is the risk they will block the filter intakes. Large leaves, like those on an Amazon Sword, can easily block the intake to a hang-on-back or canister filter.

A blocked filter intake could spell disaster for your aquarium.

Check your heater is working properly

It only takes a moment to double-check your heater is working properly. If your heater has packed up, and the temperature slowly decreases over a couple of weeks, you could return from vacation to find a tank full of dead guppies.

Check the timer settings on your light

Setting your aquarium light on a timer benefits your fish and your plants. Research has shown that aquariums with lights on a timer have fewer problems with algae.

If you leave your light on the whole time you are on vacation, you will return to find you have a serious algae problem. If you leave your aquarium with the lights off, your plants may not survive.

Make sure your fish are well fed in the weeks leading up to your vacation

If you are going to be on vacation for a week or two, it would be wise to spend the weeks leading up to your vacation making sure your guppies are well fed.

Three or four weeks before I go on vacation I try to ensure my guppies have been fed a varied diet, especially plenty of live and frozen foods like bloodworms and daphnia. Bulking the fish up allows them to better cope with a week or two with no food.

Carry out a large water change

A day or two before I leave for my vacation I carry out a large water change. I try to change between 50% and 75% of the water. This large water change will bring the level of nitrates in the aquarium right down.

Water changes are an essential part of maintaining a healthy aquarium. Carrying out a large water change will ensure the aquarium water is as fresh as it can be whilst you are away.

In Conclusion

Guppies are surprisingly hardy. A healthy guppy can easily go for one week and probably for two or more without any problems. Spending a few weeks preparing your aquarium for your vacation will also help your guppies survive.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James