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How Long Can Oscar Fish Go Without Food?

Oscar fish are especially hardy fish. They are well-known among fish keepers for going on without food for a long time. But how long can Oscar fish live without eating?

In this  article we extensively discusses the required feeding frequency of these lovely fishes. So, keep on reading to find out more.

How Long Can Oscar Fish Live Without Eating Food?

how long can Oscar fish go without food
Oscar fish can survive for 2 to 4 weeks between meals. For juveniles, that time shrinks down to around 10 days. But, they should be fed at least 4 times per week and ideally once per day. More in case of juvenile fishes. Just because they can go on for weeks without feeding doesn’t mean it’s healthy for them.

Most popular aquarium freshwater fishes can survive 1 to 2 weeks without any food. But Oscar fish can generally keep going for 2 to 4 weeks. They have incredibly slow metabolic rate, allowing them to keep on going without food for a long time and make the best use of their nourishment.

But due to a number of health issues, such as stress, columnaris disease, internal parasites and more, sometimes Oscar fish can simply stop eating. So, if your Oscar fish hasn’t been eating for a while even though it’s being offered food, then it could be a cause for concern.

How Frequently Should You Feed Oscar Fish?

You should feed an Adult Oscar fish only once per day. However, feeding juvenile fish at least twice a day is recommended, as they need more food to grow strong and healthy. You can also look at the size of your fish to determine how often to feed it.

Baby Oscar fish can eat a lot. And it will not hurt them since they are still growing. The same goes if your Oscar fish is small. You can feed your Oscar twice daily if it is less than 8 inches long.

However, there is an important thing to consider. If you feed your Oscar two meals daily, space them out by at least 8 hours. Also, make sure to vary their diet a bit.

Otherwise, they will get bored and stop eating altogether, which might cause major health problems. You can feed your fish cichlid pellets as the first meal of the day. As for the second meal, you could feed them live or frozen foods.

What To Do if Your Oscar Fish Has Stopped Eating?

how long can Oscar fish go without food
A common reason an Oscar fish might stop eating is that it is bored of eating the same food repeatedly. Or the food might be stale and inedible. Water quality issues and pH imbalance in the tank can also disrupt your Oscar fish eating habits.

Begin by paying attention to your Oscar Fish diet. If you are feeding them the same one or two feeds every day, then change it up a bit by adding something new. There are tons of home food items that can trigger their appetite.

Similarly, you can check if your fish food has expired. If so, head to the pet shop and get some new food. Also, consider checking the pH level inside your fish tank. It should be between 6 to 8. If it’s below that, change 25% to 50% of the water in the tank.

Similarly, test other water parameters like ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. If any of these levels are higher than recommended, take steps to fix it immediately.

Lastly, if all else fails, consider contacting a veterinarian. If you’re Oscar fish has stopped eating due to some underlying health condition, a vet can get that fixed.

How to Feed Your Oscar Fish When You Are On Vacation?

Although Oscar fish can live without food for 2 to 4 weeks, having some kind of backup feeding option will give you peace of mind. Automatic fish feeders are a great option.

Automatic fish feeders can release a specific amount of food in pre-programmed intervals. Look for ones that are easy to install and program. With these, you do not need to worry about feeding your fish while you are away.

Another option is to ask friends or family to feed your fish while you are away from home. Not only they will be able to feed your pet fish, but they can also inform you if your fish become sick.

How to Create the Best Diet Plan For Your Oscar Fish?

how long can Oscar fish go without food
Commercial cichlids pellets are the best option. As a rule of thumb, only 20% of your Oscar’s diet should be homemade fresh or frozen foods.

The remaining 80% should be commercial fish pellets. Pellets are purpose-made to provide the best and most balanced nutritional value for your fish.

You can feed your Oscar live foods like crickets, earthworms, and grasshoppers. However, be careful with live foods, there is always the risk that your fish becomes sick, especially if they are still juvenile. Therefore, feeding pellets and fresh or frozen foods are much safer.

Caution While Feeding Live Foods

Oscars can eat live and frozen foods like earthworms and frozen shrimp. However, ensure not to drop too many shrimps into their tanks simultaneously. They are messy eaters. Too many shrimps in the tank at a time can cloud the water – which is never good.

Additionally, it is better to chop the food up into small pieces. It makes it much easier for your fish to eat them, and they will make less of a mess.

Moreover, you should be cautious when giving your Oscars feeder fish. Giving them feeder fish to eat frequently can spoil them. And they might refuse to eat other foods like pellets, veggies, and fruits.

When Should You Visit a Specialist?

Oscar fish are hardy species. They can live for weeks without food. However, if you notice any worrying signs, it is better to talk to a specialist. You should see a veterinarian if your fish is inactive or refuses to eat for a long while.

Make sure you explain all the symptoms you notice with your fish. Also, mention all the types of food you feed your fish. The more information the veterinarian has, the more helpful they can be.


In conclusion, a juvenile Oscar fish can live up to 10 days without eating. An adult Oscar fish can live between 2 to 4 weeks without any food. But it depends on the age and health of the particular fish.

And always be on the lookout for any weird behavior. If they suddenly stop eating, don’t wait to see how long they can go. Find out what’s causing the issue and take action immediately.