How Long Can Cichlids Go Without Food? (Best Solutions When Away)

If only you can bring your cichlids with you during vacation, there will be no issue feeding them. Since this is not the case, you may need to consider the days you will be away if there will be someone to do the feeding, or there is another way around the problem. 

You will wonder how your fish will survive while you are away, and the good thing is there are ways you can ensure that your cichlids will still be alive when you get home. 

If you have very young and small cichlids, you will need to have someone feed them after a few days cause young cichlids don’t have the fat reserves like older cichlids do. If older cichlids can stand not being fed for a week or longer, young cichlids can only go for a few days without food. 

Cichlids are also known to gorge themselves by feeding as much when there is food available, and the reason they always appear to be looking for food. There is more fat reserve in older cichlids since they do not move as much to burn what they eat quickly. 

If you plan on being away for a long time, it is ideal to experiment and observe your fish before you go away. Check how long they can stand without food, so you’ll know beforehand what you need to do. 

What To Do When You Are Away From Your Fish?

Hire a fish sitter is an option.

If you are unsure about the length of time your cichlids can hold without food, then getting a fish sitter may be the best idea. You can leave a set of instructions for the fish sitter to do and when they need to feed the fish. 

It can either be a relative, a neighbor, or even a friend who has extra time to drop by at your place to check on your cichlids. 

Secure that you have prepared the fish sitter for the job so they will not be asking you for instructions in the middle of your vacation. 

You may also get professional fish sitters since they are more aware of what the job entails. This is also ideal if you have much fish that is better handled by a professional. 

Give the fish sitter the schedule and the exact time they need to feed your fish and other things they need to do with the aquarium. 

An exact amount is also helpful, so your fish feeder will not guess the quantity they need to give your cichlids. Ensure that you have given the proper guidelines cause cichlids may keep on asking for more food, and there is a danger of the fish sitter overfeeding your fish without proper instructions. 

Remember to write instructions before you leave so your fish sitter will have something to use as a guide. It should serve as a basic instruction but not a step-by-step manual on what to do and how to do it. It is just there for the fish sitter to ensure that they will forget nothing. 

To help a fish sitter further, you can also write anything you think is important for them to know while you are away. You can paste these notes in the tank so the fish sitter will see it firsthand. 

Vacation Feeders

If you are not agreeable to getting a fish sitter or don’t want anyone hanging near the house while you are away, then a feeder block is another solution. This is a block containing fish food inside, and it can be placed in the aquarium. They can last for several days, and you can choose a specific number of days for a feeder block depending on the needs of your cichlids. 

There are feeding blocks that can feed only a few fish, and there are feeding blocks used for a higher number of fish. Some are slow-released feeders that can last for a certain period, and the blocks come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and contents. 

The vacation feeder may contain another type of fish food than what your fishes are used to eating, but all you have to do before you buy the feeder is to read the directions and choose the right fish food. 

Automatic Fish Feeders

These are battery-powered or electric feeders that can dispense food as scheduled. There are choices of flakes, freeze-dried fish foods, or pellets. 

There are a variety of designs that you can choose from and which you need to check on how to operate. There is a timer which the feeder will ration feeds to the fish, and it is smart to use this before you leave so you can see if the feeder is working and if the fish food is being rationed at the time set. 

An automatic feeder can be programmed to give food twice a day, while other high-end automatic feeders can feed four times a day. 

The only disadvantage of using an automatic feeder is its tendency to malfunction when the food got stuck at one point and may stop the scheduled feeding. Sometimes it can even give out food more than what was scheduled. This is the reason you need to check if it works before you leave. 

Automatic feeders will do the task of feeding your cichlids at the time required, but there is no way for them to clean unfinished foods, and this may cause the water to get polluted. Ensure that your filter is working cause a broken filter will be unsafe for your cichlids. 

Remember to not overstock your fish with food cause it may cause more harm to them compared to just having enough to go around. Your fish may be a bit hungry, but at least they are alive and not floating on top of the tank.

Filter cleaning and water change may be an added problem that you need to consider. If you have a perfectly working filter, then this should do for the time being. You may also clean and change the water before leaving, so you will not stress about this during your vacation.