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What Do Goldfish Eat? (Nutritional Guide)

Everybody is aware that goldfish, just like any other fish, eat fish food. But many first-time fish owners often wonder what they can actually give their goldfish. Do you just stick to regular fish food or can you create a different diet for each day? They are one of the most popular fish to get as a pet, but that doesn’t mean their meals are an easy thing to figure out. So let’s see what you can feed your goldfish to make sure it has a long and healthy life.

Goldfish eating food

What Do Goldfish Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, goldfish are omnivorous scavengers., which means that they will eat both meat and vegetarian food. They usually eat aquatic plants, algae, and tender parts of seeds and plants as a part of their vegetarian diet, but they will also eat aquatic insects like mosquito larvae and pupae, tadpoles, fish eggs and larvae, small crustaceans, dead plant and animal matter, zooplankton, and even smaller fish.

Essentially, goldfish are opportunistic feeders and they won’t stop eating as long as there is food available to them. Although goldfish kept in aquariums won’t be able to eat most of the things they would find in the wild, they will eat whatever is in the tank and won’t stop as long as there is something to eat.

So, what can you feed your goldfish? The most popular food for your goldfish are:

  • Fish algae wafers
  • Daphnia (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
  • Brine shrimp (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
  • Bloodworms (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
  • Ghost shrimp (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
  • Mealworms (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
  • Crickets (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)

Giving in your goldfish the right food is a very important part of caring for these pets. As they are opportunistic feeders, they won’t stop feeding and because of that, they can suffer from digestive problems if overfed. Apart from overfeeding problems, the more they are fed, the more waste they will make, which can cause excess toxins in the tank that will slowly poison your fish. It’s important to feed the right amount of fish food so you don’t contribute to these problems.

What Can You Feed Goldfish Besides Fish Food?

Apart from goldfish food, you can occasionally give them unique treats to supplement their basic diet. You can feed them these foods in tiny amounts that they will be able to eat within one or two minutes. However, you shouldn’t feed them every day, you can give them for two days or so. But what can they eat besides fish food? Goldfish can eat:

  • Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
  • Shelled peas (skins removed)
  • Carrots
  • Cooked rice
  • Pumpkin
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Lima beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapes (skinned and chopped)
  • Diced broccoli (microwaved or boiled)
  • Diced corn (microwaved or boiled)
  • Cucumber slices (microwaved or boiled)
  • Peeled and diced zucchini (microwaved or boiled)
  • Peeled and diced carrots (microwaved or boiled)
  • Orange slices
  • Watermelon slices
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apple slices
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Mango slices
  • Pear slices

Can Goldfish Eat Bread?

Goldfish are omnivores, which means they can eat anything, even bread. However, you should avoid giving them bread. Bread causes many digestive issues that can potentially cause other complications, with swim bladder disease being the most common one. Bread can also cause constipation when it swells up inside their intestines, which may cause death in some cases.

Can Goldfish Eat Betta Food?

If you have goldfish and bettas in the same tank, goldfish will not refuse any betta food that will descend to the middle or bottom of the aquarium. But is it good for them?

Bettas are carnivorous by nature, while goldfish are omnivores, which means their diets overlap somewhat. But while bettas will eat only meat, goldfish do need some vegetation and protein both in their diet.

Ready-made foods that were created for Bettas will have a lot of protein. However, even though goldfish have slower digestive tracts, ingesting a high-protein food that wasn’t made for them can cause kidney failure, intestinal gas, and swim bladder infection if given regularly.

Betta foods have different nutritional composition than food that was made for goldfish. Goldfish foods have slow-digesting plant matter, along with amino acids that were created for their primitive digestion. Even though you absolutely will not kill your fish, specialists don’t recommend giving any goldfish betta food.

Occasional Treats

Giving occasional treats to your goldfish can be extremely beneficial for them, but only in small amounts. It is not advised to avoid giving anything except these treats to your goldfish because they will not receive all the necessary nutrition they need. The proper diet for your goldfish is to give them food daily and add treats once or twice per week. You should leave these treats in the tank just for a couple of hours, and remove any remaining food after in order to prevent any potential rotting, overfeeding, and soiling the tank.

Goldfish swims

Goldfish Feeding Tips

After you figure out what to feed your fish, you will need to create a diet and keep them happily fed. You should offer food to your goldfish every single day. The fish will eventually learn to recognize the person who is feeding them and will start to come to the surface every time you show up in order to be fed. With time, they might even learn to take food from your fingertips. If it’s not possible for you to be present for the feeding, you can use automatic fish feeders.

How often should you feed them? You can give them food two or three times each day, but make sure that you give them small amounts that they will be able to eat in one minute. As for treats, you can feed them once or twice each week with different types of threats that will accommodate the different preferences of your fish.

If your aquarium gets cloudy quickly, that means you might be overfeeding your fish and it’s causing them to produce too much waste. In case this happens, all you’ll have to do is to remove any uneaten food and treats that might be in the tank. Monitoring the tank when feeding time arrives is also a priority. When you feed them, wait 15 minutes, and then remove anything that is left. You’ll also have to reduce the amount of food you give your fish in order to slowly acclimate them to their new diet, but you can supplement the fish food with occasional treats.

Uneaten food will rot and provide an unhealthy environment for the fish and contribute to a dirty tank that will have extra toxins. Because of that, cleaning the tank after you’ve given your fish food is important, so that you can remove any uneaten food from the tank.

Sources:

  1. Goldfish and Their Diet – INJAF
  2. List of Foods Goldfish Can Eat – Cuteness
  3. What Should I Feed My Pet Goldfish? – RSPCA Knowledgebase

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