Goldfish are one of the most popular pet fish, but what do goldfish eat? Understanding what to feed your pet fish is essential so you can provide it with proper nutrition and keep it healthy for a long, happy life.
The goldfish (Carassius auratus) is one of the most common freshwater aquarium fish in the world, and its beautiful color is often considered symbolic of good luck and prosperity. This makes it a popular pet worldwide. The goldfish is actually a type of domesticated carp and has been associated with humans for centuries. Today there are dozens of specially bred goldfish breeds available. The fin sizes and shapes, overall color, eye shape and fish size all vary depending on the breed. These are very hardy fish and can be easy for pet owners to care for even if they have never had fish before.
So, What Do Goldfish Eat?
Feeding goldfish the right food is one of the most important aspects of caring for these pets. Goldfish are opportunistic feeders that won't stop feeding as long as food is available. Due to this behavior, they can suffer from digestive problems and even death if overfed. The more goldfish are fed, the more waste they will produce, which can lead to excess toxins in the tank that can slowly poison the fish or contribute to other goldfish diseases. Understanding what goldfish eat and how to feed them properly is critical for a healthy pet.
Wild goldfish eat a variety of foods, including aquatic plants, algae, aquatic insects and small crustaceans. Since wild fish have to evade predators, battle currents and adapt to a constantly changing environment, the goldfish's natural habit of always foraging is helpful to provide enough energy for an active lifestyle.
Aquarium fish lead a less active life and need much less food to stay well fed and healthy. Specially formulated goldfish food is recommended for goldfish, and it has a lower concentration of protein - which goldfish have trouble digesting - and more carbohydrates than standard fish food. Goldfish food is available in both flake and pellet form, and offering both types of food can give fish variety for their feeding preferences. Flakes float and pellets sink, which gives the fish opportunities to feed at different levels in the tank.
In addition to goldfish food, a variety of unique treats can be offered occasionally to goldfish to supplement their basic diet. Goldfish can eat:
- Shelled peas (skins removed)
- Brine shrimp
- Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
- Cooked rice
- Grapes (skinned)
- Cucumber slices
- Orange slices
- Watermelon slices
Each of these extra foods can be beneficial for goldfish, but only in small amounts and as an occasional treat. It is not advisable to feed goldfish nothing but these treats because they will not receive the rounded nutrition they need; instead, the proper diet is to feed them goldfish food daily, and add these treats 1-2 times per week for variety. The treats should be left in the tank only for a couple of hours, and any remaining food should be removed after that time to prevent overfeeding, rotting and soiling the tank.
Goldfish Feeding Tips
Once you can answer the question of what do goldfish eat, you will be able to feed your goldfish a varied, healthy diet. To keep the fish happily fed:
- Offer goldfish food at the same time each day. The fish will learn to recognize who is feeding them and will come to the surface to be fed. With patience, they can even learn to take food off your fingertips.
- If the tank is getting dirty very quickly, the fish are being overfed and are producing too much waste. Reduce the amount of food slowly to acclimate the fish to their new diet, and supplement goldfish food with occasional treats.
- Only feed treats 1-2 times per week, and try a variety of different treats to accommodate the preferences of different fish. Like humans, goldfish can have different tastes and feeding preferences.
- Remove uneaten food, both fish food and treats, 15 minutes after feeding the fish. Uneaten food can rot and will be unhealthy for the fish, and it also contributes to a dirty tank and extra toxins. Removing uneaten food will also help regulate your pets' diet so they do not overfeed.
By knowing what goldfish eat, pet owners can help their fish have an attractive, nutritious diet that suits their aquarium or pond lifestyle. With careful feeding and attentive care, a goldfish can live a long life and be a fun pet for many years.