What do Goldfish eat? – Foods that can be fed to Goldfish


Goldfish are beautiful creatures and among the most commonly kept aquarium fish. They are not picky eaters and will eat almost anything you feed them. But this also means that they will eat something that could be dangerous for their health.

Goldfish are omnivores, and eat a variety of commercial food, vegetables, live food or freeze-dried food. They sometimes stop eating due to factors like being shifted to a new tank, fluctuations in temperature or changes in water parameters.

Here is a list of foods that are safe to feed your Goldfish.

Commercial Food

Let’s start with the most obvious one. Commercial flakes and pellets designed for Goldfish are great, and provide a lot of nutrients. However, if you feed your Goldfish the same food every day, they will get bored of it. They could start eating fewer quantities, or may even stop eating altogether. So although commercial foods are a great staple food for your Goldfish, you will need to mix up their diet often. Doing so will ensure the Goldfish don’t get bored of any one food, while ensuring they get a balanced diet.

Vegetables and Fruits

Goldfish can be fed a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables. They provide a whole range of minerals and antioxidants for your Goldfish, which can help with keeping their immune systems strong. Fruits should not be fed more than 2-3 times a week, while vegetables can be fed more often. Here are some foods that are safe to feed your Goldfish.

Peas

Peas are great for Goldfish’s digestive systems. They help in preventing constipation and swim bladder disorders that arise due to constipation. Peas should be boiled and their shells should be removed. The soft peas should then be chopped up into tiny pieces, so the Goldfish can swallow them easily. They contain a lot of fibre, protein and iron, apart from vitamins and minerals.

Broccoli

These can be given steamed or boiled, and then chopped up. They contain Vitamins C and K, fibre, iron and potassium. They barely contain any fat, and are great for boosting the immune systems of Goldfish.

Grapes

The skin of the grapes will need to be removed before feeding Goldfish. If they have seeds, they will have to be removed as well. Grapes are mostly water, so be careful to give very small amounts at a time. Otherwise the aquarium water will get dirty very quickly.

Strawberries

Goldfish will gobble up strawberries as well. They will have a hard time chewing raw strawberries, so you could boil or blanch them before cutting them up into tiny pieces. They contain a lot of antioxidants, Vitamin C and Manganese.

Raspberries

Raspberries need to be prepared the same way as strawberries. They have a lot of Vitamin K in them. The antioxidants present in raspberries can also help prevent Cancer. Yes, Goldfish can get certain types of Cancers.

Cucumber

Cucumbers need to have their skins peeled off before feeding. They are mostly made of water, so you will need to put them in the aquarium in very small quantities at a time. If too much is put in at once, you will be surprised how fast the water will get dirty.

Orange

Oranges are high in Vitamin C. They are also great for controlling blood pressure, strokes, are good for heart health and have anti-cancer properties. However, oranges should be fed sparingly to Goldfish, or else they can cause diarrhea and other problems. Their seeds must be removed prior to feeding.

Watermelon

Watermelons are almost entirely made of water, but contain Copper, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamins A and Vitamin C. The watermelon seeds also need to be removed before feeding. They should be fed rarely, and only small amounts at a time.

Live Foods

Live food can carry parasites inside their bodies, which can cause serious harm to your Goldfish. It is a good practice to keep the live animals in a separate tank or bucket for a few days and treat them with medication for parasites, before feeding them to your Goldfish. Here are some live foods that can be fed to Goldfish.

Mosquito Larvae

You barely require any investment to catch these. Just a bucket that is placed in an appropriate location, along with some water should do the trick. What could be better than feeding your Goldfish fresh live food and helping to reduce the local mosquito population at the same time? While it is easy to collect mosquito larvae, some precautions do need to be taken.

Just be sure to place the bucket where contaminants will not be able to enter the water. If the water does get contaminated, the mosquito larvae will too, posing a health risk to your Goldfish. I’ve written an article on attracting and catching mosquito larvae here.

Bloodworms

These are very high in protein, and are great for your Goldfish. They curl up very close to each other and form a ball. This ball could be just 1 inch wide and have well over a thousand tiny individuals! A hungry Goldfish will not be able to resist a ball of these guys wiggling on the aquarium floor! Don’t feed them too often, as the high protein content will cause problems with your Goldfish.

They can be found online, at a local aquarium shop, or the place where live bait is sold for catching fish. Your supplier could be a commercial bloodworm breeder, or could be catching them from local water bodies. Commercial breeders are able to supply bloodworms all year round, but the ones in the local water bodies may only be available seasonally.

Earthworms

Earthworms can be found at plant nurseries. Goldfish will just go after them once they are put in the tank. However, unless the earthworms are very small, you will need to chop them up before putting them in the tank. This will of course kill them, and then they won’t move. Worms that won’t move will be a little less appealing for your Goldfish to eat.

Earthworms have soil coated all over their bodies. You will need to rinse them with clean water and place them in a bowl of clean water for a day or two. Then, change the water in the bowl 3-4 times a day, until the water stays clear. After that, they’re good to be fed to your Goldfish! Don’t worry, earthworms won’t drown in 1 or 2 days underwater and will still be alive and fresh.

Microworms

These are also a type of roundworm. They require minimal maintenance to raise. These can be bred in large batches, and their wiggling movements will make them irresistible to your Goldfish. Instructions on how to breed them can be found here.

Freeze-dried foods

Freeze-dried foods are basically live foods that have been dried by being frozen. They offer the same nutritional benefits as fresh, live food. Unlike live food, they don’t require any special care and can be stored in the freezer for weeks and they will still be good enough to feed your Goldfish with. Freeze-dried foods are dehydrated, so you will need to be careful how much you feed your Goldfish. When dehydrated, foods reduce in mass and weight by about 3 times. So if you’re feeding 5 grams of freeze-dried food, you’re feeding the equivalent of about 15 grams of the same food, if it were not dehydrated. Also, the dehydrated foods will rehydrate inside the Goldfish’s stomach and expand in size. So special care must be taken not to overfeed on these foods.

Tubeworms

Tubeworms are easily available online as well as at your local fish store. They are packed in the form of small cubes. These cubes can be put in a bowl of water for a couple of minutes to soften up and rehydrate a little before putting them in the tank for you Goldfish to gobble up. Or, you could squish the cube between your finger and the aquarium wall, under the water level. Doing this will also rehydrate them a little.

Bloodworms

Similar to Tubeworms, Bloodworms are also available freeze-dried. They are packed in a similar way in cubes, just like Tubeworms. Bloodworms are very high in protein, but low in fibre. So they should not be fed too often. They can be fed in the same way as Tubeworms.

Brine Shrimp

Also called Artemia and Sea-Monkeys, Brine Shrimp are a type of crustacean. Their body type is similar to shrimps. They are very tiny, not more than 10-12 mm. They are able to survive in waters that have up to 25% salinity. These are also available online and at most fish stores. Brine Shrimp also have a high protein content. You could even give live Brine Shrimp to Goldfish. I’ve written how to culture them here.

Krill

Krill are also a species of crustacean. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals, which help in bringing out the best and most vibrant colours in your Goldfish. An amazing fact is that a species of Krill, the Antarctic Krill, are the largest creatures on earth by biomass. This means that if we were to weigh all the creatures on Earth, like the total number of humans, whales, cows, etc. and check which ones weigh the most, The Antarctic Krill would be the heaviest. How heavy? About 379,000,000 tonnes. Remarkable for an animal that only grows to about 2.5 inches.

Daphnia

Daphnia are tiny crustaceans that only grow to about 5 mm is length. They are almost invisible, and will provide a host of vitamins to your Goldfish. They are especially useful if you have younger Goldfish that are small in size. They are easier for juvenile Goldfish to swallow, compared to worms.

Other Meaty Foods

Apart from Commercial foods, veggies, live foods and freeze-dried foods, there are some other options as well to feed your Goldfish. Some of these options may be a little on the expensive side, but can be given to your Goldfish once in a while.

Beef Heart

The heart of beef not only is high in protein, it also has high quantities of folate, zinc and iron. These are great way to mix up the diet of your Goldfish. To prepare it, you will just need to rinse the heart with clean water, remove the fat that is attached to the heart and chop the meat up into pieces small enough for your Goldfish to chew and swallow comfortably. Remember, their teeth are not very sharp! Fat from mammals could be bad for your Goldfish. You could buy and chop up larger quantities, and store it in the freezer. It can last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Shrimp

The shrimp that we can buy from the fish market will also be eaten by Goldfish. To prepare them, you will need to remove the heads, legs and tails, as these parts are often sharp and can cause injuries to the Goldfish. The remaining part of the shrimp will need to be rinsed under clean running water. Chopping it up into small pieces will help your Goldfish swallow it easily. Shrimp are packed with a ton of minerals, including selenium and phosphorous. Raw shrimp can stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Fish

You could try feeding your Goldfish any fish that you can find in the fish market. Just be sure to remove the scales, any sharp parts and fins. Then you can rinse and chop it up. All types of fish have varying amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein. Some are high in Omega 3 fats, while others are not. You could get fish with red meat or white meat. This is a great way to give a varied diet to your Goldfish. While some types of fish can stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months, others won’t. If you’re not sure how long it will stay good in freezer, you could use it up in under 2 months. All fish stay good in the freezer for at least 2 months.

Syed Baseeruddin Hyder

I’ve been keeping fish and invertebrates in aquariums for over 5 years. Over the years, I’ve kept more than 15 different species of fish and invertebrates. Through ParadiseInATank.com, I hope to guide new and experienced fish keepers alike with as detailed information as I can get.

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