What Do Goldfish Eat? A Complete Guide

If you intend to start keeping goldfishes, then you have to make a detailed plan on how to feed them. Goldfish’s diet isn’t like every other species of fish. They have a wide range of diet and can eat almost all types of food.

There are a lot of feeding aspects you have to master when it comes to goldfishes. This is because healthy feeding is virtually the most important factor for their upkeep and optimum performance.

There are 2 major subspecies of Goldfish namely, Comet and Fancies. However, there are no significant differences in their dieting.

What Do Goldfish Eat in the Wild?

Goldfish, Carassius Aurautas, is from a family of fishes known as Cyprinidae. The fish is one of the oldest species of fish. Rearing of goldfish started as far back as 700AD. They originate from water bodies in Asian countries.

To understand Goldfish feeding habits, it is important to know first how they feed in their natural habitat.

To start with, they are omnivores and are found in water bodies that are of steady tides. They are quite adaptable to a wide range of water temperatures too. This is recorded at about 43°F to a little above 80°F.

Their water contains a lot of aquatic plants and seaweeds. Some of the plants can be found under the water while others float around. Due to these many aquatic green plants, there are lots of algae buildup, even on debris found in the water. Goldfishes feed on these plants and even the algae buildup.

They are a very lucky species of fishes because they do not have to struggle for food like other species that are strictly carnivorous. They eat almost everything in their habitat from the green plants around to, dead matters, tiny insects, juvenile fishes, and even their own eggs

This helps to keep them healthy most times because green plants are healthy food choices and tend to have fiber materials that aid their digestion.

However, this feeding pattern is skewed because their nutrients are not consistent since they only eat what is available to them at any period in time.

Under domestication, try as much as possible to provide them with the foods they are used to in their natural habitat. But this time, ensure that their diet is as balanced as possible.

Feeding Adult Goldfishes

You are going to enjoy feeding the adult species because they will eat almost everything you give them. Some of the most common food given to most types of fish under domestication are pellets and flakes. Adult Goldfishes will happily devour these.

However, feeding them is not about just giving them anything to eat, it is about meeting the required nutrients to keep them in the best state for activities such as breeding.

Therefore, the pellets or flakes they are being fed with should be made in such a way that it has all the required nutrients they need.

Adults Goldfishes can feed anywhere in the tank, so you do not have to bother about where to put their feeds. Flakes feed are always on the water surface, while pellets go all the way to the bottom of the tank. As long as the fishes are hungry, they will head down to the bottom of the water to collect these pellets.

Another food you should provide them is live food. This is because they are very rich in protein. Providing protein-rich feeds could also be very stressful, hence settling for live food is a great option. Examples of live food you can give them are shrimps, worms, daphnia, and snails. For snails, make sure you do not feed them with the species of snails know as mystery snails

In case you don’t have access to these live foods, then you can substitute with frozen foods. They are also very rich in protein nutrients.

While feeding goldfishes, you can even come up with your own feed formulation idea for them since they eat almost everything. The only thing you have to ensure is that the nutrients are well balanced.

You can get food substances from your kitchen. Mix up fruits, legumes, spinach, and veggies to make a nice combination and feed it to them.

What to do When Goldfish Stops Feeding?

Should your Goldfish stop feeding abruptly, there are a number of things you can do to get them feeding again.

First of all, change their water and make the tank as clean as possible. After doing this, provide them with a portion of different food from the one they last ate.

Another thing that could cause this is the temperature. A very low temperature might cause them to stop eating because of digestive complications. So make the water warmer and feed them after a few minutes.

Feeding Fry Goldfishes

Feeding fry goldfishes is more technical and complicated than feeding adult goldfishes. You have to be very careful because the food you give them at this stage tends to affect how they develop.

One of the most difficult aspects of feeding them is making the food small enough for them to be able to sallow. Although goldfishes tend to grow quickly, they still need food to be able to do this.

One-way fry and juvenile fishes save themselves from starvation in the wild is with the help of water plants and algae buildup in the water. This is why you have to imitate their natural habitat as much as possible.

Equip the tanks meant for fry and juvenile fishes with seaweeds and other aquatic plants. With this, they get something to nibble off pending the time you get other means of feeding them.

You can feed them with pellets and flakes but they need to be as tiny as possible. For the flakes, you should simply break them to pieces by rubbing them with your hand.

There are foods specially made for juvenile and fry. You should purchase them from fish stores and fish breeders. They are usually liquid or powdered in nature.

At this stage of their lives, fry needs protein to develop quickly. But the issue is that they cannot handle most live foods that provide protein. The worms and shrimps tend to escape. So your best bet to providing them with protein has to be frozen foods. In this case, the frozen foods have to be nicely chopped into pieces that are edible enough for them.

Remember not to keep fry and juvenile fishes with the adult fishes to avoid cannibalism. Move the adult fishes to another tank as soon as the eggs are being laid because they can feed on the eggs too.

When the fry is about 1-inch body length, then it’s time to move them to the adult golden fishes. At this stage, they will be able to consume the same foods with the adults.

Types of Goldfish Foods

Fish specialists come up with various diets to feed goldfishes. The essence of this is meet most, if not all of their nutrient requirements. This has led to a lot of innovations, and some of them include the following.


Duckweed is a lot of aquarist favorite goldfish food. You can get it for free from your local fish store and it is also being sold online. Feeding a handful to your goldfish keeps them going. It is also a lifesaver for preventing swim bladder issues.

Brine Shrimps

This could either be frozen brine shrimps or dried brine shrimps; the nature doesn’t matter. It is high in fiber and goes through the fish pretty easily. With this, it’s less likely to get an impaction in their gut and cause swim bladder disease.

Cube Nutrients

What’s good about this food is that it’s a gel. It’s a mixture of powder nutrients and water. Boiling water is being used here, and it sets the powder up like a  gel to make cubes. You can feed your fishes with the cubes. Because they’re already full of water, they don’t really cause bloating issues.

The food has a lot of krill in it, so it colors them up. You can buy the food nutrients at fish stores and other outlets

Garlic Mixtures

You can also add finely grounded garlic to goldfish’s food. Garlic helps fight off parasites and it can also get your fish eating. So if you’ve got a new goldfish, not eating very well, it will smell that garlic and wants to eat. You can get it in different pallet sizes. There are very small pallets for baby goldfishes too.

Garlic mixtures also have other benefits. With this food, you don’t have to feed many bloating foods. It also helps with less waste in the aquarium.

Pellet Mix for Omnivores

Investing in high-quality colter food has always been a good idea. Omnivore pellet mix is one that can serve this purpose for your goldfishes. The mix consists of brine shrimp, spirulina, krill, fishmeal. Etc.

Basically, it’s a green and red pellet mix. They are also floating pellets that stay on the water until they are consumed. So if you’re not sure about how much feed you want the fishes to eat, you can net it back out. This prevents bloating and overfeeding. The best feeding method is to make sure that the fishes finish off their meal in the stipulated time you want.

Feed brine shrimps and krill regularly, they go through them easily and that’s the important part.

Keep your goldfish digestion track moving. If they’re pooing a lot, that’s a good sign. But ensure you change the water frequently. Goldfishes are like water pigs, as long as you keep putting good food in their tanks they will keep eating and defecating.

You can always feed varieties. The most important thing remains the standard requirement for a healthy diet that must be met at all times.

How Often Should I Feed My Goldfish?

For goldfishes feeding routines, you have to be very careful because once you pick a routine to feed them with after sometimes, they get used to the routine and will start anticipating food when its time.

Make sure you feed them at intervals during the day, 2 to 3 rounds are enough. Do not give them the whole food for a day at once. This can damage the digestive system.

Regulate the quantity of food per round. Make sure that the food you give them would be finished under 3 minutes. Goldfishes are rarely satisfied and will most likely come back for more food. Do not give them anymore because overfeeding is very dangerous and could lead to swelling of their stomach.

Also, after the time you have given them to finish the quantity of food provided, remove excess food. Apart from preventing overfeeding, it also keeps the water and tank clean.

How Long Goldfishes Survive Without Food?

Goldfishes can stay alive for up to 2 weeks without food. If you have a school of goldfishes and you leave them without food, some will start dying from after a week, and none of them will make it past the second week.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to leave your fishes to travel, it is best advised that you hire someone to help you feed and take care of them pending your arrival. Another alternative you can try out is buying an automatic feeder.


Now you know that goldfish is a fun fish to have in your fish tank. They are very easy to cater for, and you do not have to break the bank before feeding them.

The most important thing you have to look out for is giving them a balanced nutrient. Also, do not keep feeding them the same food for a long time. There are many options for you to try out, another advantage of rearing them.

Gold fishes are in high demand, so if they are well fed and bred, you can be able to make a business put of it. You can also formulate their foods for sale.

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