What Do Goldfish Eat? Correct Diet Plan for the Golden Species

Gold Fish's Food complete Guide
By Garrison Hickles Updated

While petting a fish in your aquarium, remember that food is the most necessary thing for that species which will increase its lifespan. You need to know what do Goldfish eat in the wild and in captivity if you want to breed the fish. Now, you may love petting different kinds of fish in your aquarium but Goldfish is one of the most favored and common fish for petting. Its beautiful shade, charm, and appearance attract many aquarists. So, it is necessary to know details about this fish.

Originated from the rivers of Asia, Goldfish is adjustable to dwell in different types of water. Moreover, it is the easiest fish to keep in your aquarium because it is not very sensitive, and also is omnivoros in nature. Goldfish eats vegetables, leaves, fruits, algae and also meaty foods both in natural habitat and in a fish tank.

How the Digestion System of Goldfish Works?

The digestive system of Goldfish is same as that of a human being, so you can easily feed them human foods that are easily available. Moreover, they can easily digest their food because their pharyngeal teeth are located in their throat which help them grinding and chewing the foods.

Their smooth chewing style is very good for the digestive system because the smashed food passes to the intestine of the Goldfish easily.

Once the food reaches the intestinal tract, the nutrients are smoothly absorbed by the body of fish, and the food particles of fish are broken down quickly in the wall of the intestine. Also, the nutrient’s value stays in the body of the Goldfish for a long time. 

What Do Goldfish Eat at Juvenile Stage?

You may find feeding small Goldfish difficult and risky because the diet plan you choose for them will affect the lifespan and growth of the baby fish. It is a big challenge to find the quantity of food that can fit into the mouth of a Goldfish.

A juvenile Goldfish eats very less compared to an adult fish. Small bites once or twice in a day are enough for a newborn baby fish. Babies have fewer teeth, so they cannot chew hard foods. So, try to smash the foods or give juicy foods to them which may help them in digestion. Also, try to give frozen meaty foods and green vegetable crumbs rich in protein nutrients to juvenile Goldfish for their proper growth. Algae are recommended because they are easy to digest.

What Do Goldfish Eat in Their Adulthood?

There are no restrictions in the diet of an adult Goldfish as compared to their babies. You can feed both frozen and live foods to an adult fish because its digestive system and immunity power are much better than other aquarium fish.

Goldfish is an upper-surface dweller, so it prefers eating flakes more than the pallets because flakes float on the surface of the tank water whereas pellet foods drown at the bottom of the tank.

Live foods have protein, so you can feed the following live foods to them for increasing the vibrant color of their body.

  • Mystery Snails
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Nerite Snail
  • Earthworm
  • Redworm

You can also feed them dry and frozen foods along with the live foods.

What Do Goldfish Eat in Wild?

When we think about buying a fish tank and petting fish, the first name that comes in our mind is Goldfish. This golden beauty of tropical water is the heartthrob of every aquarist globally.

As per historical records, humans started domesticating Goldfish from 700 AD to the contemporary age. This omnivorous golden-colored fish breed is lovable to both beginners and expert fish-keepers because of its looks and easy petting process, as mentioned previously. Although experienced aquarists know what do Goldfish eat in the wild, beginner fish enthusiasts have less knowledge about the fact. However, you should know the diet of this omnivorous fish in the wild, so that you can try to collect such types of food while captivating it.

Usually, there are lots of insects, aquatic small animals, and plants found in the river water. Moreover, algae grow on the floating substrate of ponds and river beds. These water plants, meaty substance, and the algae are the food source of Goldfish who dwells in river. Some of the favorite foods of your cute golden-shaded pet fish are:

  • Brine Shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Black Mosquito’s Larvae
  • Earthworms
  • Flies
  • Insects
  • Small Fish
  • Fish Eggs
  • Plankton
  • Tadpoles
  • Crustaceans
  • Detritus
  • Zooplankton
  • Daphnia
  • Live Plants – Anacharis, Azolla, Duckweed, and Salvinia

This dietary plan will help you arrange foods for your 4” fish. Just make sure that you know the proper quantity and the do’s or don’t while feeding your bright little Goldfish.

What Should You Feed a Pet Goldfish After Captivating?

Many fish breeders may have noticed that along with Goldfish, other pet fish also stop eating food when they feel uncomfortable with your chosen diet for them. This makes the fish stressed and they also fall ill because of such uncomfortable conditions. If you really want to see your pet fish happy and healthy, know what Goldfish eat both in captivated condition and in a free condition.

Remember that Goldfish is neither a scavenger not a tank cleaner, so you need to clean the tank every week and throw away the uneaten food particles from the aquarium after the foods are given to the tank for the fish. The diet plan of Goldfish can be simple but nutritious and interesting too. The foods that you arrange for them should bring water to the tantalizing mouth of your golden buddy. There are two main nutrients needed for the body of Goldfish – fat and protein, which can really it healthy and happy with a good digestive system. Some foods that you can feed your pet Goldfish are:

  • Vegetables – Broccoli, Chard, Spinach, Lettuce, Kale, Boiled Carrots, Asparagus, Cilantro, Cooked Pumpkin, Red Bell Pepper, Cooked Squash, Seaweed, Parsley, etc.    
  • Fresh Fruits – Orange Slices, Shelled Peas, Cucumber Slices, Watermelon, Grapes Skinned, Banana Smashed, Berries, Pears, Avocado, Apple, etc.
  • Meaty Foods – Bloodworms, Bugs, Earthworms, Waxworms, Brine Shrimp, Crab Slices, Beef Heart Flakes, Sun-Dried Krill, etc.
  • Carbohydrate – Boiled and Smashed Rice, Sprouts, Corn, Wheat Flakes, Oatmeal, etc.
  • Occasional Foods – Bread Crumbs, Soldier Fly Larvae, Egg Yolk, Turkey Heart, Garlic, Daphnia, Algae, Crickets, Lobster, Mussels, etc.

Frozen Pallets and Foods

You will get several frozen pallets in the market that have high nutrition value that are easy-to-feed such as:

  • Omega one Goldfish Pellet
  • API Fish Food Pellets
  • Hikari Oranda Gold Floating Pellets

Seasonal Diet Plan for Goldfish

While living in freshwater, Goldfish get adjusted to different weather and water temperature but if you are petting a Goldfish in an aquarium then learn what Goldfish eat at different seasons also. Create a seasonal feeding schedule to make a proper diet for your cute little golden buddy. Take a short look at the table and feed Goldfish according to different weathers and seasons:

SpringThis is the breeding season when the Goldfish have the tendency to grow. So, feed them protein foods like: Egg Yolk, Shrimps, Snails, Beef Liver
SummerAfter the breeding season, the humidity and scorching heat make Goldfish less active and less energetic. So, during the hot season feed them carbohydrate, juicy and healthy foods: Vegetable Crumbs, Fresh Fruit Slices, Rice Smashed, Green Leaves
AutumnThe preparation of dormancy takes place in the autumn season when new fruits, leaves, and flowers bloom. Try to make them strong by keeping protein and carbohydrate diet to prepare them for the upcoming winter season. The foods for autumn are: Meaty Foods, Vegetable, Pellets, Fruits, Oatmeal, Wheat Flakes
WinterThis is the lazy season for Goldfish when it becomes less active and loses its energy and the vibrant color of its body. Dry food and protein diet are better for this season such as Frozen Foods, Dry Vegetable Pellets, Dry Fruits, Meaty Foods

What is the Right Time to Feed Goldfish?

Try to make a regular routine plan for your pet Goldfish, so that they are habituated with the timings and, diet plan. Take ideas from expert aquarists before you set a time for feeding Goldfish. Maintaining regularity may help the Goldfish to stay healthy and away from various diseases.

Try to feed the 4” fish 2-3 times a day if it is adult, and for the small Goldfish, the food timing should be 1-2 times a day. If you don’t know the quantity of food that you need to feed the fish then take guidance from a veterinary nutritionist. The food should be finely crumbed, smashed, sliced or chopped so that the fish can easily complete the meal.

Remember, overfeeding can be the reason for indigestion, swelling of the stomach and bloating. If you give more foods to the tank then the leftover foods may decay in the tank. Moreover, it can be the reason for water pollution, and the main reason for several other diseases that are caused by the same problem.

Feed small pinches of food at a time to Goldfish which will properly help the pet fish finish the food without leaving any residue in the tank. So, don’t make the quality of the water dirty and clean the tank before any infection can harm your little friend.

Feeding Tips for Goldfish

The following tips to feed your pet Goldfish can really help you know the actual way to set a diet and keep the fish healthy:

  • Never give foods in a dirty tank because it is necessary to avoid infections and life-threatening diseases that may affect your pet Goldfish’s health.
  • Learn from an expert aquarist about what do Goldfish eat and then collect food for it.
  • Clean the fish tank twice a week because Goldfish poops much more compared to other fish.
  • Don’t think that a fish is going to get stronger because of eating more food because only a limited quantity and a proper diet with proper nutrients food value can make them healthy.

FAQs about Goldfish Diet

There are some questions that fish-keepers may have in their mind regarding the diet of Goldfish, so let’s discuss such questions with the answers:

1. Are the Teeth of Goldfish Different from Other Breeds?

Yes, Goldfish have teeth but those are placed back to the throats as mentioned in the article. These throat teeth help them digest easily and those teeth are known as pharyngeal teeth. Moreover, these teeth help the fish break, grind and smash the food.

2. How Long Goldfish Survive without Food?

During the dry season or during the time of food scarcity, Goldfish in river and pond do not get an ample amount of food or sometimes they strive hard without food. So, the Goldfish has the capacity to live 1-2 weeks without food.

There was news that said a Goldfish survived without food for four months after a terrible earthquake in New Zealand. But if you don’t want to harm your pet Goldfish then never keep it alone in a tank without food which can be the reason for its health downfall.

3. How to Feed Small Goldfish?

It is quite risky to feed newborn pet Goldfish. So, try to keep small fries in a separate small tank and smash and finely chop the foods. With the help of your finger, feed the baby Goldfish and give a very little amount of food in the small fish tank to avoid over-crowdedness. You need to train the small fish for eating foods from you.

4. What is the Right Time to Feed a Goldfish?

Goldfish is a diurnal fish, so try to feed it during the day time because they are less active at night and they prefer eating at day.

Interesting Facts about Goldfish

  • Not only golden color, but Goldfish are also found in other different shades like red, black, yellow, brown and orange. Meaty and vegetative diets are the reason for their vibrant shades.
  • Goldfish are considered good luck charm for the newly-wed couple as per Feng Shui.
  • Goldfish have a low capacity to memorize, and it cannot remember anything for a long time.
  • Goldfish don’t have a stomach; they just have intestine.
  • This fish can easily read the face of a human being because of its intelligence.
  • They are human-friendly fish.

More Knowledge about Different Fish and their Requirements

You can also get information about pet fish and their necessities by going ahead with these topics: