Feeding Time – What to feed the goldfish?

What to feed the goldfish? Well, I have had my goldfish swallowed an Otocinclus catfish, which I had to pry out when it got stuck in its mouth. I have had my goldfish tore out every plants in the tank, leaving me with only stubs. I have had my goldfish nibbled on an algae covered rock, and left behind a cute bald patch.

They do sound like some hungry “monsters” that will eat anything that crosses their paths, don’t they? 🙂

So yes, goldfish are always looking for things to eat. They will eat anything from plants and animal origin that can fit into their mouths, which makes them Omnivores.

Goldfish Feeding

Goldfish have different nutritional needs from other tropical fishes, therefore it is better to get fish food that are specifically tailored for them. It will also be beneficial to provide them a variety of food so that they can get the nutrients that they need such as protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet helps them to grow and stay healthy.

What to feed?

So if you are still wondering on what to feed the goldfish, there are 2 types of goldfish food that are readily available:

  1. Prepared Food
  2. Live/Fresh Food

1. Prepared Food

These are food that are already formulated, manufactured and made commercially available in your local fish stores or from online stores. They come in many varieties and forms.

Dry Food

Dry food are commonly used as the staple food for goldfish. They come in the form of flakes, pellets, sticks, granules, tablets and wafers.

Fish food
Pellets

They are formulated differently to target different growth of the goldfish. For example, there are products that target the wen (or headgrowth) of breeds such as Oranda, Ranchu or Lionhead. Then there are products that enhances the weight and color.

Dry food also come in floating or sinking variety. I personally prefer the sinking ones as I am afraid my goldfish will get buoyancy issues if they keep sucking in air when feeding at the water surface.

Frozen/Freeze Dried Food

Perishable live food are preserved through freezing or freeze-drying them, and then packaging them into blister packs or resealable packets. Frozen food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia and krill have their high nutritional value retained as the live ones, but without the risk of introducing diseases that come with live food.

Frozen Bloodworms in Blister Packs
Frozen Bloodworms in Blister Packs

The freeze-dried options have less nutritional value as nutrients get lost during the freeze-drying process but nevertheless, they are a good addition to the varied diet for your goldfish.

As frozen and freeze-dried food tend to be high in protein, they should be used as supplements and given occasionally instead of as a staple food. Too much of these will cause your goldfish to have constipation.

2. Live/Fresh Food

Many goldfish keepers prefer to feed their goldfish with live and fresh food. The nutritional values are definitely high, but some would argue that the same can be found in prepared food as well.

Live Food

Goldfish will eat any live food such as brine shrimps, bloodworms, meal worms, tubiflex worms, daphnia and mosquito larvae.

Mosquito Larvae
Mosquito Larvae

Depending on where these live food are sourced from, they may carry diseases in them which will be passed on to your goldfish and into the fish tank. The safest way is perhaps to cultivate them yourself.

Due to these reasons, I prefer to go for frozen food instead as they provide the same nutritional value with less risk of introducing something nasty to my goldfish tank.

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

Goldfish can consume fresh fruits and vegetables such as peas, lettuce, zucchini, carrots, cucumber, grape, broccoli, corn, raspberry and orange.

Peas as supplement for your goldfish
Peas as supplement for your goldfish

When preparing them, make sure they are washed thoroughly to remove any chemicals such as insecticide. Remove the skin (if applicable) and if they are hard, boil them until they are soft. Cut them up to smaller pieces and feed in small quantities.

Fresh fruits and vegetables should only be treated as occasional supplement and not as staple food for your goldfish.

How often and how much to give?

You know what? These questions are rather tricky. Although there are some guidelines and instructions available out there, I think we as the goldfish keeper will need to learn to gauge and tune the amount to feed accordingly. For the time being, yeah… I would say follow the advice on your goldfish food packaging.

So here’s what a few (yes, for varied diet, remember?) of my goldfish food packaging says:
“Feed 2 to 4 times daily, but do not exceed the amount your fish will consume within a few minutes.”

I would say give it around 3 minutes. The reason we are concerned about this is because we do not want to overfeed our goldfish. Overfeeding will leave uneaten food scattered in the tank, which later decompose and release more toxic ammonia into the water. This will also cloud the water. So if you see uneaten food in your tank, please remove them!

Feeding routine for my goldfish

I feed my goldfish 2 times a day. Once in the morning and once at night. I let them fast on Fridays.

I have 5 goldfish which are around 3-4 inches long from head to tail in one of my tanks. The picture below is the portion of the micro pellets which I give them in each feeding. They would eat these up heartily within 3 minutes.

Micro pellets
Amount of micro pellets that I feed my 5 goldfish

Besides the dry goldfish food, I give them frozen bloodworms once a week as supplement. The amount that I give to the same 5 goldfish is one and a half cubes from the blister packs.

I will usually thaw these frozen bloodworms in a cup (filled with a little bit of water). Then I use tweezers to grab the bloodworms and give them to the goldfish.

Goldfish Feeding
My goldfish from another tank eating bloodworms

I have given them frozen brine shrimp in the past too, but apparently adult brine shrimps are less nutritious than bloodworms.

Besides that, I feed my goldfish peas occasionally. I usually allocate 2 peas per goldfish. I will soak them in hot water until they get soft. Then I remove their outer skin before cutting them up to small pieces. Then I drop them into the goldfish tank. My goldfish love them… but come to think of it, there isn’t any food that they don’t like. They are eating “monsters” after all. 🙂

Back to the question “What to feed the goldfish?”

There are just so many different types of food that you can give the goldfish. They will eat anything from commercially prepared food that are available in the stores, to fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator. Of course there are also the live food such as those squirmy disgusting worms.

Lastly, I always keep these 3 things in mind when feeding my goldfish:

  1. Give them different types of food. The varied diet will help them to get the nutrition that they need.
  2. Don’t overfeed. As a goldfish keeper, we will need to learn to gauge on how much to feed them. Remember to remove uneaten food from the tank!
  3. Set a feeding routine. Just like you and I, it’s always good to know when our next meal will come. 🙂

What about you? What kind of food do you feed your fish? What is the feeding routine like? I’d really love to hear from you, so please leave your comments below.

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8 Replies to “Feeding Time – What to feed the goldfish?

  1. Thanks for the details, is amazing how many options are out there. I think we get so used to the dry food we can buy in petshops that we forget we have other solutions. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for the visit. Yeah it is best to vary the diet so that they can get all the nutrition that they need.

  2. Hello and thanks for this post – I had earlier experience of having golden fish 🐟 but unfortunately they were dead because of some poor maintaining. I really misssed some point mentioned in your article like not to feed them more and to give variety of foods for their nutrition. Right now I have a fish tank and gonna follow the rules mentioned in your article for a long life for the golden fish. I would also like to know whether this routine can be followed for other fishes as well like black molley, etc., ? I’m really happy I found your article at least at this point of time 🙂

    1. Hi Manasir,
      Thanks for the comments. Different fish do have different nutritional needs. I think it’s best to pick those dry food that are tailored for the particular type of fish. Anyhow whatever fish they are, giving them a variety of food will definitely be a good move. As for feeding routine, yes… this should apply to all types of fish.

  3. I love this site! I don’t have a goldfish but wouldn’t mind to have one. I like your site tittle “my goldfish is alive.” To be honest, I’m not good at taking care of my fish so this site would help me a lot if I decide to get a goldfish. I wish I could have read this earlier. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Kien,
      Thanks for your comments. Keeping fish can be really fun too. To me, they help me to relax from a hectic day at work.

  4. I gotta say, this was a really kind-hearted article you wrote here. So many people give so much love (myself included) to dogs and some to cats, but here you are loving on your goldfish and treating them like kings!

    Keep it up, brother. I never would’ve thought to feed goldfish peas! lol. Nicely written post!

    1. Hi Eric,
      I guess keeping any pets would be the same. We need to understand the responsibility and make sure they are well taken care of. 🙂 Thanks for the visit!

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