Goldfish Feeding Tips from

Feb. 2010
Best Goldfish Food:



Goldfish are omnivores and will eat almost anything; they are greedy little buggers that, if you approach them, will begin begging for food. This fact, coupled with their cute, chubby look, makes it very hard to stay your hand and feed them only what is good for them. But, what is a good amount of food for a goldfish?

Eating as much as they want and can is alright in the wild, but for a contained environment that the tank gives, it can be deadly. The more a goldfish eats, the more it excretes, which can cause spikes in deadly ammonia. This does not mean starving your fish, and the younger the fish, the more it needs for adequate growth.

The best rule of thumb is to feed your fish only what they can eat in 5 minutes. If you overfeed and after those five minutes, there's a lot of food still sitting on the ground, try to shake it up with your net and siphon it out of the tank or direct it towards the filter.

So what happens if you overfeed? A common sign of overfeeding is if the goldfish excrement looks undigested. Goldfish's digestion tract (in the simplest terms) is like a long "tube." New food pushes old food out, but when there's a lot of new food, old food doesn't have time to digest. Also, overfeeding can cause swimbladder problems.

This is the best golgfish guide: Here

Goldfish Nutrition

Goldfish nutrition needs vary with age: the younger the fish is, the more it needs vitamins and protein. But, when the fish gets older, too much protein could cause serious problems. Rough ranges for protein are:

  • 60% to 80% protein for fast growing, baby fish (under one inch)
  • 40% to 60% protein for young fish and females developing eggs.
  • 30% to 40% protein for older fish who are basically on maintenance diets.

These figures are for dried food. According to RWT's Goldfish Information:

    Dried spinach is about 25% protein... dried spirulina algae is 60%! So even a standard mixture of one part green peas, one part spinach, and one part fish is, on a dry basis, over 50% protein...The quality of a protein source for a given animal is determined by comparing both the quantity and availability of essential amino acids in the proteins in the food source to the actual requirements of the animal. The closer the match, the higher quality the protein.

Quality of protein and amino acids are also important. Some goldfish keepers add amino acid supplements to their homemade foods.

Goldfish food should have little ash, as well, and vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, particularly, helps boost the immune system and maintains the coloring of the goldfish.

What to feed to my fish?

Some fish enthusiasts like to make their own food. If you're good in the kitchen, have an hour or two every other week, and like to be innovative, than this maybe something for you. For more information on goldfish recipes, go here.

However, I don't suggest feeding your fish only homemade food, although many enthusiasts suggest this. Instead, I suggest buying two different types of goldfish food from your local pet store. Here's a few suggestions of things to look for in fish food.

  • Make sure that the food is for goldfish. Do not buy generic tropical fish food, betta food, cichlid food, etc. for a goldfish as these have different minerals, vitamins, and protein than what a goldfish needs.
  • Check the label of any fish food before you buy it. Try and make sure that the max ash in the food is less than 10% and crude protein is no more than 45% to 50%.
  • Look over the ingredients in the fish food. Try to make it so that one of the fish food's main ingredient (the first one that's listed) is fish meal, and the second fish food you buy's main ingredient isn't fish meal. (More info about fish meal)
  • When looking over the ingredients, make sure there's a long list of vitamins as well.
  • Check the label and make sure they promise it won't cloud the water, if fed correctly.

Pellet food vs flake food

The two major types of dried food for goldfish is pellets or flakes. Some people swear by pellet food and some people swear by flakes; the best thing is to buy a small amount of both and see which your fish like best. Or, when buying different types of food, buy a pellet food and a flake food.

A lot of experts say that goldfish will have digestion problems if you put dry pellets or flakes into the water. There are claims that goldfish swallow air bubbles which, in turn, cause swimbladder problems. However, I have never witnessed this in goldfish: when they eat the pellets or flake food from the surface, they pass the air through their gills. However, if you are having swimbladder problems from whatever reason, you should try soaking the pellets or flakes in a little bit of tank water for a few moments. (More info on swimbladder problems)

Fish meal

So, what exactly is so important about fish meal and the amount you feed your fish? Well, as you know, fish meal is dead, ground up fish; usually economic fish like salmon. However, feeding too much fish meal to your fish could lead to a disease known as hole-in-the-head. If you have hole-in-the-head problems, throw out any food that is opened and feed frozen foods like bloodworms.

Having swimbladder problems?

So, you're fish is having swimbladder problems? This is usually easily fixed by a few simple steps:

  1. Slowly raise the temperature of your tank, over the course of a day, to 75-80F by using a heater. This will allow your goldfish to excrete more, and hopefully pass out whatever is causing them problems.
  2. Starve them for three days. Don't worry about your goldfish going without food, goldfish are hardy creatures and can go without food for up to 2 weeks.
  3. After this, feed them peas. If they are fresh peas, cook them lightly in the microwave; if they are frozen, thaw them out in the microwave. Pinch the skins off, dropping the insides into the tank. Or, make an easy pea recipe to feed them, found here. Feed these peas for a few days.
  4. If the problem keeps recurring, try soaking your goldfish's food in a cup of tank water for a minute. If the problems still occur, try buying another type of goldfish food or make your own.

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