Do Goldfish Eat Plants? (And the Best Plants for a Goldfish Aquarium)

Do Goldfish eat plants? This is the question every beginner asks when they bring their first Goldfish home.

And in this post, I am going to answer the same question. Also, I will tell you the best plants for your Goldfish aquarium.

Goldfish eat plants. They are omnivorous so they eat both vegetarian and nonvegetarian food.

Live plants are good for Goldfish because they remove nitrate and carbon dioxide from the aquarium and helps to maintain a healthy amount of oxygen level.

Live plants are also good snacks for Goldfish.

Do Goldfish Eat Plants and Best Plants for a Goldfish Aquarium image

Do Goldfish like plants?

Goldfish’s natural habitat is consists of plants and gravel. So we should emulate their natural habitat in our artificial aquarium as much as possible for their optimum growth.

Goldfish actually look good in aquariums that have plants and gravel and it is actually healthy for them because the plants will help to maintain a healthy amount of oxygen in the aquarium, they reduce stress and Goldfish like to eat them.

Besides Goldfish can hide behind the plants if they see any danger which is their natural behavior.

Also, Goldfish like to sleep beside plants or decorations, it gives them a sense of security.

Overall Goldfish like plants and they really enjoy it.

Do Goldfish need plants?

It is not necessary for Goldfish to have plants in their aquarium but plants are good for not only Goldfish but any fish because it helps to create a healthy environment in the aquarium by reducing stress, ammonia, and carbon dioxide levels in the aquarium.

Some fish like Goldfish like to snake on plants.

Besides their natural habitat contains plants so keeping plants in the aquarium is a great way to emulate their natural environment and create an ecosystem.

Why Goldfish eat plants?

Goldfish are omnivores, in their natural habitat, they eat aquatic vegetation, frogs, fish eggs, insects, larvae, etc.

Goldfish actually don’t require a lot of vegetarian diets but some fancy Goldfish require a decent amount of vegetarian diet or else they run the risk of developing intestinal problems.

What are the benefits of having a live plant in the Goldfish aquarium?

  • Probably the most important benefit of having live plants in the aquarium is that it increases the oxygen level in the aquarium and reduces carbon dioxide and ammonia levels that your Goldfish produces.
  • The live plants help to create an ecosystem in your aquarium that helps to replenish fish reducing its stress that improves the overall health of your Goldfish.
  • Goldfish is omnivorous so they eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. And plants are a very good vegetarian diet for them.
  • The live plants also make your aquarium attractive. It offers you to personalize your aquarium and make it interesting and unique. To make your aquarium more attractive use different kinds of plants in your tank. Usually, big plants are kept in the background and small plants are kept at the front. 
  • But it is not necessary to do this way. You can always experiment and keeping short plants in the background makes it more interesting because it creates an illusion of depth in the background. 
  • Also, you can add some red plans in your aquarium to make it more interesting. Ludwigia is a good plant to place in your aquarium. You just have to maintain a healthy amount of light in your aquarium to maintain its red color.
  • Live plants also provide shelter and security to the Goldfish. Goldfish like to sleep beside plants.
  • When you put live plants in your aquarium it completes with algae for nutrients that help to reduce the growth of algae.
  • Overall live plants help to improve the water quality of your aquarium. If you are a beginner you should start with hardy and easy to care plants like Anacharis and Java fern (more on that below) and then you can add some delicate plants.

What are the best live plants for the Goldfish aquarium?

Live plants are good for not only Goldfish but any fish because it helps to emulate their natural environment in your artificial aquarium.

This also offers you to give a unique and interesting look to your aquarium.

Live plants also help to oxygenate the tank.

There is a decent variety to choose from when it comes to live plants for your Goldfish aquarium.

Let’s have a look.

Anacharis Plant (Water weeds)


Image by Christina Cahalane under CC BY 2.0

Anacharis plant is a native Canadian and American water. They are commonly called Water weeds.

There is a lot of variety of Water weeds.

But Elodea canadensis is a very commonly used aquatic plant.

There are also some similar Water weeds like Eregia densa and Hydrilla verticillata.

Ok, now the science class is over let’s come to the point.

Anacharis plants are free-floating plants and they really look great in aquarium backgrounds.

These plants grow very quickly that makes it ideal for Goldfish because Goldfish usually like to munch on them so they will not get completely consumed.

In fact, they grow so fast that you have to keep an eye on them or else before you know they will acquire all the space of your aquarium (by the way it’s not going to happen in minutes!) and it will be difficult for your Goldfish to swim.

Anacharis plants are very hardy and they are very easy to care which makes them ideal for beginners.

This plant consumes phosphate, ammonia from the water and produce oxygen that helps to keep the aquarium environment healthy.

Anacharis plant will thrive in 77 to 78-degree Fahrenheit temperature and they can even survive at a lower temperature about 60-degree Fahrenheit.

They require 6.5 to 7.5 PH water and pretty good lighting to thrive.

When Anacharis dies it can mess up your tank really quickly so you should get rid of it as soon as possible when it dies.

While buying this plant you should keep a couple of things in mind

  • While buying you should buy a plant that is vibrant green in color and has a strong stem.
  • White roots coming out from the stem is a very normal thing in this plant and it is actually a good sign that it is a healthy plant.

Anubias (Anubias barteri)

Anubias plant is also known as Anubias barteri and it is from West Africa.

This plant is great for your aquarium if you want to create some contrast because it is a bit darker than the other plants.

Goldfish usually don’t eat Anubias plants so they can survive for a long time in your Goldfish aquarium.

This plant doesn’t require a lot of light to thrive.

You can put it wherever you want in your aquarium, just make sure that it gets a bit of light.

Some people like to keep it float in the tank or you can tie it to decoration.

Just don’t burry its root into the substrate because they can rot very quickly.

Also, this plant doesn’t require any fertilizers.

As you can see Anubias plants don’t require a lot of care which makes it ideal for beginners.

Java fern

java fern

The biological name of Java fern is Microsorum Pteropus. It is named after an island in Java.

It is commonly found in Malaysia, Thailand, and India.

This plant is hardy and very easy to maintain.

Java fern is one of the most popular plants in aquarium hobby because of its variety like a narrow leaf, needle leaf, windelov, trident and lance leaf.

This plant can grow a maximum of 8 inches so it will not take over your tank like Anacharis.

Usually, Goldfish don’t eat them which makes it ideal for a Goldfish aquarium.

It requires low to moderate light in fact a lot of light can make its leaves transparent.

You can keep it in the darker area, usually near large plants that can form a canopy.

In their natural habitat, Java fern is attached to rocks so you can tie it to decoration like driftwood in your tank.

You should not burry their roots into the substrate because they will rot.

This plant is snail resistant and it grows better even with a lot of fish load.

You can use any type of fertilizer in a small amount for this plant.

Java moss

The biological name of Java Moss is Taxiphyllum Barbieri.

It belongs to hypnaceae family and it is native from Southeast Asia.

Java Moss looks very natural and they are commonly used in freshwater aquariums but it accepts all kinds of water.

This plant is more popular among aquarists raising fry (baby fish) and tadpole.

This plant doesn’t require any special attention which makes it beginner-friendly.

You can put it anywhere in the tank.

Goldfish can eat Java Moss but if you keep your Goldfish well-fed then it will not nibble on them.

Java Moss requires low to moderate light and they can survive in all kinds of light qualities.

This plant can grow at its very best at 70 to 75-degree Fahrenheit but it can also handle temperature up to 85 to 90-degree Fahrenheit.

This plant doesn’t have any roots so so you can let it float in the aquarium but it is not very common practice or you can attach it to something like driftwood etc.

Java Moss doesn’t require any fertilizers.


So Goldfish do eat plants. They are omnivorous so they eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods.

If you want to keep some live plants in Goldfish aquarium then there are some plants that Goldfish usually don’t eat like Anacharis and Anubia plant.

Also, some plants grow so fast that Goldfish can’t eat them completely like Anacharis plant. When it comes to live plants there is a decent variety to choose from.

Photo of author
Prathmesh Gawai
He is the main author and editor at And he loves to share helpful information on aquarium and/or fishkeeping hobby. Prathmesh has over five years of aquarium and/or fishkeeping experience. Currently, he has a Betta fish tank. He has written hundreds of articles on various aquarium fish species and on fish tank maintenance over the last five years. Connect with him on YouTube here. Learn more about him here.

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