What Can I Feed My Goldfish? (29 Fish Food Alternatives)

Everybody knows that Goldfish eat fish food. But what to do if you run out of fish food for your Goldfish or if you are just wondering what can I feed my Goldfish other than fish food then you are at the right place.

In this article, I am going to show you some good fish food alternatives for your Goldfish.

You can feed various vegetables like peas, spinach, kale, etc as well as fruits like grapes, orange, watermelon, apple, banana, etc to your Goldfish.

Besides, some people also feed oatmeal and cooked rice to their Goldfish.

What Can I Feed My Goldfish? (29 Fish Food Alternatives) image

What do Goldfish eat in the wild?

Goldfish are omnivorous scavengers. They eat both vegetarian and nonvegetarian food.

In the wild, they eat aquatic plants, algae, etc to fulfill their vegetarian diet

Goldfish also eat aquatic insects, small crustaceans, tadpoles and sometimes they even eat smaller fish.

What human food can a Goldfish eat?

When it comes to fish for Goldfish except for fish food there is a wide variety of options available.

Goldfish can eat a lot of different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables

List of the vegetable goldfish can eat:

  1. Peas
  2. Lettuce
  3. Spinach
  4. Kale
  5. Chard
  6. Cucumber slices
  7. Sweet potatoes
  8. Potatoes
  9. Zucchini
  10. Carrots
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Broccoli
  13. Pumpkin
  14. Cabbage
  15. Lima beans
  16. Carrots

Fruits

List of the fruits Goldfish can eat:

  1. Grapes
  2. Orange
  3. Watermelon
  4. Corn
  5. Apple
  6. Banana
  7. Raspberries
  8. Strawberries
  9. Pears
  10. Mangoes

Boil the fruits and vegetables before feeding

You should always boil the fruits and vegetables before feeding to your Goldfish.

You should also cut them into small pieces so that it can fit into their mouths easily.

Other foods for Goldfish

Other than fruits and vegetables, goldfish can eat several things like duckweed which is a live plant.

You can get this plant at a very cheap rate and it is actually very nutritious for your fish.

Some people also feed oatmeal and cooked rice for their Goldfish.

How to feed peas to your Goldfish (The right way!)

Peas are very good food for your Goldfish because they are very nutritious and they sink into the tank.

Peas are rich in fiber compared to other vegetables.

Fiber is very important for your Goldfish because it helps them to remove waste from their bodies.

If the Goldfish doesn’t get sufficient fiber it will not be able to release waste from its body which can cause swim bladder disorder.

Fancy goldfish are especially sensitive to this issue because of their egg-shaped bodies.

All the organs of their bodies are tightly closed to each other.

So, if the fancy Goldfish is not able to release the even a little amount of waste from its body it can cause swim bladder disorder.

But overfeeding peas to your Goldfish is also very harmful.

If you overfeed peas to your Goldfish it will prevent them from absorbing nutrition from the food which is essential for their proper growth.

So, you should occasionally feed peas to your Goldfish to prevent constipation in them.

But how much you should feed and how often you should feed the peas to your Goldfish?

How much and how often?

Ideally, you should feed 2-3 peas per adult Goldfish and 1-2 peas per younger Goldfish.

Also, you should feed them peas only once a week.

If you follow these rules then your Goldfish will not be constipated.

Before feeding peas

Before feeding peas to your Goldfish you should soften it, remove its skin and also cut it into small pieces so that it will be easier for your fish to consume it.

Ways to soften and the Greenpeace

There are several ways to soften the peas.

Use warm water

This is the simplest way, just take a cup of warm water, throw your green peas into it for about 1 minute, take it out and your green peas are softened.

Use microwave

Take a bowl partly filled with water, add your green peas into it and put it into the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to soften it.

Use boiled water

This is similar to the first method, boil some water in a pot, add your green peas into it and wait for a minute.

After that immediately put some cold water into the boiling water so that it will not get over soften.

Remove the skin of the green peas

Once the green peas are softened remove its skin by pinching them or tearing off their skin.

This will avoid choking in Goldfish.

Cut the peas into small pieces

Now it is not necessary to cut the peas into small pieces for big Goldfish.

But you should cut the peas into small pieces if you have younger Goldfish so that it can fit into their mouth and they can easily consume it.

Peas help to treat constipation

If your fish is constipated then feeding them peas is a great way to help them out.

You should feed only peas to your Goldfish two times a day for 3 days.

If you don’t notice any improvements then you can feed the peas for the next two days.

If you still don’t notice any improvement then chances are your fish is not constipated.

Instead, it has any other bacterial disease or the water quality is not good and that’s what causing the problem.
(source)

Important note

Remember you can feed all the foods mentioned above to your Goldfish but it should not be their main diet.

You should always feed fish food specially made for Goldfish as their main diet.

You can feed the fruits and vegetables one to two times a week.

If you run out of fish food then your Goldfish can wait.

It can live without food for a couple of weeks so there is a lot of time for you to get the fish food.

Can Goldfish eat bread?

No, bread is harmful to Goldfish.

Bread expands when it gets into the stomach that can cause constipation in Goldfish.

The gluten present in the bread is very difficult to digest for the Goldfish.

So, you should never feed bread to your Goldfish

You can feed other fish food mentioned above or if you run out of the fish food then Goldfish can wait until you get the fish food.

Because Goldfish can survive without food for a couple of weeks.

Though it is not recommended and it is not a good idea, in general, to starve your Goldfish for two weeks.

Besides goldfish, bread is harmful to other fish as well.

People usually feed day-old bread to the pond fish without realizing that it is actually harmful to them and it can even kill them.

Bread is so harmful to fish that it is banned in the UK.

Overall, you should never feed grade to your Goldfish and any other fish.

What nutrients do Goldfish require for its fast growth

There are various variables that come into play when it comes to fast and optimum growth of your Goldfish.

But their food consists of a big part when it comes to the fast growth of your Goldfish.

Goldfish diet is generally a high protein and low carb diet.

You should look at the following variables while choosing food for your Goldfish for its optimum growth.

Protein

Unlike other fish, Goldfish require a high protein diet. A small Goldfish require more protein than a big Goldfish. (source)

So, when your Goldfish is small, its diet should contain about 45% protein.

And for the big Goldfish, its diet should contain 30% protein.

Ideally, you should feed plant protein because it is very easy to digest for the Goldfish.

Fats

Goldfish diet should be consists of 5-10% fat.

When it comes to fats for Goldfish, animal fat is good for them than the plant-based lipids.

Vitamins

Goldfish require vitamins for their proper growth as we do.

Most of the vitamins that we require like A, D, K, and Folic acid, Goldfish also require the same.

Goldfish can make most of their vitamins by themselves but there are some vitamins that you need to provide.

Fortunately, the fish food contains all the vitamins that your Goldfish require.

Vitamin deficiency is usually not a problem in Goldfish if you give them a healthy diet.

Besides, you can feed them frozen or live blood worms just to be on the safe side.

Minerals

Like us, Goldfish require minerals in very small quantities.

Goldfish get their minerals from the water.

Usually, mineral deficiency is not a problem in Goldfish.

Low carbohydrate and fiber

Goldfish require a very low amount of carbohydrate and fiber in their diet.

That’s why you should choose fish food that is particularly made for Goldfish.

Carbohydrate is usually mentioned as “bulk” or “Ash” on the packaging of the fish food so before buying fish food for your Goldfish you should make sure that it is not more than 10%.

High carbohydrates can cause diseases in your fish.

If you have plants in your aquarium then sometimes Goldfish like to nibble on them and they can get their fiber from the plants easily.

Feeding the Goldfish

Now we know the nutrition part of the Goldfish diet.

but how you feed your Goldfish is also very important for the proper growth of your Goldfish.

How to feed your Goldfish

I have never seen a lot of people talking about this method but you should pre-soak the fish food before feeding it to your Goldfish.

Just take a cup, add some aquarium water in it, add your Goldfish food into it, let it soak for a while about 2-5 minutes and then you should feed your Goldfish.

This method avoids the risk of the dry bladder in your Goldfish.

How often to feed your Goldfish

You should feed about two to three times per day to your Goldfish.

Sometimes you should give them frozen or live bloodworms.

Also, if you don’t have plants in your aquarium then you should feed them fruits or vegetables to fulfill their fiber needs.

How much to feed your Goldfish

It is very easy to overfeed a Goldfish.

Goldfish always seem hungry and they will always tempt you to feed them more food.

But overfeeding can be fatal.

You should feed your Goldfish the amount of food they can consume within 2 minutes.

Or feeding the food equals the size of the eyes of your Goldfish is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Signs of overfeeding the fish

There are several signs that show you are overfeeding your Goldfish.

Cloudy water

the water becomes cloudy when you overfeed the fish because of the uneaten food.

This is probably the first sign you will notice when you overfeed a fish.

Fungus and mold

The harmful bacteria like fungus and mold will grow very rapidly if there is a lot of organic impurities in the fish tank.

It will only take about two days to grow mold in your aquarium.

This harmful bacteria can be very harmful to your fish especially if it is suffering from rotting fin or open wound.
(source)

Reduced oxygen level

You will also notice low oxygen levels in your aquarium when there is a lot of organic impurities due to then uneaten food.

Increased algae

When there is uneaten food in your fish tank it breaks down and produces nitrate which is favorable for the algae growth.

So, the Algae will take advantage of the nitrate and will grow rapidly.

Change in the water PH

You will also notice a change in the water pH of the aquarium if you have organic impurities produced by uneaten food in your aquarium

A rise in the ammonia level

The uneaten food will break down into the aquarium and it will produce nitrate that will ultimately raise the ammonia level in your aquarium which is very harmful for your fish and it can cause the death of your fish.

What to do if you have overfed your fish

Goldfish look like they are always hungry and so it is very easy to overfeed them.

But overfeeding is very harmful to Goldfish.

Goldfish don’t have a stomach so it can cause digestive problems.

Besides, when you overfeed the fish some uneaten food will remain in the fish tank.

This uneaten food can cause various problems as mentioned above.

So, when you overfeed the fish the first thing you have to do is to remove this uneaten food from the water.

Ways to remove uneaten food from the tank

There are several ways to remove uneaten food from the tank as follows:

Do a partial water change

You should do a partial water change to remove the unnecessary impurities like uneaten food from the water.

Doing partial water change also helps to make the water clear.

Use a fishnet

you can use a fishnet to remove the uneaten food from the water.

Use a siphon

If you have substrate in your aquarium then the uneaten food may get trapped into it.

The easiest way to remove such uneaten food from the water is by using a siphon.

Check out our recommended Vaccum Cleaner or Siphon

Add some tank mates

If you noticed a lot of algae in your aquarium then you should introduce some algae eating fish and bottom feeder in your aquarium to get rid of algae as well as the uneaten food.

FAQ

How long can a Goldfish go without eating?

Goldfish can live for about two weeks without food.

But it is not a good idea to starve your Goldfish for 2 weeks.

If you are going on vacation then you can do a few things to keep your Goldfish well-fed while you are enjoying the vacation.

Get help from your neighbor or friend

You can ask your friend or neighbor to feed your fish. This is the simplest way to feed your Goldfish when you are on a long vacation.

Just make sure to tell them the exact quantity they should feed.

Also, tell them that they should not feed more than two to three times per day.

Use an automatic fish feeder

You can get an automatic fish feeder to feed your fish.

You just have to stock fish food into the automatic fish feeder and it will release the food into the tank automatically.

This is a very simple way to keep your fish well-fed when you are on vacation without bothering anybody.

Check out our Automatic Fish feeder recommendation

Use slow-releasing fish food

Putting some slow releasing fish food into your tank if you are going on a vacation is a very cheap way to keep your Goldfish fed when you are on the vacation.

There are two types of slow-releasing fish food.

  • Weekend feeder blocks- The weekend feeder blocks are basically slow-releasing fish food that you can use if you are going on a short vacation of about 2 to 3 days.
  • Vacation feeder blocks- This fish food is ideal if you are going on a long vacation of about a couple of weeks.

What to feed Goldfish to make them big

The growth of the Goldfish depends on several factors like the size of the tank, the water condition of the tank and the food.

Goldfish food is high protein and low carb food.

So, for the optimum growth of your Goldfish, you should feed it the fish food which is specifically made for Goldfish.

Any generic fish food will not have the nutrients in the quantity that is good for the Goldfish so you should avoid any generic fish food.

Besides, you should also treat your Goldfish with frozen or live bloodworms.

While feeding live bloodworms there is always a risk of transferring any infection into your Goldfish.

Frozen blood worms also contain all the nutrients (maybe in low quantity) but it doesn’t have any risk of transferring any bacteria or infection into your Goldfish.

So I will recommend you to go for frozen bloodworms.

Goldfish are omnivorous scavengers. 

In the wild, they nibble on plants to get their vegetarian food.

So, if you have plants in your aquarium then sometimes they will nibble on them and it is actually good for their health.

If you don’t have any plants in your aquarium then sometimes you should feed them a small quantity of fruits and vegetables.

Also, keeping track of water parameters and maintaining them within the range that is good for Goldfish is also very critical when it comes to the proper growth of Goldfish.

You can check out my guide on maintaining a healthy aquarium.

Overall, clean and healthy aquarium and keeping your Goldfish well-fed with all the nutrients it requires is a key for the optimum growth of your Goldfish.

Do Goldfish stop eating

It is very easy to overfeed a Goldfish.

Goldfish always look hungry and they will always tempt you to feed them.

Goldfish usually don’t stop eating even when they are full.

That’s why you have to be very careful while feeding the Goldfish.

The fact is Goldfish don’t have stomach and if you overfeed the Goldfish it can cause serious problems.

You should feed the amount of food that your voltage can consume within 2 minutes.

Or feeding the Goldfish the amount of food equals to the size of their eyes is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Do Goldfish have teeth?

Yes, Goldfish have teeth and almost all the fish have teeth.

But there is a difference in the location of the teeth and the sharpness of the teeth.

Goldfish’s teeth are very small and they are not sharp.

Also, the teeth of the Goldfish are located near their throat so you will not be able to see them.

Goldfish lose their teeth throughout their life and new teeth continuously form to replace the older.

Here is a video of Goldfish teeth

As you can see, the Goldfish teeth are so small and flat that you don’t have to worry to get bitten by them.

Do Goldfish eat other fish?

Goldfish naturally does not have an aggressive temperament.

But Goldfish do eat small fish.

They even eat their own offsprings.

Goldfish also eat their own eggs.

Do Goldfish eat their poop?

Yes, sometimes Goldfish do it there pop. In this case, we can’t really do anything. It is just how they are.

Just make sure that you have a good filtration in place.

Also, you should clean your aquarium regularly.

How many flakes or pellets should I feed my Goldfish??

It really depends on the size of your Goldfish and how many Goldfish you have in your aquarium.

Feeding the amount of flakes or pellets the Goldfish can consume within 2 to 3 minutes is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Do Goldfish eat plants?

Goldfish are omnivorous scavengers so they do eat plants.

In their natural habitat, Goldfish eat plants and it provides them nutrition for their proper growth.

To fulfill their vegetarian diet you can also put some live plants into your aquarium so that Goldfish will nibble on it sometimes.

Just make sure to put fast-growing plants into the aquarium so that even if the Goldfish eat them it will not get consumed completely.

You can read my detailed article on this topic.

Why do Goldfish not eat?

there could be several reasons if your Goldfish is not eating.

Swim bladder disorder

If you noticed your Goldfish is swimming sideways, floating upside down or leaning on one side while swimming then it is suffering from swim bladder disorder.

The swim bladder is a kind of sack filled with gas that helps the fish to balance and help to maintain it in desired death.

Swim bladder disorder is caused due to overeating.

So the chances are your fish have eaten a lot of food.

So, in this case, you should not feed her for the next 48 hours.

Hopefully, it will solve the issue.

If you still notice your fish is swimming sideways then you should give it a very small amount of boiled green peas.

The green peas are filled with fibers that will help to excrete out any waste from the Goldfish body.

Constipation

If you notice your fish is swimming near the bottom of the tank then chances are it is suffering from constipation. (source)

So, in this case, you should not feed your Goldfish for the next 48 hours.

You can also feed eat boiled green peas in a small amount.

As green peas are filled with fiber, it will help to excrete out the waste from the Goldfish’s body.

Give some variety

Your Goldfish is not eating probably the reason behind it could be your Goldfish is tired of eating only one kind of food over and over again.

So, in this case, you should give it some variety.

If you are feeding your Goldfish only fish food then you can feed boiled fruits and vegetables in small quantities for some variety.

Poor water quality

If you noticed your Goldfish is sitting near the bottom of the aquarium with a red belly then it is suffering from poisoning due to poor water quality.

Temperature

Goldfish is a cold-water fish and it requires cooler water than the tropical fish around 74 degrees celsius.

High water temperature can cause permanent nerve damage in Goldfish.

So, you should check the temperature of your aquarium and if it is more than 74 degrees Celsius then you should take some action to reduce the temperature.

You can check out my guide about reducing the temperature in your aquarium.

Besides, some fancy Goldfish like Fantail Goldfish are also sensitive to very cold water.

Also, if the temperature of the water in your tank changes several times in a day then it can harm your Goldfish.

So, you should try to maintain a constant temperature in the aquarium.

Ammonia

High ammonia level is fatal for not only Goldfish but any fish.

As Goldfish are very messy, the ammonia level in the Goldfish aquarium can rise very quickly.

So, you should check the ammonia level in your aquarium and if it is high then you should take some action to reduce it.

You can check out my guide about reducing the ammonia in the aquarium here.

Overcrowding

overcrowding not only causes high ammonia levels in the aquarium water but it also decreases the oxygen level in the aquarium water.

20-gallon water per Goldfish is a good rule of thumb to follow.

So, if you are putting Goldfish in a small tank then upgrading to a bigger tank can easily solve the problem of high ammonia and low oxygen level.

Don’t worry

If the water quality is good, you don’t see any symptoms of disease in your Goldfish and you have also tried feeding a variety of foods but still, your Goldfish is not eating then you don’t need to worry about it.

Because Goldfish can live without food for up to a couple of weeks.

So hopefully it will start eating again.

Conclusion

As you can see there is a lot of variety of food you can feed to your Goldfish.

But remember that fish food is ideal for the proper growth of the Goldfish and it should be the main diet of your Goldfish.

You can feed other foods mentioned in this article one to two times a week to your Goldfish.

But it should not be their main diet.

You should give your Goldfish proper fish food which is specially made for it.

Because it will contain all the nutrients that a Goldfish need for its proper growth.

If you run out of the fish food and it’s going to take some time to bring the fish food then your Goldfish can wait.

A Goldfish can actually live without food for 1 to 2 weeks.

So there is plenty of time to get the fish food.

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4 thoughts on “What Can I Feed My Goldfish? (29 Fish Food Alternatives)”

  1. Why is it necessary to boil fruits, particularly strawberries if they are cut up into super small pieces? I have goldfish in a freshwater pond.

    Thanks, Linda

    Reply
    • Hey, Linda. Thanks for stopping by.
      It is not absolutely necessary to boil fruits like strawberries. But it is a good idea to boil them to remove any residual chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides reposited on them. Because these chemicals can change the water chemistry of your pond and/or harm your fish.

      Reply
  2. We have about ten gold fish. And they are getting big. About the size of my hand. I was wondering if changing their food would help with the cost of their food. Could i feed them cooked quinoa and spinach? They do all ways seem hungry. They eat the water lettuce like its going out of style. They even ate all the algae off the walls of the pond. We feed them twice a day with fish food. We watch to make sure they r eating all the food and its not just building up in the bottom of the pond. Quinoa is high in protein. Im just not sure about the carbohydrates. And if course we would need to balance out their diet with a green. So either peas or spinach. Please help. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hey, Dustin
      Not sure about quinoa but you can feed a lot of green leafy veggies to your Goldfish.
      To cut the cost of food, I think feeding them fish food once a day is sufficient as your goldies are pretty big now.
      Besides, you can also add some fast growing plants in your pond. And the goldfish will munch on them when they feel hungry.
      Hope this helps.
      Thanks for stopping by…

      Reply

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