How Often Should You Feed Your Goldfish?

Did you know that overfeeding could make your goldfish ill? Even worse, it could kill your fishy pal. Just because goldfish love to eat doesn’t mean you should feed them whenever you feel like.

So, how often should you feed your goldfish? In general, feeding your goldfish two or three times a day would suffice. However, depending on their breed, some goldfish may need more frequent feeding than the others. Importantly, you should follow a fairly strict schedule to feed your fish. Also, remember that overfeeding is often more harmful than underfeeding.

By now you must have several questions swirling around in your head. For instance, how much should you feed your goldfish? Also, what should you feed? And what if your goldfish don’t want to eat? Thankfully, this article provides a comprehensive answer to all your related questions. So, maybe grab a cup of coffee and start reading!

What do goldfish eat in the wild?

Typically, goldfish forage for a combination of plant and animal foods in the wild. As an omnivore, goldfish usually need a varied diet consisting of both plant and animal matter. For instance, the wild goldfish diet usually contains some animal matter, such as tadpoles, snails, spawn, and larva. For the plant side of their diet, goldfish often consume algae and a variety of aquatic plants. Interestingly, some pond owners introduce goldfish to their ponds in order to get rid of mosquito larva from the pond water.

What should you feed goldfish in captivity?

Ideally, you should feed close to what they eat in wild. But don’t get this wrong! You don’t need to arrange the exact same meal. Overall, your goldfish needs a balanced diet with enough variety in flavors and nutrients. For instance, you’ll find a wide variety of flakes and pallets specially made for goldfish. In addition, consider giving them boiled vegetables, blood worms, brine shrimp, cooked rice, peas and leafy greens. However, don’t give them vegetables with a hard skin. For instance, you can give them peeled peas.

Is it ok to feed my goldfish any dried fish food?

Unfortunately, any generic, dried fish food is not recommended for your goldfish. In fact, you should give your goldfish foods that are specially made for them. Ideally, foods for goldfish should contain more carbohydrates and less protein. In comparison, most other fish need foods rich in protein. So, avoid regular fish foods and use goldfish-specific food pellets or flakes instead.

What should you consider when buying dry foods for your goldfish?

Typically, dry goldfish foods are available as either pellets or flakes. In general, flakes will float at the top of your goldfish tank water. Pellets, on the other hand, come in two varieties – floating and sinking. Floating pellets are easy to spot. So your goldfish can find and eat them more easily. Also, it is easier to clean any uneaten flakes or floating pellets. If, however, you choose to feed sinking pellets, you could have a hard time cleaning the uneaten particles. Another thing to consider is the size of your flakes and pellets. Ideally, go for the smaller ones that are easy for your goldfish to bite and swallow. Also, consider that exposure to air diminishes the nutritional value of flakes. Pellets, on the other hand, are good at retaining their nutritional value even when exposed to air.  

How many pellets should you feed your goldfish?

Typically, you should feed your goldfish two or three pellets at once. Otherwise, you can give them as many as they can eat in two minutes. However, a larger goldfish often needs more pellets than a smaller one. So, how many times should your feed pellets? While there is no set rule, the de facto norm is to feed pellets twice daily for two to three times in a week.

How much food is too much for a goldfish?

Interestingly, goldfish do not have a stomach. So, the foods they eat go straight to their intestines for digestion. As a result, a goldfish never feels full, no matter how much they eat. It is easy to see why goldfish tend to overeat. So, as a pet parent, you need to know exactly how much food you should feed your goldfish. In fact, one thumb rule says that you should give as much food as your fish can eat in two minutes.

However, if you feed sinking pellets, your goldfish may take more time finding the pellets at the bottom of your aquarium. In that case, the two minute rule might not work. If, however, you feed your fish floating flakes or pellets, you can easily follow the two-minute rule.  Also, there is another thumb rule, which says the size of the food should roughly equal the size the fish’s eye.

What happens when you overfeed your goldfish?

Simply put, overfeeding could jeopardize the digestive system of your goldfish. Since goldfish don’t have a stomach, any excessive food could block their intestines or press upon their swim bladder. So, the swim bladder is a gas-filled organ that helps the fish stay afloat. Often, overfeeding causes stress on the swim bladder, making it difficult for your fish to stay buoyant. If you notice your fish leaning to one side while swimming, it could be a sign of swim bladder infection. On the other hand, underfeeding could make your fish weak and less agile. In either case, consider seeking medical help for your goldfish.

How to spot overfeeding

If your goldfish takes more than two minutes to finish its food, perhaps it has too much on its plate. Often, if you overfeed your goldfish, you could see a long string of poop behind the fish as it swims across the tank. In addition, an overfed fish would often swim sideways due to swim bladder problems.

How to avoid overfeeding your goldfish

First of all, make sure that only one person is responsible for feeding your goldfish. That way, any confusion over when the fish had a meal last time could be avoided. In addition, avoid pouring the flakes or pellets directly from your food container. Often, pouring directly leads to over-pouring and eventually overfeeding. Instead, first pour the right amount of food in a separate container to avoid spilling extra food in the tank water accidentally. Also, make sure that you give them the food at a set time every day. Ideally, you should feed your goldfish small amounts of food 2 or 3 times a day.

How long can goldfish survive without food?

Typically, goldfish can live without food for around two weeks. In fact, two goldfish survived 134 days without food when they got isolated in an earthquake-hit building in Christchurch, New Zealand back in 2011. So, if you are planning a short vacation but worried about your fishy pet, just relax. However, living without food for two weeks could make your fish malnourished and of course very hungry. So, try not to keep your fish alone for over three or four days. Alternatively, consider investing in an automatic feeding machine capable of releasing a set amount of food at regular intervals.

How to know if your goldfish is hungry

Usually, a hungry goldfish swims around the tank foraging for food. So, it is easy to spot a hungry goldfish from the arbitrary nature of its movements. For instance, you may notice your goldfish to visit certain corners of the tank where it rarely goes. Also, if you notice your goldfish readily appearing on the surface of the substrate, know that it needs food. Often, you could also notice some sudden behavioral changes in a hungry goldfish, for instance aggression or slow movements. In addition, you may also notice changes in its size or weight.

Is it enough to feed your goldfish once a day?

Feeding your goldfish once a day is okay. However, it is better if you can feed it two or three times a day. Ideally, you should give your goldfish small amounts of food multiple times a day. Also, consider keeping enough variety on the menu. For instance, consider feeding your goldfish fruits and veggies every two days. Goldfish love to eat grapes, bananas, watermelon, and oranges. Plus, give the vegetables, such as beet tops, lettuce, and cooked zucchini.

In addition, provide occasional treats in the form of green peas. In fact, peas are rich in fiber and hence great for your fishy pet. However, make sure you boil the peas and remove their skin before serving them to your fish. Also, cut the peas into two or more pieces. However, you should not feed more than two or three peas to an adult goldfish. On the other hand, younger goldfish should not eat more than one.

Why is my goldfish not eating?

Often, overfeeding could be the reason for your goldfish not eating. However, there are many other reasons why your fish could stop eating. For instance, your goldfish may fail to notice the food as and when it was dropped. In fact, this often happens when the size of your aquarium is very large. Also, if the food lacks variety, your goldfish may not feel like eating a lot of food.