What Do Goldfish Eat – 31 Foods For Your Pet

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If you have a goldfish at home, you are probably quite familiar with the fish food they typically consume as part of their regular diet. But did you know that they can also eat much of what you typically buy in the supermarket?

Goldfish can eat a whole host of different vegetables, fruits, and cereals. These don’t just substitute for fish food, but are actually an important part of a healthy diet for these omnivores. So, what does a balanced goldfish diet consist of? Here are 31 of our top recommendations!

31 Types of Food For Pet Goldfish

From vegetables to beans and live protein sources, goldfish can and will eat just about anything. To help you narrow down your list of options, we’ve summarized our top nutritional picks below!

Vegetables

Goldfish consume lots of plant life as part of their natural diet, so green vegetables are an important part of their diet. Try these veggie-based options on for size:

1. Peas

Fresh Green Peas

Fresh or frozen, green peas make a great treat for your goldfish! Supplementing their usual food with these tasty treats is both nutritious and delicious. Many hobbyists believe that it helps the digestive tract of the goldfish by adding fiber to their diet.

To feed your pet, simply open the pod and let them nibble away! Be sure to thaw out the peas if they are frozen as this will help them absorb the nutrients better. To prevent overfeeding, we recommend no more than 2 peas per adult goldfish, twice a week. Learn more about feeding peas to your goldfish in this article.

2. Lettuce

Lettuce

Bits of lettuce also make great additions to a varied diet for your goldfish. You can choose from iceberg, romaine, or even butterhead depending on their preferences! Lettuce is a great source of vitamins and can be gone in seconds.

To feed, you can either tear up the leaves or clip lettuce stalks. If you do the former, be sure to rinse the leaves to get rid of any dirt or pesticides. Then, serve your fishy friends a generous helping! Be careful not to overfeed, though, so no more than 2 lettuce leaves per adult goldfish.

3. Spinach

Fresh Spinach Leaves

As far as leafy vegetables go, spinach is a great choice. Not only does it provide calcium and iron, but it also helps keep your pet’s digestive tract healthy and strong. Goldfish need these nutritional and health benefits for optimum growth!

To feed your goldfish this green treat, you can simply tear the leaves into little bits (avoiding any thick stems) and serve alongside their normal diet of flakes or pellets. These should be served no more than twice a week so as not to overload their nutritional intake. 

4. Kale

Close up of Kale Cabbage on Table

Kale contains many of the same benefits as other leafy greens, but it adds nutrients such as calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamins A and C to your goldfish’s diet. To feed, you can add shredded kale to other foods such as their normal fish food, thaw out frozen kale and add it to the tank, or even throw some large pieces in for them to snack on.

While there hasn’t been enough research to determine if the benefits of kale are worth the extra cost over other comparable leafy green vegetables, there is no doubt that they facilitate proper growth and help keep your pet’s digestive system humming along.

5. Chard

Chard

Chard can be used interchangeably with spinach and kale when it comes to the nutritional benefits. However, there is one clear standout benefit that sets this choice of vegetable from its leafy counterparts: It is rich in antioxidants! These healthy phytochemicals will help your friend stay disease-free and happy for years to come.

To feed, you can either chop it up into tiny pieces or tear it along the leaf’s fibers. Either way, it adds some healthy variety to their diet while also providing the digestive tract with the necessary fiber.

6. Cucumber Slices

Cucumber and Sliced Cucumber - Isolated

Slices of cucumbers are great, low salt treats for adult fish (and babies too!). To feed this healthy treat, simply drop them in the tank or cut them up into small pieces and serve them to your pet.

One thing to note is not to feed too much: These foods are mostly water and can cause your fishy friend to bloat when consumed in excess. Ideally, you should avoid feeding your fish too many cucumber slices twice a week at most.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes make excellent natural treats for goldfish owners who want to give their fish a nutrient boost while also providing a delicious snack. Not only do these starchy veggies contain essential vitamins and minerals, but they are also packed with fiber which is great for your fish’s digestion!

You have two options when feeding your pet sweet potatoes: You can either cut them up into bite-sized pieces for them to nibble on or you can simply let your pet enjoy the whole potato! Just be sure to wash it thoroughly before cutting or feeding to make sure there are no pesticides or other chemicals used in its growth. 

8. Potatoes

Potatoes on Sackcloth

Potatoes are one of the best snacks you can give your pet fish. This nutritious treat is packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber while also being relatively easy to cut up into bite-sized pieces for goldfish to enjoy — either whole or cut into chunks.

Give your fish a bit of time to eat, as these starchy veggies may take a while to break down in the digestive tract.

9. Zucchini

A Zucchini Plant in a Garden

Zucchini is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense treat for your fish to enjoy. It provides the digestive tract with essential fiber while also being packed with vitamins A and C!

To feed, you can either add small slices of zucchini into the tank or cut them up into small pieces. Remember to remove any uneaten food from the tank to prevent algae growth and to keep your tank looking tidy.

10. Carrots

Healthy Food - Carrots and Carrots Juice.Top View

Carrots are another occasional treat for your goldfish that adds a healthy dose of fiber and nutrients to their diet. The fiber content of this delicious snack will help support the fish’s digestion and keep it healthy (and your tap water clean!).

However, you should limit how many carrots you feed your fish. Too many carrots can cause digestive issues and bloat! Ideally, treat your pet to a smaller bite-sized piece once or twice a week. You can also opt to drop a thin slice into their tank for them to nibble on.

11. Cauliflower

Cauliflower in a Bowl

We love feeding cauliflower to goldfish as it is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber!

To feed, you can either toss in a few florets into their tank for them to munch on or cut it up and serve as a snack. Be sure to remove uneaten portions after twenty minutes so that your tank stays free of waste and debris.

12. Broccoli

Fresh Broccoli Outdoors

Broccoli is another food you can feed to your goldfish. It contains essential vitamins and nutrients while also being high in fiber which helps with digestion.  

To prepare, cut the stalk of the broccoli into small pieces for your fish to munch on, or simply toss some florets into their tank! Do this about once a twice a week at most. Yummy and healthy as they may be, too much broccoli can cause digestion issues.

13. Cabbage 

Big Fresh Cabbage

When it comes to nutrition, cabbage is a goldfish’s dream snack. Not only does it contain vitamins and minerals, but the fiber content helps with digestion by supporting your pet’s gut health!

You can either cut up some cabbage into smaller pieces for your goldfish to nibble on or you can serve whole wedges to your pets. Try not to give these plants time to wilt, as this can cause them to lose some of their nutritional value. 

14. Lima Beans

Lima Beans Background

Like many other beans, lima beans are packed with plant protein and fiber as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

You can either feed your fish a few beans or split one bean in half and serve both pieces to them! Remember, no matter how hungry they seem, try not to overfeed as this can make your pet sick. And be sure to remove any leftover food from their tank after about twenty minutes so that you don’t end up with a tank full of waste. 

Fruits

Like vegetables, fruits are also healthy for your goldfish. They contain essential vitamins that can help support their immune system and keep them strong. Here are some of our top recommendations!

15. Pumpkin

Homemade Pumpkin Soup in Wooden Bowl

Believe it or not, pumpkins are a healthy food source for goldfish! They are high not only in fiber but also in vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and manganese. All of these elements work together to support your pet’s digestion while providing them with essential nutrients!

To feed the pumpkin to your goldfish, remove the seeds and pulp before giving it to them as a treat. You can also split the pumpkin in half and cut it into small pieces for easy feeding.

16. Grapes

Different Varieties of Grapes

Grapes are yummy fruits that goldfish can enjoy. They contain essential nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin C, niacin, manganese, and potassium while also being high in fiber which supports their digestion.  

To prepare grapes for your pets, cut them in half so that they have something to nibble on or give them a small portion of raisins to munch on! Remember, you should only feed grapes about once a week to prevent digestive issues.

17. Orange

Oranges Up Close

Rich in Vitamin C, oranges are great snacks for goldfish. They not only support their immune system, but they also contain important nutrients and fiber that promote healthy digestion!

To feed, cut an orange into halves or quarters before giving it to your fish as a treat. You can also choose to give them some segments of the fruit instead of just one section. Remember to remove the peel and seeds!

18. Watermelon

Close Up of Watermelons

With high water content, watermelon is sure to be a hit with your goldfish. It contains vital nutrients like Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), and C while also being high in fiber to support healthy digestion.

Fish in tanks should only get watermelon about once every few days as overfeeding this fruit can cause digestive issues. Its high water content means an increased risk of bloating, so be careful!

19. Corn

Corn Kernels Background

Corn is yummy enough for humans to enjoy, so it’s no surprise that your goldfish would love to have a taste! Corn is rich in essential nutrients including fiber and vitamin C while being low in fat.    

To feed corn to your fish, you can either cut the cob into smaller pieces or you can simply give them their own kernels to munch on. This will make for a fun treat that not only pleases their taste buds but also provides them with important nutrients!

20. Apple

Red Apples Background

You may wonder if goldfish are capable of enjoying a crunchy snack like apple slices, but these adorable creatures actually have pharyngeal teeth to help them grind down food!

Thin-skinned apples like Granny Smith or Pink Lady are great treats for your pets. Simply cut the fruit into halves before giving it to them as a treat. Remember to remove the seeds and core before feeding to prevent intestinal blockage.

21. Banana

Bunch of Banana on a Leaf

Messy as this treat may be, bananas are actually great snacks for goldfish that lead an active life. They contain fiber and potassium while being low in fat.

To feed bananas to your fish, cut the fruit into small slices before giving it to them as a treat. Banana peels are also edible, so go ahead and give those to your pets as well!

22. Raspberries

Raspberries

Raspberries are seen as a special treat for fish and humans alike, and for good reason. They contain fiber that promotes healthy digestion, Vitamin C for immune system support, and potassium to maintain overall health.

To feed your fish raspberries, simply cut the berries into smaller slices before giving it to them as a treat. You can also mash these yummy snacks if you don’t want your pets to eat large slices of fruit.

23. Strawberries

Ripe Strawberries Closeup

Strawberries are a nutritious treat for goldfish because they contain high levels of Vitamin C and fiber while being low in fat.

As is the case with raspberries, we recommend either cutting them into bite-sized pieces for your fish, or mashing them up beforehand. Just be sure to clean up your tank after!

24. Pears

Delicious Ripe Pears

Pears are not only delicious by human standards, but they also help your goldfish lead healthy lives. They contain nutrients like vitamin C and potassium while being low in fat.

To feed pear to your fish, simply cut the fruit into halves or quarters before giving it to them as a treat. This will make it easier for their tiny goldfish teeth to bite through it!

25. Mangoes

Different Varieties of Mangoes on a Table

Feeding mangoes to your goldfish once every couple of weeks should be enough to give them a nutritious and tasty treat. They contain essential nutrients as well as vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), and C.

Tasty as these bright yellow fruits may be, they can easily lead to a dirty tank because of their sticky juice. We recommend feeding them on days where you intend to do a water change, and only leaving them in the tank for a brief period of time!  

Other Foods For Goldfish

26. Duckweed

Duckweed aquarium plant.

Duckweed are a type of aquatic flowering plant that is often used in aquaponics. This means that it can also serve as a great treat for your goldfish if you’re keeping one at home.

These types of plants are commonly consumed by goldfish in the wild, so feel free to serve them to your pet 2-3 times per week.

27. Oatmeal

Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl. Organic Healthy Food Pure

Oatmeal, or any type of breakfast cereal for that matter, is a great source of healthy nutrients that your goldfish will love. They contain vitamins like B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and D as well as fiber to promote digestion.

Just be sure not to add too many cereals in your tank at once. These foods will cloud up the water and can mess with your filtration setup, leaving you with tedious chores such as cleaning out filter hoses. We know you don’t want that!

28. Pellets

Aqueon Betta Color Enhancing Pellets Betta Food, .95 oz. in a white background.

This list wouldn’t be complete without a goldfish diet staple – pellets! Generic fish food can seem boring, but they contain everything that your goldfish will need to stay healthy.

Goldfish usually feed 1-2 times per day, so we recommend only feeding them one pellet per feeding (Lasting 5-10 minutes, depending on the food). Always remember to remove any excess food to keep your tank clean! 

29. Flakes

Heap of dry complete multi-ingredient flake food for daily feeding of all ornamental fish

Like pellets, flake food is a specially formulated type of goldfish food that contains everything your pet needs for a long and healthy life.

However, goldfish don’t normally eat flakes directly from the surface – they prefer to pick them out of the debris at the bottom of their tank! For that reason, we recommend feeding flakes as a treat or as an addition to your pet’s basic diet. 

30. Live Foods (Mosquito Wrigglers)

Mosquito larvae in blurry background

Goldfish are omnivores that need lots of protein in their diet, and this is where mosquito wrigglers come in! These tiny live worms are packed with the nutrients that your goldfish need to stay healthy, so feel free to offer them as an occasional treat.

If mosquito wrigglers aren’t your thing, you can also opt for frozen brine shrimp or frozen blood worms. Just be aware that all live foods carry a risk of disease, so be sure to get them from a trustworthy source.

31. Freeze-Dried Foods

Frozen bloodworm for feeding aquarium fish and crabs.

Freeze-dried foods give your goldfish the same boost of protein as their live counterparts, but in a clean and easy-to-eat form! For example, freeze-dried bloodworms typically come in a small cube that your goldfish can digest in just a few bites.

Though freeze-dried foods may contain a slightly lower concentration of protein, they still contain all of the key nutrients that your goldfish needs to live a long and healthy life! 

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you figure out what to feed your goldfish! As long as you stick to the foods on this list, your pet should be healthy and happy for a long time.

Remember that these are just general guidelines – every fish is different, and you should tailor your approach accordingly. After all, you know your pet best!

As always, thanks for reading. Please share this article with anyone you think might find it helpful — and if you have any questions, do leave them in the comments section below!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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