What To Feed Goldfish

Ever since the first company developed a flake food, that’s what we’ve been feeding our goldfish. But, should we be feeding flake to our goldfish? And if flake isn’t the best food for our goldfish, then what is!? Some will tell you X or Y type of food is the only way. Well, keep reading to find out the (less dogmatic) truth!

Floating / Sinking: What’s The Big Deal?

There’s a debate around whether it’s healthy or not for goldfish to habitually eat from the surface.

This is because goldfish, especially fancy strains, are prone to swim bladder disorder. Swim bladder disorder causes buoyancy issues in fish; a fish with a malfunctioning swim bladder will either float or sink uncontrollably. Some believe that gulping at the surface can cause goldfish to swallow air and thereby result in swim bladder disorders.

fancy goldfish
Fancy goldfish like these, bred by @lukesgoldies, require extra attention to their diets. This is because they are more inclined towards swim bladder issues.

It’s entirely possible air gulping could play a part in swim bladder health. However, the major cause of such issues in my experience is constipation (through diet, of course) and physiology. Specifically, fancy goldfish are often quite deformed and as such their swim bladder lacks the abdominal space to function correctly.

Therefore, I find that the importance of feeding goldfish sinking food over floating food has been overstated. Although, if I have sinking food I’ll feed it over floating food because, eh, why not?

Ingredients Matter!

More important than whether a food floats or sinks is what nutritional value the food offers. Commercial foods have come a long way in the last 30 years; companies like Hikari, Northfin, and Repashy have developed the kind of food that we want to feed our goldfish.

Hikari Lionhead
goldfish food hikari lionhead

Hikari’s “Lionhead” food is good, not only because of the nutrition, but also because it’s a sinking food. So, for fancy goldfish especially, it’s easier for them to eat from the bottom of the aquarium.

Northfin Goldfish
northfin goldfish formula
northfin goldfish ingredient list

Northfin are a Canadian company putting out high quality ornamental fish foods. And their goldfish food is no different. The top two ingredients are kelp (organic, no less) and krill! I really don’t need to say more. It’s an excellent goldfish food.

Repashy Super Gold
dandy orandas repashy super gold goldfish food

I like Rapashy’s “Super Gold” because it’s a gel food. Some favor gel foods because they aren’t dry—dry pellets or flake are thought to contribute to constipation.

Veggies, Veggies, Veggies!

Remember, commercially produced food isn’t the be all and end all! You can have so much fun feeding your goldfish a lot of the same vegetables we eat.

Fortunately for us and our fish, the vegetables we eat have been selectively bred by farmers for thousands of years. In the same way selective breeding has created goldfish varieties, it has also been used to create large, tasty, and nutritious vegetables! This means that veggies are extra nutritious and taste incredible, and guess what, our goldfish feel the same way.

I like to feed my goldfish broccoli, zucchini (courgette), and green beans. Of course, goldfish can eat other vegetables, but I favor these because I find them easy and nutritious. For example, with broccoli I stock up on large frozen bags and then throw a few pieces in a bowl of water to thaw out in the microwave. Whereas with green beans, you can feed them straight from the can.

Protein!? Frozen Bloodworm

Remember, a little extra protein can help growth rates. So, I recommend heading into your fish store and checking out their freezer—your goldfish will happily eat most of the frozen food you find in there. Although, I prefer to go for frozen bloodworm because they’re nice and small bites. In contrast, some of the other frozen foods are quite chunky and meaty—not good for fish prone to constipation-fueled swim bladder disorder!

Further Reading