Taking care of a tiny goldfish may seem easy. But in reality, it’s not that simple. Goldfish need to have a specific feeding schedule, and vital factors such as age, growth, spawning, and temperature determine how you’ll organize their eating habits.
Also, determining the right amount of food for each feeding session requires some knowledge as well. Choosing the right food and creating a well-balanced diet is a challenge you’ll need to meet if you wish to keep your goldfish happy and healthy.
Thus, you need to know when to feed your goldfish and what to give it to eat. Wondering how often do you feed your goldfish? This guide will help resolve all your dilemmas and show you how to properly feed your goldfish.
How Often Do You Feed Goldfish?
Different types of goldfish require different feeding schedules. Still, the general rule is to feed your goldfish two or three times per day.
It doesn’t matter at which time of the day you are going to feed them. Choose the feeding time that fits into your daily schedule. But as long as you stick to it, your goldfish will remain healthy.
However, several factors can affect the feeding schedule of a goldfish.
- Age – Goldfish in the first year of their life should eat several times per day. Older goldfish can be fed once per day, but make sure that their food is rich in protein.
- Spawning – If you want your fish to spawn, you should increase the number of times you give them food throughout the day. Also, make sure you change the water more often.
- Temperature – When the outdoor temperature is below 10°C (50°F), goldfish will soon enter a state of dormancy. In these periods, you can feed them once a month. However, you must increase their food intake in the months before hibernation.
- Growth – If you want your goldfish to grow bigger, simply feed them more. But make sure you don’t overfeed them. Give them smaller portions of food but increase the number of times you feed them during the day.
How Much Should I Feed My Goldfish?
You can determine the amount of food your goldfish consumes by using the two-minute rule. Pour flakes or drop pellets into the water and see how much they can eat in two minutes. Then, remove the excess food. After a few feeding sessions, you’ll eventually find the right measure.
Your goldfish must never overeat. Fish can’t feel full, and they can get sick if they consume more food than needed. Should goldfish overeat, their digestive tract can get clogged, and they may develop a swim bladder disorder.
Also, your fish tank will get more polluted if there is too much food floating around. The food that your goldfish don’t eat will slowly disintegrate and sink to the bottom of the aquarium.
Then, it will release ammonia, a chemical that can be very dangerous for your goldfish when its level is high.
The size of your fish tank also affects the amount of food your fish needs. Goldfish are more active in bigger tanks and need more energy.
Naturally, they need to consume more food. Goldfish in an outdoor pool need an even greater food intake. Still, the two-minute rule is the best way of determining how much food your goldfish needs.
What Should I Feed My Goldfish?
In their natural habitat, goldfish eat everything. This includes a lot of plants, as the fiber in this food helps them with digestion. Apart from this, they eat insects, eggs, smaller fish, snails, or anything else they can find in the water.
When you keep goldfish in an aquarium, they don’t have access to all these types of food. Most people think that processed food is enough for your goldfish.
But the truth is, you should give your goldfish a variety of food to replicate their natural way of life.
Types of Goldfish Food
Dry Goldfish Food
Flakes – This is the most common type of food people give to their goldfish. But this is not the best option. Flakes contain filler ingredients that enable them to float on the water surface.
These ingredients are not necessarily bad for your goldfish, but they have zero nutritional value. As a result, your goldfish will eat the proper amount of food but won’t get enough nutrients.
Pellets – They don’t dissolve on the surface. Instead, pellets sink to the bottom and preserve all their ingredients. However, pellets will pollute the water if your goldfish don’t eat them.
Also, younger goldfish may not be big enough to swallow a whole pellet, so flakes are a better option in this case. The good thing about pellets is that you can put them in an automatic feeder and not worry about the feeding schedule.
Live Goldfish Food
You’ll find the types of live food are usually brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, tubifex worms, blood worms, and wax worms. Ironically enough, live food may not be the best option for your goldfish because it doesn’t contain enough nutritional value.
This is because live food at your local pet store has been bred for this specific purpose and has probably lacked proper care. Also, live food may be harmful because it may transfer various diseases to your goldfish.
Frozen Goldfish Food
Live goldfish food can be sold as frozen, which significantly reduces the risk of disease. However, bear in mind that this food needs to be thawed before you feed it to your goldfish.
Frozen goldfish food includes brine shrimps, bloodworms, algae, krill, squid, tubifex worms, and other previously live goldfish food.
Tip: Krill contains a lot of red pigment, which will significantly improve your goldfish’s color.
Homemade Goldfish Food
Some of the food humans eat is suitable for your goldfish. For instance, goldfish will get the fiber they need from vegetables. You can create a homemade diet for your goldfish using ingredients from your fridge. Red leaf lettuce and baby peas are the best choices for a homemade diet.
They will easily chew and digest red leaf lettuce while it’s fresh. Just wash it with warm water beforehand and attach it to a clip on the side of your aquarium so that it dangles in the water where they can reach it. In this way, you won’t have stripes of lettuce floating around your aquarium.
With baby peas, however, the situation is different. You first need to boil baby peas to soften them since hard peas will give your goldfish digestive problems.
Then, put baby peas into your fridge to cool them down. After that, peel the skin of each pea and throw them in the water one by one.
Choosing a Good Quality Food for Your Goldfish
The types of food that you choose for your goldfish need to be high in nutrients. You can give them a combination of flakes, pellets, live food, and homemade food, so long as their diet’s nutritional value remains high.
The three main ingredients of the goldfish diet are carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. Don’t give your goldfish grains or soy as they can’t digest this type of food.
Most processed food that you can buy for your goldfish contains enough carbs and proteins. As for fiber, you’ll need to give them vegetables.
To create a balanced diet for your goldfish, you should include high-quality flakes or pellets supplemented with a selection of vegetables (e.g., baby peas and red leaf lettuce).
If you’re not a fan of dried foods, you can use gel food instead. This type of food is moist and contains gelatin that keeps the ingredients together. One of the best gel foods is Super Gold. Still, any similar gel foods will be suitable for your goldfish.
How Long Can You Leave a Goldfish Without Food?
Goldfish can survive without food for up to two weeks. But this doesn’t mean that they should intentionally go unfed. It is never a good idea to leave goldfish without food. If you can’t feed them regularly throughout the day, buy an automatic feeder.
Or, if you know you’ll be away from home for a few days, ask a friend or a relative to feed them regularly.
On the other hand, there may be times when you should keep your goldfish without food. If your goldfish has overeaten or has a swim bladder, it is good to refrain from feeding them for up to three days so that their digestive tract has time to recover.
In the wild, goldfish are not used to eating two to three times a day. Since you have accustomed them to a fixed eating schedule, you want to make sure your goldfish eat regularly.
Otherwise, their lifespan may drastically be shortened, and they can develop serious health issues.
How Do You Know When Goldfish Are Hungry?
Your goldfish should never be hungry if you feed them regularly. But there are exceptions even if you stick to a well-planned feeding schedule.
Bigger goldfish may get to food faster than the smaller ones, which may leave some of your goldfish hungry. As a result, starving goldfish will show signs of food deprivation.
If your goldfish is constantly somewhere around the surface, it might be hungry. Or, if it is perpetually lurking at the bottom and digging around, it might be searching for food.
Extreme changes in behavior are common among goldfish that are starving. Aggressiveness and sluggishness might indicate that the fish is in desperate need of food.
How Much to Feed a Goldfish at a Time?
The rule of thumb is that the amount of food your goldfish should eat is proportional to their eye size. The idea behind this is that their stomach is about the same size as their eye and that you should give them just the right amount of food to fill it.