Owning a goldfish isn’t as simple as people would have you believe. We know you have questions. We’re here to help you.
Here’s everything you need to know about what goldfish eat, how to feed goldfish, and how to find the best food for goldfish growth and color.
First, let’s talk about what kind of food goldfish eat in the wild and in captivity.
What Kind of Food does Goldfish Eat?
In the wild, goldfish eat crustaceans, plants, insects, and smaller fish. Since they eat plants and animals, you need to take their natural diet into account when you decide how to feed them in captivity.
How do you start to look for the right food for goldfish?
First, you should understand all the ways commercial goldfish is offered.
Food for captive goldfish is typically offered as flakes, floating pellets, sinking pellets, or gel, along with greens. Additional foods that goldfish may eat include peas with the skin removed, bloodworms, and brine shrimp (live, frozen, or freeze-dried).
Flakes are the most popular option, although they start to lose their nutrients as soon as they touch the water.
Floating pellets are the easiest food to retrieve once your goldfish has had enough time to eat, although eating pellets from the surface of the water can cause your goldfish to ingest a lot of air when they eat, which can cause digestive discomfort and problems with their swim bladder.
Sinking pellets offer the most natural way for your goldfish to feed, although it’s more difficult to retrieve uneaten sinking pellets, which means they’re more likely to decompose inside the tank, causing cloudy, fouled water.
Gel food is the easiest for your goldfish to digest and contains a more optimal nutrient ratio than flakes or pellets.
10 Best Sinking Goldfish Food for Growth & Color – (2020
Reviews & Guide)
1. TetraFin Balanced Diet Goldfish Flake Food for Optimal Health
TetraFin’s “Clean & Clear Water Formula” in the TetraFin Balanced Diet Goldfish Flake Food contains flakes that are easier to digest and won’t leach colors into your aquarium water, which helps keep the water in your tank clean.
TetraFin’s products also include ProCare, which is a blend of immunostimulants, vitamins, biotin, and Omega-3 fatty acids to help strengthen your goldfish’s resistance to stress and disease.
This scientifically-developed formula is designed to provide your goldfish with all the nutrition they need in their diet along with vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in a highly-digestible formula that aims to strengthen your fish’s immune system.
The ingredients are a little questionable when you think about it: Fish meal, ground brown rice, torula dried yeast, feeding oatmeal, shrimp meal, wheat gluten, soybean oil, fish oil, algae meal, sorbitol, lecithin, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (vitamin C), artificial colors including yellow 5, red 3, and blue 2, and Ethoxyquin as a preservative.
Fish meal, the first ingredient, is what’s left of the fish after the edible parts have been taken off, so you’re getting the least nutritious part of the fish such as bones, fins, and organs. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
The second ingredient is brown rice, the fourth ingredient is feeding oatmeal, and the sixth ingredient is wheat gluten – fish don’t eat grains like these in the wild. These fillers probably taste great but aren’t nutritious for a species that wasn’t built to digest grains. It also contains artificial colors.
Based on reviews, your fish will likely love this food, but it may not be the healthiest option for the long-term health and well-being of your goldfish.
2. Tetra TetraFin PLUS Goldfish Flakes with Algae Cleaner Water Formula
Since this food is easier for your goldfish to digest, there is less uneaten food and less waste, which means your aquarium stays cleaner.
This product also includes the ProCare blend of immunostimulants, vitamins, biotin, and Omega-3 fatty acids to help strengthen your goldfish’s resistance to stress and disease. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
Some people complained of this food making their tanks dirty or cloudy, or arriving without a lid, but most people swear by this food, saying that their fish love this product and are quite healthy and happy on it.
Goldfish are designed to eat other fish, crustaceans, and vegetables like underwater plants. They aren’t meant to eat things like brown rice, oatmeal, wheat gluten, or corn gluten, but this product does have a great rating, so use your discretion about whether or not it’s appropriate for your goldfish.
3. Fluval Bug Bites Goldfish Formula for Fish
This product is sustainably processed in small batches for quality control and maximum freshness with no artificial fillers, colors, or preservatives. It’s made in Canada and fortified with essential vitamins, amino acids, and minerals for a balanced daily diet.
The top ingredients are: Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Salmon, Wheat, Pea Protein Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate. The wheat may be a filler, but everything else looks like something goldfish would eat in the wild, making this a much more natural option than the TetraFin products.
People are raving about this product. The only complaints seem to be how small the small granules are. For anything but the smallest of fish, you should go for the large pellets. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
4. TetraPond Pond Sticks Fish Food for Goldfish and Koi
These hollow sticks float, which most customers love because their fish come to the surface to feed. The hollow sticks are also supposed to be easier for fish to digest. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
This formulation is designed for spring, summer, and fall feedings when the water temperature is higher than about 50° F.
Most of the complaints about this product seem to revolve around the packaging. Pests of all types can chew their way into the bags sometime during the shopping process. Other complaints are that the pellets are too lightweight to throw very far into large ponds.
5. Omega One Goldfish Small Pellets
This should result in healthier fish with longer life spans. This product also specifically lists high levels of natural beta-carotene from salmon skins to help enhance the color of your goldfish.
There are a lot of reports of this product making the water in aquariums quite cloudy, and the small pellets are EXTREMELY small (one reviewer likened them to the size of a flea), so the medium or large pellets may be a better purchase for all but the tiniest of fish.
Most people rave about how much their fish love this product. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
6. Kaytee Pond Fish Food Pellets
The ingredients are: Soybean Meal, Ground Corn, Fish Meal, Wheat Middlings, Ground Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Fish Oil, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Brewers Dried Yeast, Spirulina Salt, and Betaine.
Fish meal is the third ingredient, and nearly every other ingredient is a carbohydrate, which is not something goldfish would eat much of in the wild. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
7. API Fish Food Pellets
The recipe is carefully balanced for nutrition and taste. Because the nutrients are easily digested, your goldfish uses more of every pellet, producing less waste and up to 30% less ammonia. Spiruline and carotenoids are also included to enhance color.
This formula comes in pellets that are about 2mm and sinks to the bottom of the tank where it can be enjoyed by other fish in your aquarium. Plus, it shouldn’t cause any issues with water clouding. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
8. Aqueon Goldfish Granules
In addition to providing necessary nutrition, this food is also formulated to create less waste and keep the water clean and clear. Plus, it contains ingredients like chili powder, marigold powder, and spirulina to enhance color.
During feeding, give your fish only what they can eat in a span of two minutes. Fish love the taste of this formula which means they’ll leave less behind. When used as directed, this food will not cloud the water in your tank. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
9. Repashy Super Gold – Goldfish and Koi Gel Food
It’s important to note that this isn’t your average fish food. Rather than taking a pinch or two and dropping it into your tank, Repashy takes a bit of preparation. Full preparation instructions are included with the product. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
This is a powder that you mix with water, heat, and then allow to cool to a gel. One of the best things about it is that, once it’s prepared, you can shred it, cut it into cubes, or store it. It can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for six months.
10. Blue Ridge Fish Food Pellets
This recipe includes a blend of vitamins and minerals put together to boost the immune system and help your fish be more resilient to stress. They soften easily to help with digestion and provide complete nutrition. This is one of the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
One of the best things about this food is it’s covered by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The company really stands by the quality of this product. It’s made in the USA and follows strict quality guidelines. If you don’t like the results, contact them and they’ll give you your money back.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BEST SINKING GOLDFISH FOOD
How often to Feed Goldfish?
Goldfish need a lot less food than you might expect. The biggest problem most people have with their goldfish is health issues associated with overfeeding.
In fact, you can go on vacation for up to two weeks without feeding your goldfish, and they will be just fine (although an automatic fish feeder may help you feel better).
Goldfish don’t have a stomach, so feeding them too much in one sitting can cause a lot of digestive problems. Generally, you only want to feed your goldfish for 30-60 seconds at a time, two to three times per day. That’s it.
Since they don’t have a stomach, goldfish never feel full. They’re scavengers, so their instinct is to spend all day looking for food. They may act like they’re starving to death, but since goldfish are cold-blooded, they don’t need to consume extra calories to burn off keeping their bodies warm.
Keeping live plants or leafy greens in a vegetable clip can give your goldfish something healthy to munch on all day, which can help your fish be healthier, happier, and less bored.
How many Pellets to Feed Goldfish?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. How many pellets you need depends on things like how frequently you feed your fish, whether they are fully grown or still growing, and what the temperature of your tank is.
With pellets, you’ll want to soak them in a cup of water from the tank before feeding them to your fish, since dry pellets can upset your fish’s digestive system.
The first time, you will need to guess how many pellets you need. Add them to the tank for the recommended 30-60 seconds per feeding and see how many pellets they eat at that time. If they eat all the pellets in less than 60 seconds, then you know to add more pellets during the next feeding. If there are pellets left over after 60 seconds, then you know to feed less during the next feeding.
It may take a while to figure out the optimal number of pellets to feed your goldfish during each feeding, but if you keep careful track of how many pellets you feed during each meal and how quickly your goldfish consume the pellets, you can get a good idea of exactly how many pellets you need for each feeding.
How many Flakes to Feed Goldfish?
Each goldfish will require a different number of flakes based on things like whether or not they’re still growing, the temperature of the tank, and how often you feed them. You will need to keep careful track of how many flakes you feed until you get a sense of how many flakes they need per meal.
You should only feed your goldfish as much as they can eat in 60 seconds or less and only two to three times per day. If your goldfish eats all the flakes within 60 seconds the first time you feed them, then you know you need to add more flakes at the next feeding.
If you find yourself scooping a lot of flakes out of the tank after 60 seconds, then you know you need to feed fewer flakes next time.
What is the Best Time to Feed Goldfish?
Since goldfish don’t have stomachs, you’ll want to feed them pretty consistently, 2-3 times per day, at a time when you’ll remember to do it at the same time every day. Maybe you feed them last thing at night, first thing in the morning, and in the middle of the day.
Whatever schedule you choose, make sure you can stick to it, so your goldfish know when to expect their next meal. Since they don’t have stomachs and are used to scavenging all the time, they are constantly hungry.
What to Feed a Goldfish When Out of Fish Food?
Goldfish can eat peas without the shell or skin, boiled vegetables, leafy greens, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.
In fact, putting leafy greens in the tank in a veggie clip will give your goldfish something to munch on when they think they’re starving to death between feedings.
With goldfish one of the most important aspects of keeping them healthy is their nutrition.
They require a well thought out and varied diet to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.
Finding the right goldfish food can be a fun challenge for you.
From flake to pellets to gel food, the alternatives of what to feed them are varied and numerous.
How To Choose Goldfish Food
There are several things that you should consider when deciding on the best food for your goldfish. The most important thing to think about is the nutritional value that the food you are buying can offer your fish.
Generally speaking, goldfish are flexible with their diet. From pellets to flakes to live food and homemade recipes, ultimately, you should choose what best suits the needs of your fish.
As nutrition goes, commercially prepared food can be very good – you just have to know what to look for.
Reading Food Labels
When looking at different diets, you should always start from the basics and consider the nutritional value and advantages that a particular food can offer to your goldfish. You can do this by looking at the breakdown of proteins, fats, fibers and carbohydrates.
Fish need energy to grow, reproduce and heal Therefore, a balanced diet offering the optimal energy intake is essential for their wellbeing.
Carbohydrates are one of the most important parts of their diet. Some food companies often add table sugars (sucrose) or plant matter such as green peas that contain a variety of complex and simple carbohydrates.
Proteins are also fundamental. A high protein diet has been shown to be beneficial.
Fibers can help prevent digestion problems in your goldfish.
You should avoid soy and grains, as grains such as barley, rice, wheat flour and wheat gluten (anything with gluten) don’t belong in their diet.
Fish meal can also cause difficulties. Try to avoid buying leftovers from processed food such as fish bones, scales and fins, etc.
Whole proteins should be included, and they should always come from the marine or freshwater environment.
Ultimately the key is having a varied and balanced diet whether with homemade recipes or commercial food.
Best Goldfish Food
When buying goldfish food, you have a huge range of choice – there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on your budget and the preferences of your fish.
Generally speaking, their food can be divided into fresh, live food and dry food. Goldfish are usually fed with dry foods such as flakes, pellets and gel.
You will find lots of dry food choices. You should find the right one that suits the needs of your fish. If you have more than one, you might require different types of food for different goldfish varieties.
Some foods float and some sink, however these fish usually occupy all levels of the water column and will happily graze at the surface or on the substrate.
TetraFin Goldfish Flakes
This specially formulated goldfish food meets all the nutritional requirements for your fish. They hold their shape when the get wet and they don’t cloud the water.
Flakes usually float on the surface of the water, then break up and sink to the bottom. Keep in mind that it’s very easy to over-feed goldfish with flakes and if you find yourself with leftover uneaten food in the water it will be hard to maintain good water conditions.
Some aquarists soak the food before feeding as it is easier to digest.
Flakes can sometimes cause problems. As the fish gulp at air while they are feeding on the floating flakes, they can occasionally take in too much air too.
Hikari Fancy Goldfish Pellets
This professional high quality pellet food has been specifically designed for fancy goldfish, and it helps to bring out their colors.
Pellets generally sink straight to the substrate. They dissolve slowly meaning your fish have plenty of time to eat their food. You can also find the floating variety, although floating pellets are not very common.
Usually, if your fish is sick, they will prefer eating sinking food. For this reason, keeping a reserve of pellets is always a good idea.
Remember as most dry food, pellets will expand when soaked in water, so if your fish eats the pellets before they expand this can cause problems with digestion. For this reason, you might want to soak the pellets before adding them to your goldfish tank.
On the whole, gel food is the best for goldfish, especially if you keep a fancy variety. Many aquarists prefer using gel food for a number of reasons but the preferred one is that gel food is moist. In the wild fish are used to eating wet foods so this most naturally replicates their wild diet.
You can soak dry food before feeding your fish, but this can sometimes cause cloudy water and the loss of some nutrients.
With gel goldfish food, gelatin is used to bind the different ingredients together. This food is generally easier to digest for your goldfish and will not pollute the aquarium if left uneaten for too long.
You can buy pre-bought powder and then make up enough gel food as you go. You can refrigerate it or freeze it to preserve it.
Treats You Can Give Your Goldfish
The key to a healthy goldfish is to provide them with a balanced and varied diet. They will benefit from the occasional treat and the extra nutrition they provide. Goldfish are primarily herbivores, but they need some meat in their diet still.
Meaty foods are a great way to provide them with a protein treat. There are many options, from live to frozen foods. Just remember treats should be fed once a week.
Freeze Dried Foods
Freeze Dried Bloodworms
Bloodworms contain a high amount of protein which is perfect for your goldfish. Also known as red mosquito larve, this food is ideal for your top feeding goldfish as they float at the surface of the water for a while before sinking.
Often they are only available in chunks and you will need to break them up for younger fish.
There are many varieties of food that you can findL Daphnia, plankton, tubifex worms, shrimps are fundamental sources of nutrition.
Live food is a fantastic source of protein, especially for juveniles who are still growing and need lots of energy. The most popular choice is brine shrimp.
There are also a number of live plant based foods which you can give to your fish. Live aquatic plants such as duckweed are easy to grow and provide great nutrition.
You will find that most live foods are also available in frozen form. Frozen food has a major advantage – there is very little risk of infection.
From brine shrimps to bloodworms, krill to squid and algae, frozen food can meet all the dietary requirements of your goldfish.
Krill is particularly good for carotene levels, the red pigment will improve their colors.
Frozen foods tend to have slightly less nutrients than live foods do, and they will need thawing before feeding times.
To keep your goldfish healthy, you can also feed them vegetables. Zucchini, broccoli, potatoes and peas are all great choices – just remember to be boil or blanch them first.
Greens are particularly good for sick goldfish who are struggling with their swim bladder.
No matter what you are giving them, always try to soften the food before feeding time.
How To Feed Goldfish
Remember less is better.
Generally, you should feed your them no more than what they can eat in 2-3 minutes per feed. Try to always remove the uneaten food.
Temperature can play a major role in deciding how much to feed your goldfish as low temperatures can slow down their metabolism.
Remember, less is better. Over-feeding them is one of the most harmful things you can do. Your goldfish won’t stop feeding as long as there is food available. Overfeeding will cause blocked intestines and swim bladder problems.
A good indicator of this is the long trail of poop left behind by your fish. If you notice it, your fish has probably over eaten.
As your goldfish cannot have too much food all at once, you should have several feeding sessions per day. The more the feeding sessions the less food you should give them during each time.
There is no ultimate way of doing this as different fish requires different things. A good reference point is feeding them 2 to 3 times per day with enough food that they can consume within 2 minutes.
Depending on their feeding needs you should provide enough food to be consumed in 5 or 6 minutes in an entire day.
How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?
Goldfish are surprisingly hardy fish and can survive for a long time without food. The longest a goldfish has been known to go without food is 134 days.
Can Goldfish Eat Tropical Fish Food?
Food for tropical fish is very similar to goldfish food and generally can provide similar nutrition in the short term.
However, tropical fish need more proteins and fewer carbohydrates. Therefore, Goldfish will not do very well long term on this diet and it will be very detrimental to their health.
Can Goldfish Eat Betta Food?
Put simply, no.
Betta and goldfish are very different fish, from their digestive tracks to their feeding habits. Goldfish have a slow and long-term digestion and are omnivores. Whereas Bettas are carnivores and need a high protein diet.
Why Is My Goldfish Not Eating?
This is usually due to water quality or disease.
If you notice that your goldfish is swimming in a strange way (from swimming sideways to floating upside down) it probably has swim bladder disease from over eating.
Another reason could be constipation – you will notice this if your goldfish swims at the bottom of the tank, scooting along. In both cases no food for 48 hours or cooked peas
Why is My Goldfish Not Eating?
There are several reasons your goldfish might not be eating.
The first thing to look at is your goldfish’s environment. Has it been a while since you’ve cleaned out the tank? Is there any rotting food in the aquarium? Did you fill the tank with untreated tap water? Maybe the water filter is dirty, or there’s a dead fish floating in the tank.
Any change in your goldfish’s environment could cause him to stop eating, so the first thing you should do is at least check, if not clean, your tank from top to bottom, including the filter. It would be worth getting some pH strips to check the acidity level of the water, too.
If your goldfish’s environment seems to be in good shape, check the expiration date and storage information on your goldfish’s food. Goldish food can go bad after its expiration date, obviously, but it can go bad sooner than that if it’s stored improperly. For example, if it needs to be kept in a cool, dry place, then placing it near an open window in a humid environment could rot the food before the expiration date.
So your tank is clean and the fish food is acceptable. What now?
Fish do get sick. If your goldfish hasn’t eaten for a while and is also displaying other signs of illness such as unnatural growths, white spots, raised scales, or bloating, call the vets in your area for advice. Many vets may not be familiar with goldfish, so you may need to call several places to get the right advice.
Goldfish are very sensitive about transitioning from one environment to another. If you recently moved your goldfish to or from a temporary bowl, maybe to clean the tank, then it’s natural that your goldfish will react to the stress by not eating. Give it a day or two to acclimate to the new environment before worrying too much.
While goldfish are often portrayed as a children’s pet, their dietary needs are more complicated than you might expect.
Reading the ingredients of any fish food you plan to buy and deciding if or how you want to supplement your goldfish’s diet can be a lot of work, but goldfish can make wonderful pets when you put in just a little bit of effort into finding the Best Sinking Goldfish Food.
The main takeaways are:
1. Be careful not to overfeed your goldfish. They probably need less food than the manufacturers recommend to stay healthy and reduce the amount of waste they produce. Feed your goldfish two to three times a day for up to 60 seconds per feeding, which is less than what goldfish food manufacturers typically recommend.
2. Leafy greens in a vegetable clip or hand-fed peas with the skins removed can be a great way to add nutrition to your goldfish’s diet without overfeeding them.
3. Bloodworms and brine shrimp, whether live, frozen, or freeze-dried can make a great supplement to your goldfish’s diet.
4. Consistency is key. Since goldfish are always hungry as a result of not having a stomach, they will appreciate evenly-spaced meals and knowing when they will be fed every day.
5. Check the ingredients of goldfish food is designed to eat fish, shrimp, insects, and greens, not corn, wheat, or oats.
6. Keep your tank and filter clean to keep your goldfish happy and healthy. Look for products without a lot of complaints about the product making their tank cloudy.
While it can take a bit of detective work to find the top rated goldfish food for growth and color, hopefully, we’ve given you the tools you need to make your decision about which food will best suit the needs of you and your goldfish.