Can Goldfish Eat Bread? Is It Dangerous For Them?

We tackle the question ‘Can Goldfish eat bread?’ as it’s commonly asked. As the ‘piggies’ of the aquarium, Goldfish can, and absolutely will eat bread, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should. After all, not all foods are suitable for every species of fish, and Goldfish are no different!

Being omnivores, Goldfish can eat a wide variety of foods either as a staple diet or as a treat. However, bread is not one of the foods that they should be eating and here is why. 

Goldfish and Bread

There are two main reasons why Goldfish should not eat bread of any kind; the first of which relates to the digestive system: Goldfish, believe it or not, have a rather delicate digestive system which just can’t break down the gluten found in bread flour. This will lead to your Goldfish developing indigestion and suffering pain and discomfort. 

The second reason Goldfish shouldn’t have bread is that it contains yeast which will expand in their stomach. This will, in turn, lead to constipation in your Goldfish and potentially more serious issues such as swim bladder disorder, also known as SBD. 

SBD | Constipation | Indigestion

Feeding your Goldfish the wrong foods, such as bread, can lead to them suffering from all of the above. It is not as rare a problem as you might think, in fact, it is quite common. 

Both indigestion and constipation can be recognized by the fact that your Goldfish will bloat in the abdominal area and have difficulty defecating. To treat this you should increase dietary fiber such as by feeding your Goldfish shelled peas. 

Swim bladder disorder, on the other hand, is a little more serious and can be, more often than not, fatal. The signs for this are bloating, lethargy, listlessness, difficulty swimming and staying submerged, and ‘pineconing’. Treatment again would be increasing dietary fiber and also adding Epsom salt to their tank. One to three teaspoons per five gallons should be sufficient to act as a mild muscle laxative and help them poop. 

Can Goldfish Eat Bread? Is It Dangerous For Them? 1
Bread is NOT suitable to feed to any pet Tropical or Coldwater fish

Other Foods Goldfish Shouldn’t Eat

Bread is not the only food you should not be feeding to your Goldfish as a treat or as part of their staple diet. Here are some other examples of food types you should avoid:

Crackers – These are another unhealthy foodstuff that, like bread, can also swell in their stomachs causing constipation and blockages.

Cereal – Grains, in general, are not advisable as food for Goldfish, but with the extra added ingredients cereals are even worse.

Wax Worms – Though not necessarily dangerous, wax worms are incredibly high in fat and should be avoided for the sake of the health of your Goldfish.

Tropical Fish Food – As a short term food, such as for a few days if you have run out of your usual Goldfish food, tropical fish flakes are OK. However, they are rather high in protein and too low in carbs to be a permanent meal.

What’s The Proper Diet For A Goldfish?

Since Goldfish are omnivores they require a varied diet to keep them fit and healthy. The majority of their diet should be made up, however, of vegetable-based foodstuff though they do need protein to prevent nutrient deficiencies too.

Dry Food – Most fish keepers use dry food as a staple part of their Goldfish’s diet. However, if you do this you should ensure that it is of high quality. Low-quality foods contain an awful lot of fillers which can cause nutrient deficiency. Pellets are better than flakes with sinking being ideal. This is due to the fact that your Goldfish will have to forage for them which for this species of fish is a natural behavior. We Love Hikari Pellets as they don’t dissolve too quickly and don’t cloud the water as some other cheaper foods can do.

Frozen Food – As omnivores, Goldfish need more than just plant-based foods. They will also need some protein and a great way to introduce this is by offering frozen foods a few times a week. There are many types of frozen foods available such as blood worm, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp. All of these can be bought from your local pet store and thawed in the amount you need. California Bloodworms which come in a freezable pack on Amazon are the perfect treat for your goldfish.

goldfish flake food
Dried Flake food is often the first choice for Goldfish

Vegetables – More a dietary supplement or treat, you can occasionally feed your Goldfish vegetables. Popular choices would be peas (without skin), zucchini, and lettuce which will all be happily eaten. Fruit is also suitable, such as banana, although you should be careful how often and how much, as fruit is high in sugar.

Gel Food – Generally homemade, gel food can be used to supplement the diet of your Goldfish or, dependent on ingredients, as a complete diet. It is a far cheaper alternative than regular fish food and because it doesn’t contain any fillers can help with the diets of Goldfish that don’t enjoy regular dry food.

Plants – For any Goldfish owner out there this probably doesn’t come as any surprise. Goldfish are well known for their ability to skillfully destroy every plant in an aquarium and with ease. This makes planting a Goldfish tank perhaps a little on the difficult side. It does, however, mean they have a natural and healthy choice of food right in their home.

Plants like duckweed and anacharis are ideal for Goldfish tanks as they can be grown very quickly and be happily eaten by your fish. 

Don’t Let Them Overeat!

Goldfish are notorious for being overeaters that will just eat and eat to the point it may become fatal. To avoid their death by food, you should be very careful about how much and how often you feed.

Three to four times daily is probably the optimum amount with feeding times being as regular as possible. You should only feed what they can consume in just a few minutes. As a rough guide, a small pinch of food between your thumb and forefinger will be just fine. 

Here’s a feeding chart suitable for Goldfish & Freshwater

FoodHow OftenHow Much
Flake Food3 Times a dayEnough to consume in 90 Seconds
Pellets3 Times a week1-2 Mini Pellets Per Fish
Bloodworms - live2 Times a week1/4 Teaspoon of worms per fish
Bloodworm - Freeze Dried2 Times a weekSmall Pinch
Algae Wafers / tablets2 Times a week1 Tablet or wafer per 10 fish
Brine Shrimp - LiveOnce a week1-2 Brine shrimp per fish
Other supplement foods or Vegatables2 Times per weekEnough to consume in 90 Seconds

Conclusion – Can Goldfish Eat Bread?

Though there are many foods, including bread, that Goldfish really should not eat, there are also many more that they can. Plenty of those will not only keep your Goldfish fit and healthy but also happy and satiated as well. 

F.A.Q

  • What human foods can you feed to a Goldfish? There are quite a few human foods that you can feed your Goldfish but the healthiest and most beneficial would be vegetables.
  • Can Goldfish eat bread? No, on no account should you feed your Goldfish bread. It can cause many problems for them.
  • What can you feed Goldfish when you have run out of their usual food? Vegetables, seafood, white fish, shrimp, and tropical fish food for a short time.
  • Do Goldfish eat lettuce? Yes, they love it. The red leaf variety is the best for them as it’s easy to chew and unlikely to cause digestive problems.
  • What do Goldfish in a pond eat? Live bugs and larvae that are naturally in the pond plus packaged and frozen foods you give them.
  • How long can a Goldfish go without food? Around two weeks although when they are in torpor (hibernating) it is much longer.
Carl Broadbent
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