What to Feed a Goldfish When Out of Fish Food

Not only can you feed your goldfish fish flakes, but there are various other items available to provide variety and nutrition to their diet – which may also aid them when sick.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at Chewy.com

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

Goldfish enjoy snacking on insects such as flies and mosquito larvae, or frozen bloodworms which should be thawed out before offering.



Goldfish require a well-rounded diet of pellets, flakes, vegetables and live food in order to remain healthy, avoid digestive issues like bloat and maintain vibrant coloration.

Goldfish fisheries often feature goldfish species as an omnivore diet consisting of plants, prawns, insects and more. When housed in aquariums they can be fed various types of foods including brine shrimp, blood worms, daphnia tubifex worms and krill; many pet stores even sell freeze-dried versions as feed choices for these aquatic organisms.

Feed your frozen or freeze-dried foods only as much as your goldfish can consume within two minutes. Too much food may lead to bloated swim bladders, so take caution! It is ideal to feed them before performing a water change to reduce pollutant buildup in their filter and keep any leftover food out of polluting their tank. Although hand feeding your goldfish can be enjoyable, be mindful not to crush its food with your fingers as this could contaminate their tank as well as cause unnecessary stress in your fish.

Frozen food

Goldfish are omnivorous scavengers and will feed on both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, including aquatic insects, small crustaceans, tadpoles and even other fish species. However, their primary diet should consist of specially tailored fish food specifically formulated for them.

Goldfish should only be fed what they can consume within two minutes to avoid overfeeding and polluting the tank with uneaten food. Doing this may prevent digestive problems from occurring and ensure all their needs are met in an efficient way.

Frozen food can provide an alternative source of nutrition for goldfish. When purchasing frozen food from pet shops, be sure to thaw it out first to prevent spoilage and bacteria growth.

Some frozen food contains ingredients designed to promote the health and well-being of goldfish. This could include spirulina (blue-green algae), proteins, vegetables such as seaweed, alfalfa and kale as well as specifically tailored diets designed for fry, which have high protein contents.

Live food

Goldfish are versatile feeders and will consume an array of foods such as insects, plant matter, crustaceans, snails and their own eggs. Since goldfish have small mouths and find it difficult to consume large amounts at one time, you should aim to feed your goldfish two to three times each day.

Your fish should become used to anticipating feeding times and gathering near the top of their tank when it’s time. Live food like earthworms or aquarium snails should also be given, provided you rinse them in water to remove dirt or disease-causing organisms first – best done before doing a tank water change so any unconsumed food is removed from their filter system.

Attribute fish with varied diets by offering both floating flakes and sinking pellets, along with frozen foods thawed out completely before adding to their tank.

Hard-boiled egg

Goldfish aren’t picky eaters, but to provide them with all of the nutrition they require. Goldfish love eating live aquatic plants like waterweed and duckweed that can easily grow in their tank (provided lighting requirements are met).

Live food provides Goldfish with essential amino acids they cannot find in pellets, while also stimulating their digestive tract and encouraging healthy gut bacteria. In the wild, Goldfish feed on snails, insect larvae, zooplankton and tadpoles which they break down using their pharyngeal canines positioned near the end of their throats.

Home cultivation of live food may not be feasible for everyone, so freeze-dried foods should make up the bulk of a Goldfish diet. These include brine shrimp, earthworms, blood worms and daphnia; giving these at regular intervals throughout the day will allow it to establish a feeding schedule that does not lead to overconsumption that leads to bloat.