Why Are My Pond Goldfish Not Eating?

Pond goldfish enjoy an extensive diet in their natural environment, nibbling on both aquatic plants and animal matter. As well as these sources, pond goldfish also benefit from being provided with high-protein pellet and flake food pellets or flakes to eat.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at Chewy.com

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

As temperatures fall, fish metabolisms slow and appetites decrease – this is natural; once temperatures have warmed back up again, their appetite should return.



If the fish population in your pond becomes too dense, they may start crowding together and producing waste that will strain its filter system and degrade water quality. This overcrowding may affect its water quality by producing waste products and producing excessive strain on filters.

Too many fish can also lead to ammonia poisoning in pond water. Ammonia levels should remain below zero at all times in a pond environment.

Pond goldfish are notoriously cautious fish, often hearing your footsteps as you approach their watery home. If this causes anxiety at feeding time, try approaching more slowly or training them to accept your hand signal as their feeding cue – this may take patience but will more than pay off!


Cold temperatures can stress goldfish by slowing their metabolism and making digesting food difficult, leading to an inability to feed and resulting in appetite loss.

Your feeding frequency during cold weather should be reduced when water temperatures fall below 50 degrees, only providing Legacy Cold Weather Fish Food once or twice every 1-2 days to help lessen their anxiety.

Overfeeding can also be problematic as any uneaten food that remains in the pond water could have detrimental effects on dissolved oxygen levels, ammonia/nitrite levels and nutrient levels. You should use a pond skimmer after each feeding to remove any leftover food from the water and clean out all waste from its depths.

Increase variety in your goldfish diet with live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, tubifex worms, daphnia, brine shrimp and mosquito larvae – ideal options to feed to goldfish pond inhabitants.


Goldfish fishes enjoy eating, so if they stop, it is crucial to understand why. In most cases, this could be related to poor living conditions or diseases; treating this can restore appetite.

One reason they may be eating less could be the low water temperatures found in outdoor ponds during winter, which reduces metabolism and consequently affects their appetite. To fix this situation, warm the water or add a pond heater – once their bodies become warmer enough they should return to feeding again!

As mentioned above, other reasons could include predators such as herons or raccoons frightening the fish into staying under water surface, far away from food sources. You can remedy this situation by either removing these predators from your pond, or installing deterrents around it to ward them off.

Water quality

Goldfish require clean, neutral pH water that does not contain excessive levels of phosphates, ammonia, or nitrites that could stress them out and reduce appetite. If this situation exists in your aquarium it will adversely impact their lives as they will no longer feel secure enough to feed properly and may reduce appetite significantly.

Unconsumed food, decaying algae and plants, and fish waste products produce ammonia. If this level becomes too high, your fish could suffer from ammonia poisoning; its symptoms being red or bleeding gills as well as gasping for oxygen.

Testing your pond water using a kit or by performing regular 20% water changes and removing dead plants, blanketweed and excessive algae growths is key to keeping your water clean and free of toxins such as those produced by fertilizers or pesticides. If your pond is located in an area frequently subjected to spraying use an algae inhibitor like EcoSecret to maintain optimal conditions.


Goldfish can survive in outdoor ponds without needing additional feedings, but it is generally advised to provide them with food at least several times daily, especially during the summer when their weight increases in preparation for winter.

Feed only the amount that the fish can consume within several minutes at a time; any excess will float down and could spoil the water quality.

Avoid feeding your pond goldfish when the temperature of their environment falls below 50 degrees, as their metabolism slows down at these lower temperatures and they cannot utilize food efficiently. Restart regular feedings once their environment reaches 55 degrees again.