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Home > Goldfish > Can Goldfish Eat Bread? Vet-Reviewed Nutritional Info

Can Goldfish Eat Bread? Vet-Reviewed Nutritional Info

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Most people have pet fish and feed them fish food, but you may be wondering if you could give your fish treats like small pieces of bread.

Can goldfish eat bread? Unfortunately, no, bread is not a safe or healthy food for your fish. Are you curious to know why?

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The Hazards of Feeding Bread to Goldfish

Some people assume goldfish can have small bits of bread as a treat or a supplement to fish food. Bread is very harmful to fish, however.

Though the pieces may be small, when bread gets into a fish’s stomach, it expands and may cause constipation. In addition, the gluten in bread is difficult to digest.

In some cases, bread can cause conditions like swim bladder disease. This isn’t just bread, either—most grains can cause swim bladder disorder. In fact, the UK banned feeding bread to fish.

The swim bladder is a special organ fish have to balance oxygen and other gasses and maintain the fish’s buoyancy at a desired depth. Fish also use their swim bladder for sound production and detection, making it important for their overall health.

Swim bladder disorder is a serious condition and can be fatal. Fish with swim bladder disorder can experience bloating, lethargy, listlessness, difficulty swimming, and difficulty staying submerged. This can often be treated by increasing dietary fiber, but not always. Even with diet changes, swim bladder disorder may require more significant treatment and lifelong interventions, such as surgery.

Aside from the risks, bread just doesn’t offer any meaningful nutritional value for fish.

Many goldfish die as a result of improper feeding, diet, and/or portion sizes – which can be easily prevented by proper education.

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sliced white bread
Image Credit: Gamzova Olga, Shutterstock

Other Foods to Avoid with Your Goldfish

Bread isn’t the only food that can cause problems for your goldfish. Here are other foods you should avoid:

  • Crackers: Like bread, crackers can swell in the stomach and cause constipation
  • Cereal: Grains can cause similar issues as bread for fish, not to mention the other ingredients that may be present in cereal like sugar
  • Tropical fish food: Tropical fish food is formulated specifically for tropical fish, not temperate fish like goldfish. Though it isn’t toxic or poisonous for goldfish, it isn’t a good long-term food option.
  • Candy: All candies meant for human consumption are not appropriate for goldfish.
  • Chocolate: Goldfish should not be fed chocolate.

What to Feed a Goldfish

Goldfish are omnivores and should have a varied diet for their health. They need a combination of vegetable-based, animal protein sources, and some vitamins and mineral supplements (if prescribed by an aquatic vet).

Most commercial fish food will supply the necessary nutrients for your goldfish. If possible, use sinking pelleted food, which stimulates your goldfish’s foraging nature. If you come across a floating pellet, you can make it sink by pre-soaking it for a few minutes and then carefully squeezing to release the trapped air.

You should also feed a supplement of animal protein from frozen foods, such as bloodworms, mosquito larvae, or brine shrimp. These are widely available at pet stores and aquarium suppliers.

Fancy Goldfish
Image Credit: Ko Thongtawat, Shutterstock

You can also supplement your fish’s diet with the occasional vegetable treat. Zucchini, cucumber, and peas without the skin are good options, as well as small portions of fruit like bananas. It’s important to make sure these foods are small enough for your goldfish to eat comfortably, however, and to avoid overfeeding.

Like other fish, goldfish can be overeaters and may literally eat themselves to death. You should only feed enough for them to consume in a few minutes. Healthy adult goldfish only need to eat a few times a week, but younger goldfish need more frequent meals.

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Conclusion

Though goldfish may try to eat anything they can, it doesn’t mean they should. Many foods are hazardous for goldfish, including bread and other grains. It’s important to provide your fish with a complete and balanced commercial or homemade fish food and limit treats to fish-safe foods on occasion.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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