If you have a pet goldfish, you probably enjoy feeding him. Cracker crumbs might seem like a natural snack; they are easy to find, delicious to humans, and float like fish flakes. But don’t go crushing crackers to feed them just yet! Crackers aren’t going to poison your goldfish, but they aren’t a great choice either. They can’t digest the salty, starchy food very well, so it’s best to pick a less processed snack. Eating crackers can also give your goldfish some serious constipation.
Did you know that goldfish don’t have stomachs? For mammals, food spends some time in our stomachs to break down before it goes into the digestive tract. That makes it easier for us to digest complex foods like carbs and get lots of nutrition out of it. But goldfish just have one long digestive tract. They get nutrition from their food as it passes through, but they can’t digest everything that humans digest.
Because of this, lots of human foods aren’t very good for goldfish. Crackers are likely to pass right through without the goldfish having a chance to get anything from them. And that’s the best-case scenario—if you’re unlucky, the waterlogged cracker will swell and get stuck, causing constipation.
Even if your crackers do pass through, they don’t meet your fish’s digestive needs. Salt and carbohydrate starches aren’t healthy for fish—they want vegetable foods that are high in fiber and vitamins, not processed grains. They also want protein sources; in the wild, this usually comes from insects. This omnivorous diet is much healthier than crackers, and processed fish foods try to copy it.
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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What are the Alternatives?
If you want to feed your goldfish something different, there are three different main categories: processed fish foods, vegetable foods, and insects. Fish foods like fish flakes and pellets are usually your fish’s main staple, but you can also buy a variety of food types to keep things mixed up.
Vegetable-based foods are best fed to your goldfish in small pieces. Boil hard vegetables to soften them before feeding. They make good occasional snacks. Some fruits and vegetables your goldfish can eat are peas, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, grapes, apples, bananas, strawberries, and raspberries.
Finally, you can also feed your goldfish many small insects and bugs from pet supply stores. These include brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, earthworms, and mealworms. Make sure to source your protein from someplace safe—a worm from the garden is likely to contain pesticide!
Whatever you choose to feed your fish, make sure not to overfeed. Remove uneaten food from the tank promptly to avoid rotting.
We love watching goldfish eat, and it’s great to give them a variety of foods in their diet. But not every food is ideal for goldfish. Make sure to feed your fish safe and healthy foods. Crackers are generally unhealthy for goldfish and can even be dangerous to their digestive system, so they aren’t the best choice.
Featured Image Credit: anasegota, Pixabay