Can Goldfish Eat Tropical Fish Food?

goldfish tropical fish flakes

Goldfish rank as one of the most popular aquarium fish. Just think of all the goldfish offered as prizes for some rigged carnival game.

This popularity of goldfish has led to many inexperienced goldfish owners not knowing what to feed their fish. Many new goldfish owners wonder if they can feed their goldfish tropical fish flakes/food.

Yes, you can feed your goldfish tropical fish flakes. It’s not an ideal food for goldfish because tropical fish flakes are meant for tropical fish that eat mostly meat whereas goldfish have an omnivorous diet with a heavy plant preference.

However, goldfish will do perfectly fine eating tropical fish flakes from time to time, but I don’t recommend feeding that to goldfish on a daily basis as it is not ideal and further away from a goldfish’s natural diet.

Anyway, I will cover why you can, but shouldn’t feed your goldfish tropical fish flakes. I will also cover better food to feed your goldfish in the event that you run out of the flakes you probably normally feed your goldfish.

Why Goldfish Shouldn’t Eat Tropical Fish Flakes

Yes, goldfish can eat tropical fish flakes. They will have no issues absorbing the nutrients in the food since flakes are meant for fish. But you shouldn’t give your goldfish tropical fish flakes because, well, those flakes are meant for tropical fish.

Goldfish aren’t tropical fish, which should be apparent by their preferred water temperature of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yeah, you definitely do not find water that cold in the tropics.

Anyway, tropical fish tend to be either carnivores or omnivores with a strong preference for meat. It’s just one of those things – tropical fish like eating meat and tend to be a little more aggressive and territorial than cold water fish.

With that in mind, goldfish are almost the complete opposite. I say almost because goldfish aren’t full vegetarians as goldfish will eat meat from time to time. The meat they eat is typically in the form of worms, mosquito larvae, or random insects that fall in the water.

That’s not really much meat, which is fine because goldfish are omnivores that can survive on a diet consisting of about 90% vegetables and 10% meat. They actually do best on a diet of mostly vegetables and other non-meat food.

To circle back to tropical fish flakes, those contain a lot of protein and fat to closely mimic the diet of tropical fish. Goldfish do not anywhere close to that amount of protein and fat in their diet.

Will all that protein and fat kill a goldfish?

No. But it’s not an ideal diet for them, and for that reason I do not recommend regularly feeding goldfish tropical fish flakes.

Goldfish Food For When You Run Out of Goldfish Flakes

The most common reason goldfish owners give their goldfish tropical fish flakes is that they run out of goldfish flakes and simply use tropical fish flakes from their guppy or betta tank.

Well, that’s ok as I covered in the previous section. But there are actually better foods for your goldfish readily available in most kitchens.

And no, it’s not crackers or bread. Please don’t feed your goldfish crackers or bread. And definitely don’t feed them chocolate.

My personal recommendation for goldfish food out of your kitchen are peas. Frozen peas or fresh peas both work perfectly fine. Just make sure to peel the skin off the peas before dropping them in the tank.

Goldfish can eat peas if you want out of flakes.

Corn, small chunks of lettuce, broccoli, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are all goldfish safe. Just make sure to tear the leafy greens into small pieces before dropping them in the tank.

The goldfish will tear up the leafy greens, but it just makes things easier if your tear them up into smaller pieces rather than dropping an entire

Don’t Give Goldfish Processed Food

Now, under absolutely no circumstances should you give your goldfish processed food.

I’ve mentioned this multiple times on this site – goldfish don’t have stomachs!

This means that they can’t properly breakdown processed food for proper absorbition. Further complicating matters, goldfish will expel the poorly digested processed food into the tank where bacteria in the tank will break it down.

Bacteria breaking down food in the tank is fine, but you don’t want to give the bacteria too much food to breakdown or that will lead to a bacterial bloom. And bacterial blooms lead to algae and a dirty tank.

Please, save yourself the trouble and don’t feed your goldfish processed food.

The order for ideal goldfish food goes something like this:

  1. Plants, worms, mosquito larvae, and small insects.
  2. Goldfish flakes.
  3. Goldfish pellets.
  4. Tropical fish flakes.

Notice that processed food didn’t even make the list?

That’s because you shouldn’t feed your goldfish, or any aquarium fish, processed food!

Final Thoughts

To summarize, goldfish can eat tropical fish flakes in a pinch, but don’t make it a habit to feed your goldfish those flakes. Your goldfish will be much happier if you drop some vegetables like peas or chopped lettuce in the tank.

And definitely don’t feed your goldfish crackers or chocolate. Other than that, the dietary needs of goldfish are not that complicated.

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