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Barnacles

How are my Goldfishes' Diet?

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I have one common goldfish about 5" long named Haans, a fantail about 3" long named Hugo, and a black moor about 2.5" long named Herbert. They live in a 30 gallon tank with a 90 gallon filter. Haans will be relocated to my 55 gallon tank when he is larger. I have an Aqueon water changer so I don't mind changing 10 gallons out of their tank every week....

Anyways, this is my fishes' daily staple diet:

Meal 1 - 7:45 AM:

Small pinch of TetraFin Goldfish Flakes, small pinch of freeze-dried bloodworms, half of a broken up algae wafer, and two Wardley pond pellets. (I know Wardley isn't that good, but it was a big jar my mom got me for Christmas and she doesn't know much about fish.)

Meal 2 - 9:00 PM:

Small pinch of TetraFin Goldfish Flakes, small pinch of freeze-dried bloodworms, half of a broken up algae wafer, and two Wardley pond pellets.

I am hatching some brine shrimp eggs now that I'm going to include in their diet in about a week when they're about ¼ inch long. Should I fast one day a week too? I try to keep their regular flake food above 40% protein. Right now it is 45%.

Edited by Barnacles

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Firstly, you are changing way too little water for the stocking you have. I really encourage to do either do bigger water changes, or more frequent water changes. Which of these two I would recommend will depend on your tap and tank pH.

Secondly, I think that the food that you have for them are not particularly good. You don't have to run after brand names, but you should heed the warnings against flakes and freeze-dried foods. I would scrap all of the current food and get a bottle of Omega One. It costs about $7, and should last you for at least half a year.

There is also a major veggie deficiency in the diet of your goldfish. You need not go out and buy veggies, but you can pinch off some from your mom's weekly veggies that she buys. Blanch and feed. This is very important.

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Firstly, you are changing way too little water for the stocking you have. I really encourage to do either do bigger water changes, or more frequent water changes. Which of these two I would recommend will depend on your tap and tank pH.

Secondly, I think that the food that you have for them are not particularly good. You don't have to run after brand names, but you should heed the warnings against flakes and freeze-dried foods. I would scrap all of the current food and get a bottle of Omega One. It costs about $7, and should last you for at least half a year.

There is also a major veggie deficiency in the diet of your goldfish. You need not go out and buy veggies, but you can pinch off some from your mom's weekly veggies that she buys. Blanch and feed. This is very important.

It might not seem like enough to you, but now that my tank is cycled I always keep my nitrates under 20 ppm.

When I get some money I'm going to buy them Pro-Gold or some Repashy Soilent Green. I'll try to give them more vegetables too, thats why I started feeding them algae wafers. I'll try to give them lettuce or peas once a week. Once I tried to make gel food. I put half a cup of peas, half a cup of lettuce, half a cup of green beans, half an orange, a can of tuna, about a quarter cup of brine shrimp, a multivitamin, 3½ cups of water and 3 gelatin packets. When it was frozen, I cut a piece off and dropped it into the fish tank. As they nibbled it, it kinda broken into a million tiny pieces and got all over my tank...

Also, whats bad about flake or freeze-dried foods?

Edited by Barnacles

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Keeping nitrates low isn't the only goal to big water changes. There are a ton of other factors/wastes in that water that you want removed, including dissolved organics. I repeat, that amount of water change is not enough. You can disagree, but I can tell you that you do so at the risk of opening yourself up for potential problems. Also, with this hobby, it really should not be how much you can get away with doing, but what you should be doing to keep your system in optimal conditions always.

Flake foods encourage surface gulping, and it is thought that by their nature, they leech out all the good nutrients much more quickly than pellets.

Freeze-dried foods will expand quite a bit when rehydrated in the gut of the fish. This will cause digestive issues.

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Keeping nitrates low isn't the only goal to big water changes. There are a ton of other factors/wastes in that water that you want removed, including dissolved organics. I repeat, that amount of water change is not enough. You can disagree, but I can tell you that you do so at the risk of opening yourself up for potential problems. Also, with this hobby, it really should not be how much you can get away with doing, but what you should be doing to keep your system in optimal conditions always.

Flake foods encourage surface gulping, and it is thought that by their nature, they leech out all the good nutrients much more quickly than pellets.

Freeze-dried foods will expand quite a bit when rehydrated in the gut of the fish. This will cause digestive issues.

Okay, I will take a little more than 10 gallons out from now on. I'll try to do 15 gallons a week. I don't want to do any more because then I would probably ruin my cycle.

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Why would changing water ruin your cycle? Your beneficial bacteria are not free floating. They colonize surfaces, and the bulk of them will be found in your gravel and in your filter media. It is worth repeating: Water does not contain significant amounts of BBs, so big water changes will not ruin your cycle.

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I'm about to go to bed but I saw the word 'goldfish diet' and I'll cross post from my goldfish blog my article on diet, so I apologize if it's a tad long winded.

Creating a Balanced Diet for Your Goldfish

What do you feed you goldies; Flakes? Pellets? Whatever’s cheapest? Many people buy flake food thinking that it is an aquatic staple that’s been around for years, so it must be good, right? Flakes are actually among the worst things you could feed a goldfish. Flakes are a conglomerate of fish meal and fillers (aka grains) that are baked to give them a longer shelf life. Upon contact with water whatever remaining nutrients contained within them quickly leach out into the water. Once consumed by the fish they continue to absorb water which will cause the food to expand within the fish’s gut. This will put pressure on the other organs within the body cavity, leading to swim bladder issues and malnutrition. Flakes provide very little nutrients and are equivalent of human fast food; made of questionable ingredients, sold for cheap, and are overall detrimental to the health of the fish. But with approximately 80% of fish-keeping hobbyists feeding their fish exclusively prepared foods that most commonly are produced in flake, pellet, or tablet form(Riehl, Rüdiger); how can a consumer know what food to feed?

A full healthy diet will be comprised of more than just a commercial food product. This is true for any fish and especially important in goldfish. Goldfish are omnivores, meaning they consume both plants and animals, and need the benefits from both in order to grow properly. Their diet should include lots of protein, this is especially important in younger fish, and lots of greens. Starting young goldfish off on a high quality pelleted food is a good start. Progold is my pellet of choice if you want to maximize growth in your fish. It doesn’t contain any hormones or beef/chicken bi-products that many companies use as cheap protein sources. While this is an excellent start, it should not be their sole source of protein. A few other note worthy pellet brands include Hikari products and Omega One, I have used these two with decent success. Omega one’s first ingredient is whole salmon, followed by cod and halibut. It does contain astaxanthin, which is a coloring carotenoid included to enhance the color of your fish. It will make reds brighter but may also cause white fish to become yellow, so this is something to consider when purchasing. Both Hikari and Omega one contain color enhancing ingredients. Omega One’s pellets also include ethoxyquin, which is used as a preservative to stop fat in the fish meal from becoming rancid. However all fish meal being imported into the US must be treated with a preservative, so if you’re going for a commercial brand it’s nearly unavoidable. This should not stop you from purchasing it however but it is another good reason why pellets should only be one portion of a balanced diet.

Perhaps the most important facet of a goldfish’s diet is fresh and frozen foods. Fresh greens make an excellent snack for goldies, and they can graze and eat large amount while still being gentle on their digestive system. I personally like using kale, it’s high in calcium, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. My fish love it and it’s fairly cheap. I’d avoid using any green that isn’t actually green or dark in color. Things like iceberg lettuce are mainly water and lack any real nutritional value. Most stores sell something along the lines of ‘spring mix’ which normally contains baby spinach, arugula, baby romaine, red cabbage, etc. This is okay to feed and both you and your fish can eat it! To prepare greens you must boil/steam/nuke them in order to make them soft enough for the goldies to bite off. I normally put the leafy green of choice in a mug filled with tank water and put it in the microwave for four minutes or until soft enough to serve. Kale is pretty tough so you may need to heat it longer to get it nice and mushy. Greens can be served in gel food (which I will discuss in depth in a different article) or on a veggie clip, which can be purchased cheaply at any pet or fish store. You can then attach the clip to the inside of the tank in any spot you want. The fish may not understand at first that leafy greens are food, so don’t get discouraged if they turn their noses up. Try fasting them for a day and then feeding them small pieces of your green of choice as you would normal food; goldfish tend to go after any floating object as potential food so this is a good way to introduce them to greens. Afterwards put the veggie clip in and wait! You can leave the greens in until they become discolored, although mine are normally demolished within 5-6 hours. I’ve found this is also handy if the goldies are in a planted tank, feeding them pellets/frozen foods during the day and leaving a veggie clip in overnight gives them something to snack on almost constantly and they are more likely to leave plants alone. Peas are also recommended to be fed once a week after a fasting day. A day of fasting per week keeps the fish’s digestive system regular and the pea acts as a laxative to ensure the gut is clean and to prevent constipation. To prepare a pea you would just heat it up until soft in the microwave or on a stove top, then you can squish the pea until it becomes de-shelled, do not feed the shell to the goldfish. Feed the pea to the goldie and then the next day feed as you normally would. Below are pictures showing a veggie clip being used by my hamanishiki pearlscale, Roosevelt.

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The other important aspect of a balanced diet is protein, and while a lot of it can come from pellets there are many other ways to provide protein packed foods for your fish. The easiest option is using frozen foods such as bloodworms, brineshrimp, etc. These can be purchased at any major petstore and are normally found in a small freezer by the fish section. They are a safe and easy way to provide protein for your fish. Simply thaw a the amount you intent to feed in tank water and serve! I like to turn off the filters for a few minutes to let them forage for the food which provides added mental stimulation and encourages natural foraging behaviors. Fresh cooked fish is another option, my fish particularly enjoy salmon and all white fish such as tilapia, cod, flounder, etc. I normally just take a small portion from my own meal, which I bake in the oven with no spices, and feed it to them. This is another excellent protein source and the fish really seem to enjoy it. Try to avoid anything that says “freezedried” as many things like bloodworms come freezedried and do not have to be refrigerated. They, like flakes, quickly expand in the gut and should be avoided. There are always healthier options that will benefit the fish much more.

My feeding regime includes a pellet mix of omega one sinking pellets (both small and medium sizes), spirulina pellets, and progold. During the week they’re also fed fresh fish and kale. I recommend feeding smaller fish more often than their large counterparts if possible. Feeding several small meals a day is ideal and a balanced diet will cause rapid growth in a young and otherwise healthy goldfish. Increased feeding will also lead to increased waste, so be sure to monitor water parameters for signs of ammonia as the bioload may be too much for the cycle to handle. Below you can see my young ryukin Kaiashirui after a month of proper feeding and growth. The picture to the right is from late June of 2012, and the left is from August of 2012. As you can see with the right feeding and maintenance rapid growth is achievable, in Kai’s case nearly doubling in size in a month’s time.

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This concludes my article on creating a balanced diet for your goldie! If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Sources:

Riehl, Rüdiger. Editor.; Baensch, HA (1996. 5th Edn.). Aquarium Atlas. Germany: Tetra Press. ISBN 3-88244-050-3.

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Great article!!

I think many of the members here do frequent large water changes and it doesn't mess with our cycles. I do at least weekly changes and usually change out about 90% each time. As long as your tank pH and tap pH are within 0.2 it shouldn't be a problem. :)

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