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Guest proteanlives

Too Much Spinach A Bad Thing?

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Guest proteanlives

Hi,

I apologize if this has been addressed before, but I have seen some conflicting information about whether it is safe to feed goldfish spinach and wanted to find out what you guys thought. I have always seen spinach listed as one of the foods that were safe for goldfish after a little blanching or freezing, but I recently came across a post on this site that said that spinach can cause health problems. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the post now, (I think it was buried in the thread about gel food) and I can't remember the exact rationale behind it, but I think it had something to do with spinach containing excessive iron and/or causing a problem with calcium uptake???

I keep food clip full of blanched spinach in my tank pretty much all of the time for my fish to graze on in between morning and evening feedings. They absolutely love it, and my three goldies go through a small handful of it every day. I have been doing this for years and have not noticed any negative effects, but if I am doing something that could potentially shorten their lives even slightly I will find something else for them to eat or ration it out a little more carefully. For some reason they won't eat romaine lettuce or any other leafy green that I have tried other than spinach directly from the clip.

Does anyone have any more information about this?

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I have a book at home that says something similar. I forget the title, but it's published by Animal Planet Press and it's a guide to goldfish, and it's honestly a decent book -- advocates 20 gallons for one fancy, 10+ for each additional, huge water changes, etc. A refreshingly accurate book, I thought, and good info for beginners.

And the author said something in it about spinach being harmful, but I can't remember why. I'll try to remember to look it up tonight.

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That would definitely be a good thing to know about. Especially considering I am feeding my fish a ton of spinach!!

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That would definitely be a good thing to know about. Especially considering I am feeding my fish a ton of spinach!!

I also would like to know this, please. Links to posts and references so I can read more would be much appreciated.

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I have heard some rumors around spinach regarding snails specifically, that it can actually inhibit their ability to take in calcium (which is needed for shell maintenance/growth) because there is some sort of binding agent in it that makes the calcium unavailable, but it did not come from any reputable source, just from discussion boards. idk.

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I also would like to know this, please. Links to posts and references so I can read more would be much appreciated.

I'm only planning to quote from the one book I have that discusses this, and am not claiming that the author's word is definitive in any way. If you want links to posts and references so you can read more, I recommend Google.

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I also would like to know this, please. Links to posts and references so I can read more would be much appreciated.

I'm only planning to quote from the one book I have that discusses this, and am not claiming that the author's word is definitive in any way. If you want links to posts and references so you can read more, I recommend Google.

Thanks! I have already started googling. However, since there were mentions of posts and references, I had to ask in the spirit of wanting to learn more. I am not that lazy not to do my own part, but thanks for your kind suggestion though. When I do find something, I will share my findings. :)

Edit: I just saw Red's post. Thank you for pointing me in the direction of the oxalic acid. I had no idea about that at all!

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The oxalic acid in spinach blocks intake/absorption of calcium. This is true for us too if we eat too much. :)

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Ok, as promised and thanks to Red who pointed me to where to look, this is what I've found thanks to my good friend Google. Certainly, this is just a little summary of my readings and not meant to be the "definitive" anything. I took an immediate interest in this because I, too, like to give my goldfish spinach and I did not want to be doing something inadvertently that could hurt them. Please add anything else you have, as it is great to be learning and reading new things. :)

- spinach and certain other leafy greens can contain very high levels of oxalic acid, which can bind to calcium to form calcium oxalate. In humans, these oxalate deposits get trapped in the kidney and eventually develop into kidney stones

- in the process of forming calcium oxalate, the oxalic acid takes away calcium present, depriving the host of calcium for other physiological functions. However, it should be noted that the calcium deprivation happens only in the food that is eaten at the same time as food containing oxalic acid (spinach). Once this product has been digested and processed by the liver, this is no longer a problem. In other words, there is no long lasting effects, and a healthy well-rounded diet means that spinach can be a part of your (or your fish's) diet. (Finally, there is thought that raw spinach doesn't do this, but rather cooked spinach.)

- A recent medical journal publication shows that there is no risk of kidney stones from eating spinach etc.

- In summary, the message is that spinach clearly can have deleterious physiological effects, but you (or your fish) would have to consume a lot of it and eating it almost exclusively in order for this to happen.

Thanks for reading. Here are some references, if you are interested. These talk about human consumption of spinach, but they also just talk about the how/why spinach can be deleterious. That particular bit of info I believe can be translated to other animals :)

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400344/Avoid-Vegetables-with-Oxalic-Acid.html

http://debbietookrawforlife.blogspot.com/2009/04/spinach-and-oxalate-acid-thing.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17538185

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Interesting. I wouldn't be too concerned.

Edited by Calluna

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It isn't a huge issue in fish tho. Just don't abuse it.

I CANNOT feed it to my turtles and tortoises because they depend so much on high calcium foods for good shell development and growth. If you feed foods with high oxalic acid then you get issues :)

If you want replacements any weeds are what I feed the torts. The Lionteeth or whatever you call it is extremely healthy - so I imagine good for fish too.

This is what I am talking about incase lion teeth doesn't ring bell with anyone lol!

Russischer%20L?wenzahn.jpg

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Federica, I remember dandelions being very healthy overall. At least when I was still in Europe, I even read recipes for salads somewhere. We often harvested some from the meadows close by to feed to my sister's bunny.

I have also read that this is healthy for fish, but here in my area I rarely see them grow because everyone has to mow their lawn to death :doh11:

Alex, thank you very much for sharing all your findings! I believe things like this to be very important and very helpful. :) After all we are a community here on Koko's and sharing important information like this is very much appreciated :thumbs:

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I think as with any food we eat or feed our fish or any animal, moderation is the rule to follow. Spinach is very healthy and feeding a couple times/week is not going to hurt! A steady diet of any one food isn't good for any of us!

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To follow up on what I posted yesterday, I found that book I mentioned -- it's "Aquarium Care of Goldfish" by David E. Boruchowitz, from the Animal Planet Pet Care LIbrary, published in 2009. As I said earlier, it's really quite excellent for a small sold-at-the-LFS paperback. Very reader-friendly, too, and absolutely perfect for a first-time goldfish owner.

Anyway, on page 61, the author writes:

Spinach is probably not a good choice for your goldfish, because its chemical makeup is quite different from that of aquatic plants, and it contains substances that interfere with the absorption of various nutrients.

So, not very scientific, but it was enough to make me go, "Oh, yeah, I think I heard something like that," when I read the OP's first post.

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Very interesting information.... See and in humans makes you wonder when you have a kidney stone, how much green leafs you eaten :o

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