You will need to feed your goldfish as they can’t live on the weed alone. While you need to feed you must not overfeed. This is the most common way to pollute the water and kill your fish.
You can feed once a day or you may feed smaller amounts twice a day but the once a day method is most common if not the best.
The instructions on my current feed say, “Fish should be fed several times daily. Only feed what your fish will eat in live minutes at each feeding. Do not over feed”
This is usually about a pinch of feed between the fingers if you are feeding flakes. Goldfish will eat just about everything that is given to them. This is a wild fish strategy but no use to the goldfish in the tank. Limit the feed.
Flakes are the commonest type of feeding. As you gain experience and even become a hobbyist it is probable that you will use other kinds of feed. Flakes are a balanced diet but look at the label to make sure they have some animal protein, as the fish need it. Watch that with the flakes the fish are not gulping too much air as this can cause problems. The labels on my feed read like a chemistry text but don’t be bemused by it all. They are all generally good and balanced. If you get very serious about your fish you will begin to invest time in protein levels, fibre and trace elements but this Will come later, or never at all. Pelleted feed is also very good and just as easy as flakes. Really, all the feeds are good if you can feed the correct amount.
The vast array of fish food can be a bit daunting to the beginner. Start with something simple like flakes or pellets and develop from there.
Have a look at other products and use them when you are ready or the goldfish need a change.
The two kinds of pelleted feed need to be used differently. With the floating pellets they need to be presoaked and the air squeezed out of them. This helps with the digestive process of the fish. You can also do this with flakes but you just have to hold them in water for a second or two. Sinking pellets can be put straight in the tank without any problems. Read the instructions before using any food that you haven’t used before or is new to the goldfish.
Feeding the goldfish is one of the best parts of keeping them. The goldfish become energized and stimulated and the owners, especially children, love it. This is where problems occur, as it seems that it is good for them and you. It is easy to get carried away and add just a bit more. Try not to. A goldfish’s digestive system is basically just a tube and the excess feed will probably come out the other end much as it went in. This causes pollution problems.
These feeds are handy but they can be a bit boring for the goldfish (just a guess!). Imagine eating the same food every day form birth to death. Even at five years this is a bit much.
To vary the diet you can add a number of foods that will engage the goldfish and add interest to your hobby. Even something as simple as adding a lettuce leaf to the side of the tank for the goldfish to nibble at can be beneficial. Take care to remove it so the leaf does not rot as squishy lettuce will develop unpleasant problems in the tank (ammonia). Some lettuces are firmer in the leaf than others, (eg Romaine) and prove a better addition to the tank. These varieties will last longer than a day.
At some pet shops you can also buy both frozen and live bloodworms. These can be an excellent addition to the diet. The animal protein is good for the goldfishes overall health and helps keep the digestive tract in shape. With bloodworms you need to be very careful that you do not overfeed as they will rot very quickly and contaminate the water. Also watch that you do not unfreeze, then refreeze them as this may make them carry harmful bacteria and poison the goldfish.
Also available for purchase are more exotic sounding items such as dried plankton and krill. These are feed in the same way as any dried feed and add the required animal protein. Goldfish will also eat the shrimp that you can buy and this has much the same effect as the bloodworm or any animal product. These types of feeds are especially good for children to learn about as they have some educational value as well as being fun.
Peas are readily available and are a good supplement to the diet. You do not need to have fresh peas, frozen will do quite well. If you are in a hurry get some frozen out and give them a blast in the microwave. Take or squeeze the outer shell off and drop them in the tank. You can cut them up if you want to but this is for smaller goldfish. Another around the home feed that is readily available is cooked rice. Feed when you have some for your own use and use it as an occasional treat. This is also a useful treat if you are out of feed for a night, but it is not a recommended feed for any longer.
Another vegetable product that can be used from around the home is broccoli.
Cook it as normal or microwave it until soft. cut up the soft end bits. Don’t throw in the whole big chunk. The fish will never eat an entire chunk, you’ll be wasting your time trying to get it out before it rots or clogs the filter.
The final food that can be used from around the suburban home are earthworms. They are a great source of protein and they have proven to be a favorite food of fish for centuries. Just ask any freshwater fisherman or fisherwoman. A note of caution must be exercised with worms. Be careful of any toxins or chemicals near the place you collect them. These will kill your fish. You can now even buy organic earthworms especially bred for the purpose of feeding fish. Also be prepared to cut them up to feed to the fish. This can be a bit messy and many people freeze them first as it makes the job easier. This raises ethical issues and many don’t like this job. If not don’t feed them. The choice is yours.
If you become a very serious breeder or hobbyist you can make your own feed. I have never done this but some breeders prefer to do this to ensure that the feed has the right levels of everything. As I haven’t done it I can’t recommend it and I think the bought feed offers a wide enough range. The process is also very messy and time consuming. You can get the details about this from clubs and show people.
Feeding when you’re away or ‘vacation feeding’ is not about getting the neighbors to come in, fill the tank with feed and go away. You will only come back to dead fish in murky water. If you are only going away for a few days up to a week, the week can be fasted. This means they get no feed at all. They will be all right for this period of time and you have to worry less about the water becoming dirty.
If you leave feeding instructions make sure they are very clear. Remember the people feeding your fish may not love them quite like you do and they will not take the same care. This is often the cause of overfeeding. It may be much safer to put the daily feed in a measured container. Then your fish sitter can follow the instructions without thinking about it.