Goldfish belong to the carp family, that was domesticated quite early by human beings. Not only are they colorful, but their popularity as aquarium fish stems from the fact that they have impressive associative learning abilities. Goldfish also display keen social learning skills. They are cold-water fish. Hence, they do not require the temperature of water in the aquarium to be regulated. Despite this, it is important to know that these fish are generally sensitive to drastic or frequent change in water temperature. Goldfish can also be kept in ponds and if that is where a fish owner wants to keep his pets, then he should go for the hardier varieties like common goldfish, comet, wakin, and shubunkin goldfish, that adapt well to the temperature changes with the seasons in pond water. Of the various aspects of goldfish care, we will deal with one, which is feeding goldfish.
Important Diet Aspects
What to Feed?
Goldfish are omnivores and so one has a lot of options about what to feed them. However, as compared to food for other fish, goldfish food should have lower protein and higher carbohydrate content. Goldfish food is commercially available in the form of flakes or pellets. Food forms that float are the best option, as that would enable one to remove any excess from the tank. However, to add variety, one could also feed mashed peas (with skin removed) and blanched leaves of vegetables to their pet goldfish. Live and frozen foods can also be fed. However, it is best to get live food available in pet shops, as those caught from the wild may carry parasites and organisms that cause goldfish diseases. Brine shrimp and spirulina are good for the digestive system of these fish.
How Much to Feed?
Goldfish have an impressive appetite. You might notice that they gobble up all the food almost every time they are added to the fish tank. However, don't be fooled by this display of hunger as most first time fish enthusiasts are. Goldfish pollute the water in the tank frequently. If they are overfed, this leads to further dirtying of water due to increase in the amount of waste that they excrete. However, more importantly, an overfed goldfish is sure to fall sick. As a general rule, they should be fed only as much as they can eat within the first two minutes. Anything more than that is overfeeding.
How Often to Feed?
Another question that owners ask is how often do you feed goldfish. The answer to this question is, no more than twice a day. However, while feeding your fish in the winter, one needs to bring the frequency down to once every day. This is because, with a drop in the temperature of water, the metabolism of these fish also drops. Hence, the amount of diet should be reduced so that they do not run the risk of being overfed. For proper goldfish care, the amount and frequency of feeding is just as important as what is fed.
Feeding Goldfish While on Vacation
It's the time of the year that you have been desperately waiting for to go out on a vacation! But how to care for your pet goldfish while you are away? The most important aspect of goldfish care is feeding it. If you are going out for four days or less, then your fish could do without being fed during this time. However, if it is five days or more, then it is better to make arrangements for feeding the fish. Get someone to feed your pet every fourth day. You might have explained the amount of food that your fish has to be fed, but you can never be sure that your fish is not being overfed. Many owners come back from their vacation to hear the shocking news that their pet died due to overfeeding! You would definitely like to avoid that. So just pack food for your goldfish in small plastic baggies with the feeding dates written on them. Another option is to use food blocks called vacation blocks or banquet blocks. These are blocks of plaster of Paris with fish food in them. As the plaster of Paris slowly dissolves, bits of fish food are exposed that the fish can nibble on.
Having the correct information about feeding a goldfish is one the most important care tips. However, remember never to get too excited about the constant grazing behavior that your pet displays. Clean water and restraining from overfeeding your goldfish are crucial for its health.