Goldfish food plays a powerful role in an aquaponics setup.
It’s what keeps your fish healthy and thriving – while in turn provide nutrients for your plants.
The question is…
… What kind of organic goldfish food for aquaponics should you choose?
Today I’m bringing you my top 3 picks.
1. Northfin Food Goldfish Formula
And it’s not just me.
Many other goldfish keepers absolutely LOVE this food for their goldfish aquaponic systems.
It isn’t certified organic.
But they DO use all natural and even some organic ingredients.
… The formula is made to specifically address goldfish nutritional needs.
Unlike other brands, it uses high-quality, marine-based protein as one of the main ingredients – whole antarctic krill meal & herring meal.
(Whole is the best kind!)
It has no fillers, which often cause cloudy water problems and digestive issues.
Here’s the bottom line:
This food offers the best balance between natural, wholesome, good quality ingredients and what your goldfish need to eat.
If you’re looking for certified organic, there is one on the market, but keep reading and you’ll know why I would go with Northfin instead.
2. Repashy Super Gold
And especially if you keep fancy goldfish, gel food is ideal at helping to prevent all-to common swim bladder problems due to the high moisture content.
High digestibility = healthier, stronger fish.
My goldfish seriously go crazy over this stuff.
As far as nutrition goes:
The ingredients can’t be beat.
Despite not being certified organic, you’ll notice that there’s not nearly as many “unpronounceables” and fortifiers as you often find in other foods.
(Generally, when a food has a lot of fortifiers, it’s because it didn’t have much nutritional value to start with.)
One thing I really like about it is that it doesn’t have wheat products, which can irritate the intestinal tract of the goldfish.
The bottom line?
If you are looking for the best food for your aquaponics goldfish, Super Gold is an excellent choice.
Again, it isn’t an organic goldfish food, but below I touch on why I feel you shouldn’t sacrifice a goldfish’s nutritional requirements just because it has the organic labeling.
3. AquaOrganic Aquaponics Fish Feed
This is probably one of the only brands that manufactures USDA certified organic food marketed to goldfish aquaponics.
Looking at the full list of ingredients here:
Organic Rice Bran, Organic Canola, Organic Flax Meal, Organic Alfalfa Meal, Organic Oat Groats, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Lactobacillus Fermentation Product, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Ferric Choline Citrate Complex, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Sulfur, Ferric Choline Citrate Complex, Copper Sulfate, Copper Choline Citrate Complex, Cobalt Choline Citrate Complex, Potassium Citrate, Attapulgite Clay, Reed Sedge Peat, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3, Natural Source Vitamin E, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine (HCL), Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Yeast Culture, Niacin, Biotin, Folic acid, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite, Organic Dried Kelp, Organic Grape Seed Powder, Enzyme Product, Organic Lecithin, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Calcium Hydroxide, Organic Garlic, Diatomaceous Earth, Natural Source (Mg, Fe, K), Organic Tomato Powder, Organic Sources of (Orange Peel AquaOrganic Fish FeedPowder, Cayenne Pepper, Dandelion Root Extract, Cloves, Sage, Peppermint, Fennel, Hops, Parsley, Thyme, Lemon Grass, Elder Flowers, Chamomile Flowers, Licorice, Basil, Ginger), Yucca Schidigera, Granite Dust
It might not look too concerning to most people, but…
Here’s the catch:
When it comes to goldfish nutrition, I’ve got some major concerns about what’s in this food (and what’s not in it).
- Why is the first ingredient Rice Bran? Goldfish aren’t grain eaters. The first ingredient means there’s more of that than anything else in the food. These complex carbs tend to cause cloudy water problems due to poor digestibility. Fiber is important to the diet of a goldfish, but it is best supplied through supplementation with fresh veggies – not through grain-based bran in your staple diet. In my opinion this brand really missed the boat here.
- More importantly… where is the good quality marine-based protein in here? Goldfish aren’t vegetarians and need high-quality marine-based protein for proper muscular development and growth. A good quality goldfish food will ensure this is in the first few ingredients… but in this mixture it’s nowhere to be found. Maybe this is because they are trying to cater this food to tilapia growers as well, but in my book this is unacceptable for any goldfish food intended to be a diet staple.
- Some of these ingredients seem very strange to put in a goldfish food. Canola, flax meal, diatomaceous earth, peppermint, hops and granite dust. What exactly are they trying to accomplish with these? Have you ever seen a fish in the wild munching on flax seeds or hops?
Overall, despite boasting an organic label, this does not seem like a good long-term diet staple that can meet the nutritional requirements of goldfish.
Just because it is “certified organic” and has a mile long list of fortifiers doesn’t make it a good food.
Organic means is there’s no pesticides, so that’s a bonus, but to me that pro doesn’t outweigh the cons on this one.
I’m all pro-organic, but not at the expense of the fish’s nutritional needs.
Why take the risk of dietary deficiencies in your fish (a very real problem among fish in captivity)?
So what am I getting at?
There’s much more important things than organic to a goldfish.
Factors like high-quality marine-based protein, good fats and carbs are what I look at when choosing food for my goldfish.
And let’s face it:
Without proper nutrition, your goldies aren’t going to be around long to help you with your aquaponics project.
Good nutrition helps your goldfish live as long as it should and stay strong and healthy.
A big part of people do aquaponics is because they want to produce wholesome veggies for human consumption and try to minimize toxic substances.
When an aquaponics system is used to grow plants, there is no need for spraying pesticides, weed killers or adding chemical fertilizers to the water (this would harm the fish anyway).
So you are already leaps and bounds ahead of most commercial produce, regardless of what you feed your fish.
“But I don’t want to add any chemicals to my aquaponics system, not even the trace amount in some fish foods!”
If you’ve put a typical fish water conditioner in your system, you’ve already added a chemical.
The trace amount of some preservative in a better quality fish food is far less than that.
(For what it’s worth, you can find all-natural vitamin-based water conditioner here.)
If there were a food out there that combined organic with good nutrition – that would be awesome.
I have yet to find it, so these are the best options as far as I am aware.
So if it were me, I’d go with NorthFin or Repashy for an aquaponics system with goldfish.
Don’t forget your foraging materials.
It’s important to give your goldfish a good quality staple diet, but no matter what you use for that they still need something to graze on throughout the day.
You can read more about this in our feeding article.
Did this article help you?
What kind of food do you plan on giving your fishy friends?
Let me know in the comments below!