Goldfish Teeth


You don’t see them.  You can’t feel them.  To all appearances, goldfish are quite toothless.  So do goldfish really have teeth?

Yes, they do.  While small and impossible to see under normal circumstances and you’ll never feel your finger being chomped on like a piranha, goldfish have teeth and use them to grind up their food before they digest it like you and me.  The aren’t spiky like shark teeth, but are rather flat and are located in the back of their throats rather than directly inside their mouths.  These kinds are called pharyngeal teeth.

When chewing, the goldfish make distinct clicking sounds.  You can hear it if the filters are off, its very quiet in the room and your ear is close to the glass of the tank.  The crunchier the food, the easier it is to hear it in my experience.  It sounds like a high pitched, resounding crunch that echoes off the glass.  Betta fish also make this sound as they eat.

Did you know that goldfish actually lose their teeth?  It’s true – their teeth are always growing and falling out to be readily replaced by new teeth.  They don’t eat them when this happens – the old ones then land at the bottom of the tank, either to fall in between the rocks or land on the sand or the glass in a bare-bottom tank.  The larger the goldfish, the larger the tooth, so the teeth of older fish will be easier to spot.  You can even collect them if you happen to see them lying around.  This video shows one goldfish owner’s collection of her fish’s teeth!  Who knew?

The fact that goldfish have teeth is just one more way that goldfish are such fascinating pets.  You will always be learning more about them!

Credit: ikhyon Kwon, Shutterstock