Goldfish eating food

There are lots of different kinds of goldfish food to choose from … but pellets are a great way to go for those very reasons.  Personally, I really like them.


Not all pellets are created equal. 

You’ll want to make sure you feed your goldfish the right kind of pellet to prevent issues like flipover problems or the more sinister fatty liver disease.

Our Picks of the Top 3 Pellet Brands


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The hands-down BEST brand of goldfish pellets is Northfin (a favorite of goldfish breeders).  The ingredients are top-notch, and this food boasts a quality ingredient profile founded on whole antarctic krill, organic kelp, and Omega 3 rich herring meal.  No fillers, no byproducts – just wholesome goodness for your fishy friends!  This is also perfect choice for those with goldfish aquaponic systems due to the high quality of ingredients used in the formula.

Why We Love it:

  • No fillers, hormones or byproducts – just quality ingredients

  • Rich in Omega 3 from marine sources for more vibrant color

  • A top choice of goldfish breeders

Kelp, Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, High Omega-3 (DHA) Herring Meal, Whole Sardine Meal, Wheat Flour,  Spirulina, Garlic, Astaxanthin (Haematococcus Algae), Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin A Acetate, L-Ascorby-2-Polyphospate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Activated Animal-Sterol (D3), DL Alphatocopherol (E), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamine, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Selenium, Zinc.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (Min): 36%, Crude Fat (Min): 5%, Crude Fiber (Max): 5%, Moisture (Max): 9%, Ash (Max): 10%

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Now, not all goldfish are as sensitive as some of the more swim-bladder “impaired” ones.  For that reason, many other fishkeepers find they really like Omega One Goldfish Pellets.  It’s got lots of good marine-based proteins and is available in a bulk size for those with lots of fish (or perhaps a pond).

Why We Love it:

  • Most economical choice (but best quality for the price)

  • Low-starch formula allows for better digestibility

  • Omega 3’s from Salmon rather than low quality meal

Whole Salmon, Whole Herring, Whole Shrimp, Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Fresh Kelp, Lecithin, Astaxanthin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Phosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Natural And Artificial Colors, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid, Biotin, Inositol, Tocopherol (Preservative), Ethoxyquin (Preservative).

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude protein (min) 33%, crude fat (min) 8%, crude fiber (max) 2%, moisture (max) 8.5%, ash (max) 8%, phosphorus (min) .5%, omega 3 (min) 1%, omega 6

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There’s another great brand on the market… and that’s Azayaka sinking pellets. It’s marketed towards Ranchu owners, but the truth is that all goldfish have the same fundamental dietary needs. Azayaka comes in a variety of formulas, the difference being the percentage of protein needed, depending on the age of your fish:

Fun fact:

A study was done that proved floating pellets do not cause swim bladder disorder.  The problem isn’t the trapped air – the problem is the quality of the ingredients in the food.

Why We Love it:

  • A great option for sensitive swim bladders

  • Includes fish collagen for stronger bones and scales

  • Can help assist in wen development for Oranda, Ranchu and Lionhead goldfish breeds

Fish meal, krill meal, wheat germ, beer yeast, soybeans oil cake, flour, alfalfa meal, garlic powder, fish collagen, calcium phosphate, seaweed powder, chitin・chitosan, plant polysaccharide, vitamins, minerals, others.

Guaranteed Analysis

Protein Min.38% , Fat Min.4% , Fiber Max.5% , Ash Max.13%

The “Dirty Little Secrets” in Most Brands of Goldfish Pellets

Did you know that most brands can do more harm than good to your fish’s health?

That’s because they use low-quality ingredients that don’t cost as much for the manufacturers to produce.

It’s shocking, but true…

Just look at the ingredients on the back of the jar, and you’ll probably notice it contains a large amount of wheat (sometimes labeled as wheat meal or wheat germ) or corn.

Here’s the problem with that:

Goldfish aren’t grain eaters and can’t digest these kinds of carbohydrates.  This can lead to floating problems (especially for fancy fish) or dirtier aquarium water.  

So exactly why are companies putting them in?

One reason:

Using poor quality, inappropriate ingredients (fillers) in goldfish food maximizes their profit margins.

It’s not in the best interest of the fish, who can end up with health problems later on in life due to eating an improper diet 🙁

The solution?

Find a high quality brand with a good nutrition profile and without any cheap fillers so you can have healthier fish and a cleaner aquarium.

Which brings us to the next point…

What is the Best Pellet for Goldfish Available?

Here’s the skivvy:

Fancy labels, creative marketing slogans, even the higher prices…

… None of that matters to your fish.

Goldfish pellets are only as good as what they’re made of.

So what makes a good one?

You’ve probably heard that goldfish should have a higher percentage of protein in their food.

But get this:

The percentage of protein is not nearly as critical as the quality of the protein used.

Protein should not come from land animals, but marine sources.

Chicken is not a natural part of their diet.  Low-quality protein can cause fatty liver disease, leading to dropsy, organ failure and even death.

I only use high-quality brands of pellets that meets these qualifications for my delicate fancy goldfish.

How Many Pellets Should I feed My Fish?

I get this question a lot.

A lot of feeding instructions recommend feeding the fish as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes, maybe even 5.

But following those directions, you can seriously overfeeding your fish.

They only really need about 30 seconds worth of pellets – anymore than that, and they can end up sick or with dirty water.

Sure, it doesn’t seem like a lot of food.  They might even still look hungry.

But if it was up to your fish, they would literally eat themselves to death…

What do you do?

My best recommendation is to give them some foraging material to nibble on throughout the day.

That way they don’t feel bored and hungry…

… But don’t end up eating too much rich food.

Good foraging material can include leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, even peeled cucumber (they love this).

The fiber helps to keep their digestive tract moving and clean, preventing constipation.

I use a veggie clip to hold their greens in place.

It might take a few days – even up to a week – for them to figure out what that stuff is and then to adapt a taste for it.

Don’t panic if they seem uninterested.  After all, pellets are like a yummy hamburger to them, and salad seems a whole lot less appetizing.

You can encourage them to eat it by not feeding them anything else until they do.

(They will eat it when they get hungry enough).

You can also try putting the veggies in the freezer overnight to soften them up before feeding them to your fish.

After all, they are a bit tough.

Be sure not to leave any veggies in the tank for over 24 hours or it will start getting gross.

Read More: How Much & How Often to Feed Your Goldfish

Put Your Feeding Schedule on Autopilot

Here’s something super nifty about pellets:

They can be loaded into an automatic feeder so you can simply set it and forget it.

You won’t have to remember to feed your fish every day anymore!

This can be especially useful for when you go on vacation.  (I’d recommend using it for a while before trying this just to be on the safe side).

If you have a ton of live plant in your aquarium that your goldfish can peck on, you may not have to give them veggies to graze on.

Of course, it can be tricky to grow enough of them to keep up with their voracious appetite!

Goldfish are pretty smart little creatures – you may notice that once you set up the automatic feeder, they will wait underneath it for the pellets to drop out about the time it is ready to release them!

Let’s Hear it From You

I hope you learned something useful from this article.

Now I want to hear your feedback:

Are you ready to make the switch to a good quality goldfish pellet?

(Your fish will thank you for it!)

Do you have a question about goldfish diet in general?

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section below.

Featured image credit: Rabbitmindphoto, Shutterstock