Can Goldfish Eat Tropical Fish Flakes?

Maybe you’ve never had a goldfish before, so you’re not sure what to feed them. Or, maybe you already have a tropical fish tank and are wondering if you can feed your goldfish the same kind of food.

Well, can goldfish eat tropical fish flakes? Keep reading to find out what food you should give your goldfish to ensure they get the proper nutrition.

Can Goldfish Eat Tropical Flakes?

Technically, yes, goldfish can eat tropical flakes. But, it shouldn’t be their main diet.

The hint is in the name: tropical flakes. Goldfish are not tropical fish, they are coldwater fish. This means goldfish and tropical fish have different metabolic and digestive processes.

As such, their dietary needs are different.

Why Aren’t Tropical Flakes Good For Their Diet?

Goldfish are opportunistic eaters. They will eat just about anything that comes across their path. So, if you feed them tropical flakes, they will eat them, but it doesn’t mean they should.

An occasional feeding of tropical flakes isn’t likely to have a negative impact on your goldfish. But, if it’s fed as their main diet, they’ll become nutrient deficient. As a result, your goldfish’s growth may be stunted, its colors may become dull, and it’s likely to die before its prime.

Protein VS Vitamins

Tropical flakes tend to contain a high amount of protein — more than goldfish need. They can eat the extra protein, but they’re not going to metabolize all of it. Instead, it’s going to cause them to produce more waste more often.

One reason for this is the environment in which they live. Warm water allows the digestive system to metabolize food more quickly and efficiently. Because goldfish live in cold water habitats, they can’t metabolize food as well.

Goldfish already produce a lot of waste as it is, do you really want to add more waste on top of that?

Plus, goldfish are omnivores. In the wild, they eat a larger quantity of vegetation than they do meat. It’s easier for goldfish to digest plant protein than animal protein.

Besides that, tropical flakes don’t contain the types of nutrients that goldfish need. They need lots of vitamins. Food made for goldfish has a higher content of vitamins than that in tropical flakes.

Their Bodies Aren’t Designed For Lots Of Protein

The interesting thing about goldfish is that they don’t have a stomach. So, their digestive system works differently than that of other fish. They digest food more quickly and need to eat more often. This is one reason why they don’t digest protein very well.

But, tropical flakes may be more damaging to certain kinds of goldfish than others.

Comet and shubunkin goldfish can digest tropical flakes better than fancy goldfish. Their bodies are longer and more streamlined. So, their organs are usually positioned normally for easier digestion.

Fancy goldfish have been bred for centuries specifically for their unique bodies. Their bodies are more compact and robust rather than streamlined. Their internal organs are often smushed together. So, they’re more likely to have organ deformities. This is the same reason they are prone to swim bladder disease.

These internal issues make it harder to digest food. So, feeding tropical flakes for a long time is more detrimental to fancy goldfish.

What Do Goldfish Need In Their Diet?

So, now you know that you shouldn’t feed your goldfish tropical flakes. But, what SHOULD you feed them?

In the wild, goldfish mostly feed on plants and algae. But, they will sometimes feed on shrimp, small fish, and insects.

There are plenty of foods available made specifically for goldfish. These foods meet the dietary requirements of your goldfish. So, they are healthier for them than tropical flakes.

Their staple diet should consist of either goldfish pellets, flakes, or gels. These foods contain a smaller amount of protein than tropical flakes. Instead, they contain a large amount of fiber and vitamins. A diet full of fiber helps them to better process their meals.

Lettuce and other vegetables are great foods to feed your goldfish. They are rich in vitamins and nutrients like calcium and potassium. Veggies are easy for them to digest, so they won’t cause any problems.

Some of the best veggies to feed include lettuce, kale, spinach, peas (without the skin), broccoli, and cucumber.

Still, veggies should be a supplement, so you should only provide them about 1-2 times a week.

If you’d like to give your goldfish the occasional protein snack, opt for blood worms or small shrimp. They are easily digestible and will stimulate your goldfish’s hunting instinct. Just be careful not to feed these more than 1-2 times a week.


So, the verdict is in — you shouldn’t feed your goldfish tropical flakes! Tropical flakes contain too much protein which is hard for goldfish to ingest. Instead, stick with goldfish food. It’s higher in fiber and vitamins to support your goldfish’s health.

Don't forget to check out