Treating pet goldfish to occasional snacks is a fun experience for any goldfish owner. However, as enjoyable as the experience may be, safety comes first! Do you ever fish around (no pun intended) in your pantry for a yummy snack to watch your goldfish devour? If you’re tempted to reach for the crackers on the third shelf−Don’t!
It is not safe to feed crackers to goldfish. Crackers are high in yeast, starches, gluten, salt, and preservatives, and a goldfish’s digestive system cannot process these foods. As a result, crackers offer no nutritional value and lead to bloating, indigestion, constipation, or swim bladder disease.
It’s never a clever idea to feed your goldfish crackers; here’s why.
Can Goldfish Eat Crackers?
Some goldfish owners naively feed their fish a variety of snacks like cracker crumbs. However, it is never advisable to give crackers to goldfish. Crackers are high in yeast, starches, gluten, salt, and preservatives, and a goldfish’s digestive system cannot process these foods.
Why Are Crackers Bad For Goldfish?
The main reason crackers are unhealthy snacks to feed your goldfish is due to what it consists of; crackers are full of yeast and gluten.
Yeast expands as soon as the fish consumes it; this also happens in humans (do you ever feel bloated after devouring a platter of crackers and cheese?). However, unlike humans, bloating in a goldfish is far more dangerous and can have disastrous effects.
In addition, gluten is indigestible to goldfish. Consuming gluten can be extremely painful for goldfish to digest and can cause serious problems.
What Will Happen If Goldfish Eat Crackers?
A fun fact about goldfish: they don’t have stomachs!
Instead of a stomach, a goldfish has different digestive tract and intestine parts responsible for breaking down and absorbing nutrients. So, this fun fact plays a vital role in deciding which foods are suitable for goldfish.
A goldfish’s digestive tract absorbs nutrients as soon as the food passes through, and because a goldfish does not have a stomach, foods don’t have a place to digest appropriately before entering the intestines.
Because food generally moves quickly through a goldfish’s digestive tract and intestines, it’s a good idea to only feed soft foods high in fiber and protein to your goldfish to ensure that the foods break down easily in the fish’s digestive tract.
In addition to crackers being non-nutritious, unhealthy, processed food, crackers tend to swell in a goldfish’s intestines, in turn causing excessive bloating, constipation, and indigestion.
Crackers Cause Constipation In Goldfish
Goldfish are prolific eaters, and constipation is a familiar problem goldfish face. An unbalanced diet lacking roughage and dietary fiber often leads to constipation.
Crackers are low in fiber foods, so feeding your goldfish crackers will only increase the fish’s risk of constipation.
Constipation can cause extreme discomfort and even death in more severe cases.
If your goldfish is constipated, you’ll generally be able to identify the condition by the fish appearing physically bloated as well a string of bodily waste (similar to indigestion).
Supply your goldfish with adequate greenery and roughage to increase fiber intake and effectively treat constipation. If your goldfish is not eating, consider isolating the goldfish. Then, add a dose of Epsom salts to the tank (1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons) to relax the muscles to pass feces.
Crackers Cause Indigestion In Goldfish
Feeding crackers to goldfish leads to indigestion.
Symptoms of indigestion include when the goldfish swims in an unbalanced and listless manner. In addition, bodily waste may hang from the goldfish’s anal pore for a long time instead of breaking away immediately like normal; the excreta can also be a light color with gas bubbles interspersed in it.
Other symptoms may include a lethargic fish that does not want to eat.
A helpful tip: if you notice that your goldfish is suffering from indigestion, feeding them blanched peas or daphnia may help cure indigestion.
Crackers Cause Swim Bladder Disease In Goldfish
Lastly, crackers often cause swim bladder disease in goldfish.
Swim bladder disease occurs from overeating, constipation, indigestion, gulping air, or eating foods that expand when wet (crackers), which cause an enlarged intestinal tract.
The goldfish’s air bladder opens into its digestive tract, so when gas (produced from trying to digest poor quality food like crackers) finds its way into the fish’s air bladder, the air bladder over-inflates.
In effect, indigestion and constipation cause swim bladder disease that will affect the goldfish’s buoyancy and balance (over-inflated air bladder). In extreme cases, the goldfish will float upside down and may even become permanently imbalanced.
Treatment: Avoid feeding the fish for two to three days and increase the goldfish’s water temperatures to 78°F to 80°F. After the three days, provide the goldfish boiled and skinned peas.
Other Foods To Avoid Feeding Goldfish
In addition to avoiding feeding goldfish crackers, there are a couple of other foods you’ll generally want to avoid, namely:
- Bread: bread has zero nutritional value for fish; it is full of yeast and starch and, therefore, has a similar effect to crackers.
- Cereal: cereal consists of large amounts of grain and will commonly expand and swell in your goldfish’s belly.
- Rhubarb greens: they are toxic to goldfish.
- Meat scraps: meat scraps from animals like pigs, cattle, sheep, and chickens should not be fed to your goldfish as it causes a fat build-up around a goldfish’s heart and liver.
- Cooking oils: Avoid giving your goldfish foods cooked in all types of cooking oils. Cooking oils are incredibly toxic to goldfish.
Alternative Snacks To Feed Goldfish
Of course, the best food to feed a goldfish is food designed for them high in protein and fiber. However, a few snacks here and there won’t do any harm, and your goldfish will love you for it!
Luckily, there are many great alternatives to feed your goldfish other than crackers. Here are the most popular foods to feed your goldfish as snacks. You can find a larger list on my blog here.
- Peas: Peas are an excellent snack for goldfish and include healing properties for constipation and indigestion. Be sure to cook and peel the peas before feeding them to your goldfish.
- Oatmeal: Believe it or not, but oatmeal is an excellent snack to treat your goldfish. However, soak the oatmeal in water or cook it before feeding it to your goldfish.
- Cooked Carrots: They are highly nutritious and can enhance the color of your goldfish.
- Leafy greens: Goldfish love lettuce, spinach, and kale as occasional snacks. These leafy greens also provide excellent roughage for your goldfish. Ensure that you blanch the leaves before feeding them to your goldfish.
- Watermelon: You can feed your goldfish watermelon as an occasional snack. Be sure to remove the seeds.
- Live Food: Your goldfish will love live food snacks, including brine shrimp, daphnia, earthworms, and mealworms.
To summarize, it’s best to avoid feeding your goldfish crackers.
Crackers are low in fiber and protein and high in yeast, starch, gluten, salt, and preservatives. Feeding crackers to your goldfish can cause bloating, constipation, indigestion, and even swim bladder disease.
So, instead, opt for safer and healthier options to ensure your goldfish stays in optimal condition.