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Can Goldfish Eat Breadcrumbs?




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Goldfish are omnivores and will pretty much eat anything that you give them, including breadcrumbs. However, you shouldn’t feed them breadcrumbs. 

They lack the nutrients that your goldfish need and contain ingredients that could harm their bodies like sugar, gluten, corn syrup, and yeast.

If you want your goldfish to stay happy and healthy, feed them on recommended home-made or commercial fish food. 

Food that’s specifically made for humans, including breadcrumbs is not suitable for your goldfish and should be off-limits.

Why Breadcrumbs are Not Good for Your Goldfish

Breadcrumbs are readily available in most kitchens making it convenient for fish owners to toss a few crumbs in the tank, especially when you’ve run out of fish food. 

However, this seemingly innocent food is dangerous for your fish.

Goldfish eating food.

Unhealthy and No Nutrients

Breadcrumbs lack the essential nutrients to support the growth and longevity of your fish. If that’s all you’re feeding them, they’ll become deficient and unhealthy. 

Goldfish digest food and extract nutrients as it goes through their intestines. They won’t be able to extract anything useful from breadcrumbs. 

Also, just like it happens for humans, bread makes them bloated and uncomfortable.

In some countries, Anglers are banned from using white bread as bait because it makes the fish sick. Now imagine how much more it would harm little goldfish. 

Goldfish don’t have real stomachs and cannot digest gluten. Instead, the fish will have severe digestive and constipation issues. The breadcrumbs will swell up inside them and they’ll die.

Breadcrumbs Mess Up the Tank

As the breadcrumbs absorb the water and sink to the bottom of the tank, they’ll create a cloudy mess. 

Eventually, the accumulation of leftover breadcrumbs may block the filter affecting the way it functions.

Inadequate filtration will cause a build-up of debris, organic waste, and toxins.

breadcrumbs on a bowl and spoon

This will reduce the oxygen and pH levels while increasing the ammonia and nitrite levels.

The water quality will reduce and make the fish sick.

What Nutrients Do Your Goldfish Need?

Understanding the dietary requirements of your goldfish will guide you in giving them the right food for their wellbeing, growth, and energy. 


Goldfish grow well on a high-protein diet, however, their protein needs vary at the different stages of their lives.

Fast-growing baby fish require 60%-80% protein in their diet.

Young goldfish need 40%-60% while the older ones need 30%-40%. All these percentages apply to dried protein only.

Keep in mind that too little protein will stunt their growth while too much will increase the ammonia level in the water.

Vitamins and Minerals

Goldfish need water-soluble vitamins to support their metabolism and physiology.

They include ascorbic acid (vitamin C), choline, vitamin B12, folic acid, etc. 

They also require fat-soluble vitamins to support their immunity. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Vitamin A enhances skeletal strength and prevents deformities. 

Goldfish need minerals for the formation of bones, support of cell membranes, muscle activity, energy transitions, and several other functions.

While goldfish get some minerals from the water in the tank, they also need a minimum supplementation of essential minerals in their diet like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and so on.


Fats are a source of energy and help goldfish with hormone production and insulation.

They are also an important component of nerve cells and cell membranes. 

Fats should be between 5% and 10% of the goldfish’s total diet and should include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (totaling 1%). 

Great sources of essential fatty acids include cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, salmon oil, and so on.

Carbohydrates and Fiber

Goldfish require carbohydrates and fiber in minimal quantities.

They cannot easily digest most carbs and eating too much will cause liver problems. 

It will also reduce the quantities of other essential food that they need like proteins for growing goldfish.

They usually nibble on green plants in the tank which are a great and sufficient source of fiber for them.

Some goldfish owners fear that their fish might get bored with the usual pellets and flakes found in pet food shops. 

That’s why they end up feeding them breadcrumbs.

However, there are many healthy treats you can feed your goldies once or twice a week to add variety. Some of them include:

  • Tiny bits of shelled peas
  • Freeze-dried blood worms
  • Leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, etc.)
  • Grapes (skinned and chopped)
  • Blanched broccoli, potatoes, zucchini, and cucumber slices

Remember to remove any food they haven’t eaten after 5 minutes because it will start to rot (fresh food like fruits and vegetables rots faster), contaminate the water, and increase nitrite levels.

To Sum It Up

Remember, if you run out of fish food, your goldfish will survive for several days without food, especially if you have been feeding them well.

So there’s no need to panic and give them breadcrumbs that could potentially harm them.

They are better off without any food for a while than eating breadcrumbs that could kill them.

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