Continuing with our guide on goldfish care, we continue to focus on the important issue of feeding our pet. We already talked about what goldfish eat, and now we are going to focus on gel food for goldfish.
Why do I recommend the use of gel food for goldfish?
Reason number one: It’s wet!
The moistness of your fish’s food is REALLY important, especially if you keep fancy goldfish.
Think about this: In the wild, all the food a goldfish eats is moist. And your digestive tract is primed to process anything that’s underwater.
Healthy digestive system = healthy goldfish
You can soak the pellets before feeding them, but this can cause them to disintegrate and turn the aquarium water cloudy. And the flakes? No. Just not.
Gel food uses gelatin to bind ingredients into a moist substance. The best part? Good food brands are highly digestible.
How to make gel food using pre-bought powder
The instructions may vary a bit depending on the brand you buy, but the following method works pretty well for me:
- Measure 3 parts water to 1 part powder. Be sure to use filtered water, as the boiling process does not remove the chloromines. Put the water in a pot and the powder in a small bowl.
- Put the water to boil in the kitchen.
- Beat the powder until no lumps are visible.
- Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. You can use anything from a glass container to a cookie sheet, depending on how much you decide to make.
- Refrigerate until the mold has hardened, then remove and cut into pieces. Keep it refrigerated.
It should last in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. You can freeze it for several months and it will stay good.
4 Unpleasant Ingredients to Avoid in Your Goldfish ‘s Gel Food
Like people, goldfish have become victims of large companies that try to maximize their profits regardless of whether or not they harm the health of the consumer.
They might be able to produce some useful products like water conditioners, but the big brands have a tendency to market fish food that is actually “junk food”.
Fancy goldfish are finicky and especially prone to bladder problems and constipation.
Have you ever had a fish that had buoyancy problems? Diet can greatly contribute to this. Low quality ingredients can be really bad for the internal health of the fish.
Another sign of a poor diet is debris floating on the surface of the tank, perhaps with bubbles trapped inside. This means that the fish create too much gas trying to digest their food.
So, let’s take a look at some common ingredients to look out for when choosing food:
1. Be careful with cereals
It’s really hard to find one that doesn’t have wheat or wheat products in it (gluten free). Remember, grains are not a natural part of a balanced goldfish diet.
And it gets worse: Barley, rice and corn can also cause problems.
I really don’t advise feeding anything that includes wheat flour (not even whole wheat), wheat gluten, wheat germ, or wheat bran. These things do not belong in fish food.
2. Watch out for fish food
Cheap «fillers» are very common in today’s commercial foods. Just consider this example, fish food what is it? Basically, it’s the unwanted leftovers from processed fish – bones, scales, fins, intestines…stuff that’s hard to find a use for.
Instead, opt for foods that clearly say “whole fish meal” or indicate which fish it comes from, such as “whole salmon meal.”
This is a much better product as it offers more to the fish.
3. Beware of land animal products
Protein from land animals is also not digestible by fish. I mean, have you ever seen a carp chasing a cow?
Goldfish are not made to digest chicken, meat, or eggs. Protein is important, but it must come from creatures that live in the water: Marine protein.
4. Beware of soy products
Soy is not easily digestible by goldfish and should be avoided. It is very similar to corn when it comes to digestion… it is not the most suitable.
Which is the best brand? (Hint: Repashy Super Gold!)
I have tried MANY types of goldfish food for my fish, including gel food. Most are not formulated for use by goldfish, but by tropical herbivores.
I’ve found some, like New Life Spectrum (which has wheat flour!) that don’t stick well, clump during mixing, or make a big “particle scatter” once you put it in the water. Others don’t seem to taste as good to goldfish.
That’s why my go-to brand is Repashy Super Gold Gel Food, which even my delicate carassius auratus with swim bladder issues has done quite well.
It is a new food on the market co-formulated by Ken Fisher of Dandy Orandas. Ken uses this feed in his establishment to keep his most delicate goldfish in the best digestive health.
It is also ideal for thin-bodied fish such as common goldfish and comet, they all have the same nutritional needs. Sure, it’s not the cheapest you can buy, but they use high-quality ingredients that are the most nutritious and easy to make.
And how much is your pet’s health worth?
DIY Gel Food
You can make your own gel food at home, if you have the ingredients and nutritional knowledge of goldfish to do so. There are many recipes that can be found on the internet, but not all of them cater to the needs of a goldfish specifically.
Unless you need to feed an entire pond of goldfish, you probably won’t save money doing it this way.
You will also need to be knowledgeable about fish nutrition to ensure that your fish have a complete diet.
Just make sure you don’t add some of the common fish foods that can’t be eaten, like beef, pork, or chicken. And remember: any food is only as good as its ingredients.
You can be creative, but TOO creative and the fish might reject it.
Gel food is clearly (IMHO) the hands-down winner when it comes to the best option to feed your goldfish.
But as with any food, while it’s a good thing, too much of it can lead to water quality problems. Overfeeding is one of the main causes of problems in the balance of the tank and the environment.