Is your Goldfish eating away your other pet fish? How can such a beautiful fish be eating other fish? These questions may be sad and disturbing, but they need to be answered, nonetheless.
Goldfish are not predators. Their nature is not aggressive. They don’t attack other fish to eat. However sometimes while eating its food it also eats small fish and baby Goldfish.
Goldfish are the go-to option when it comes to keeping fish, as they are such a beautiful species of fish. It was my first pet as well, and their vibrant and beautiful colors have kept me interested in them, to this day. Parents tend to buy their children Goldfish as their first-ever pet as it is easily available and pleasing to the eye.
The answer to the question as to whether Goldfish eat other fish or not can come as a shock to the kids out there, but do not be worried, as I will guide you on how to prevent it from happening.
What kinds of Fish do they Eat?
Goldfish do not essentially have a palette when it comes to eating. They love eating food and can take in anything that fits in their mouths. As funny as it sounds, this can be troubling for their own babies as well.
1. Smaller Fish
Goldfish keep growing as much as their surrounding space permits, and this means more food for them! Any fish that is smaller than the Goldfish may end up being eaten by the Goldfish. This is not done intentionally. It is just proof of how they will eat anything that is smaller than them and how they mistake it for food.
2. Baby GoldFish
This behavior does not stop them from eating their babies either, since they are also small and can easily fit in their mouths. It is best to separate their babies from them as Goldfish do not have parental instincts and can not tell if they are having their own babies as dinner.
3. Weak Fish
Goldfish tend to eat the weaker fish in their tanks, as they are not able to protect themselves. It is quite possible that they mistake them for still food, as the weakfish might not be moving much. Goldfish are also considered weakfish a liability to the tank environment and may eat the injured and sick fish to prevent the spread of disease or to simply eliminate unwanted fish.
4. Dead Fish
Your Goldfish might even have started eating the dead fish in the tank before you even notice that the fish is dead. Goldfish do this to literally remove the dead weight from their tank.
What is Causing your GoldFish to Eat other Fish?
Goldfish are not cannibals by nature and are a very happy species of fish. However, just like any other fish, they might end up eating other fish, but mostly unintentionally. There are a number of reasons why this might be happening:
1. Less Space
As peaceful as Goldfish are, they are somewhat territorial in nature when it comes to less space. It is only fair, as none of us like to share our personal space either. Goldfish require a large place to swim freely, as much as 8 to 10 Gallons of water per goldfish. If there is more fish than fish space in their tank, they become aggressive and deal with the problem themselves, by eating other fish.
2. New Fish
It is possible that due to space concerns or simply not accepting the new fish, Goldfish might chase around the newly added fish aggressively. Do pay attention when your Goldfish is doing this, as you might want to remove the new fish from the tank, as they might end up getting eaten.
3. Dirty Environment
If the tank that you have kept your Goldfish in, is not cleaned regularly, and the water is not changed, they might become aggressive. This may cause them to chase around other fish and eat them.
4. Under Fed
If you do not feed your Goldfish at the right time, they will search for food themselves. Goldfish consider anything smaller in size than them as food. Then, they may swallow smaller fish not because they are predators, but simply because they are hungry and cannot tell apart food particles from smaller fish.
5. Trying to Mate
Sometimes, when your Goldfish seems to be chasing other goldfish around, it might not be related to food. It is observed that male Goldfish become aggressive and chase female Goldfish when they are trying to mate.
How to Stop your GoldFish from Eating other Fish?
1. Keep them Fed
It is obvious that Goldfish are always in the search of food, so it is absolutely vital to keep them fed. Lack of proper food may cause them to feed on other fish accidentally. Ideally, they need to be fed 3 times a day. However, make sure that they have eaten the food that you put in your tank within a minute or so, and if not, remove the food, as it may lead to them becoming overfed and sick.
2. Modify your Tank
Adding plantation and fancy rocks to your fish tank is not only aesthetically pleasing but also helpful in keeping the Goldfish from eating other fish. This is because the plants give a secure hiding place for smaller fish to keep them hidden from the Goldfish. You can always add a tank divider that can keep the Goldfish away from the rest of the fish.
3. Give them Space
One of the leading reasons why Goldfish end up eating other fish is a lack of personal space. Make sure that you provide adequate space for your goldfish to continue living in harmony with other fish. Do not overcrowd your fish tank in an attempt to keep more pets, as this might result in your new fish being eaten.
4. Maintenance of Tank
Dirty and polluted water can make your Goldfish aggressive. Changing the water regularly and removing dead plants and fish will not only keep your Goldfish happy and peaceful, but it is also good for the health of other tank mates.
5. Isolation of the Troublemaker
It is possible that one particular Goldfish is causing most of the problems, by biting other fish or simply chasing others into hiding. It is best to isolate this Goldfish and keep it in a separate tank so that it can enjoy its own space.
6. Tending to the Sick Fish
Sick and injured fish draw the attention of the Goldfish. The goldfish try to eat the sick fish and remove it from the tank altogether. It is best to take care of your sick fish away from the Goldfish so that it is tended to properly. If a fish is bitten by a Goldfish, make sure that the bite wound is taken care of properly, as it might cause infections due to the bacteria present in the water. Fish can also be stressed out if a Goldfish has bitten them, making them tired and sad. So, to ensure that the bitten or sick fish stays alive, separate it from the Goldfish as it might eat it.
7. Do not keep them with Smaller Fish
It has been observed throughout this article that Goldfish might unintentionally eat smaller fish. It is hence, best to keep them away from smaller fish, or even their own babies. Goldfish do enjoy the company of other fish, but the smaller ones are at stake with these food hunters around as they will eat anything that fits in their mouths.
8. Separate them from their Babies
As baby Goldfish are much smaller in size than even regular fish, the larger Goldfish will eat them. If you are trying to make their population grow, it is best to keep them separate from their babies, as they can be easily mistaken as food and end up being eaten by their parents even. This is also because goldfish lay eggs in large numbers, and they lack parental instinct, which may cause them to not only eat their own eggs but other fish eggs as well.
9. Keep them with Faster Fish
As the Goldfish roam about swallowing anything smaller than themselves, it is best to keep faster fish around them. This way if a goldfish is approaching them, they can easily make the swim for it and save themselves. Goldfish may find the lazy fish easier to chase and eat when they can fit in their mouths.
10. Do not keep them in Saltwater Fish
As Goldfish itself is a freshwater species, it does not tolerate a fish that is not similar to it. Introducing a saltwater fish to the environment of a Goldfish can be a mistake, as it can make the Goldfish aggressive and eat that fish.
The Bottom Line on Do GoldFish Eat Other Fish?
In my many years of fish-keeping experience, I have rarely had any instances of my Goldfish harming my other pet fish. The prime reason is that I have always kept my Goldfish separate from the other fish to provide them with the personal space that they need. This article should have highlighted how that is essential to keep your Goldfish from turning into something that they are not. As beautiful as these fish are, they need proper care and environment for them to continue living peacefully and in harmony with the other tank mates. I hope this article did not scare you off but helped you in understanding your pet Goldfish better.