Do Goldfish Have Teeth? Can They Bite?

Have you been wondering if your Goldfish have teeth? Are you scared to put your hand in the tank when you are feeding your Goldfish, in the fear that they might bite you? If you are, then you must read this article to clear out all your assumptions.

Goldfish, like many other fish and animals, possess teeth. This should not be alarming for you, or scare you, as Goldfish teeth are in no way similar to those of a shark. Every fish has teeth according to its dietary needs, and as Goldfish are not carnivores, they do not have sharp teeth. Let me explain how Goldfish teeth are different than other fish’s teeth and how they help them eat properly.

Where Do Goldfish Teeth Lie?

Goldfish teeth may not be visible to you in plain sight. They are actually hidden deep well into their throats. A Goldfish has teeth in its pharynx; thus, they are known as pharyngeal teeth. Goldfish do not have canines, and incisors like humans as Goldfish do not need to tear or bite their food.

Goldfish teeth are more like human molars. They only help your Goldfish grind and chew their food. Since a Goldfish’s digestive system does not have a stomach, the food directly goes into the intestines. In our digestive systems, the stomach is primarily responsible for breaking down food into smaller parts. Since there is no stomach in a Goldfish, the food needs to be properly chewed and should have a paste-like consistency. For this reason, a Goldfish thoroughly chews its food using its teeth and after the food has been properly made into a paste, the food goes down the throat.

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Goldfish Teeth are Replaced

We had baby teeth as kids, and they were replaced by permanent ones after some time. For Goldfish, this keeps happening throughout their life. Goldfish teeth decay and fall out and are constantly replaced by new teeth. And no, they never have to floss or brush their teeth. If a tooth is decaying, it just falls out on its own. Imagine having such teeth, no need to go to the dentist!

A Goldfish’s gums are lined up with teeth so that the falling out teeth is soon replaced by new one. You may observe Goldfish teeth lying around in your Goldfish tank when they have fallen out. The teeth are very small, and one may confuse them with gravel in the tank. I do not have gravel in my Goldfish tank, and I was easily able to spot the tiny white teeth at the bottom of the tank. On a closer inspection, they looked very similar to human molars, just much smaller in size.

How Do Goldfish Use Their Teeth?

One may think that if a Goldfish has teeth, we can go ahead and feed it an apple. Goldfish have teeth, but still require a very small size of food that they can easily eat.

  • Small Food: Goldfish usually only eat food as long as it can easily fit in their mouth. Since Goldfish do not have incisors or canines, they cannot tear off pieces from a food source. They put the food grain or particle as a whole into their mouths. Once they have the food inside their mouth, they start chewing. The teeth are lined near the entrance of the Goldfish throat, and the chewed food is easily then swallowed.
  • Soft Food: A Goldfish’s jaw is not very strong. Your Goldfish will find it very hard to chew on hard foods, and the food may go down their throats, unchewed and whole. Even if Goldfish have teeth lined up inside their jaws, they can not exert enough pressure on the food to break it down. The molar-like teeth do this, by grinding the food between them.

For this reason, Goldfish only take in the food that they can fit in their mouth, and easily chew. So, you must only feed your Goldfish small and soft food that they can easily take inside and chew properly.

It is best that you provide your Goldfish with a variety of food, that they can easily chew. Bloodworms are recommended for Goldfish, as they are soft and can easily be chewed into a paste. When adding veggies into your Goldfish tank, make sure that you chop them into small pieces instead of adding them whole. This is because Goldfish will not be able to bite off the large piece, it will only take in what fits in the mouth. Flakes and pellets are the ideal sizes that Goldfish food should be.

Do Goldfish Bite?

If, after knowing that your Goldfish have teeth, you are worried about putting your hand in your Goldfish tank, there is no need to worry. Goldfish teeth are way behind and near their throats and there is no way that a Goldfish can bite you.

A human finger is not small enough for a Goldfish to bite. Normally, Goldfish are 7 to 8 inches in length, and a human finger compared to their tiny mouths, is very big to fit inside their mouths. Even if your Goldfish is one of the large ones, and it can fit your finger in the mouth, there is no way that this can hurt you. Goldfish do not have sharp teeth, and neither do they have strong jaws. Even if it bites on your finger, you may not even feel a thing at all.

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A Goldfish may bite your finger, and all you will feel is a light sucking. This will not even leave a mark on your finger. Some Goldfish can fit your finger in its mouth but the less jaw strength can in no way harm your finger or the bones inside.

If your Goldfish has started to suck on your finger, it is possible that it does it in the search for food. Goldfish are smart and can tell that it is feeding time. Recognizing your hand may give them the signal that you are about to feed them, so they gather around your finger in search of food, and may even nibble on your finger for that matter.

Can Goldfish Hurt Other Fish?

Goldfish are a rather peaceful species of fish. Them having teeth is in no way an indication that they feed on other fish. The only reason why a Goldfish may have eaten some other fish is the difference in size. If a Goldfish is large enough to easily fit another smaller fish in its mouth, Goldfish may do so.

However, Goldfish may harm other fish by nibbling onto the other fish’s fins. Goldfish teeth are not sharp enough to bite another fish, but a fin or two can easily get damaged if a Goldfish holds on to them with its teeth. For this reason, it is advised that you do not keep fancy Goldfish and regular Goldfish together. Fancy Goldfish have flowing fins that are tempting for the other Goldfish to take inside their mouths. This may damage your fancy Goldfish.

Dental Problems With Goldfish

Luckily, Goldfish teeth are constantly being replaced throughout their lives. Do, no you do not need a dentist if your Goldfish is suffering from tooth decay. The faulty and decaying teeth automatically fall off and new teeth replace them. Your Goldfish does not need a dentist at all.

The Bottom Line On Do Goldfish Have Teeth

Knowing that your Goldfish has teeth, may have come as a surprise to you. Luckily, Goldfish teeth are not something you should be worried about. Although now you know why Goldfish food is so small in size. So, next time you try feeding them a whole lettuce leaf, you may want to break it down into smaller pieces for them.

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