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The Surprising Variety in a Goldfish’s Pond Diet

The Surprising Variety in a Goldfish’s Pond Diet

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We often place goldfish in aquariums, tanks or fish bowls and feed them with dried flakes or pellet food. Did you know that the natural habitats of goldfish are inland, slow-moving, bodies of freshwater, like rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds?

Natural or man-made ponds are ideal habitats for goldfish too. It gives them more space to thrive and grow. This begs the question: What do goldfish eat in a pond?

In this article, we’ll be learning about the variety of natural foods that goldfish can eat in a pond. Let’s dive in!

What’s In a Pond?

In nature, some ponds form when a depression in the ground fills up through an underwater spring or by rainwater. Man-made ponds, on the other hand, are dug and filled with water.

These artificial ponds have shapes that are designed to have pumps, filters, and other equipment that are necessary for optimal pet use.

Be it natural or man-made, the basic components are the same for both; air, water, soil, rocks, and plants. Both pond types are suitable for fish and other aquatic plants to live in.

One advantage of an artificial pond is that you can customize it to suit the type of fish you’d like to place in the pond.

What’s a Pond Ecosystem?

A pond is a self-sustaining ecosystem; it provides its inhabitants with oxygen, shelter, and food.

Here’s a list of the organisms that make up a pond ecosystem:

  • Fish
  • Amphibians, including turtles, large zooplankton, and insects.
  • Plants, algae, and bacteria
  • Aquatic insects, clams, snails
  • Other mollusks, worms, crayfish, shrimps, and invertebrates.

Ponds also support a host of microorganisms that help decompose detritus or dead organic matter.

What’s the Pond Diet of Goldfish?

Being closely related to carp; goldfish are, in fact, descendants of carp. It doesn’t come as a surprise that goldfish are also omnivores like their carp kin.

In other words, goldfish eat plants and other bio-organisms that exist in a pond. In this section, we’ll explore the pond plants and animals that goldfish eat.

Pond Plants That Goldfish Eat

1 – Banana Lily (Nymphoides Aquatica)

This is a fast-growing aquatic plant that has broad leaves and banana-shaped roots, hence the name Banana Lily. Goldfish love the fresh tender shoots of the plant.

Its roots are rich in nutrients for your goldfish and help oxygenate the pond’s water.

2 – Duckweed (Lemnoideae)

This fast-reproducing aquatic plant is a popular floating plant choice for ponds. It has bright green leaves, with sizes ranging from 1 millimeter to 6 inches.

This plant is rich in protein and fiber, which helps your goldfish with their bowel movement.

3 – Parrot Feather (Myriophyllum Aquaticum)

This is an aquatic plant that’s found growing on the edges of ponds. It derived its name from its bluish-green leaves that resemble feathers.

This plant creeps across the water surface. It serves as food for your pond goldfish and as an excellent shelter during spawning.

4 – Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides)

This pond plant has tender leaves that are irresistible to your pet goldfish. It grows and reproduces fast. There’ll be no worries about it keeping up to the rate your goldfish consumes it.

The Water Sprite plant helps in removing excess nutrients in the water of your pond.

5 – Water Wisteria (Hygrophila Difformis)

This plant grows submerged or around the edges of a pond. Its bright green color is consistent all over. Goldfish are fond of swimming among its leaves and would nibble on them occasionally.

Water Wisteria is also great for cycling water nutrients in a pond.

6 – Algae

It’s common to find algae growth in ponds, and goldfish love to graze on it. The good thing about algae, aside from being a nutritious food for your goldfish, is that you hardly need to do anything to keep it thriving in your pond.

Pond Animals That Goldfish Eat

1 – Aquatic Insects

Goldfish will eat any kind of insect, insect larva, and insect eggs as long as they can fit in the goldfish’s mouth. Be wary, though. Some insects might be carriers of diseases, parasites, and chemicals that can harm your goldfish.

2 – Mollusks

Tiny snails and snail eggs are among the favorite snacks of goldfish. Suppose the snail’s shell won’t fit in a goldfish’s mouth. It’ll suck the snail out of its shell. This goldfish mollusk menu includes worms and slugs that find their way to ponds.

3 – Small freshwater crustaceans

Small freshwater shrimps, krill, and crayfish are also on the food list of goldfish. This is one reason aquatic pet owners seldom place goldfish and small crustaceans in the same pond or aquarium tank.

4 – Large zooplankton

Zooplankton are tiny aquatic organisms that feed on algae or phytoplankton. We can find them in various types of water bodies, like oceans, lakes, and ponds. Different fish include these organisms on their menus.

5 – Other tiny fishes and amphibians.

Pond bio-organisms include other types of fish, newts, and frogs. Goldfish eat the eggs, and larvae of these aquatic animals. It’s also worth noting that goldfish aren’t predatory fish. They just love to eat whatever fits in their mouths.

Do Pond Goldfish Need to Be Fed?

Yes, pond goldfish need to be fed for proper balanced nutrition. Although there’s a wide variety of food in a pond that your goldfish can feed upon, they may not get the right amount of nutrition that they need to be healthy.

For instance, the aquatic insects that your pond goldfish feed upon. These insects have a lot of protein, yet they only provide tiny amounts of lipids or fat. Fish need fat in their nutrition for energy metabolism in their muscles.

Occasionally, feed them prepared fish food that supplements their nutritional requirements. You can choose from a wide variety of prepared fish foods like pellets, flakes, freeze-dried brine shrimps, and bloodworms.

Feeding your pet pond goldfish can also steer them away from eating random food in the pond that might have harmful effects on their health.

Final Thoughts

What do goldfish eat in a pond? Goldfish are omnivores that eat aquatic plants and animals, including zooplankton and other microorganisms that cohabitate in a pond with them.

Knowing the types and roles of aquatic plants and organisms in a pond helps you in maintaining the health and well-being of your goldfish. These aquatic plants, aside from being a food source, also help in aerating water in ponds and provide shelter for fish when spawning.

Ponds have a rich biodiversity that maintains an ecosystem. This provides an environment that suits goldfish to thrive well. It’s essential, though, that you supplement your goldfish with nutrition-formulated food to ensure a healthy and balanced diet for your goldfish.


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