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To be healthy, goldfish need to be eating a nutrient diverse diet. This can be tricky if you only feed your fish one type of pellets. You may wonder if “human food” is an acceptable alternative to your typical fish flakes.

Some foods served on our dinner tables are suitable for goldfish to eat while others are not. Fresh vegetables are a type of “human food” that can be a tasty treat or primary diet for our fishy friends. Other human foods such as fruits should be fed in moderation or avoided altogether.

Just like humans need fresh, unprocessed foods in order to be healthy, goldfish do better when fed more than just store-bought flakes or pellets. Keep reading to find out what types of human food your goldfish can and can’t eat.

Feeding Goldfish “Human Food”

Before you start feeding your goldfish leftovers from your family dinner, it’s important to note what we mean by the term “human food.” This does not refer to processed foods such as fast food burgers, ice cream, candy, or your favorite snack foods.

These foods are rarely healthy for even humans and therefore should not be fed to our more sensitive goldfish friends.

When we use the term human food, we are referring to fresh foods commonly cultivated and eaten by humans. These include fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins.

Here are a few examples of what foods you should or should not feed to your goldfish.

OK to feedDon’t Feed
CarrotsRed Meats
ApplesRhubarb Leaves

Although these natural foods are a much healthier option than processed foods for humans, not all are acceptable to feed to your goldfish. Keep reading to learn specific foods from your refrigerator suitable for feeding your goldfish.


Vegetables are the healthiest human food option for goldfish. These foods are simple enough to digest and therefore will not put any added stress on your goldfish. Not only will veggies be a healthier treat for your fish, but they will be tastier as well.

More often than not, vegetables are a safe choice for goldfish food. Here are the safe and unsafe veggies options for your fish!


Peas are not only a healthy treat for goldfish, but they can even be used medicinally.

Peas are a natural fish laxative and can be used to cure Swim Bladder Disease caused by constipation.

Remove the skins and chop them into small pieces before feeding. Two peas should be more than enough for one feeding.

Peas can also be fed frequently to prevent constipation from occurring in the first place!

Leafy Greens

Most leafy greens are actually an encouraging addition to your goldfish’s diet.

These greens include cabbage, radish leaves, lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, and turnip greens.

Foraging is a part of your fish’s natural instincts. Rather than eating all at once, placing some leafy greens in the tank will encourage your fish to eat slowly throughout the day.

Another benefit of feeding leafy greens is lower levels of ammonia. Try microwaving the leaf before feeding it for easier eating.

One leafy green that should always be avoided is Rhubarb leaves.


Although cucumber is not a food replacer, it can act as a healthy meal supplement.

There are two ways to feed your goldfish cucumber. First, you can blanch or microwave it before cutting it into small bite-size pieces. Feed a few of them at a time. Second, you will still need to blanch or microwave the cucumber before serving to soften it up; however, you do not have to cut it up.

Attach a plant weight to a chunk of cucumber and submerge it for your fish to snack on throughout the day.

You may need to remove the skin and seeds if your goldfish does not like to eat them.


Carrots are more than a healthy treat, they can be a color enhancer too!

Chop the carrots into small pieces and boil until soft. The goldfish will absorb some orange from the carrot brightening their colors.


Garlic can be beneficial to goldfish when fed in moderation.

Garlic can help stimulate your goldfish’s appetite and even fight off parasites and bacteria. However, large doses could kill the fish. Feed garlic in small amounts on rare occasions.

Other vegetables suitable for goldfish are:

  • sweet potatoes
  • potatoes
  • zucchini
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • pumpkin, and
  • lima beans


Fruits are a delicious snack for humans and goldfish alike. Although they can be just as fresh as vegetables, fruits are much more complex food and can therefore be harmful to goldfish.

Meals should never be replaced by fruit. Instead, fruits should be used as an occasional snack. Before feeding fruit to your goldfish, boil it until soft.


Apples are generally safe for feeding to goldfish. However, their high sugar content makes them only safe when fed in small amounts every so often.

Before feeding apples to your goldfish, remove the skin and seeds as these could become choking hazards.


Watermelon is one of the simpler fruits and therefore one of the safest choices for feeding your goldfish. In fact, the majority of watermelon is just water!

Feeding watermelon to your goldfish can also be a good source of exercise.

Put a piece slightly larger than one or two bites on the surface of the water. Watch as your goldfish chases it around the tank!

Remember, watermelon does contain sugar and should be fed in moderation.

Other fruits acceptable for feeding to goldfish are:

  • grapes
  • orange
  • corn
  • banana
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • pears, and
  • mangoes


Goldfish should not be fed any kind of human food protein. This includes chicken, beef, pork, and eggs.

Although goldfish need protein to survive, they struggle to digest proteins. Instead of human foods, feed your goldfish small amounts of mealworms or bloodworms to give them the needed nutrients.


Feeding grains to your goldfish is a questionable subject.

Almost all are in agreement that goldfish should not eat bread. The bread expands in their stomachs and can lead to constipation. The gluten in the bread is also difficult for the fish to digest. In fact, bread is so bad for goldfish that the UK has banned feeding it to them.

Although most grains expand in water, some people claim to feed oatmeal and rice to their goldfish. If you choose to do so, feed them in extreme moderation and be sure it is fully cooked and will not expand anymore.

A goldfish should be mainly fed food meant for it, but healthy treats like vegetables can be used to supplement. Always use caution and moderation.


Hi, my name is Jordan. I've been in the fishkeeping hobby since my childhood. Welcome to my blog where I help fishkeepers enjoy the hobby by offering free guides, advice, & product reviews. Read more...