Goldfish in outdoor habitats, like a pond, thrive on a rich and varied diet of both plant and meat-based food. They eat aquatic plants like duckweed, water sprite, and green algae in a pond. Goldfish will also eat bugs, insect larvae, small crustaceans, tadpoles, and zooplankton in ponds.
You can also occasionally offer them freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, or micro worms. To ensure that all their nutritional needs are met, you can also use fish food pellets to supplement the food they naturally get in a pond. Let’s talk about this now…
What To Feed Goldfish In A Pond?
Did you know that goldfish are descendants of carp, a hardy freshwater fish that is seen in murky ponds, lakes, and rivers?
The common goldfish is a specially bred ornamental variety of the carp.
They do not look like carp, which are grey. However, the habitat and feeding needs resemble that of their ancestors.
We can get a good idea of what food is suitable for goldfish in ponds by observing what carp eat in the wild.
A similar diet will help goldfish grow big, in fact, much more than they would on store-bought fish food.
Both carp and goldfish are omnivores. So, they eat both plant and animal matter.
In the wild, they eat aquatic plants and algae. The non-vegetarian part of their diet is more diverse.
They can and will eat anything that fits their mouths.
It includes tadpoles, small frogs, zooplankton, invertebrates, small insects, and larvae.
They will also eat smaller fish, including their younger ones, if they can catch it.
In an outdoor pond, goldfish will have access to several things that they can find in their natural habitat.
However, in an artificial pond, domesticated goldfish also benefit from supplemental food offered by their owners.
It will compensate for any deficiencies and help them grow to their maximum potential. Here are some suggestions:
- Plant a variety of aquatic green plants in the pond to ensure a ready supply of greens. You can also grow plants in another tank, harvest them when fully grown, and feed your fish.
- Freeze-dried or fresh foods like brine shrimp, micro worms, vinegar eels, daphnia, and ghost shrimp will supply protein for the fish to grow big.
- Additionally, you can use store-bought fish pellets or flake food as base food. Sinking pellets are better as they will dissolve slowly and not dirty the water. Remove leftover flaky foods that float on the surface before they pollute the water.
- Green vegetables like kale, spinach, shelled peas, zucchini, celery, beet tops, and cabbage are good food for goldfish.
How Often Should Pond Goldfish Be Fed?
If your goldfish live in a natural pond, they will have plenty of access to food sources.
Since they are bottom feeders, they will browse the water floor for plant and animal water.
Goldfish use their maxillary barbels to dig out the aquatic plant matter, clams, snails, decaying animal matter, and anything that has settled in the substrate.
However, goldfish in an artificial fishpond rely on their owners to satisfy most of their nutrition requirements.
In either case, goldfish need food more frequently in warm weather.
Since this fish cannot retain much of what it eats, a regular supply of food will keep it healthy.
So, you will have to feed them two to three times a day.
Feed your fish what it can consume in five minutes.
Also, remove any uneaten food before it pollutes the water or attracts predators.
What Should You Know About Feeding Pond Goldfish In Winter?
In an indoor aquarium, fish aren’t affected by weather changes as they live in a regulated environment throughout the year.
However, in an outdoor setting like a pond, goldfish are susceptible to temperature changes.
So, you should adjust their feeding schedule and quantity of feed according to the weather and water temperature.
In summer and spring, goldfish need more food.
You can feed them store-brought pellet food and live or freeze-dried feeds a few times every week.
Apart from this, they will like to graze on algae and other aquatic plants in the pond.
You can also feed them vegetables and fruits from your kitchen.
However, reduce the frequency of feeding in autumn and winter. Also, reduce the quantity of protein.
If the water temperature falls below 50°F, their metabolism slows down drastically.
They hardly need any food in this condition. Pond goldfish will become lethargic as the weather becomes colder.
Stop feeding them altogether as they cannot metabolize food in these conditions.
Resume feeding when temperatures rise, and they become active again.
Feeding Baby Goldfish In A Pond
Goldfish are not great parents. Not only do they graze on their eggs, but they also eat baby goldfish that they find.
So, a baby goldfish is under constant threat in a habitat with adult fish.
Nevertheless, baby goldfish can survive in a pond.
Once baby goldfish are no longer small enough to fit an adult’s mouth, adult fish will leave them alone.
When it comes to their feeding needs, baby goldfish need more protein.
Baby goldfish on a protein-rich diet will gain more size and grow bigger.
In the first year of life, their diet should have at least 40% protein.
You can start feeding baby goldfish small brine shrimp or infusoria two days after they are born.
Introduce fish pellets or flakes into their diet when they are a week old.
Since they have tiny mouths, you may have to grind up the pellets or fish flakes initially.
How long do pond goldfish live? The lifespan of a goldfish depends on various factors, which includes where they live. A pond is an ideal living space for a domesticated goldfish as it closely resembles its natural environment. When the fish receives enough food, and the environmental conditions are conducive to its growth, a pond goldfish will live for several years. With the right type of diet, it will continue to grow throughout its life and can live to be two decades or more. However, there is an increased risk of attack from predators and other environmental factors in an outdoor habitat like a pond.
Will goldfish clean a pond? Goldfish are bottom feeders that dig into the substrate to fish out their food. As omnivorous fish, they will eat almost anything edible that they find. So, goldfish are used to get rid of mosquitoes and other water insects. They also eat algae and duckweed and can potentially control the growth of aquatic weeds in a pond. However, goldfish are also messy fish that produce a lot of waste. Their waste causes ammonia levels to rise and reduce the quality of water in a small pond. That is why goldfish pond owners should either cycle the pond water frequently or install a filter to maintain the quality of water.