You only have to take a look on Amazon to see how many different types of food for your fish are available.
Many of the products look exactly the same, but, if you look at the wording, you will notice that it will say ‘Goldfish and Cold Water’ or ‘Tropical and Temperate’.
It is very easy to pick up the wrong food. I know as I have done it myself. In my defence, I buy the Aquarian brand and they do look practically identical!
Feeding goldfish food to your tropical fish is safe. It is only recommended as a short term option though, as goldfish food and tropical fish food contain different levels of nutrients. Tropical fish food contains higher levels of protein, whilst goldfish food contains higher levels of plant based nutrients.
Is There a Difference Between Goldfish Food and Tropical Fish Food?
For this article, I am going to refer to the Aquarian Complete Nutrition brand of fish food.
The ingredients are listed in order from largest amount to smallest, just like with human food.
So, is there a big difference in the ingredients for these 2 types of fish food?
Fish and fish derivatives, cereals, oils and fats, vegetables (including 0.8% beetroot), derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, fruit, yeasts, algae.
Protein 35, fat content 11.9, inorganic matter 11.4, crude fibres 1.
Fish and fish derivatives, cereals, oils and fats, vegetables, derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, fruit, yeasts, algae.
Protein 34, fat content 11.6, inorganic matter 11.2, crude fibres 0.6
Apart from very small differences in the analytical constituents of the feeds, the only main difference between the 2 is that the tropical food contains beetroot.
Analytical Constituents is just a posh way of referring to the percentage levels of protein, fat, fibre, and inorganic matter (ash).
Beetroot is an antioxidant, which benefits the more colourful fish.
Looking at Aquarian’s website, I was able to find out that the inorganic matter contained in both types of food is classed as ‘ash’.
Ash is the mineral matter part of the food, and usually consists of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. It is called ash due to cooking the feed quickly at very high temperatures.
Both the tropical and the goldfish food contain vitamins A, C, D and E.
Vitamins C and E are known to support a healthy immune system.
Can I Feed Goldfish Flakes to Tropical Fish?
It won’t harm your tropical fish if they are fed goldfish flakes as the ingredients for both fish are very similar.
Feeding your fish the correct type of food will have optimum benefits for your fish as they will have the correct nutritional requirements in them.
Tropical fish food contains beetroot which helps to enhance the colours on tropical fish.
Some people keep goldfish in the same tank as tropical fish (this is absolutely not advised, as goldfish are not tropical), and feed them just one type of food.
Tropical fish food and goldfish food are sold separately because the ingredients are slightly different, and those 2 types of fish shouldn’t be in the same tank in the first place!
Can Tropical Fish Eat Goldfish Pellets?
Goldfish are bottom feeders, so their food can be heavier, especially if in pellet form. This is so it can sink to the bottom of the tank.
Many tropical fish are top feeders, and don’t like to venture down to the bottom of the tank to feed.
Tropical fish, such as catfishes, plecos, loaches and corydoras are examples of bottom feeder fish.
Top and middle feeding fish, such as guppies, tetras, barbs etc will not eat sinking pellets as they will not want to venture down to the bottom of the tank to eat.
If you only have bottom feeding tropical fish in your tank, then they are fine to eat goldfish pellets. If you tank contains only top and middle feeders, or a mixture of all 3, then do not put goldfish pellets into your tank as some of the fish will not eat them.
You can actually get floating tropical fish pellets. Pellets are known to not dirty the water as much as flakes as there is less waste from them.
Is Tropical Fish Food OK for Goldfish?
Just like tropical fish can eat goldfish food, the same applies to whether goldfish can safely eat tropical fish food.
The only thing to consider here again though, is that goldfish are bottom feeders. Most types of tropical fish food will float on top of the water for a good while, before starting to float to the bottom. The chances are, that by the time it reaches the bottom of the tank, it has more or less disintegrated.
What Can I Substitute for Tropical Fish Food?
If you happen to run out of all types of fish food, there are certain things you can feed to your fish on a short term basis only.
Your fish need specific nutrients that are in their fish food. It is virtually impossible to be able to give your fish all the nutrients they require in their food.
If you can’t get to the pet shop, order on Amazon for next day delivery.
In the meantime, you can feed your fish cooked vegetables (boiled, obviously-not pan fried in butter or anything..). Shelled peas, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and carrots are all safe options. Fish are also big fans of cucumber.
I have a tray of frozen bloodworm cubes in my freezer, which I bought from my local pet shop. These are really good to have in. The fish love them, and this would be a lovely treat if you have run out of fish food. As my tank consists of all top feeders, I let the cube melt before adding it to the tank, so that the bloodworms will float towards the top.
There are no long term health risks in feeding goldfish food to your tropical fish, or vice versa.
Your best option, however, is to always try and feed your fish the correct food so you know they are getting the required nutrients that your species needs.