Do Goldfish Eat Worms?

Garden variety worms are simple enough to find since they live by the thousands in just about anyone’s yard. If you’re finding them while planting in your garden, you’ve probably wondered, ‘do goldfish eat worms like those?’ And if so, what other kinds of live foods can you offer them. Let’s take a look at worms and other live foods for goldfish!

Can I Feed My Goldfish Worms?

Do Goldfish Eat Worms

Absolutely! Worms are great live foods for goldfish because they are rich in protein and fat. And when rooting around the bottom of ponds and rivers in the wild, they find worms occasionally. But we need to be careful with all that fat; feeding too much of it is no better for goldfish than is for you.

What Kind Should I Offer?

Common worms that you can feed include bloodworms (which are actually insect larvae and not so fatty), earthworms, tubifex worms, and nightcrawlers. Wild earthworms are fine food for goldfish. Nightcrawlers might be too large for your fish, so choose these only for fully grown goldfish.

Most pet stores carry tubifex – you don’t want to collect these from a wild source to feed your goldfish because they tend to thrive in polluted conditions. If eaten, wild tubifex can pass on heavy metals, agricultural fertilizers, industrial waste, and other poisons.

Brine Shrimp and Other Invertebrate Foods

Goldfish eat worms but also other live foods like insects! Invertebrates, in general, are some of their favorite things to consume. Daphnia (water fleas) are tiny crustaceans excellent for smaller goldfish but are too small to feed larger fish. They also have indigestible shells that make them a great cure for constipation!

Color Enhancing Food

Goldfish of all sizes love brine shrimp, which are another fatty food but perfect to feed in moderation! Brine shrimp, krill, and other yellow/orange/red crustaceans also have carotenoid pigments that enhance these same colors in your fish if fed to them!

Since goldfish are intensely orange, we want to ensure they get plenty of these pigments in their diet. I’ll also recommend a few more foods with pigment enhancers below if you don’t feel like messing with live foods.

Feeding Snails to Goldfish

Small snails are another treat they will thank you for. Goldfish are actually specialized to feed on hard-shelled foods! In order to do they use the second set of jaws in their throats equipped with flat, crushing teeth (pharyngeal teeth). Feeding snails give these teeth a good workout and are a great addition to a balanced diet.

Giving Goldfish a Varied Diet

Feeding goldfish can be a little trickier than you might expect because they are true omnivores! This means that, like us humans, they need both plants and animals in their diet. If fed only meat or only vegetables, a goldfish will suffer from deficiencies from a lack of nutrients only found in one or the other.

“Vegetables,” in this case, include aquatic plants and green algae in the wild. Softer plants like Cabomba and Anacharis are best since goldfish don’t have primary teeth for biting as true vegetarians do. But you can also offer them terrestrial vegetable foods like peas, spinach, lettuce, and squash!

Simply boil these vegetables for a couple of minutes in aquarium water to soften them enough for your fish before feeding.

Animal-based food is also important. Goldfish love live foods like worms, shrimp, fish eggs, and snails. But they shouldn’t receive too much protein, either.

Lastly, we want to base our goldfish diet on a prepared blend. Prepared formulas are great because they combine plants and animals in a single serving, making each feeding a simple matter!

Related: 11 Human Foods You Can Feed Your Goldfish (Plus, What Foods To Avoid)

Five Choices for More Variety

Tetra Goldfish Flakes

Standard flakes are suitable for goldfish of all sizes!

Cobalt Aquatics Ultra Goldfish Pellets

High-quality floating pellet blend that includes kelp, seaweed, garlic, and other foods.

Sakura Gold Color Enhancing Pellets

Spirulina enriched formula that includes astaxanthin for brighter reds and golds!

Aqueon Color Enhancing Goldfish Granules

This prepared pellet formula also includes color-enhancing pigments for goldfish.

TetraFin Plus Goldfish Flakes

Includes algae, a natural source of vitamins and nutrients for goldfish

Wrapping Things Up

variety of goldfish inside an aquarium bowl

Since your goldfish can’t choose what they are eating, it’s up to you to ensure they get the varied diet that all omnivores need for good health. This means not only live foods and fresh greens but prepared foods rich in both. Check out our best goldfish food list for recommendations.

Fortunately, the list of options I’ve included above contains everything required to keep your fish growing and your tank crystal clear!


Kelly Stanley