Constipation In Goldfish (Treatment, Causes, Prevention, Symptoms)

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Last Updated on 2023-12-19

Do you think your goldfish is suffering from constipation? If so, you’ve found the right article. Here you’ll find out what the symptoms of constipation in goldfish look like. But you’ll also learn much more! Such as what causes it, how to treat it, how to prevent and whether it’s fatal.

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know about constipation in goldfish!

What Is Constipation

First of all, what is constipation in goldfish? Constipation is when your goldfish finds it difficult to pass stool. It’s normally because they’re having trouble digesting food or because of their environment. However, if your goldfish is suffering from constipation, it’s important to understand all the different causes to help treat it. As well as prevent it from happening again.

What Causes Constipation In Goldfish?

There are many different causes of constipation in goldfish, and it’s always a good idea to figure out which one is the reason behind your goldfish’s constipation. This way, you’ll be able to decide what the best cause of treatment is as well as how to prevent it in the future.

And with that being said, here are the most common causes of goldfish constipation.

Poor Diet

This is the most likely and common cause of constipation in your goldfish. If you’re not giving them a good diet, then the chances of their insides being blocked are going to increase massively.

Goldfish are omnivores, so they’re going to need a mixture of plants and meat in their diet, and getting this mix right is paramount. It may be hard for you to do this, but high-quality goldfish flakes will sort this problem out for you.

However, that doesn’t mean you should rely solely on them. As well as using fish flakes, you should also be supplementing your goldfish’s diet with live food and blanched plant matter.

Daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp are all fantastic choices as they’re not too fatty but will still give your goldfish the nutrients they need. On the other end of the spectrum, vegetables such as peas, lettuce, kale, and spinach are all great choices for use as plant matter. Just make sure you’re blanching them first.

And if you’re going to feed your fish freeze-dried or frozen food, make sure you put it in water first to give it time to defrost and expand. This is also the case if you’re using pellets too.

Lastly, it may be best to avoid giving your goldfish blood worms or only give them blood worms as a treat. This is because blood worms are quite fatty, and they can often block up your goldfish’s digestive tract.

(You may also be curious as to whether you can feed your goldfish bread or not.)


Even if you’re goldfish has a great diet, and you’re feeding them all the right stuff, they may still become constipated if you’re feeding them too much. You should only be feeding your goldfish for 2 minutes 2-3 times a day. Anything more than this and you increase the chance of your goldfish becoming constipated.

Overfeeding can also cause swim bladder disease and dropsy.

Not Enough Exercise

You may think that your goldfish swimming is going to give them enough exercise, but this isn’t necessarily true. You need to make sure that you’re giving your goldfish enough room for them to swim around in properly.

Goldfish need a minimum of 20 gallons for one and then an additional 10 gallons for each extra. If you’re not giving your goldfish this amount of space, then they’re not going to be getting enough exercise.

And if they’re not getting enough exercise, you’re going to increase the chances of them becoming constipated.

Poor Water Quality

Another big reason that your goldfish could become constipated (as well as suffering from a whole range of diseases and illnesses) is poor water quality.

If your goldfish is turning black, however, it can be a symptom of something else entirely. Read about it here.

This is especially true with goldfish when compared to other fish, as they’re known to be messy fish. If you’re housing goldfish, then you’re going to need to make sure that you’re performing frequent water changes and that you have a filter to help remove any waste from the tank as well.

Swim Bladder Disease

If your goldfish is suffering from swim bladder disease, then it means that their insides have been damaged. This could result in swelling and pressure being put on their digestive system, causing constipation.

However, if your goldfish is suffering from swim bladder disease, then it could ALSO be being caused by constipation. So it’s important to find out the exact cause before treating it.

The Water Is Too Cold

Lastly, constipation is more likely to occur when the water is too cold (which is much more likely in ponds). When the water temperature falls below 50°F, your goldfish metabolism is going to slow down massively.

When their metabolism slows down, it’s going to take them much longer to digest food which, of course, is going to increase the chance of them suffering from constipation.

So during the winter months, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your goldfish. And if the temperature drops too much, don’t be afraid to not feed them at all. When the temperature drops in a pond, they’ll go into hibernation mode and won’t need to eat until the water warms up again. Just make sure you’ve been feeding them high protein food leading up to this moment.

(Find out how to keep goldfish warm in ponds and whether they need a heater inside.)

What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation In Goldfish?

Aside from knowing what causes constipation in goldfish, it’s also paramount that you learn the symptoms of it. After all, if you don’t know the symptoms, how else are you going to spot them?

Here are the main symptoms of constipation.

Not Eating

One of the main signs that your goldfish is constipated is that they’ll be spitting out food. If your goldfish is constipated, then their digestive tract is full, and if their digestive tract is full, then the last thing they’re going to want to do is to eat more food.

Not only may your goldfish not eat, but you may also notice they put food into their mouths before spitting it out. This is another sign of constipation and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Stringy Feces

While it may not be easy to notice, if you do notice that your goldfish has stringy feces, then there’s a good probability that they’re suffering from constipation, especially when you notice it with other symptoms on this list.

As well as this, in a healthy goldfish, the feces should sink to the substrate every time; however, when your goldfish is unhealthy, it will be stringy and hang from him. When you notice this, it’s a good idea to begin treating him for constipation.

Bloated Belly

Another classic sign of constipation in goldfish is a bloated belly. When the food is unable to pass out of their bowels, then their belly is going to expand slightly. And the longer that your goldfish remains constipated, the bigger their belly is going to grow.

But a bloated belly isn’t solely caused by constipation. As well as constipation, it could also be caused by dropsy or swim bladder disease.

Trouble Swimming

When their belly grows too big, then your goldfish is going to have trouble swimming. This is more likely to occur when you’ve left your goldfish for too long. If this does happen, then it’s also much more likely that your goldfish is now also suffering from swim bladder disease as well as constipation.


And lastly, you’ll also notice that your goldfish is a lot more lethargic and won’t want to swim around as much.

Just like when you’re feeling bloated and full, your goldfish isn’t going to want to move either.

How To Treat Constipation In Goldfish?

Fortunately, there are a number of different ways you can treat constipation in your goldfish, and the treatment you should choose is going to depend on how severe the constipation is. Here are a few different ways you can treat constipation in your goldfish.

Fast Your Goldfish

Before anything, you should fast your goldfish. This in itself can normally stop your goldfish from being constipated, so it’s a great place to start. If you’re going to fast your goldfish, then you should fast them for 2-3 days.

This isn’t bad for goldfish at all, and in fact, it also has some benefits. And if you’re worried about being cruel, just remember, your goldfish would sometimes have to go days without food in the wild. In fact, during the winter months, when the temperature drops, they may even go months without food.

Feed Them A Pea

If you think that your goldfish is still in the early stages of constipation, then feeding them a pea is the best cause of action. It’s not going to take much time to prepare, and on the flip side, it’s going to be amazingly helpful to your goldfish.

However, if you’re going to feed your goldfish a pea, you’re going to need to prepare it first. Fortunately, preparing peas is incredibly easy.

Start by getting your pea and blanching it. This will often take 30 seconds to a minute, depending on whether it’s frozen or chilled. Make sure you don’t cook the pea completely, but also make sure you’re not undercooking it. Otherwise, it will lose its nutrients and be harder to eat.

Once you’ve cooked it, you should then make sure you cool it down. After it’s cooled down, de-shell it and remove the inside of the pea (this is what you’re going to feed your goldfish as it’s going to be very high in fiber.

Now all you need to do is feed your goldfish half of the pea and then fast them for 24 hours. Repeat this up to two more times, and then your goldfish’s constipation should have cleared.

However, if this hasn’t worked, then it’ll be time to move on to the next step.

Treating Constipation With Epsom Salt

The next method is to treat constipation with Epsom salt. This is for when peas aren’t cutting it, and the constipation is a little bit more severe.

These methods shouldn’t be used before peas as it’s often more taxing on your fish’s body.

If you’re going to use Epsom salt, then the first step is to take some tank water and place it into a smaller container. Once you’ve done this, add some Epsom salt to the water. You should add 1 teaspoon for every 5 gallons of water.

Once you’ve thoroughly mixed the Epsom salt with the aquarium water, you can then add it back into the tank. Once you’ve done this, leave your goldfish in the tank for 3-4 days before performing a 100% water change. Also, make sure you’ve removed the chemical filter, so you don’t have to worry about the Epsom salt being removed.

If you have any other tank mates in the tank, then you’ll need to remove your goldfish and dose them in a quarantine tank. Otherwise, you’re going to stress out the rest of your tank mates and potentially damage the plants.

How Do You Prevent Constipation In Goldfish?

Fortunately, preventing constipation in goldfish isn’t difficult, and if you’re trying to prevent it, you’ll never have to worry about treating it!

Here are some of the best ways to prevent constipation in goldfish!

Avoid Overfeeding Your Goldfish

One of the main ways that your goldfish is likely to become constipated is when they’re eating too much. This often messes with their digestive tracts resulting in constipation.

As a rule of thumb, make sure you’re feeding your goldfish for 2 minutes, no more than 2-3 times a day. Anything more than this is going to increase the chance of constipation.

You should also fast your goldfish every couple of weeks to help their digestive tract become completely clear.

Make Sure He’s Getting A Varied Diet

As well as making sure you’re not overfeeding your goldfish, you should also make sure that you’re giving them a balanced diet. Goldfish are going to need a mixture of meat and plants in their diet.

Most of their diet can come from goldfish flakes; however, you should also give them live food and blanched vegetables on occasion as well.

Make Sure The Tank Is Big Enough

As previously mentioned, if the tank isn’t big enough, then your goldfish aren’t going to get enough exercise, and if they’re not getting enough exercise, then it’s much more likely they will become constipated.

So if you’re housing goldfish together, make sure you’re keeping one in a 20-gallon tank and then an additional 10 gallons for every new goldfish.

Can Goldfish Die Of Constipation?

Make no mistake; if you’re not treating constipation or trying to prevent it, then it’s entirely possible that it will kill your goldfish. However, if you catch it early enough, then you’ll be able to treat it, and your goldfish should be fine.

While it’s not as serious as other illnesses, you’re definitely not going to want to leave it too long before treating it.


Now you know everything there is to know about constipation in goldfish; you should be ready to handle it if it ever crops up!

Remember, if your goldfish is suffering from constipation, you can prevent it by making sure the tank is big enough, giving them the right amount of food as well as a varied amount, and fasting them every so often.

You can also treat constipation by fasting your betta, feeding them blanched peas, and using Epsom salt!

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