Do Goldfish Eat Each Other Or Other Fish?

Last Updated on 2023-12-05

Goldfish are a popular first pet for children. They’re easy to care for and learn about pet ownership. But, there’s a myth that goldfish eat each other or other fish. This concern is common as nobody wants to see their pets become a snack for their goldfish.

So, is there any truth to it? Keep reading to find out!

Key Takeaways:

  • Goldfish are generally not aggressive, and their intention to eat each other or other fish is not common.
  • Under certain circumstances, goldfish may eat each other or other fish, especially if there is a scarcity of food in the tank.
  • Goldfish may mistakenly eat smaller fish, including their own babies, if they fit into their mouths.
  • Goldfish are not predatory by nature, and their behavior of eating other fish is usually accidental and not aggressive.
  • Goldfish may exhibit aggressive behavior if the tank is overcrowded, and they require adequate space to prevent aggression.

Do Goldfish Eat Each Other?

Since goldfish aren’t aggressive, they don’t have intentions of eating one another. However, under certain circumstances, this may not be the case.

Goldfish will eat each other and other fish if there isn’t enough food in the tank. On top of this, they may also eat other fish and baby fish that are so small they fit easily into your goldfish’s mouth. So make sure you’re keeping your goldfish with similarly sized fish.

This is because they swim around looking for small morsels of food, and sometimes when a baby goldfish comes across their path, they mistake it for food. 

Do Goldfish Eat Other Fish?

Goldfish aren’t predators, so they don’t attack other fish in order to eat them. However, just like the case with baby goldfish, they may swallow smaller fish when they’re searching for food. Any time this happens, it’s not done aggressively and was purely accidental. 

Do Goldfish Eat Snails?

Snails can make great companions for goldfish, but that’s only when they are the right size. Any snail that is smaller than the goldfish’s mouth could get eaten by a goldfish. Goldfish are also known to eat a snail’s eggs, which could be a good thing if you don’t want your snails to reproduce.

Do Goldfish Eat Shrimp?

Shrimp are very tiny, so it’s likely that they will get eaten by a goldfish. It’s not a good idea to keep shrimp in the same tank as goldfish because they are always at risk. Goldfish basically eat anything they can fit into their mouth, meaning shrimp will never be safe around them.

Do Goldfish Eat Their Babies?

A goldfish will likely eat their babies because they end up producing hundreds of eggs when they mate. Goldfish don’t have any paternal instincts, so they don’t recognize their babies. This means they may eat their babies if they are in the same tank.

Why Do Goldfish Eat Their Tank Mates?

As mentioned above, goldfish will eat almost anything that fits into their mouths. They don’t care if they’re related or not; if it fits in their mouth, they’re going to eat it. However, sometimes goldfish will eat a larger fish in the tank. A large part of this is because they require their own space, and if things feel crowded, they become aggressive.

Many people notice aggressive behavior in their goldfish when they introduce new fish to the tank. Goldfish are territorial, so they may eat their new tank mates if things are too crowded. However, they will try to chase them off beforehand in most cases. This will give you a fair warning that some action needs to take place.

Even though goldfish don’t get aggressive too often, they have been known to eat fish that are considered weak in the tank. If a fish is sick or injured, then the goldfish won’t want them in their territory anymore. They may try to eat them as a way to get the weak fish out of there.

Goldfish aren’t exactly cannibals, though, and often make great companions for other fish. It is mainly just fish that are smaller than their mouths that are targets. Actually, goldfish are more social fish and are happiest when they are living among other fish. It’s important to make sure things don’t get too crowded for them, though.

Why Are Your Goldfish Eating Each Other?

Did you know that goldfish can eat their own kind for various reasons? For instance, they might chow down on a dead fish in the tank or try to grab eggs if they spot them. Also, if food scarcity or the tank is cramped, they could turn aggressive and start snacking on their tank mates. Plus, they might get envious and fight with each other or get agitated due to excessive noise, which increases the chances of biting.

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How Can You Prevent Your Goldfish Eating Each Other or Their Tank Mates

If you create the right environment for your goldfish, they shouldn’t get the urge to eat other fish in the tank. Goldfish usually have laid-back personalities, so when they begin to eat other fish, there’s usually something you can do to fix the situation. Try any of the following methods to get to the root of why your goldfish might be snacking on the other fish:

Prevention MethodsExplanation
Provide Enough SpaceGoldfish need adequate space to reduce stress and aggression. Each goldfish should have at least 10 gallons of water, and the tank should not be overcrowded.
Maintain Good Water QualityEnsure the tank has clean water to prevent aggressive behavior. Regular partial water changes, around 30%, help maintain good water quality for the goldfish.
Feed the Right AmountGoldfish should be fed three times a day, with any uneaten food removed within two minutes. Proper feeding prevents both overeating and perceiving a food shortage.
Observe Signs of Mating BehaviorSometimes, aggressive behavior may be misinterpreted as goldfish trying to eat each other. Understanding mating behavior helps distinguish between aggression and courtship.
Use Tank Dividers if NecessaryIf aggression persists, consider using tank dividers to separate aggressive goldfish from others. Dividers do not affect water quality and provide a temporary solution.
Enhance Tank EnvironmentAdding real plants, rocks, or decorations can improve the tank environment, offering hiding spots for fish and reducing aggression, especially if one fish is more dominant.
Isolate Aggressive Goldfish if NeededIn extreme cases, isolate the aggressive goldfish in a separate tank to ensure the safety of other fish. This step may be necessary if other prevention methods are ineffective.
Care for Sick or Injured FishQuarantine sick or injured fish until they are healed and safe to reintroduce to the tank. Treat wounds with proper solutions to prevent infection.

Give Them Enough Space

If goldfish don’t have enough space, they may get stressed and eat other fish to clear up the room. Each goldfish needs 10 gallons of water. So if you add a second goldfish to your tank, you will need to have 20 gallons of water, and so on. If the tank is overcrowded, there’s likely going to be trouble.

Goldfish produce a lot of waste each day, so if the water is overcrowded, the water quality will be affected. A poor living environment will cause the goldfish to act aggressively. Make sure your goldfish are given the right amount of space so they continue staying friendly with one another.

Make Sure They Have Good Water Quality

Water quality plays a key role in whether or not the goldfish are happy in their environment. If they are living in poor water conditions, then they may view other fish as a threat. This could cause them to act out and bite the other fish, even if they do have enough space.

To prevent this from occurring, make sure the fish have good quality water in their tank. Get in the routine of doing partial water changes either weekly or bi-weekly to keep their water clean. This means you should remove around 30 percent of the water and replace it with fresh water.

Give Them The Right Amount of Food

It’s important to make sure your goldfish are getting the right amount of food because they don’t digest their food like other animals. Goldfish don’t have stomachs, so the food doesn’t stay inside of them for very long before it becomes a waste. To give them the right amount of food, feed them 3 times a day and clean up what they don’t eat within 2 minutes. 

When goldfish eat too much, they risk becoming sick. However, you don’t want to underfeed them either because that will make them view their tank mates as a threat. If they feel like there is a food shortage, they may try to eat the other fish around them. 

That Might Not Be A Bite…

If you have done everything right in creating a good living environment for your goldfish, then it may not be what it looks like. Even though it looks like your goldfish is trying to eat their tank mate, they could be trying to mate instead. A male goldfish will chase the female around first, which looks aggressive.

Although this seems sweet, if you don’t have enough room for their babies, you may want to separate them. Although your two adult goldfish get along, they are both likely to eat their babies if there isn’t enough room in their tank. 

Make Their Tank Even Better

You can do a few more things to make sure your goldfish aren’t tempted to eat one another. If they ever show signs of aggression with each other, consider getting a tank divider to keep them separate. These are usually made from acrylic and don’t affect the water quality.

It can be hard to keep up with cleaning the fish tank as often as your goldfish would like. You can help make sure they have better water quality by adding some real plants to their aquarium. If one goldfish is more aggressive than the others, try adding some rocks or decorations for the other fish to hide beneath.

Give The Offender a New Home

If you have one goldfish that is more aggressive than the others, then no amount of food or hiding spots will help. You may have no choice but to separate that goldfish from your other fish. If you continue to allow that fish to live in the tank, you’re putting the other fish’s safety at risk.

You will either have to put the aggressive goldfish in a separate tank so they can live by themselves or find a new home for them if a solo tank is not possible. 

Take Care of Sick or Injured Fish

Sometimes goldfish will try to eat a sick or injured fish to get them out of the water. If this is the case, you will need to quarantine the sick or injured fish. This will give them time to adequately heal until they are safe to be around the goldfish again.

If a goldfish have bitten a fish that isn’t sick, you will have to treat their wounds with rot solution to keep it from becoming infected. Untreated wounds are at risk of attracting bacteria, which could make the fish sick. 

Unfortunately, fish who have been bitten by goldfish often face mental distress after the attack. They may seem timider and scared around other fish than they did before the goldfish tried to eat them.

Check out this video by With Ty on whether Goldfish eat other fish!

Do Goldfish Eat Dead Fish?

If a fish dies in the tank, there is a good chance that the goldfish will try to eat it as a way to remove it from their home. They act fast too, so if a fish dies in your tank, the goldfish may already begin to eat at it before you get a chance to remove it.

This isn’t because they are predators, but more so because they are always searching for food.


Why Are Your Goldfish Picking On One Fish?

If you’re wondering why your goldfish are bullying one of their buddies, it is possible that the poor fish is sick or hurt, so the others see it as an easy target. Or, it just looks or acts differently, setting off the others. There could also be some power struggles, with one fish trying to rule the roost and boss the others around.

Why Do Goldfish Eat Each Other’s Fins?

Goldfish nibble on each other’s fins for a few reasons. If the tank is too small or complete, causing stress and aggression. Another is if they need more food, making them hungry and hostile. Lastly, they flex their natural instincts of dominance and territorialism by nipping at their buddies’ fins.

Are Goldfish Predatory By Nature?

Goldfish aren’t usually predators. They chow down on plants and tiny creatures like bugs and crustaceans. They don’t actively seek out or pursue other fish to hunt or attack. But their behavior can change based on their surroundings and how they interact with their tank buddies.

Final Thoughts: Do Goldfish Eat Each Other Or Other Fish?

Most goldfish aren’t mean-spirited. They actually enjoy being in the company of other fish and can make great friends with all types of sea creatures. The only catch is their new friends can’t be smaller than a goldfish’s mouth. Goldfish like to eat and are always on the hunt for a new snack. 

If a goldfish opens its mouth and a fish is small enough to fit inside, then there’s a good chance that fish will get eaten. While most fish are safe around a goldfish, these pretty orange fish are known to act out if they have poor living conditions. They may even try to eat their tank mates as a way of creating more space. 

Always maintain a clean and spacious tank, and your goldfish likely won’t attack their mates.

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1 thought on “Do Goldfish Eat Each Other Or Other Fish?”

  1. A had a small little gold fish bite the belly out of an adult. Any more fish introduced would be killed. The king gold fish is territorial and moves around like a shark. It looks like a gold fish, but it operates like jaws.

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