Goldfish Poop – Is It Normal Or Is There Something Wrong?

Last Updated on 2023-10-19

It isn’t the nicest subject to read about, but did you know you can tell a lot about a goldfish based on their poop?

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about goldfish poop, including what the different consistencies and colors mean when goldfish poop is healthy and, most importantly, when it’s a sign that there’s something wrong!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Key Takeaways:

  • Goldfish do indeed poop, and they have an anus located above their tail fin but below most of their abdomen.
  • Goldfish do not pee; they release ammonia through their gills as they breathe.
  • The appearance of goldfish poop can vary depending on their diet, with different consistencies and colors indicating their food.
  • Abnormal goldfish poop can be a sign of underlying issues, including poor diet, bacterial infections, internal parasites, and other health problems.

Do Goldfish Poop?

Strangely enough, many people ask whether goldfish poop. Well, to answer the question: Yes, Goldfish do poop. Goldfish have an anus located above their tail fin but below most of their abdomen.

How Often Should a Goldfish Poop?

A goldfish usually poops once or twice every two days. This depends on how much food they eat. If they eat the same amount of food every day, then their pooping schedule should be pretty consistent and not too hard to predict.

Do Goldfish Pee?

If goldfish poop, then you may be wondering whether they pee as well. Actually, no, Goldfish don’t pee. Mammals pee to release ammonia from their bodies; however, fish don’t have to do that. They are able to release ammonia through their gills as they breathe, eliminating the need to urinate.

What Does Goldfish Poop Look Like?

There is a lot of speculation as to what goldfish poop should look like. Everyone seems to have a different answer; however, there is one that generally rings more true than others.

Goldfish poop should generally look like whatever your Goldfish has been eating. For example, if you feed your Goldfish a diet that is high in meat, then their poop will be more pinkish in color. If they’ve been eating a lot of vegetation, it will be green, and if they’ve been eating a lot of flakes and pellets, it will be red/brown.

As well as this, your goldfish poop should also have a solid consistency, sink to the bottom of the tank, and not hang out of your Goldfish’s body.

What Different Types Of Goldfish Poop Mean

Goldfish poop comes in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Being aware of what’s normal and what’s not can often help you diagnose when something is wrong with your Goldfish. Here are what all the different types of Goldfish poop signify.

Abnormal Goldfish PoopPossible Causes
White, Stringy, and LumpyPoor diet, bacterial infection, internal parasites.
White, Pale/TranslucentUnderfeeding or inadequate diet.
Long and StringyParasitic infection, bacterial infection, poor diet, injury, or poor water conditions.
Multiple Strands HangingCarnallanus worms.
Long and ThinPoor diet, water quality, signs of infection or illness.
Poop Hanging Out and TrailingOverfeeding.
Air Bubbles in PoopOxygen deficiency due to overstocked tank or warm water.
Long and ThickConstipation, can be relieved with a cooked deshelled pea, fasting, or Epsom salt.
Water Tinged Brown Behind GoldfishLikely diarrhea, focus on water quality, feeding, and tank management.

Why Is Goldfish Poop White?

There are a number of different reasons that your Goldfish might have white poop.

If your Goldfish is turning black, however, it can be a symptom of something else entirely. Read about it here. However, no matter what the cause, if your Goldfish has white poop, the chances are there’s something wrong. Here are the most common causes of white poop.

Poop That Is White, Stringy And Lumpy

If your Goldfish’s poop is white stringy and lumpy, there are a number of different causes that could be responsible.

  • Poor Diet – The first potential cause is a poor diet. You should be giving your goldfish a mix of live food, meat, tropical flakes, and vegetation. If they’re not getting all of this, then it may turn their feces white.
  • Internal Bacterial Infection – Another common cause of this kind of poop is a bacterial infection. Along with white, stringy, lumpy feces, you may also notice that your goldfish is bloated, lethargic, and has little appetite. Fortunately, if you catch a bacterial infection early enough, it is possible to treat it with the right fish antibiotics.
  • Internal Parasites – Lastly, your goldfish may also be suffering from internal parasites. Tapeworms and roundworms will be the main culprit, however, in extremely rare cases it could also be Hexamita. Fortunately, though, it’s still unlikely that goldfish in tanks will suffer from internal parasites.

White Poop That’s Pale/Transluscent

You may also notice that sometimes a Goldfish’s poop is pale or even translucent in color. When this is the case, it means you’re probably underfeeding your Goldfish, or there’s just not enough nutrients in their diet.

Essentially when poop is pale or translucent, it means there’s not enough food in it. At this point, you’re not actually looking at poop but rather the mucus coating that’s inside all Goldfish. You should try changing their diet to one with a lot more animal proteins and vegetation in it, as well as high-quality fish flakes. However, if this still doesn’t work, then you should speak to a vet.

goldfish poop

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Why Is Goldfish Poop Long And Stringy?

You may also notice that even when the poop isn’t white, it’s still long and stringy. Long and stringy poop is never good and is a sign of a more serious health issue. Here are the common cause of long stringy feces in Goldfish.

  • Parasitic Infection – Again, while it’s not common at all, any poop that is long and stringy can be a sign of parasitic infection. One of the best ways to tell for sure if this is the case is to check the anus of your goldfish. If you notice that it’s inflamed then they may be suffering from roundworms.
  • Bacteria – Once again, poop that is long and stringy but not white could still be being cased by bacterial infections inside your goldfish. Poor diet, injury, and poor water conditions can all be a cause of this.
  • Flagellates – When you check your goldfish anus to see if it’s inflamed, but it isn’t, then they may have flagellates. They’re often found inside the intestinal tract of fish, and most of the time they’ll only cause a mild infection. However, be warned, sometimes they can be deadly if left untreated.

Why Does Goldfish Poop Have Multiple Strands?

In some cases, you may notice that multiple strands of poop are hanging from your Goldfish. If this is the case,, then your Goldfish may be suffering from Carnallanus worms. Carnallanus worms are even more distinguishable when the poo is red or brown in color. If you think they’re what your Goldfish is suffering from, you should consult a vet as soon as possible to receive medication.

Why Is Goldfish Poop Long And Thin?

Goldfish poop that is long and thin is often a sign that your Goldfish isn’t eating properly. This is even more apparent when it’s also lacking color (as previously mentioned.)

If your Goldfish’s poop is long and thin, make sure the water quality is good. Also, try feeding them more live food, vegetation, and high-quality fish food. Lastly, look for signs of infection or illness that could have caused your Goldfish to lose their appetite.

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Why Is Your Goldfish’ Poop Hanging Out And Trailing?

You may notice that sometimes your goldfish poop is hanging from their anus and trailing behind them. The main reason this happens is that your Goldfish has been overfed.

If you think you’re overfeeding your Goldfish, then you should fast them for a day or two to help their digestive system clear. As well as this, every couple of weeks, you should fast your Goldfish for a day to help their digestive system recover as well.

Why Are There Air Bubbles In Goldfish Poop?

If you notice air bubbles in your goldfish poop, then the most likely reason is that they’re not getting enough oxygen. Air bubbles occur when your Goldfish is gasping for air and breathing in more.

This most often happens when the tank is overstocked or because the water is too warm.

To solve the problem, move them to a bigger tank, increase the amount of surface agitation, add an air bubbler, and make sure the temperature of the tank is okay. Remember, warm water can’t hold as much oxygen as cold water!

Why Is Goldfish Poop Long And Thick?

One of the most common causes of long thick poop in Goldfish is constipation. If you think that your Goldfish is constipated, you may notice other symptoms as well, such as bloating, no appetite, and lethargy.

When your Goldfish is constipated, fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do. First of all, you can feed them a cooked deshelled pea. This is going to be extremely high in fiber can help them expel all the food in their stomach.

If a cooked deshelled pea doesn’t work, then fasting your Goldfish is often going to do the job as well. And if all else fails, you can also add some Epsom salt to the tank to relax their muscles making pooping easier.

And lastly, to prevent constipation, make sure you’re not feeding your Goldfish too much and that you’re feeding them high-quality food!

Check out this video by EverydayAquatics on long goldfish poop:

Why Is Water Behind Goldfish Tinged Brown?

Sometimes you may notice that the water directly behind your Goldfish is tinged brown. If this is the case, then they probably have diarrhea. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to treat this, but prevention is possible.

Make sure you’re keeping the water quality in your tank good, you don’t overstock it, you clean frequently, and most importantly, you feed your Goldfish a high-quality diet!

goldfish poop
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What If Your Goldfish Doesn’t Poop At All?

If your Goldfish doesn’t poop at all, then they’re most likely suffering from constipation. However, remember, your Goldfish may be pooping, and you just might not see it.

Check for the symptoms of constipation, such as lethargy, bloating, lack of appetite, and clamped fins to help you see if they’re sick or not!

If you do think it’s constipation, remember the best thing to do is fast them or feed them a deshelled pea.

And going forward, try to feed them no more than 2 times a day and never add more food into the tank than they can eat in a minute or two. Also, keep the water quality in the tank high to help stop your Goldfish from becoming sick!

Do Goldfish Eat Their Own Poop?

Generally speaking, your Goldfish won’t eat his own poop. The main reason a goldfish is going to eat their own poop is by accident. In fact, most of the time, you’ll probably notice your Goldfish spitting their poop out after they’ve eaten it.

If you do notice that your Goldfish is eating their own poop, then it could mean that they’re extremely hungry. It could also mean that you’re not changing the water enough in your tank, so try performing more frequent water changes!


Why is My Goldfish Not Pooping Regularly?

If your goldfish isn’t pooping regularly, it could be due to issues like overfeeding or indigestible food, which can cause constipation. Try feeding a cooked pea or fasting for a day to help. Inadequate diets lacking nutrients and fiber can also lead to irregular bowel movements.

Why Is My Goldfish Producing Excessive Waste?

Excessive waste in goldfish can result from overfeeding, low-quality food, small tank size, poor water quality, or health concerns. Avoid overfeeding and use high-quality fish food. Provide a suitably sized tank and maintain water quality through filtration and regular changes.


Now you know everything there is to know about goldfish poop! It’s not the most pleasant to talk about, but the information in this article can help you decide when your Goldfish is sick and, more importantly, what’s probably causing it!

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!


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3 thoughts on “Goldfish Poop – Is It Normal Or Is There Something Wrong?”

  1. I’ve had my 3 goldfish for almost 8 months now.. Someone bought them from a bait shop and brought them to me unexpectedly so I wasn’t prepared for them. I had to put them in a big plastic tote. I bought them some food the next day and found an old air pump and put that in with them. But to this day I still never used a filter. I do 75% to 90% water changes about 6 days a week. I don’t use gravel or sand because it’s harder to keep clean so I just put a handful of colored glass rocks in the bottom for a little decoration. As for the water changes my fish don’t seem to be bothered by it. When I run the siphon hose around the bottom to get rid of the waste and old water they follow the hose while I’m doing it and when I pour the water back in they swim to the end I’m pouring it in and seem to enjoy swimming around in the stream of water. For their diet they get small pellets twice daily and once or twice a week they get either freeze dried baby shrimp or blood worms and once a week I feed them deshelled frozen peas. I don’t cook them I just thaw them in a small cup of hot water and quarter them.
    All that said…. Is it still better for them to have a filter even tho their water is kept very clean (especially since theres no substrate in the bottom to trap any waste). ? I actually enjoy taking care of them this way but if it’s going to cause any harm in the long run then I’ll switch them to a filtered tank (after it’s cycled of course). I’ve never read anywhere that’s actually said not to do it this way so I assumed it would be ok. They’ve tripled or quadrupled in size since I first got them.
    But if having no filter will affect their health in any negative ways I would rather get them started with a filter asap.

    • Hey there, your dedication to your goldfish is admirable! Many people underestimate the work it takes to keep fish healthy, but you’re clearly invested in their well-being. However, let’s dig into the importance of a filter in a goldfish tank.

      The Role of a Filter
      Biological Filtration: A filter provides a home for beneficial bacteria that break down harmful ammonia into less harmful substances. This process is called the nitrogen cycle, and it’s essential for a healthy aquatic environment.
      Mechanical Filtration: Filters remove solid waste and debris, which helps keep the water clear.
      Chemical Filtration: Some filters also have activated carbon or other media that remove toxins and odors from the water.
      The Water Change Routine
      While your frequent water changes are commendable, doing 75-90% changes 6 days a week is quite aggressive. Large water changes like that could shock the fish due to rapid shifts in water parameters.
      Fish do seem curious and adaptable, but sometimes their behavior can be misleading. They might appear to enjoy your current routine, but stress or health issues might manifest over time.
      Dietary Considerations
      Your diet plan sounds balanced and nutritious. However, feeding your fish right is just one part of a complex equation.
      Filter vs No Filter: Long-Term Health
      Your goldfish may have quadrupled in size, which is a good sign, but long-term health could still be compromised without a filter.
      Stress, suppressed immune function, and an increased risk of disease could crop up down the line, especially as they continue to grow and produce more waste.
      My Suggestions
      Invest in a Filter: Given the benefits of filtration, it’s advisable to add one to your setup, particularly a model suited for goldfish who are known waste producers.
      Cycle the New Tank: Before moving your fish, make sure the new tank is properly cycled to avoid ‘new tank syndrome.’
      Have you considered adding some live aquatic plants? They not only add aesthetic value but also help absorb some of the waste products.

      So to answer your question, yes, I think adding a filter would be a wise move for the long-term health and happiness of your goldfish. Trust me, your fish may not “need” it, but they’ll definitely thank you for it— in their own fishy way, of course!

  2. Found this guide very useful when our goldfish were lethargically lying on the bottom of the tank. Thanks

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