Have you ever wondered why a particular kind of fish is nibbling on a rock at the bottom of the tank, or is roaming around between plants and filter pipes aimlessly?
Well, there is a very high chance that the fish is a bottom feeder.
When it comes to a water body, whether it’s a pond or a fish tank, the water is divided into different columns. There is the top, the middle level, and finally the bottom.
Those animals or aquatic creatures who swim to the top in order to look for food are known as top feeders, while those who stay at the bottom, or the lower middle ground, are termed as bottom feeders.
And when it comes to Goldfish, they are bottom feeders.
Most bottom feeders, such as goldfish, wait for the food to sink down to the lower level of the tank and go around searching for it.
Not only does this satiate their hunger, but it also satisfies their need to scavenge for food. It keeps them entertained and provides plenty of exercises to help them stay healthy.
Let’s take a look at the specifics in terms of their habits and bottom-dwelling patterns:
A Goldfish’s Bottom Feeder Nature
Goldfish are bottom feeders by nature. They prefer to rest at the bottom of the tank, and this is also where they feed.
Another reason why goldfish are bottom dwellers is that it makes them feel safe from predators.
Many novice fish pet owners get scared when they notice the goldfish spending a lot of time at the bottom of the tank. You might even think that they are sick or dying.
However, we are here to tell you that spending time at the bottom of the tank is very normal for a bottom-feeder fish such as Goldfish.
Taking Care Of A Bottom Feeder Like Gold Fish
Taking care of a bottom-feeder fish is different than caring for a fish that isn’t.
This is especially true when you are talking about Goldfish, as they are incredibly fragile beings.
Bottom Feeder Dietary Needs
Since Goldfish are omnivorous creatures, they tend to feed on plant matter and insects when they live in the wild.
However, with pet goldfish, granules and goldfish flakes can provide them with a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
Flakes and granules easily float to the bottom of the tank which enables them to scavenge and satiate their hunger.
Similarly, live foods such as worms, brine shrimp, and even spirulina can be a good option, especially as a treat.
Since Goldfish are bottom dwellers, one thing you need to watch out for is them gulping too much air.
If a Goldfish rises to the surface on any occasion, it may gulp in too much air and lose its equilibrium. This can further cause it to float or topple over.
Therefore, to avoid this from happening, always soak dry flaky food for a few seconds before feeding it to your goldfish.
This process makes sure that the pellets or flakes sink down to the bottom of the tank instead of floating on the surface.
Bloating & Overfeeding
Other than being bottom feeders, goldfish are also notorious for being opportunistic omnivores.
This makes feeding them very tricky because they tend to eat whatever they can find, as long as the opportunity presents itself.
Goldfish can feed on pellets, flakes, plants, and even small insects. In other words, they don’t really know when to stop. So if you keep feeding them, they will keep eating.
Since a fish’s digestive system is very fragile, overfeeding can be very harmful for them.
As opportunistic feeders, it is natural for them to keep eating as long as they can find available food, it is up to you to control the amount of food you give them.
When it comes to domestic Goldfish, it will continue to eat as long as the food is available in the fish tank.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the surface or at the bottom, a goldfish will take any opportunity it can get.
Therefore, it is important for you to watch out for their digestive system and not overfeed your goldfish.
A good rule of thumb is to only provide your Goldfish with enough food that it can consume in two to three minutes maximum.
If you feel that the food is still leftover in the tank after two or three minutes have passed, this is a clear indication that you are overfeeding your Goldfish.
Overfeeding can also lead to several other harmful conditions such as bloating.
When a fish bloats up, it loses its equilibrium and turns upside down in the water. This is a very alarming sign for your fish’s health.
Not only is this harmful to your pet fish’s digestive system, but it also increases the amount of work you have to do when it comes to cleaning your fish tank.
Extra food in the fish tank can make the water murky and add gunk to the tank walls.
Goldfish are known to beg for food especially when they learn their owner’s behavior.
This connects to the fact that they are opportunistic feeders which is why they are always looking for food even if they aren’t hungry.
By nature, they are built to prey on insects in the wild, or scavenge for other food materials.
Many times you might see a Goldfish try to nibble off as much algae as it can from any pebbles or gravel that might be at the bottom of the fish tank.
Judging Tank Oxygen Levels
If you see your pet fish rise up to the surface of the tank, there is a possibility that there is very little oxygen in the water.
However, if your fish is hanging out in the middle, oxygen levels are depleting.
But, if your fish is spending a considerable amount of time towards the bottom of your fish tank, then you know that the oxygen levels are optimal.
Other Bottom Feeder Species (Apart from Goldfish)
Other than goldfish, there are several bottom-feeding species of fish that people add to their aquariums such as catfish and carp.
Other bottom-feeding fish species include
- And even Sharks
Can you place goldfish with other bottom feeders in a fish tank?
Yes, you can place goldfish with other bottom feeders in a fish tank but that really depends on what kind of species you are pairing together.
If they are peaceful fish just like the goldfish then it will work just fine.
However, if they are aggressive bottom feeders like baby sharks or aggressive catfish, then it may become an issue.
Always research fish species thoroughly before placing them together in one tank.
The Bottom Line
To sum everything up, Goldfish are popular aquarium fish that fall under the bottom-feeder category.
Other than this, they are also opportunistic feeders which makes it tricky for the owners to feed them.
So, as a pet owner or breeder, it is important for you to take responsibility for your Goldfish and keep a close check on its health and the amount of food it consumes.
Hope this helps!
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- What Do Goldfish Eat?
- Goldfish Memory Span – How Long Is It? Myth Busted!
- Why Is Goldfish Sitting at the Bottom of the Tank?
- 15 Types of Goldfish You Can Keep in an Aquarium
- Can Goldfish Eat Algae Wafers?
- How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Eating Food?
- Are Cory Catfish Bottom Feeders?