Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Goldfish Gel Food Recipes

As many of you may know I advocate against the use of commercial pellet food for fancy goldfish. I make all of my goldfish food as I've just had too many problems with commercial food. That's not to say that fancy goldfish can't thrive on commercial pellet food, but I haven't found one that will work with my fish.

Ryukin are a breed of goldfish that commonly have problems with commercial pellet food. (dirkusmaximus @ flickr)

There are a few different types of gel foods for goldfish. There actually is a commercial gel food mix. You buy the powder and mix in the gel. Mazuri gel food is the one recommended by a lot of people. The 5ML6 composition is good for goldfish older than 3 years and the 58LK or 5M70 compositions are good for younger goldfish. If you do make these, it's always good to add more roughage to the gel food. A good gel food should be opaque.

I like to make gel food using pre-liquified food: baby food. It contains no preservatives as it is made for young children. This is the recipe I use. I originally got it from The GAB, but have since modified it for my own uses.

3 jars 4 oz baby food, green veggies (only 1 sugary*)
1/2 cup boiled hot water
2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1/2 adult multivitamin (no iron) **
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder **
1 1/2 oz salmon (drained if from can) half a can
1/4 cup finely chopped veggies --> spinach, kale or zucchini work
* I'll explain this in a bit
** optional

Dissolve 2 envelopes of gelatin in 1/2 cup hot, boiled water. Mix veggies, garlic powder, salmon, and crushed pill stuff in a small bowl. Pour gelatin/water mix into the bowl. Stir well. Pour into a flat container so it's about 1/4 inch thick. Put in fridge to set. Once gelled, cut into bite sized pieces.

Cutting into bite sized bits is hard for the smaller goldfish, so I just cut them into 1/2 inch chunks and then cut what I need from the chunks at each feeding.

I lay about a week's worth of food on a plastic wrap sheet, and layer them like this. I end up with one large bag of goldfish food layered in plastic wrap. Lay them flat in the freezer, and pull out a new layer of food per week. The food will sit for a while. My most recent batch will probably last me 6 months.

Now let me explain the first asterisk. Sugary vegetables are things like peas, pumpkin, and carrots. If you don't have many choices, only get one of these and two of leafy, green vegetables like spinach. The "garden vegetable" variety is good. If you can't find them then getting two green beans and one peas is fine.

In order to modify this recipe for young goldfish (under three years old), just add more salmon. Instead of half a can, use the full can. As a general rule you want one part protein to four parts veggies for adult goldfish and one part protein to three parts vegetables for younger goldfish.

Pearlscales like this one also struggle with commercial pellet food and do best on gel food. (locorosa @ The GAB)

If you are a great cook (unlike me) and want to get more creative with your gel food recipes, you can find some of them the goldfish experts at The GAB have created. Betty's Goldfish Gel Food Recipes. If you don't want to try these, the baby food recipe works perfectly fine. I've been relying on it for about a year now and could not have been happier with the results.

I encourage you to try making gel food just once for your goldfish. At the very least it's a fun and interesting way to bond with a pet that you can't cuddle with like a dog or cat.


  1. Only recently have I considered using gel food. The theory makes a lot of sense because in the wild, goldfish eat moist food, not DRY food. Better for the digestive track. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Replies
    1. It's been forever since I wrote this recipe, and I don't remember exactly whether or not it's safe to use Tuna. My instinct says no since they can bioaccumulate a lot of mercury.


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