Do they purposely sell blind feeder goldfish?

I bought 4 feeder goldfish to help mimic a river bottom for a tabletop science demonstration I gave on Sunday. After the demo I thought, heck, let me keep these little guys as pets, at least until I can find someone who wants them for real.

So, I’ve been keeping them in a large plastic bucket. I had tropical fish when I was a kid, so I know the basics of changing the water, etc. I’m having a devil of a time feeding these guys, however. With no real fishfood on hand, I tried giving them breadcrumbs, then a few Cheerios, then pasta shavings. They weren’t buying it. All the food sat there, ignored. Initially, I had two theories: 1, they’re on the Atkins Diet, or 2. they’ve been trained to think that food is dark-colored.

So today I broke down and bought real goldfish food from the pet store. The fish ignore that too! These guys have not eaten in days, and they ignore food?

So, I tried a little experiment with a wooden stick. It appears (I’m not 100% certain, mind you) that the fish are blind.

At first I thought that would be odd, but then I realized the logic of. Blind fish would make an ideal prey animal for a carniverous pet, which is the whole purpose of feeder fish. Secondly, blind fish will starve and die – just like mine will – so no one will be tempted – like me – to keep them as $.10 pets.

So, is that the answer? Do they purposely sell blind feeder fish?

Googling “blind feeder fish” brought up hunting information, so I’m a bit doubtful they’re purposefully sold blind. My theory: Perhaps there was an infection in the tank that spread rapidly and left many of the fish blind. Did they all come out of the same tank?

They really treat the feeder fish like, well food. There’s a high death rate and they couldbe blind from some disease. But I think the problem is they aren’t in a glass bowl with gravel on the bottom, so they are confused.

If you assume they’ve been blind since birth, and you also assume that because they’re blind they can’t find their food to eat… how’d they get to be the size they are now?

They operate on smell more than sight. One of the reasons fish must to be taught to eat flake food, it doesn’t smell like food, so they don’t know to eat it.
They can eat in pitch dark. Blind cave fish eat.

The feeder fish I gave my oscars in college were only blind after the oscars ate their eyes.

Many fish live in dark waters, and sense their food by smell or movement rather than by sight. I think you just have stupid fish :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, it’s just that your fish haven’t recognized anything you’ve given them as food. Maybe you could call the pet store you bought them from and find out what they are fed? It may be pellets, or frozen food, or something else. The pet shop must have fed them; it doesn’t want them starving to death before they are sold.

The fish are probably in some sort of shock, or sick and not interested in food.

I’ve kept common (“feeder”) goldfish in a pond and they did just fine.

The pet stores I am familiar with get a shipment of fish once a week. Feeder fish are not fed, rather they are sold within the week window and replaced with feeders from the next shipment.

It’s too dark in the bucket, is all.

You’ve got them down in a bucket? That is, they’re “down”, on the floor, in the house? And if they look up, all they see is a dark ceiling instead of brightly-lit sky? And also you’re probably leaning over the bucket every time you attempt to feed them, and so you’re shading the bucket?

You’re right, they can’t see the food–but that’s not because they’re blind, it’s because they need to see the food silhouetted against light at the water’s surface. I have a light on my 55 gallon goldfish tank for just that reason: he won’t eat if he can’t see the food up at the water’s surface. He finally learned that when I approach the tank, food is likely to appear, but if the light’s turned off he’ll just poke randomly around the water’s surface. He needs to see the pellets to eat them.

Also, they’re trained to eat floating goldfish pellets, not kitchen scraps or Cheerios. Commercial breeders of feeder goldfish never use flake food because it dissolves too fast and is wasted, and fouls the water. Floating pellets will float there until somebody finally eats them.

Try turning on the room light and feeding them. Don’t stand over the bucket so you’re shading it.

Also, make sure the pellets are small enough to fit in their mouth–they should be exactly the same size as the mouth, or a little smaller. You can get “micro” mini-pellets at high-class pet stores (Wal-Mart generally doesn’t carry it).

Also, get them into a stable environment (i.e. “aquarium”), because sloshing around in a bucket with constant water changes ( and although the water changes are necessary to prevent toxins from accumulation, still it’s very stressful every time it happens, water chemistry fluctuating wildly and all that) is very stressful. I wouldn’t feel like eating either, if my house kept jiggling, and once a day half the air was sucked out and replaced with funny-smelling air that made my skin itch.

So you’ve got them in a dark, uncertain environment, and you’re dropping random crap on them; under those circumstances I wouldn’t feel like seeing if any of the random crap was edible, either. :smiley:

Somebody did a study on light and its influence on feeding patterns in goldfish. Your feeder goldfish are still entrained to whatever light/feeding pattern they had in their hatchery. Put them in an aquarium and teach them a new pattern, they’ll be fine.