Gluttonous Goldfish

It’s been my experience that if you provide goldfish with too much food they overeat and die. My question is why don’t the goldfish know when to stop eating?

“My hovercraft is full of eels.”

Why should goldfish be smarter than lots of human beans I’ve seen who don’t know when to stop eating? Granted, the humans usually don’t eat themselves to death directly, they only do it indirectly, but still…

Depends on the various parameters of your experience/experiment, there… In “nature” [as it were], goldfish would keep eating and growing… The food (and their feces & other waste) would have little effect on available oxygen, Ph, etc… in a relatively large body of water. In a bowl, or even a tank (both relatively small), it would.

Also the type of food matters, most commercially available fish food has a much different composition than what carp might usually eat; too much fiber, minerals, etc… to be eaten in anything other than small, measured “doses”. Carp would keep grazing & grazing on filamentous algae & whatnot.

“Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

  • T.Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.

If you overfeed goldfish, they die from excessive ammonia/nitrate content in the water due to the rotting of the uneaten food. Goldfish should only be given as much to eat as will be consumed in approximately 3 minutes.

I work in a pet store…and this is a fairly common problem, especially in households with small children who all insist on feeding the goldfish…etc.

But it has nothing to do with their getting too fat.

Let us also consider the elimination factor. What goes in also comes out – and, when released in a fish bowl, it doesn’t go very far. Without proper filtration, your fishies are swimming in a tiny puddle of their own potentially toxic waste. Interestingly, this kind of error in pet sanitation is often followed by a quick dip in the porceline whirlpool.

Get a proper tank!