• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Goldfish as feeders for cephalopods?


TONMO Supporter
Nov 14, 2002
There is quite a debate that can be sparked by the above heading. Do you use goldfish to feed your cephs?

Some people do and some dont. Personally I have on quite a few ocassions, mainly if i ran out of crabs.

However, having been in this job at the fish importers for a few months I have to say that the common goldie and all the other varieties available are normally the sickest fish to be seen in the importers or indeed in the shops.

In fact, many sick goldfish are sold as feeders.

My point is that the goldfish, as sick as they sometimes are, are dosed quite severly with medications like formaldehyde, oxytetracyclin and of course copper based treatments.

Now I wouldn't use goldfish for fear of a build up in the tank/ceph of copper and everything else that is thrown at the goldfish. In retrospect i think that I can blame that on a small octopus that died on me last year after eating part of a fish one day and dead the next.

Just a thought... any opinions?

I hadn't considered this, Colin. I'd wonder if they'd even really know what they're talking about if you asked them how they've been treated...it's possible they would say "no copper" when in fact it had been used.

Do you think this would carry over into other feeder fish? I'd considered using some non-goldfish feeders, indeed I bought a few when I got Gollum, but never tried feeding any when it became clear he wouldn't try any food I'd directly give him. They're still happily living in my feeder tank, prolly the luckiest fish alive! :P Perhaps I should stick to ghost shrimp, since I presume they'd never use copper on them?

FEEDER GOLDFISH!!!! :x Those are for oscars and arrowannas! It is true feeder goldfish are bred in huge ponds full of ich and other parasites, true these are fresh water ailements but the medications they use to treat this might hurt you octopus. This would be like me inviting you over to my house and feeding you cat food for dinner, its tuna right? My octo lives off of live crabs, muscels, clams, oysters, ect off the beach and somtimes I will be relly nice and feed him a prawn or two. He likes to hunt down live food but he sees me preparing prawns for dinner and is always begging, it is kinda sad. I would also not recomend the feeder goldfish as they dont ccontain the proper nutrients that a salt water fish needs and you will find that over time your octo will become lathargic, colour will deminish and other ailments. I realy dont recomend feeding octos anything but salt water animals as it is the best for them. Keep a few shrimp frozen if your supply is erratic and teach your octo to eat off a feeding stick. Just dont feed them goldfish.

Pacific Blue :snorkel:
Hey all:

As a former Pirahna owner, I can attest to the sorry state of feeder goldfish. Anyone who has attempted to keep a supply will know that they tend to die within a short period of time. I also know that my LFS (and his wholesalers, he tells me) heavily medicate feeder goldfish to extend their lifespans. Seems like a dangerous proposition with a ceph.

Pacific Blue's comments bring to mind another question that I have. I've heard for years that feeding freshwater organisms to marine fish is a no no. (I believe that Robert Fenner discourages this practice for many of the reasons that Pacific listed). However, I have found that Crayfish are the one food which Tralfaz really goes for (and can actually catch).

I know that many people feed octos crayfish and wonder if there might be some nutritional problems with this practice. Has anyone had any experiences in this area?? I don't want to shortchange Tralfaz, but he has shown little or no interest in frozen shrimp etc. :?

Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to live close to the ocean to collect my own food...I am jealous! :smile: I have fed crayfish to my cephs with no obvious ill effects...perhaps because they are collected from estuaries??? We are also lucky enough to get regular shipments of ghost shrimp and little red crabs as feeders...but, in the summer (when it is 120 f. here), shipments drop off, and I have used bait fish (minnows) then...I know that the bait store owners don't really care too much about ich or anything, and they don't treat the fish. You might want to give that a try...Any thoughts?
I dont think that a proper survey has been carried out on this regarding cephs but liver problems and fatty deposits is well documented in predatory fish only fed on goldfish. A good example is the red tail catfish. many people feed them on feeder goldfish and they end up with a gold/orange tail rather than red and sometimes a gold sheen on their white stripe. And really fat!

Regarding crayfish????? Well i can only go on what other people have said about using them as in the UK they are not an option. Several people have stated that they used them for an octopus's lifespan and lived about the right length of time.

The best method would be to feed a varied diet. This should avoid problems with deficiencies

I am unconvinced that feeding small amounts of freshwater vertebrates or invertebrates would harm a ceph as they are opportunistic animals. But again stress that variety is needed.


Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.