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Can Goldfish Eat Bloodworms? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & Info You Need to Know!

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By Lindsey Stanton


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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Yes! Goldfish can eat bloodworms, with the bonus of them being a healthy snack. Goldfish by nature of omnivores and consume both vegetative and meat-based protein in the wild. Incorporating bloodworms into your goldfish’s diet provides them with a great protein source alongside their staple diet.

Countless observations have been done documenting the wild carp (origin of the goldfish species we come across today) preying on worms, smaller fish species, and even their fry! This is a good indication to understand goldfish need a pure protein source, not in the form of a pellet or flake.

Purchasing live bloodworms will encourage your goldfish to use its natural hunting instincts to catch the worms. This will be entertaining to witness our stocky domesticated goldfish trying to wiggle their way to catch their prey; it is as cute as it sounds!

We’ll be diving into detail on how to safely feed your goldfish bloodworms as well as discussing advantages of adding them to your goldfish’s diet. This article will tell you everything you need to know when it comes to feeding your goldfish bloodworms.

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What Are Bloodworms?

Bloodworms are a group of polychaetes and primarily live on the bottom of marine lakes. They’re the larvae of a midge fly. As indicated by their name, these worms are a rich red coloration. This coloration is shown through their thin translucent body casing. Bloodworms do not consume blood as many believe, instead, they eat a diet of decaying waste, detritus, and sludge.

Bloodworms were first introduced into the aquarium hobby by a fisherman who would use them as bait for marine fish. It led to hobbyists realizing how enticed fish were by these worms and they soon made their way into the aquarium trade.

There are three types of bloodworms safe to feed goldfish, mainly:
  • Frozen bloodworms
  • Freeze-dried bloodworms
  • Live bloodworms
Image Credit: schankz, Shutterstock

Goldfish Dietary and Protein Requirements

Goldfish are commonly labeled as being easy to feed. We are familiar with them being described as the ‘pigs of the aquarium’, consuming anything that can fit into their little mouths. What we do not always realize is the amount of consideration that needs to be implemented when working out a feeding schedule. Nutrition in domesticated goldfish, with a heavy emphasis on the fancy variety, is important. Goldfish are prone to a host of illnesses stemming from an inadequate diet. Below is a helpful summary of the necessary dietary requirements. And yes, it includes bloodworms!

We may want to feed these worms to goldfish, but is it something goldfish require in their diet?

Goldfish need to have protein in their diet, from a meat-based source. Without protein, goldfish cannot grow, develop, or build the necessary muscles to remain healthy. Young goldfish deprived of protein will typically show skeletal deformities, bending of the spine, bulging eyes, muscle atrophy, and a drastically shortened lifespan due to organ damage.

These are examples of necessary goldfish dietary options:


  • Bloodworms: these little worms fed life straight into your aquarium are high in protein, as well as fiber for smoother digestion. One of the few worms safe for goldfish consumption to have some fiber (albeit low) to help your goldfish digest the protein without the worry of bloating or constipation (which is a worry with some other types of aquatic worms).

We recommend purchasing live bloodworms from your local fish store, or the option of buying pre packed bloodworms online. We recommend the Amzey freeze-dried bloodworms, but our top pick must be the Omega-One freeze-dried bloodworms. Freeze-dried bloodworms are a great option for those who are squeamish about feeding their goldfish live worms.

  • Daphnia
  • Tubifex worms
Image Credit: Negnut, Shutterstock
Main Diet
  • Repashy gel food
  • Goldfish flake food
  • Goldfish sinking pellets or sticks
  • Algae
  • Aquatic vegetation
  • Peas
  • Cucumber

Many fish die as a result of improper food and/or portion sizes, which can be easily prevented by proper education.

The Truth About Goldfish New Edition

That's why our best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish, covers exactly what you can and can’t give your goldies when it comes to mealtime. It’s even got a section dedicated to keeping your pet fish alive and well-fed when you go on vacation!

Goldfish should receive a daily intake of at least 40-45% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 5-10% fats, and a remainder of other micronutrients. Once the basis of a staple diet is implemented, bloodworms can be fed as a snack or part of the main diet if it lacks protein.

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Can Live Bloodworms Infect or Harm Goldfish?

Bloodworms are not parasitic towards goldfish. When we think of worms, our thoughts may go to parasites and harmful opportunistic feeders. Bloodworms have a pin-shaped head with a mouth containing four dark fangs. They use these fangs to latch on to their prey and produce a stinging venom. It may seem scary, but when the worms are dead, they make great treats for goldfish. Live bloodworms are only capable of harming your goldfish if the heads are attached when fed as they can bite. Certain preparation methods should be followed before feeding the worms alive.

Preparation Before Feeding Live Bloodworms to Goldfish (with Important Precautionary Measures)

Feeding live bloodworms is risky. It is because bloodworms can use their fangs to give your goldfish a painful stinging bite. In addition, live bloodworms may carry some pathogens that freeze-dried or frozen bloodworms may not. To ensure this does not happen to your goldfish, here is a tutorial on making live bloodworms safe for goldfish.

  1. Always wear thick rubber gloves when handling live bloodworms. It will save you from a potential nasty bite!
  2. Ensure the worms have come from a reputable aquarium source.
  3. Place the worms in a shallow bowl of water.
  4. Use a pair of tweezers to pick up the bloodworm.
  5. Proceed to use a sharp pair of scissors to snip the tip of the head off. The head looks like a needlepoint.
  6. If the worm is moving too much for you to deliver a precise cut, use two gloved fingers to squish the top of the worm’s body.
  7. The worms should then be headless yet still moving.
  8. Use a tweezer to place the desired number of bloodworms into your goldfish’s tank.

How to Feed Frozen Bloodworms to Goldfish

  1. Frozen bloodworms should be defrosted/thawed before feeding.
  2. Chip off a section of the cube that you want to feed to your goldfish.
  3. Place the bloodworms in the packaging on a plate.
  4. Place the plate in a relatively warm area in your kitchen.
  5. Make sure the plate is not in the sun as this will cause the worms to thaw rapidly and foul.
  6. Once the worms have thawed out completely, you can then place them into the aquarium for feeding.
Image Credit: Jan Smith, Flickr

How to Feed Freeze-Dried Bloodworms to Goldfish

  1. Chip off a piece of the bloodworms if it comes in a pellet form.
  2. Place the worms in water for 10 minutes to expand and soften.
  3. Place the bloodworms in the tank, lighter ones should float and thoroughly expanded worms will sink.

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How Many Bloodworms Can You Feed Your Goldfish?

Mature goldfish can eat up to 4 bloodworms a week. Due to the excellent nutritional value bloodworms offer, there is no harm in feeding a bloodworm alongside the goldfish’s staple diet.

  • Juveniles: Should receive 10 bloodworms a week as a maximum dosage.
  • Adult: 4 bloodworms a week. One bloodworm can be added to the daily diet.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Feeding Goldfish Live Worms

  • Excellent source of protein
  • Easily available
  • Live bloodworms bite if not prepared appropriately beforehand.

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Bloodworms are a tasty treat your goldfish will love! They have the added bonus of different ways to feed bloodworms. We hope this article has helped you find out all the information you need when it comes to feeding your beloved goldfish bloodworms.

Featured Image Credit: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

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