Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish
Mine went a week or two without touching anything remotely green-looking. I tried blanched lettuce, spinach and cucumber and of course my homemade gel food. Plus there was a big chunk of elodea floating around in their tank. They hand-feed, so I tried to get them to come up and take it off me, but the only thing they really ate were peas.
However, my dad's goldfish is around 8 or 9 years old now and has never had anything but commercial food its whole life.
The three of them do look healthy and happy, though my dad's one is very stunted (about half the size he should be), and I'm looking into a more vegetable-based food for them as I worry they get too much protein in their diet. I do powerfeed my blackworms lettuce and cucumber, so I'm not sure how much of those nutrients get passed onto my goldfish.
You're right to try to cut down on their protein. Too much at an older age can lead to fatty livers. If peas are the only greens your guys will eat, then I'd continue to do just that. Goldfish are omnivorous, and even though the commercial foods we give them have wheat in it, they can't digest that. It all goes to poop. Some goldfish can live on commercial feed their whole lives and it won't cause digestive problems. Others can't. Your dad was lucky like that. The commercial feed probably did contribute a bit to the stunting, tho.
How would I teach Beau to do that?
I taught my guys to eat from my hand by making hand-food the only food available. I just stopped dropping pellets in and only hand fed them. It took one of my guys about a week to catch on, but now they are both nibbling at my fingers whenever I put them in the tank.
#6 Thriving vs Surviving
I want to take a minute and talk about the notion of surviving versus thriving. Goldfish are pretty hardy and can survive in many conditions, especially the common-types. They can take low temps, they can take high temps. They can live off the crappiest commercial food ever and in dirty, cramped spaces. This is one of the reasons that goldfish are found on every continent.
But that is not thriving. Goldfish that are kept under "survive" conditions won't live as long, won't have as vibrant colors or personality, and may be prone to getting sick often. Thriving goldfish get large (6+ inches) have beautiful colors and perfect finnage, and show a lot more intelligence than most people think. Orandas get huge wens, and vieltails really look like they are wearing a wedding dress. When we allow goldfish to thrive, they will often live upwards of 15 years.
You will hear many stories about oh my so-and-so kept a common goldfish in a 10 gal tank and it lived for 6 years. Yes, that fish survived, but I can guarantee it did not thrive. I'll get off my soapbox now. (Please don't think this was directed at you, LittleBettaFish.)