Goldfish are without a doubt one of the most popular freshwater fish to grace the hobby. Their diversity when it comes to different sub-species, coloration, patterns, and behavior makes them incredibly attractive from a fishkeeping perspective.
Many goldfish owners or aspiring goldfish fishkeepers often wonder whether or not goldfish have teeth, the answer is yes, but there are a few nuances when compared to the conventional teeth and bite that we have. Read on to find out more.
Do Goldfish Have Teeth in Their Throat?
Yes, they do have teeth, but goldfish do not possess conventional teeth like humans, instead, they have tiny teeth, almost transparent, that reside in the back of their mouth, almost a part of their throats. These sharp, small teeth help aid goldfish with crushing and condensing goldfish food down to digest it. Goldfish teeth are referred to as pharyngeal teeth.
Similar to molars that humans have, pharyngeals are flat teeth, best used to grind food to make it easily digestible. These teeth however are incredibly small and they do not grow on the fish's gums, but rather in the throat area instead!
Do Goldfish Lose Their Teeth?
Yes, they do, during different points of their life, goldfish lose their teeth. This occurs due to many different reasons, with the most common being that they develop larger and stronger teeth as they age, the same with us, which causes the old teeth to fall out.
Goldfish will lose their teeth due to the food they consume too. Wear and tear from excessive grinding of food will help them lose their teeth too. Unlike humans, when goldfish teeth fall out, they do not only have one more set left, they have an unlimited amount of teeth that will grow back. Fortunately, this means that they do not suffer from tooth decay and don't run the risk of their teeth permanently falling out.
Do Goldfish Bite?
People claim to have been "bitten" by goldfish, however, you can never be truly bit by a goldfish, the teeth they possess are far back in their throats and are only used for crushing food. So, when people ask, can goldfish bite you? The answer is no, and if they somehow managed it, the pain would be virtually non-existent.
Do Goldfish Have Sharp Teeth?
Goldfish teeth are not sharp due to them not being predatory fish. They literally have no usage for sharp teeth like sharks do to tear into their prey as goldfish have a totally different diet. So you might ask yourself, do goldfish chew food? Goldfish teeth are flat and are meant for grinding the food down into an easily digestible paste, rather than chewing it up.
Do Goldfish Bites Hurt?
No, goldfish bites do not hurt, they are not predatory animals, and even if they could bite you using the teeth residing on their throat it would not hurt you as they are not sharp and most likely will not be executed with very much force.
They are naturally fearful fish too, meaning if you did put your hand in their tank, they would most likely swim in the opposite direction. Goldfish can be confident, however, especially over time, and you could get your fingers nipped at if they feel threatened, but this wouldn't hurt you, nor cut you.
Do Goldfish Bites Hurt Other Fish?
Whilst not damaging humans by "biting" or "nibbling", they can certainly damage other fish species. Typically, goldfish are extremely peaceful and will not cause any harm to other aquarium inhabitants. This, however, all changes if you have an overcrowded aquarium.
Overcrowded aquariums will lead to incredibly stressed-out fish, which causes fish to lash out and bite others. Territories are usually established by fish in the wild, and this is the same in captivity. By having too many fish in one tank you are likely going to have fish being invasive to others' territories, which can lead to attacks. Additionally, having the wrong goldfish tank mates can also cause this.
Fish become very stressed out in these environments, and whilst you may not witness this behavior directly, you can often find the aftermath of a fish bust-up by scars, markings, and chunks missing out of fish, usually their fins. If you experience any of this, make sure to separate your fish immediately.
To conclude, goldfish do have teeth, but they are not like ours, they are incredibly unique and have been adapted to perfectly aid them in their feeding habits. Sure, whilst goldfish bites do not hurt, it is certainly not advised to stick your hands in their face, nor is it advised to cause unnecessary stress for your goldfish by overpopulating their tank.
Their teeth are positioned and perfectly designed to eat foods such as tiny crustaceans, larvae, worms, and alga. It is recommended to feed your goldfish pellet food, as well as some live foods, as mentioned previously, and even some live plants, which are all perfect foods for goldfish and their unique teeth!