First off, I would like to say that I reject any flake food as the main diet for goldfish. Although, specialty flake could be given on occasion, as a supplement, in general flake food isn't best for goldfish and can cloud water in the tank, and often contributes to development of swim bladder disorder (SBD). As a side note, SBD is most common in round bodied fancy goldfish verities.
Now, gel food vs. dry pellets, specifically sinking dry pallets. I would leave off floating pellets, as they might also contribute to SBD. Both types are good for goldfish and provide necessary nutrition, but each has its own pros and cons. There are many goldfish keepers that would swear by gel food, both commercially manufactured and homemade. And there are others that would recommend specifically sinking pellets. At one point, I had to make my own choice and I tried both to make up my mind. Here are my thoughts about what, why and why not.
Gel food PROS
- is a great preventive of SBD or helps to regress SBD symptoms
- easily digestible
- if stored and used properly is always fresh
- can be homemade
Gel Food CONS
- hard to tell nutritional analyses if homemade
- not a large variety of commercially produced gel foods are available
- if homemade and nutritionally unbalanced may contribute to obesity
- requires time to prepare
- extra care to store, requires refrigeration or freezing
- spoils quick, short shelf life
- you always have to be present to feed
- depending on the formula, can cloud water if left in the tank uneaten
Dry Sinking Pellets PROS
- select brands will not cause SBD
- have long standing expiration date
- no time needed to prepare
- can be dispensed by an automatic feeder
- usually won't cloud water
- great variety of commercially produced pellets
Dry Sinking Pellets CONS
- select brands can promote developing of SBD
- hard to tell when spoiled
- feeding some brands of dry pellets can contribute to obesity
My final verdict was to stay with dry sinking pellets. As I am not always home to feed my ranchu on schedule, I can leave worry free, knowing that they will be fed on time with no compromise. If feeding a properly selected formula for the fish age and observing your fish for any physical changes, pellets are a great choose. If pellets are chosen as a main staple food, it is very important to select only high quality pellets for raising healthy fish. I am very happy to have found Azayaka Ranchu Pellets and being able to offer this fine product for sale outside of Japan.
In conclusion, still remember, no matter how great your staple food is, whether it is gel or pellets, one of the keys to having a healthy and resistant goldfish is using a variety of different foods including vegetables and algae. In the end, there is nothing wrong with alternating gel food and dry pellets depending on what and when is more convenient.