Do Goldfish Eat Hornwort? What Other Plants Do They Eat?

Goldfish will eat just about anything given the opportunity, and since hornwort is plant life, it makes sense that they would be interested in eating it.

In fact, I have had a number of occasions where my fish entirely cleaned out an aquarium full of plants (including hornwort) before I could get them to stop feeding on them by moving all the plants to another tank with no fish present.

They were even able to chew through synthetic plastic pots as well. So while some may not like the idea of their goldfish eating a plant, it isn’t that strange for them to do so.

Is hornwort safe for goldfish?

If you put hornwort in your tank, it might be better to not just leave goldfish alone with it, as they will probably start eating it.

But is the plant safe for them? Well yes and no.

Most of what is sold as hornwort these days aren’t really all that much like the plant that it is meant to be, but even if it was the real thing, hornwort can be dangerous for goldfish.

It may not kill them immediately, but over time it has been shown to cause a wide range of health problems including constipation and gas build-up in addition to more serious issues like liver damage or stomach lesions.

What other plants do goldfish eat?


In my experience, goldfish will not eat Anubias. But I have seen reports that they can and will consume it if there is nothing else available for them to eat.

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In some cases, I found that the Anubias was devoid of all coloration within a few days and was dead within a week. This leads me to believe that while my goldfish did indeed eat it (or at least part of it).

Anacharis plant

Anacharis is my favorite plant for many tanks, and I have never had a problem with goldfish eating it. They may try to nibble on it if they aren’t being fed regularly, but that is all.

In some cases, Anacharis can actually help to control algae, and since goldfish eat algae I wouldn’t have a problem with them eating this plant.


Yes, they do, and duckweed plants are often devoured overnight by goldfish.

If you want to use duckweed as a form of natural filtration or to consume excess ammonia from your fish tank or pond, then be aware that this plant will probably not last long if any goldfish are in the tank.

Water lettuce

Water lettuce is a fast-growing plant that can provide an excellent source of nutrients for fish aquariums, and since goldfish eat plants they will absolutely consume water lettuce if it is available.

However, I do not recommend putting this plant into your pond specifically for goldfish as it grows fast and can crowd out other plants.

Java fern

Java fern is a healthy plant for goldfish to eat, and I have never had any problems with them eating Java ferns.

However, in my experience, they always seem to leave behind the long leaves on the bottom of the java fern plant and only consume the smaller leaves at the top. This means you may have to replant this plant often if you have a lot of goldfish.

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Water hyacinth

Water hyacinth is another fast-growing aquatic plant that will quickly take over an entire pond if it isn’t removed on a regular basis, and since goldfish eat plants they will consume water hyacinth if it is growing in your pond.

But you might want to go ahead and eradicate this plant from your pond if you have goldfish as it doesn’t provide much benefit to the fish and can cause a number of problems including clogging pumps, blocking water flow, providing hiding places for predators, and much more.


Goldfish do eat frogbit, but it is a fairly slow-growing plant so you probably don’t have to worry about them destroying it overnight.

It also provides a number of benefits to goldfish as well including helping prevent constipation and gas build up. If you want your fish to be happy in the long term then adding frogbit to your goldfish tank is probably a good idea.

Hygrophila difformis

Hygrophila difformis (AKA Dwarf Water Lettuce) is another form of aquatic plant that can be added to ponds and aquariums, and it should only be planted in the foreground of the tank.

Lotus plants

Goldfish will not eat freshwater lotus plants, but they can cause serious harm to them. This is because goldfish are large enough to destroy the roots of a lotus plant and completely uproot it from the substrate.

What fish can eat hornwort?

According to experts, fish that can eat hornwort are Gouramis, Angelfish, and Loaches. While these fish are not usually considered ‘good’ pond species, they are known for eating almost anything and their small size means they won’t end up uprooting your hornwort plant in one day.

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Do goldfish eat plant roots?

Goldfish will try to eat roots if they come in direct contact with them, but unlike some other fish that can demolish a plant overnight goldfish are not nearly as aggressive.

Therefore, you should always keep your plants at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from the edge of your tank or pond so that the roots won’t be in danger of being eaten.

In Conclusion

Do Goldfish Eat Hornwort? Yes, a lot of people claim that their goldfish will completely devour hornwort plants. While this may be true, it is important to remember that not all fish are created equally. Some species of fish will consume everything in sight including densely planted tanks while others may only eat algae or particular plants.


Hornwort: The Ultimate Guide