Do Goldfish Have Teeth & Can They Bite? (Mystery Uncovered)

Do goldfish have teeth? Goldfish are popular pets known for their bright and colorful scales, but do they have teeth, and can they bite? This age-old question has puzzled fish enthusiasts for years, but the mystery is about to be uncovered. 

Many people assume that goldfish do not have teeth and cannot bite, but the truth is quite surprising.

In this article, we will delve into the world of goldfish dentition and explore whether these beloved aquatic creatures can bite.

From the anatomy of a goldfish’s mouth to their feeding habits, we will uncover the truth about their dental structure and biting capabilities.

can you eat a goldfish

Whether you are a seasoned goldfish owner or simply curious about these fascinating creatures, this article will give you the answers you need.

So, if you’ve ever wondered about the dental mysteries of goldfish, be prepared to have your questions answered as we unlock the truth about whether goldfish have teeth and can bite, or Not. 

Do Goldfish Have Teeth & Can They Bite?

Does goldfish have teeth? Yes, goldfish have teeth, but they are not like the sharp, pointed teeth of other animals. Goldfish have pharyngeal teeth located in their throat and are used to grind food. 

Why Do Goldfish Chase Each Other

These teeth are not visible from the outside and do not threaten humans. In terms of biting, goldfish are not aggressive towards humans and do not typically bite.

They may nibble on things in their environment, such as plants or algae, but they cannot aggressively bite or cause harm to humans.

The risk of a goldfish biting someone is shallow; even if it were to happen, it would likely not cause significant harm. Goldfish with teeth, but they are not a threat to humans and are incapable of inflicting any severe bite. 

Where Can You Find the Goldfish Teeth?

You won’t find goldfish teeth in the same way you find human teeth! Goldfish have a unique tooth situation:

Where are they:

  • Goldfish teeth are located in the pharynx, the back of their throat, not their mouth.
  • These are called pharyngeal teeth and are quite different from the pearly whites we’re familiar with.

How to see them:

  • Due to their location, it’s tough to see goldfish teeth while the fish is alive. Their mouths are small, and their teeth are far back.
  • Your best chance of spotting them is to look for them in the aquarium gravel after the fish has shed them. They shed their teeth periodically, like tiny white specks, sometimes resembling miniature shark teeth.

Other ways to find them:

  • Some enthusiasts even collect these tiny shed teeth from their tanks.
  • Occasionally, you might see videos or pictures online showcasing them up close.

Remember, goldfish teeth are used for crushing and grinding food, not biting, so you can rest assured your fingers are safe even during water changes!

Goldfish pharyngeal arches anatomy

The pharyngeal arches in goldfish, like in all fishes, play a crucial role in their development and adult anatomy. Here’s a breakdown of their anatomy:

Number of arches: Goldfish have five pairs of pharyngeal arches, as with most bony fish. While humans, as tetrapods, have six arches, the first (mandibular) and fifth arches are less prominent in fishes.

Structure: Each pharyngeal arch is composed of several components:

  • Cartilage or bone: Provides a supporting framework for the arch.
  • Muscles: Allow for movement and manipulation of the arches for various functions.
  • Pharyngeal teeth: Located on the fifth arch (sometimes, these teeth are called a pharyngeal pad) and used for grinding and processing food.
  • Supporting structures: Include ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves.

Functions: Goldfish utilize their pharyngeal arches for several vital functions:

  • Filter feeding: The arches support gill filaments, which are essential for extracting oxygen and filtering out food particles from the water.
  • Feeding and food manipulation: The muscles move the arches to facilitate food intake and crushing/grinding for digestion.
  • Support and structure: The arches contribute to the overall structure of the head and throat.
  • Sound production: In some fish species, including certain loaches, grinding of pharyngeal teeth can create clicking sounds.

Developmental significance: During goldfish development, the pharyngeal arches are crucial in forming various facial and neck structures. These arches contribute to the jaw, tongue, hyoid bone, and parts of the ear and skull.

Additional notes:

  • Goldfish pharyngeal arches are relatively delicate structures and should not be touched or manipulated directly.
  • Observing shed pharyngeal teeth can be a fascinating way to learn more about goldfish anatomy, although seeing them in action within the fish is challenging.
  • Studying fish pharyngeal arches provides valuable insights into the evolution of head and neck structures in vertebrates.

Do Goldfish Bites Hurt?

It is unlikely that a goldfish bite would cause much pain. Goldfish do not have sharp teeth, and their bites are usually more of a nibble.

However, their bite pressure can cause some discomfort, mainly if their nibbles are directed at a sensitive skin area. A goldfish bite usually feels more like a gentle pinching sensation than a sharp pain.

Goldfish are not naturally aggressive, so they are not likely to bite hard unless they feel threatened or are mistaking a shiny object for food. While a goldfish bite may startle you, it is unlikely to cause significant pain. 

Can Goldfish Eat Other Fish?

Goldfish are typically peaceful and non-aggressive fish, but they can become territorial and may try to eat smaller fish if they feel crowded or threatened.

Goldfish can generally eat small fish, such as guppies or minnows if given the opportunity. It’s essential to ensure that goldfish are not overcrowded in their tank, which can lead to aggression and potentially eating other fish.

If you have other fish in the same tank as goldfish, monitoring their behavior and ensuring they are all getting along is essential.

Providing enough space and hiding spots for all the fish can help reduce the likelihood of any predatory behavior. It’s also a good idea to give a balanced diet to common goldfish to minimize the possibility of them preying on other fish in the tank. 

Are Teeth Universal Among Fish?

No, teeth are not universal among fish. While teeth are a common feature in different fish species, several groups of fish lack them entirely. Here’s a breakdown:

Fish with teeth:

  • The vast majority of fish species have teeth in some form. These teeth can be used for various purposes, such as grasping and tearing food, scraping algae, or crushing hard objects. The type and arrangement of teeth vary greatly depending on the fish’s diet and feeding habits.
  • Examples of fish with teeth include sharks, tuna, salmon, bass, and many more.

Fish without teeth:

  • Some groups of fish have evolved to feed in ways that don’t require teeth. These fish often have specialized mouthparts or feeding mechanisms that allow them to obtain food without biting or chewing.
  • Examples of fish without teeth include Lampreys: These jawless fish use a suction disc to attach themselves to their prey and feed on their blood and body fluids.
  • Sturgeons: These bottom-feeders have barbels around fish’s mouths that help them locate food in the mud. Instead of using teeth, they grind food against their pharyngeal plates, which are bony structures in their throat.
  • Rays and Manta Rays: These filter feeders use their gill rakers to strain plankton and tiny organisms from the water.
  • Whale sharks: These gentle giants also use filter feeding to capture tiny shrimp and krill.

Therefore, while teeth are a prevalent feature in the underwater world, they are not a universal characteristic of all fish. The diversity of feeding strategies among fish species has led to the evolution of various toothless adaptations, showcasing the remarkable adaptability of life in the oceans.

Can Goldfish Lose Their Teeth?

Yes, goldfish can and do lose their teeth! They continuously lose and regrow teeth throughout their entire lives. This might seem strange compared to humans, who only get one set of permanent teeth.

Here’s how it works:

  • Goldfish teeth are located in their throat, not their mouth like ours. These pharyngeal teeth help them crush food before swallowing it.
  • As goldfish teeth wear down or get damaged, teeth fall out.
  • But don’t worry; new teeth are already growing behind them, ready to take their place. This keeps the goldfish with teeth munching happily throughout their lifespan.

You might even see evidence of this tooth-shedding process in your aquarium. You might spot tiny, white pellets on the gravel if you have a bare-bottomed tank. Those are old goldfish teeth! Pretty cool.

So, while you might not see your goldfish flashing a pearly white smile, rest assured they have a unique and effective way of keeping their chompers in top shape.

Do other types of fish have teeth?

Yes, many other types of fish have teeth. Fish teeth can come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the species and their feeding habits.

For example, predatory fish like pike and barracuda have sharp, pointed teeth for grasping and holding onto their prey. In contrast, herbivorous fish like parrotfish have specialized teeth for scraping algae off rocks and coral. Some fish, like the pacu, even have teeth resembling human molars.

Additionally, some fish species have teeth in their throat, known as pharyngeal teeth, which are used for grinding food. Overall, the diversity of fish teeth reflects the wide range of diets and feeding behaviors seen in the underwater world.

And while not all fish have traditional teeth, like sharks with their razor-sharp, replaceable teeth, some form of dentition is quite common among aquatic species. 

What do goldfish teeth look like?

Unlike our usual pearly whites, goldfish teeth are tiny, flat plates in their throat. Imagine miniature white pebbles, 1-2mm wide, grinding food for efficient digestion. You won’t see them nibbling, but they’re there!

How many teeth does a goldfish have?

While goldfish lack familiar front teeth, they have 5-6 rows of specialized “throat teeth” for grinding food, not biting.

Can goldfish bite?

Goldfish have throat teeth for crushing food but lack sharp, biting teeth and rarely harm humans. They might “nibble” in rare cases of stress or mistaken identity, but it’s not a proper bite.

What fish have no teeth?

Many fish lack teeth! Examples include catfish, sturgeon, rays, and plankton feeders like anchovies. They use unique methods like throat grinders, suction, or filtering to munch their meals.

What kind of teeth do goldfish have?

Unlike our sharp incisors, goldfish have rows of flat “throat teeth” in their throats, used for grinding food, not biting! It’s like a built-in food processor hidden deep inside.

Can a goldfish replace a fallen tooth within a day?

No way! Goldfish regrow teeth, but it takes weeks, not a day. And their “teeth” are for grinding food, not replacing human ones. So leave the tooth fairy to humans and enjoy watching your goldfish crunch!

Do any fish have flat teeth?

Some fish, such as herbivorous species like parrotfish and surgeonfish, have flat teeth adapted explicitly for grinding and crushing plant material.


So, does goldfish have teeth? In conclusion, goldfish are fascinating creatures that bring joy and tranquility to our lives. We have explored their vibrant colors, graceful movements, and ability to adapt to various environments. While they may not have teeth traditionally, goldfish possess unique structures called pharyngeal teeth that aid in grinding and processing their food. So, the next time you watch your goldfish gliding through the water, take a moment to appreciate their remarkable adaptations, including their specialized dental features. Now you know the answer to the intriguing question, “Do goldfish have teeth?”

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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