Do Goldfish Have Teeth (All your questions answered)

Goldfish are one of the most common fish that people buy as pets, perfect for beginners and children, but like all pets, you should try to learn as much as you can about them. One question that people often ask is, “Do goldfish have teeth?”

It’s a common misconception that goldfish do not have teeth. In fact, they do have teeth, although they are primarily used for crunching and grinding their food. Goldfish lose their teeth throughout their life, but they will always be replaced by new teeth, unlike human teeth.

Do Goldfish Have Teeth

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Now that you know that goldfish have teeth, I’m sure it has raised many other questions like “why do goldfish have teeth?” and “do goldfish bite?” This short article will tell you everything about goldfish teeth and more.

If you have an interest in goldfish facts you may like to read some other goldfish articles that I have written, such as:

How Long Do Goldfish Live (Tank, Bowl & Pond Comparison).

Water Temperature For Goldfish (Aquarium and Ponds).

Do Goldfish Need An Air Pump To Help Them Breathe.

How many goldfish in a 10 gallon tank.

What Do Goldfish Teeth Look Like

Goldfish have pharyngeal teeth that are pretty small and flat. They are not used for catching prey but for crunching and grinding food like human molars. Goldfish teeth are located quite far back at the edge of their mouth and into their throat in an area called the pharyngeal arch, which is why they are called pharyngeal teeth.

Goldfish don’t need sharp teeth in the front of their mouth like some fish, as goldfish are not natural predators of other fish, unlike sharks and piranha fish, which will rip at the flesh of their prey. Goldfish prefer smaller snacks that fit nicely into their mouth and are easy to chew.

Below is a picture of some goldfish teeth.

Goldfish Teeth - Pharyngeal Teeth
Goldfish Teeth – Pharyngeal Teeth

Why Do Goldfish Have Teeth In Their Throat

Goldfish have teeth in the back of their throat because they are only used for chewing their food into a fine paste before they swallow it. The back of the throat is the perfect position to have teeth for grinding food.

Goldfish do not have a stomach like humans do, so they need to chew their food well before they eat it, so it’s essential to give your goldfish small, soft pellets instead of big chunks of food. If goldfish eat too big of a piece, they might not be able to chew it properly and could choke.

Do Goldfish Bite

So we have established that goldfish do have teeth. People start worrying about whether to keep their fingers out of the tank, away from their fish’s mouth. Piranhas would make a nice meal out of a digit or two, so do goldfish bite?

Goldfish do not bite in the sense that they plunge teeth into your flesh, removing a finger in the process. The worst you will experience from a goldfish is a nibble that feels like a suck. Certainly not something that bloodthirsty movies are made out of.

Because goldfish teeth are in the back of their mouth, it is unlikely that you would even feel them unless your goldfish is big enough that your finger will fit in its mouth. If you could fit your finger into your goldfish’s mouth, their jaws are not strong enough to cause any pain.

Some fish have teeth similar to goldfish but are used for crushing instead of grinding. Teeth made for crushing are generally needed to break open hard shells, so these fish species will often have powerful jaws which could crush the bones in your fingers.

Some examples of food that goldfish eat are small soft worms, shrimps, and insects which don’t require strong jaws to eat.

Do Goldfish Bites Hurt

No goldfish bites don’t hurt people, but they may hurt other fish. Just because goldfish have flat teeth and not sharp teeth, if they can fit a small fin or tail in their mouth, their teeth can still hold on well enough to cause some damage.

Most goldfish are not predatory fish, so they are typically not aggressive. Because of the goldfish’s friendly nature, you shouldn’t have a problem with your goldfish biting other fish in the tank. In fact, goldfish are one of the best fish to keep in a community tank.

If you have an aggressive goldfish, providing enough space and some hiding places will usually fix the problem as it gives all fish enough space to move around so they are not bothering the other fish in the tank.

Will Goldfish Eat Other Fish

As I mentioned above, goldfish are one of the most social fish and great for community tanks, so it is very unlikely that goldfish will eat other fish in the tank.

Do Goldfish Bite
Goldfish are generally aggressive and won’t bite other fish.

Because a goldfish’s diet can consist of tiny worms, insects, and small shrimp, you will need to be careful not to keep baby fish in the tank as they may get eaten. This is true for most fish as newly hatched fry are easy food for everyone in the tank.

Goldfish do not have stomachs, so they often eat small amounts of food. If you see your goldfish eating other fish, it is probably because the other fish are sick or injured and unable to swim away.

Do Goldfish Lose Their Teeth

Goldfish do lose their teeth throughout their lifetime, but luckily, like sharks, another one will replace it as one tooth falls out. Goldfish always have more teeth lined up beneath the gums ready, so old teeth are expected to fall out.

If you do have goldfish in your aquarium, you will probably notice that as old teeth fall out, you will find them lying on the gravel from time to time. This is quite common, but many fish keepers don’t know what they are.

Can a Goldfish Have Dental Problems

Unlike humans, goldfish don’t have dental problems due to their pharyngeal teeth falling out when rotten or worn out. Humans have to look after their teeth for their lifetime, but as goldfish’s teeth grow back, they don’t experience the same problems.

Just like humans, a goldfish’s teeth will start to yellow and wear down because of tooth decay. This is because their diet usually consists of soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing, but unlike humans, goldfish won’t need to worry about cleaning their teeth twice a day.

Do All Fish Have Teeth

Most fish species have teeth of some sort, so there would be no point in me listing them for you; however, I will list a few of the more unusual ones to give you something to think about.


Everyone knows what a piranha is. Piranhas are thought to attack at the slightest sight of flesh, but they can be pretty docile until they smell blood in the water. They have been the catalyst for many gory movies and are known to strip an animal carcass in minutes.

Piranhas have sharp razor-sharp teeth and strong jaws which can easily rip through flesh, and because piranhas swim in large shoals, a feeding frenzy will reduce any living creature down to pure bone quickly.

What Other Fish Have Teeth
The Pirahna is another fish that has teeth.


Sharks are known for their fearsome nature, and they are apex predators of the sea. Many sharks have teeth with serrated edges, which create a sawing action as they come together and bite, making them incredibly sharp.

The Sheepshead Fish

I bet you haven’t heard of the sheepshead fish. These fish have human-like teeth, perfect for pulling shelled creatures from rocks and crushing them down.

The front side teeth of the sheepshead are incisor-like and sharp and look like human teeth, while the molar teeth, which are flat teeth, are set further back, making them perfect for crushing when paired with the strong jaws of the sheepshead fish.

The sheepshead fish is one of the stranger fish to look at because of its human-like teeth.

The Sheepshead Fish Has Human Looking Teeth
The Sheepshead Fish Has Human-Looking Teeth

Wrap Up

I hope this short article has been both informative and entertaining to read. “Do goldfish have teeth?” is a common question among goldfish owners, and knowing that goldfish do have teeth like most other fish, will always open up many other questions.

Hopefully, this article has answered the most common of these questions, and you can walk away much better informed than you were 10 minutes ago.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wikipedia – Pharyngeal Teeth

Jon O'Connell

I have kept both marine and freshwater fish and set up almost 100 aquariums. Although I am no longer doing it professionally, I hope I can help others to enjoy keeping happy, healthy fish by sharing my many years of experience.

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