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why does my goldfish eat food then spit it out

When a goldfish is under stress he may eat less than normal. Stress occurs if other fish are picking on him or chasing him. Fish also undergo stress if water conditions are not favorable for good health. Check the filter and pump for proper operation.

Clean the fish tank and gravel and do a water change to remove excess ammonia. Perform a water test for nitrates, nitrites and pH level. Adjust the levels to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of 7. Properly operating pumps and filters along with weekly water changes will keep nitrate and nitrite levels at an acceptable range of 50 and 1 mg respectively.
Changes in eating habits generally accompany a bout with stress.

According to AquariumFish, if your goldfish is taking food into his mouth and then immediately spitting it out, he's possibly under stress related to unfavorable water conditions.

If stress is the reason he is purging his food, you can help your goldfish by temporarily removing him fish from his bowl or tank and cleaning it thoroughly.

Clean any gravel in the habitat and change some or all of the water, add some aquarium salt and elevate the water's temperature.

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