Fish Food for your Aquarium

fish food

Fish Food – types and feeding guidelines in the aquarium

Not all fish food is created equal. Industrially produced dry fish food such as flake food is much more nutritious but at times unnecessary for the fish.

Fish Food needs to be nutritious!

You have to ensure that the feed contains the promised nutrient content even after the best-before date, e.g. vitamins. To do this, however, there must be a correspondingly higher nutrient content of proteins, vitamins, etc. during production.

FACT: Studies on wild-caught animals show that they have to make do with relatively little feed. For examples, the intestines of armored catfish were almost 90% filled with sand. Sometimes the bowels were completely empty.

In a run-in aquarium there is so much plankton of green algae, sludge and plants that the fish can find plenty of food even without additional feeding. Some fish species also eat algae if they are not given any other food.

Due to the limited range of motion they have in the aquarium, aquarium fish have no way of breaking down too much nutrients or the energy they absorb. This is why fish very often receive far too much food.

Adult fish that are not intended to be bred are fed once a day. The daily amount of food should be eaten in 1 to 2 minutes. At least once a week there is no feeding at all. In nature, fish often cannot find food for days.

This basic rule can and must be varied depending on the specific circumstances. Bottom-dwelling fish such as catfish also need to be fed. Some fish species greedily pounce on any food, while other species come slowly and carefully to the feeding place. Care must be taken to ensure that all fish species that are cared for receive enough food. For this purpose, the types of feed can be varied.

For example, tablet feed can be thrown on the ground so that the catfish can get food more easily and not everything is previously eaten away by other fish species. So that not all fish argue about tablet food in one place, a tablet can be divided into several pieces and thrown into the aquarium in different places. Flake food can be soaked in water before feeding. It then quickly sinks to the ground in different places.

Above all, varied feeding is important. In addition to the various forms of dry food, freeze-dried food, frozen food and, above all, live food is suitable.

Too much or unbalanced feeding can lead to disease and obesity in the fish. Uneaten food is broken down by bacteria in the aquarium and pollutes the water.

Adult, healthy aquarium fish can even do without food for several weeks. 

Young fish must be fed regularly and more frequently, otherwise they will lag behind in growth. Outstanding feed specialists or very large fish may also need additional nutrition.

Fish Food for perch and cichlids

Live fish food:

  • River flea shrimp
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Fruit flies
  • worms
  • Young guppies
  • Young zebrafish
  • Dwarf shrimp
  • Scrape

Frozen fish food:

  • Cyclops
  • fine krill
  • Artemia
  • Mysis
  • Occasionally spirulina pellets, e.g. from Hikari
What We Feed Cichlids | Tips for Faster Growth

Fish Food for South American cichlids

Frozen fish food:

  • Cyclops
  • fine krill
  • Artemia
  • Mysis
  • Occasionally spirulina pellets, e.g. B. from Hikari

Tips on some types of fish food


Earthworms grow and multiply z. B. in the composter. If necessary, a small composter that does not smell can be set up on a balcony or in the basement with an old coffee filter bag with contents and soil.


2 cm tall guppies are not eaten by Tropheus either. That means they can produce young without being eaten themselves.

Dwarf shrimp

Dwarf prawns such as blue-tailed and bee prawns grow to around 3 to 4 centimeters and are quite productive. Of course, whether dwarf shrimp are eaten also depends on the cichlids. For example Sajicas are perfect as fish food. The prawns shouldn’t get too big and aggressive like in the case of Glass prawns, or need salt water for reproduction, such as Amano shrimp.


Zebrafish reproduce well and are very easy to raise.


Some species of cockroach, such as Shelfordella tartara, do not grow very large even as adults. Young cockroaches are then correspondingly small. The maintenance and space requirements are very low. The cockroaches can be housed in a plastic box measuring 20 by 30 centimeters. The time required for maintenance is max. 15 minutes, but not every day. These cockroaches are in need of warmth. The boxes can be heated with the waste heat from aquarium lamps. They are not cockroaches that become a nuisance if they break out accidentally. The cockroaches are good and strong food.

River flea shrimp

Some cichlids, which are used to eating hard-shelled food, also eat freshwater shrimp.

Fish Food for tetras

Tetras shouldn’t be fed only flake food.

Live food should be given as often as possible. It doesn’t always have to be the usual live food from the aquarium trade.

Insects you have caught yourself are also suitable in summer – Tetra like feeding on flies.

Even relatively small tetra can be fed with it.

Even flies that are larger than the tetra are overwhelmed and eaten.

Flies that are too big can be crushed in the water.

Insects for tetras:

  • Ants
  • Mosquitoes
  • Fruit flies
  • Krull flies
  • Houseflies
  • Terflies
100 Cardinal tetras feeding frenzy (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Fish Food for neons – neon tetra

In nature, neons presumably eat insect larvae and shrimp and their larvae, just like other small tetra.

In South America there are not only large shrimp, such as Macrobrachium, but also a large number of smaller shrimp that live freely floating in water.

Neons should be fed as varied as possible.

Live food that you have caught yourself is particularly good.

Suitable neon fish feed:

  • Live red mosquito larvae
  • Frozen red mosquito larvae
  • Black mosquito larvae
  • Tubifex
  • Food tablets
  • Flake food

Is fish food the reason why neons stand upside down after feeding?

After feeding, neons often stand diagonally or almost vertically with their heads down in the water. In doing so, they jerk forwards and backwards. The behavior often begins around 20 minutes after feeding. After 1 to 3 hours, all animals swim normally again.

Neons are very greedy. For example, if flake feed is eaten so quickly that the food does not have time to soak up water. The neons swallow a lot of air, some of which is trapped in the food. In addition, flake food swells.

When feeding on freeze-dried feed, it is sometimes even worse.

With live food, neons sometimes swim with bellies so full that they almost seem to burst.

It helps to prevent the food from being eaten right off the surface without it becoming damp. Flake feed and freeze-dried feed can be watered beforehand. For this purpose, the feed is placed in a can in water before feeding or dipped into the basin and released under water. If mineral water or a vitamin solution is used for watering in a can, the neons receive additional nutrients.

You can also feed the feed in smaller quantities over a longer period of time.

Fish Food for catfish

Young catfish can be fed with Artemia. The boys are going to get them.

At the latest when the nauplii sink to the bottom because they cannot survive long in fresh water.

Young catfish also like to eat cucumber.

Medium-sized juveniles eat cyclopes and green fodder.

Bushymough catfish primarily eat vegetable food. Algae, plants, green forage tablets, etc. are suitable.

Suitable vegetables:

  • salad
  • raw cucumber slices
  • raw potato slices
  • flattened peas
  • boiled carrots
  • scalded spinach
  • Paprika pieces
  • zucchini
  • Boiled potatoes mixed with peeled peas and carrots or spinach and frozen

Vegetable slices that do not stay on the ground but rise can be attached to the ground with a toothpick. Alternatively, pieces of vegetables can be attached to a disc with a suction cup.

Vegetables that have not been eaten after 1 to 2 days must be removed from the aquarium so that they do not rot. Raw potato slices are removed as soon as small bubbles rise from the slices.

Vegetables can be frozen in portions in ice cube trays and fed like frozen food from retailers.

If there are not enough algae in the aquarium, algae can be grown relatively easily. A bowl with water and some larger stones is placed in the sun. The stones quickly grow algae and can then be placed in the aquarium with the catfish. However, catfish eat plants rather than algae. You will also get used to food tablets quickly. It should therefore not be expected that terrestrial catfish eat a lot of algae.

In addition to the vegetables, food algae leaves can be given.

Bushymouth catfish also eat Artemia. Artemia die after a while in fresh water. The dead Artemia will be eaten by the catfish at the latest.

Every now and then mosquito larvae can be given.

Gulper Catfish feeding

Bushymouth catfish eat plants

When catfish are not given enough vegetable food, they will often eat plant leaves. They will start eating plants such as Amazon sword. Feeding vegetables often helps. But there are also reports that plants were eaten despite being fed with plenty of vegetables. Young plant and leaf shoots in particular are often eaten, although plenty of green fodder is given.

Vallisneria, Java fern and Java moss are mostly left alone. These seem to have bitter substances or are too hard.

It is unclear whether all catfish species eat plants under certain conditions, because due to the unclear naming it is often not known which catfish species is actually kept. Sometimes Bushymouth catfish do not eat plants until they are older.

At least some Bushymouth catfish eat mainly the immersed leaves of newly planted Amazon sword plants, which die anyway. They hardly touch new submerged leaves. The leaves are only sucked out and skeletonized during the dying process. Perhaps the tissue of the leaves is different in strength.

Apparently every catfish has its own herbivorous preferences. Once the animals have gotten a taste for it, one can only try to keep the damage as low as possible by feeding them green fodder.

Fish Food for armored catfish

Usually armored catfish will eat anything that falls on the ground. Because of their physique, they are easiest to eat from the ground.

Armored catfish can in part even feed on the excretions of other fish. In terms of intestinal technology, they are able to convert the 30% residual energy content of the fish excrement back to 70%.

Nevertheless, they should not be viewed as recyclers in the aquarium, as can often be read. You need complete food, not just leftovers, to stay healthy and reproduce. That is why they multiply in nature when the food supply is large.

Because hardly any food arrives at the bottom of the aquarium with economical feeding, armored catfish should also be fed with food tablets. These tablets quickly sink to the bottom.

It is very difficult to specify a specific amount of food for armored catfish. Armored catfish are founders, which mean that they spend long periods of time searching their habitat for food. They go to every corner and look for food.

If a food tablet is thrown into the pool, they come and eat what they can get right away. Remaining food is whirled up by the movements of the fish and distributed in the aquarium. The armored catfish look for these remains and eat them later.

As an approximate measure, about 5 armored catfish should be given as many food tablets as they can eat in about 30 minutes. You should observe 1 to 2 fasting days per week.

Like practically all fish, they particularly like to eat live food as a substitute for frozen food.

Appropriate feed:

  • Red mosquito larvae
  • Tubifex
  • Frozen food
  • Tetra TabiMin
  • Catfish tablets
  • Flake food
  • Small pieces of boiled potatoes

Interesting fact: When eating, armored catfish sometimes press part of the food out of the gills.

fish food
Feeding fish

Fish Food for betta fish / fighting fish

Fighting fish should be fed 3 times a week; otherwise they will become too lazy.

Suitable live food:

  • Red mosquito larvae
  • Black mosquito larvae
  • White mosquito larvae
  • Mayflies
  • Enchytra
  • Fruit flies
  • Young guppies
  • Mealworms
  • Moina
  • Mexican river flea shrimp
  • Water fleas
  • crushed snails

There are different experiences with Artemia. Artemia nauplii are suitable as food for young fish, but it is hardly worth the effort and expense of raising Artemia as food for adult fighting fish. The otherwise often recommended fine pool feed is less suitable.

Larger snails from approx. 3 to 4 millimeters must be crushed. Snail spawn and smaller piebalds are also eaten without being crushed.

A pair of guppies can be kept together with fighting fish, practically as permanent feeders.

If white mosquito larvae are flushed immediately after purchase, they can be kept in an old aquarium in the basement. When fed with Artemia nauplii and the finest pool food, they keep for several months.

If live food is not available, frozen food can be used. However, live food contains more nutrients than frozen food. In addition, the natural hunting instinct is strengthened by live food. It spreads quickly throughout the tank, so that fighting fish that are reluctant and too slow to feed also get to eat.

Many breeders only feed their animals live or frozen food. Such fighting fish are not familiar with tablets, sticks or flake food. Specimens that do not eat or spit out dry food should be fed live or frozen food. Usually they then eat.

Freeze-dried red mosquito larvae are often eaten by.

Betta fish / fighting fish feeding

New fighting fish are slow eaters

New fighting fish that are slow to feed are probably not used to food competition. You first have to learn to deal with the new competition. If suitable food is given, it will get used to it faster.

Fighting fish come from waters with almost no current. Aquarium filters usually generate stronger currents.

If the aquarium is constantly standing in a certain place, it could be that the animal does not feel bothered by a strong current at this point.

Fighting fish also like to stand between the plants or stand on the ground leaning on their long pelvic fins. There they look around for anything that is edible.

Well-fed fighting fish are sluggish

Well-fed fighting fish can become very sluggish and just hang around until the stomach is empty again. They may even stagger around or swim awkwardly or out of balance, as if the swim bladder was broken.

When the food has been processed and the swim bladder has room again, the animals behave normally again.

Unusual swimming behavior does not necessarily indicate an illness. You should wait half a day to see whether the belly is thinner again and the animal is swimming normally again.

Fish Food for angelfish

Most angelfish will eat anything that fits in their mouth, e.g. guppy babies.

Suitable types of feed:

  • Flake food
  • Live food
  • Frozen food
  • Freeze-dried feed
  • granules

With angelfish, at least 50% frozen food should be given. Feeding only dry food is too one-sided.

Freeze-dried feed is very nutritious because the water is removed and contains a comparable amount of nutrients than flake feed.

Live fish food:

  • Adult Artemia
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito larvae, e.g. red mosquito larvae
  • Moina
  • Grindal worms
  • Water fleas
  • Small snails are sucked out by some angelfish
  • Juvenile fish, e.g. B. of livebearers and neon tetras
  • Tubifex

Plant feed:

  • Hygroph. difformis
  • Duckweed
  • vegetables
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped zuccini
  • Peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Thread algae

Above all, it should be fed varied.

Angelfish feeding

You should accustom angelfish to new types of food.

Some think that the angelfish are not comfortable because they don’t swim that fast. But with us in the aquarium they let themselves be carried by the current.

Angelfish often spit out new types of food first. In most cases it is sufficient if only the new food is given for several days in a row. The hunger then becomes so great that the new food is eaten and they get used to it.

A good way to get fish used to new food is to start with nothing for a few days and then mix the old food with the new food. The proportion of the new feed is then increased step by step. If the new food is still not accepted, nothing is fed for another 2 days and then started all over again. If the food cannot be mixed, the new food is given before the actual feeding when the angelfish are still really hungry.

Some types of food are never eaten by some fish. Most fish, however, can be accustomed to many types of food.

How much do angelfish eat?

Angelfish often overeat. They can also die of too much food. They especially often overeat on frozen food and mosquito larvae. If a scalar gets a slightly bigger belly, has eaten a lot lately and has no further symptoms of the disease, it should not be fed for a few days.

How is mouth cramp treated in angelfish?

Angelfish can turn their mouths outward when they want to eat larger chunks of food. In rare cases, the mouth does not roll back. Affected animals can have problems eating.

In most cases, the mouth will return to its normal position on its own. If this is not the case after several days, one can only try to catch the animal and carefully push the mouth back with the hand.

However, angelfish are defensive fish, especially adult, large angelfish. They cannot be caught so easily, and certainly not picked up.

In one case, the affected animal was pushed into a corner of the aquarium with a net. When attempting to escape, the scalar bumped its snout against the pane, after which its mouth was turned back again.

These methods are not exactly gentle and pure stress for the animals concerned. It would be even worse not to do anything.

Fish Food for loaches

Snails for loaches

The main food for clown loaches is snails. They also eat tower snails.

Regular feeding of snails contributes a lot to the well-being of the clown loaches. Snails are an important part of their food and much better than just food tablets with coloring to make the loaches shine nicely. A healthy color from snail food is certainly better. However, they also like fresh, red peppers, which also improve the color.

Tips for breeding snails

A small 12 liter tank is used for breeding snails without any great equipment. Red ramshorn snails grow quickly and are often eaten by loaches.

It is sufficient to feed 2 to 5 snails per loach about 4 times a week.

If loaches do not eat snails, the snails are crushed on the inside panes of the aquarium. After a while, the loaches begin to suckle the snails themselves.

Other suitable food for loaches:

  • Food tablets
  • Frozen food
  • Granulated feed
  • fresh, red pepper
  • salad
  • cucumber
  • zucchini

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