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What To Feed Aquarium Fish: A Beginner’s Guide To Fish Food

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Aquarium fish are fascinating. But they can also feel hard to take care of. One common thing most people question is, what to feed aquarium fish? There are a multitude of different foods available when you enter the pet store. Which can be confusing. However, you have nothing to worry about as I will discuss what to feed your fish in this article.

The aquarium fish food you need depends on what species of fish you have. Depending on the diet of the fish, there are both processed and fresh foods you can feed them. Options include dry flakes, frozen foods, pellets, and even some fresh meat and vegetables.

In this article, I will discuss the various little details of many fish foods. I will also take a look at the types of it and also put out a few pointers on what to look for in fish food. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be more confident about feeding your beloved fish with the proper diet they need.

What to Feed Aquarium Fish?

There are three types of aquarium fish differentiated by their diet. There are the herbivores, the carnivores, and the omnivores. We can also classify fish into three categories based on what part of the aquarium they feel safe taking their food from. There are the surface feeders, the middle feeders, and finally, the bottom feeders.

Your choice of food for your fish will depend mainly on these two factors. Luckily, the process isn’t as confusing as it may seem. The multiple varieties available can very easily be simplified as a lot of the varieties lack much of a difference in nutritional contents.

It is a good idea to try to emulate the nutrients they would get if they were in nature. So, you should try to look up what your fish’s nutritional needs are, what they naturally eat. Different fish have different dietary needs. So, looking up the information beforehand helps you choose food.

You need to choose what food to feed your fish based on their diet. There are both vegetarian and carnivorous dry foods available. Omnivores can eat a mix of both. You will also need to choose if it’s the variety that floats longer or sinks quicker.

Your primary source of food for the aquarium fish will be of the dried variety. These include pellets, flakes, cubes, and sometimes even sticks. These come in all sorts of nutritional value, so you are sure to find one suitable for your fish. This is a straightforward choice and will provide a large portion of what your fish eats, if not all of it.

Most fish will eat food as they are available to them. But some shy fish might wait for the food to float towards their safe area. You will need to keep a lookout for them. It might be helpful if you try to put the food in the same spot every day and get the variety that helps their comfort zone.

You also need to keep in mind that fresh food is better. Fish food loses its nutritional value very quickly, which means you can’t stock up on tons of food. You should get food often and try to keep it fresh. Fresh food will attract fish easily and keep them healthy.

The last thing to keep in mind is, do not overfeed. Overfeeding causes the tank to get dirty quicker and algae and other stuff to form. It will also make the fish sick. It is a good idea to only feed once or twice a day. And only feed a certain amount, an amount they can finish within 3 to 4 minutes.

Different Types of Fish Food

You will be getting a few different varieties of food depending on what kinds of fish you have. I will be discussing each type here for your convenience.

Dry Food

This is what will be the primary diet of your aquarium fish. These processed dried foods are what most aquarium owners feed their fish. These come in flakes, pellets, cubes, etc. They also come in floating or quick sinking variety.

You can easily get the type of food your fish needs depending on what type of dried food it is. Dried foods come in both vegetarian and carnivorous varieties. You can even feed your fish a mix of both. Some stores even have dried plant foods for herbivore fish to nibble on.

Frozen Food

Frozen food will provide a lot of variety for your fish. A lot of fish like to eat plankton, mussels, shrimp, or worms.

And you can buy these types of food frozen. Frozen food is especially helpful for carnivorous fish. But you can also find frozen vegetable cubes such as spirulina cubes for herbivores to eat too.

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried food is mainly processed food for carnivorous species of fish. There are some worms and shrimps that come in a freeze-dried variety. These shrimps and worms are made into processed cubes for easier feeding.

Live Food

As we all know, a lot of fish in nature feed on worms, larvae, many types of insects, and even other fish. Well, that is true for a lot of species of aquarium fish too. You can get live food for a lot of these fish.

Live feed includes ghost shrimps, live brine, worms, and even smaller fish for larger, more carnivorous fish. Many types of small insects such as crickets are used as live feed for aquarium fish.

Green Vegetables

It is a great practice to feed greens or vegetables to herbivore fish if you have access to the proper ones. If you have aquarium plants, then you might spot the fish nibbling on them sometimes. It is a good idea to provide these fish with fresh veggies.

Options include lettuce, spinach, zucchini, cucumber, etc. You should hang clippings of these veggies on one side of the tank. Remove any leftovers after 24 hours. Do not leave old veggies in the tank as they would rot and pollute the water.

What to Look for When Buying Fish Food in The Store?

When you go to buy fish food in a store, you might be overwhelmed by the tons of available varieties in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and packaging. Well, you should not be afraid of such varieties and look for only what you need.

If you have the dietary needs of your fish identified, then look for food containing those details. You will mostly get dried flakes or pellets, so get the variety your fish needs. Vegetarian or carnivorous, floating or sinking, take a mix of the ones you need. It is not much more complicated than that.

If you want to give live or frozen or freeze-dried food, then look for the exact ones you want. Look up beforehand if your fish would eat that or not.

The last thing is to measure quantity. Your quantity should depend on the number of fish you have. Take only the amount that would last you a little while by feeding once or twice a day. After that, get fresh food.


Here I discussed the different types of food aquarium fish might need. I also took a look at how they might be different in different species and what types of food are available if you go to a store. 

Hopefully now you have a proper understanding on what to feed aquarium fish. Best of luck with your new fishy buddies. Thanks for stopping by.