If you want your fish to enjoy living in the aquarium and thrive then you need to give them the best fish food you can afford. This is basic biology (and common sense), and it’s perhaps one of the first things people learn about keeping any sort of pet (except if you have a pet rock, but then that’s a different thing entirely!).
So it’s crucial that you make sure you’re feeding your fish properly and that means researching through Google and visiting forums that have members who also own the same fish species you have.
There are lots of very popular fish you can keep, and their popularity means that you get lots of information regarding their preferences for food and environment.
What to Look For in Good Fish Food?
There are several factors you need to consider when you’re trying to determine the right fish food for your fish. You’ll need to consider the size of the pellets because it has to be right for the fish's mouth.
You also need to consider how quickly the food falls to the bottom. Some food types float, which is perfect for some surface-feeding fish. Others sink slowly so that they can feed the mid-water feeders. Others sink quickly for the bottom feeders.
You may also want to check the hardness of the food. For example, freeze-dried food may be difficult to swallow without being soaked in water first. Then you also want to see if it disintegrates quickly because that would be a waste of food and it would just contaminate the water.
And of course, you also need to factor in the nutrient requirements of the fish. Some fish feed on vegetables, while others may need a high protein diet. You may even want to find out if a certain food results in more waste products.
If you’re a newbie, you better stick to freshwater fish first because they’re easier to handle, before you start with saltwater tanks.
So you can start with old-time favorites like a betta, goldfish, or guppies. You get Cichlids like tilapia or Oscars. Neon tetras, catfish, and mollies are cool too.
Whatever you get, you better know what kind of fish food brand to buy. You can’t just buy the cheapest fish food pellets when your fish specifically needs tropical fish food.
Fish Food Reviews
Here are some excellent fish food options you can try for various fish types:
1. TetraMin Tropical Flakes
It comes in several sizes, so you can take your pick. As the name says, this is best for tropical freshwater fish.
The TetraMin also contains the patented ProCare blend: Omega-3 fatty acid so that your fish gets healthy fat and they can grow bigger and have more energy, various ingredients that boost their immune system, and biotin to improve their metabolism.
- This German brand is a respected name in the industry.
- If you buy online, the price is much better.
- The food doesn’t cloud the water.
- It’s easily digested.
- It’s good for lots of tropical freshwater fish.
- There’s nothing really wrong with it, although a few contend that the quality of Tetra fish food was much better 20 years ago.
2. New Life Spectrum Thera-A Medium 2mm
You’re better off buying the 500 gram container, the 250 gram container is too expensive. There are also other pellet sizes aside from 2mm.
New Life Spectrum (NLS) is also highly regarded in the industry, and their products contain garlic with lots of anti-parasitic ingredients.
Many fish owners admit to only using this product (along with frozen food) to feed their fish.
- The price for the 500-gram container is a bargain.
- It’s loved by many types of fish, including lyretail and fancy guppies,
bala sharks, African cichlids, featherfinand angelicuscatfish, emerald and panda coris, weather and clown loaches, and several types of gourami. Even the ghost shrimp and the fiddler crabs can’t get enough of it.
- It comes with a clearly marked 2 year expiration date.
- There are only two size options.
3. Hikari Tropical Semi-Floating Micro Pellets
These come in different colors denoting different ingredients.
Red means it contains protein and amino acids, yellow means vitamins and minerals, and green is vegetable fiber.
It’s supposed to be semi-floating, for surface and mid-water feeders.
This is designed for small-mouth tropical fish like tetras and barbs. Owners of cardinals, fancy guppies, and shrimp say their pets love them too.
- Different nutrients are offered so that the fish gets a balanced diet.
- Quite a few fish love it.
- It’s not quite as semi-floating as it ought to be. It may float on the surface for a while, but it won’t sink slowly for the mid-water feeders to enjoy. Instead, it gets to the bottom rather quickly.
4. TetraVeggie Algae Wafers
This is a sinking wafer for tropical bottom feeders, and they contain vegetable nutrients as well as the ProCare blend.
The pouch bag can stand up, and is resealable too.
These are meant for herbivore fishes, such as goldfish, plecostomus, and corydoras catfish.
- The online price is much cheaper than in stores.
- Tetra is a famous brand name with a sterling reputation.
- Lots of herbivore fish really go for this stuff.
- For a few fish, it may take a while before they deign to taste it if you’re introducing a new brand.
- One customer said that it clouded her fish tank water, although this seems like a very rare occurrence.
5. Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake
This is fish flake food for everyday feeding, and it contains high levels of raw protein from spirulina. It’s meant for fresh and saltwater fish that needs regular protein. It also has lots of major vitamins and amino acids.
This is designed for lots of fish types, both fresh and saltwater.
It’s great for African Cichlids, goldfish, Swordtails, Platies, Guppies, Mollies, Saltwater
For some reason the 2-ounce container costs almost the same as the 4-ounce!
- The vast majority of owners who’ve tried it report that their fish loved it.
- The price is more than reasonable, especially when you consider that it lasts for quite a long while.
- The flakes are large, and while that may be fine for some fish it may be too big for others.
6. Omega One Veggie Rounds
An 8.1-ounce container is rather odd, and it doesn’t make much sense when it’s in grams (230g) either. In any case, have a look at the price.
As these are veggie fish food, these are for herbivores but they can be for salt and freshwater fish. They’re made with spirulina (which seems a popular ingredient) and fresh kelp.
The manufacturer, Omega One, is actually one of just two companies in Alaska licensed to harvest fresh kelp along the southeast Alaskan shoreline. So they have stores of fresh kelp in stock, which explains why this food seem to have a deeper green color than another veggie (or kelp) products.
This food is simply packed with nutrients, and Omega One has no reason to skimp on the ingredients.
- Those who have reported that their fish loved it include owners of African cichlids, pleco, catfish, clown loaches, shrimp, and snails.
- They also report having healthy fish, too.
- Just be careful where you buy them, because some sellers may offer bad samples.
7. TetraCichlid Cichlid Flakes
Once again we’re back to the reliable Tetra brand, and this time the food is for top and mid-water feeders.
The 1.75-pound container (roughly 794 grams) is cheap, although you can first try the smallest 1.58-ounce (almost 45-gram) size to see if your fish takes the food.
This particular cichlids dish it’s enhanced with vitamin C and the ProCare blend.
Its nutrients help boost the immune system of the fish so they’re more resistant to disease. Also, these flakes remain firm even when fish strike at them. They won’t disintegrate.
- The price is more reasonable when you get the large 1.75-pound size. That’s because at that price it’s just a couple ¢ per gram, unlike the smallest size that costs much more.
- These flakes are large, and they’ll stay intact even when fish strike at them.
- However, if you do get the large container, that’s going to take forever to finish off!
8. Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Blood Worms
This is freeze-dried blood worms, which makes this the equivalent of prime 5-star rated restaurant steak while its competitors are fast food.
This Bio-Pure is as close to being fresh food without actually being fresh food. So it really is a special treat.
- It is packed with nutrients.
- It’s the cleanest freeze dried food you can buy, prepared with pharmaceutical-grade freeze-drying techniques.
- It doesn’t cloud the water.
- The container comes with a nice dispenser top.
- It’s really expensive, so it’s not exactly realistic to serve this on a daily basis.
- Freeze-dried food is dry, so they take the time to sink. If you want your bottom feeders to get a taste after the top feeders have had their share, you need to use tongs to bring it to them. You’ll also need to soak them first for a while in the aquarium water so that they’re easier to swallow.
9. Tetra JumboKrill Freeze-Dried Jumbo Shrimp
Tetra has its own freeze-dried offering, but this time it is jumbo shrimp.
They’re ideal for large tropical fish and even hermit crabs and snowflake eels love it.
It has the nutrients your fish needs to be healthy and to look healthy.
Their colors can really improve with this food, as its ingredients include protein, fat, vitamin E, and carotenoids.
The food can stay fresh for a long time, as it comes in vacuum-sealed containers. So go ahead and get the biggest size at 14 ounces, which comes with a cheap price tag.
- For freeze-dried food, the price is remarkably affordable on a per gram basis.
- It can really brighten the color of the fish.
10. San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp
The price per gram is astronomical. But it really is packed with proteins, essential fatty acids, and lipids which can really energize your fish and keep them healthy.
You can use this to feed your tropical fish twice daily, and you just have to serve a sufficient amount they can eat within 3 minutes.
You’ll have to remove any uneaten food as quickly as possible so that the water remains clear and fresh.
- It’s extremely healthy for both fresh and saltwater fish.
- It’s a favorite food among many fish.
- It’s quite expensive.
- A surprising number of aquarium keepers say that their fish ignore it.
Types of Fish Food
So what kind of fish food can you get? Actually, there are quite a few options. That’s understandable, since there lots of fish species you can keep, and some fish may not thrive with just the same food every time. (It’s probably like eating the world’s most incredible pizza—after a week of eating just that, even you’d rebel).
The first type is dry fish food, and there are several varieties:
- Flakes: fish flake food is probably the most common option of them all, as pretty much all the common types of aquarium fish will go for it.
- Crisps: these crisps tend to float for a long period of time. So it’s more likely that the fish will get them before they fall uneaten to the bottom. They also tend to create less waste. These crisps are ideal for small to medium-sized fish.
- Granules: these also tend to sink very slowly to the ground, so it’s available to all the fish in the tank. They also come in bite-sized pieces to make them easier to consume.
- Tablets: these sink very quickly, so they’re ideal for the bottom-feeders like loaches and catfish.
- Wafers: these also sink quickly, but they’re a bit larger.
- Sticks: larger fish go for this type of food.
- Pellets: these float and you can get tiny ones for your bettas. There are also larger pellets for larger fish.
- Supplements and treats: these complement the main diet of the fish.
Some types of fish food are designed as blocks, which are meant to be placed inside the aquarium to feed the fish for days on end. The blocks release just small amounts as they dissolve, so the fish can be fed for several days while the owner is on vacation.
Some fish food types are frozen or freeze dried which may be necessary to preserve the protein and other nutrients. Then there are medicated fish food servings that deliver medication to the fish, without contaminating the water and environment like a bath treatment would do.
And of course, you can also serve your fish earthworms from your garden or any live food.
Drawbacks to Buying Online
Many newbies don’t like buying fish food online because they have to wait for the delivery and sometimes shipping comes with a fee as well. And you can’t get live food online.
It can also be confusing to be confronted with so many options and so many reviews. Some beginners just consult their local pet store and get food recommendations from the seller. That makes everything faster and less confusing
Advantages of Buying Online
But there are advantages to buying online too.
One main advantage is that online you can just about find any type of fish food except for live food. You’re not limited to what your local seller has in stock. You can buy any type of food including freeze-dried fish food or flakes, and it can be any size available.
And what’s more, you’re also not limited to a single person’s recommendations. When you’re online, reviews are pretty much easily available on seller sites like Amazon. You’ll know what other owners have gone through so you know what to expect. You’ll know how many owners report that their fish liked it, and you’ll also find out just how often it’s been ignored by the fish.
In some cases, you can get discounts when you buy online when you buy in bulk. So that means you won’t have to pay as much.
Your best bet, if you’re looking online, is to read reviews so that you can get the comments of other customers who have the same fish as you do. It’s also a good idea to pick the food designed specifically for your fish. So if a fish food is branded as ideal for goldfish, then as a goldfish owner you can have it as one of your options.
Great list, thank you!
This is a nice post about fish food. This post has given the picture of different types of food for the fish which will help the buyer as the fishes of different layer need different types of food . So thanks for writing such a beautiful post.
Hey Nasim, thanks for your kind words! 🙂
Absolutely the best and most informative fish food read.. Thanks!
Also like to put that though some of these foods may be expensive see if you can do a price match based off the stores online price if you’re shopping at a big box store. I never pay full price for anything when shopping and have gotten a lot of foods nearly half off due to this method.
Hey Jess, thank you, it’s good to know! Bob
When choosing a prepared food for my glowlight tetra, I would recommend Hikari Micro Pellets. I have always had success with this food in the past and it is known for its high-quality ingredients.
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I have a catfish pellets container and opened it and it was full of bugs would it be ok to feed fish if I freeze it
Flour beetles sometimes hatch from pet foods. The insects are harmless to the fish. You can freeze the food and then feed your fish.