If you’re new to owning fish, feeding them the best fish food you can afford is fundamental to ensuring your fish are thriving and having the best life in their aquarium possible.
It’s crucial that you make sure you’re feeding your fish properly and have researched the specific type of fish species you have. Failure to do so will result in you not providing the best quality of life for your fish.
Keep reading to find out about the best fish food.
OUR TOP PICK
The TetraMin Large Tropical Flakes are made with highly digestible ingredients for use as a staple food for your top and mid-feeding tropical fish.
These fish flakes are formulated to not leach color, meaning that they won’t cloud your fish tank’s aquarium water when used as directed.
This blend is formulated with a stabilized vitamin source and guaranteed nutrient percentages for fish health.
- Clear water formula - TetraMin Tropical Flakes are formulated to not leak color, leaving aquarium water clean and clear.
- Less waste - This food is a scientifically-developed blend that's easily digested by fish, thereby helping to keep aquarium water clean and clear with less waste in the tank.
- Nutritionally balanced - The inclusion of Omega-3 fatty acids for energy, rich prawn proteins for growth and vitality, and quality base ingredients to ensure ideal nutrition is packed in every flake.
- A few customers claimed that these particular fish flakes weren’t the right size.
The Tetra Goldfish Flakes is a ProCare formula designed to meet the nutritional requirements for all goldfish and small koi.
This fish food includes patented health-enhancing ProCare formula to help support your fish’s immune system for optimal health and long, healthy life.
The precise blend of immunostimulants vitamins biotin and omega-3 fatty acids is custom designed to strengthen a fish’s resistance to disease and stress.
- Easily digestible - Tetra’s flake food formulations have been designed to be easily digested by fish.
- Fewer colorants - This fish food is made with fewer colorants, meaning there is generally less waste and a cleaner, clearer aquarium.
- Patented ProCare - Works to support immune system health for a longer life.
- A few customers noted that this particular fish food made their tank water cloudy in a shorter period of time than they’re used to.
The Wardley Fish Food is a scientifically developed sinking pellet formula that is ideal for feeding a variety of tropical fish.
This fish food contains a stabilized form of Vitamin C which helps to support a healthy immune system.
Wardley tropical flake diets are scientifically developed with high-quality protein formulated with fish meal, an easily digestible protein source, for better nutrition and less waste.
- Versatile fish food - This sinking pellet formula is ideal for feeding a variety of tropical fish, especially bottom feeders such as catfish, plecostomus, and loaches.
- No added artificial dyes - This Wardley fish food contains no artificial dyes that can harm your fish or cloud the water in the tank.
- High-quality protein - Works to support normal growth and fish health.
- A couple of customers noted that these particular pellets were too big for their fish.
The Hikari Fish Food has been scientifically proven by decades of research to meet the dietary needs of tetras, barbs, and other small tropical fish.
These semi-floating micro-pellets sink slowly to allow fish at all levels of the tank to receive the nutrition they need to thrive.
This fish food features a unique micro-coating that virtually eliminates nutrition loss and prevents the water from clouding.
- Precisely colored pellets - The color of the pellets improve underwater visibility so your fish can better see the food for maximum consumption with less wasted food.
- High-quality ingredients - This fish food contains marine and vegetable proteins that are ideally suited for small tropical fish, which require larger energy reserves.
- 140 years of experience - Hikari has nearly 140 years of experience in researching the nutritional needs of fish, ensuring their products are of the highest quality!
- One customer noted that this particular bag of fish food was smaller than they were expecting.
The Omega One Garlic Marine Pellets are made directly from superfoods like salmon and herring, which are loaded with Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.
This fish food contains hand-harvested ocean kelp and spirulina and is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids to support the delicate immune systems of saltwater fish.
These pellets are naturally insoluble, which reduces water pollution, and they have significantly less starch, which reduces fish waste.
- High-quality ingredients - This fish food is made without meals or pre-processed proteins and is made from the freshest cold-water proteins to provide your fish with a well-balanced diet.
- Natural color enhancement - These fish pellets contain a high level of naturally occurring pigments called beta-carotenes that restore the true colors of your fish, making them as vibrant as they are healthy.
- Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids - These essential fatty acids provide energy and strengthen the delicate fish immune system, leading to decreased rates of disease and mortality.
- A few customers claimed that their fish refused to eat these particular pellets.
The Omega One Super Color Flakes are rich in Omega 3 & 6 HUFA's to support strong immune systems in fresh and saltwater fish.
The Super Color Flakes are naturally insoluble, which reduces water pollution, and they have significantly less starch, which reduces fish waste.
These fish food flakes produce significant color enhancement due to the elevated levels of beta carotenes in salmon skin, enhancing your fish's natural beauty and beautiful color.
- Super quality - This fish food contains no meals, hydrolysates, digests, or any other pre-processed protein.
- Contains superfoods - The Omega One Super Color flakes are made directly from superfoods such as salmon and herring that increase fish immunity.
- Natural color enhancement - This food contains a high level of naturally occurring pigments called beta-carotenes, restoring the true colors of your fish and making them vibrant and healthy in their tank!
- One customer noted that they didn’t like the smell of this particular fish food in their home.
The Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Fish Food comes as slow sinking micro granules that allow all of your fish to feed at their preferred depth.
This fish food contains up to 40% of nutrient-rich black soldier fly larvae as the first ingredient.
The Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Fish Food is high in multiple proteins like whole salmon, making it rich in Omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin, scales, and fins.
- High-quality - This fish food is sustainably processed in small batches for quality control and maximum freshness.
- Natural ingredients - These fish granules contain no artificial fillers, colors, or preservatives providing your fish with a balanced, healthy diet.
- Vitamins - This fish food contains essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are vital to the health of your fish.
- One customer noted that their fish had become fussier since switching their diet to this brand of fish food.
The Tetra TetraCichlid Floating Pellets provide hearty balanced nutrition for medium and large top- and mid-water-feeding cichlids.
This is a scientifically developed protein-rich cichlid food and is a natural color enhancer that works to bring out the color of your fish.
This fish food is suitable for daily feeding as it is an excellent source of protein.
- Procare formula - The formula of this fish food is designed to help support fish’s immune system for optimal health and long life.
- Nutritionally balanced diet – Maintains vitality and enhances your fish’s natural beauty.
- Clear water formula - This fish food will not cloud the tank’s water, meaning that it remains clean and clear for longer periods of time.
- One customer noted that they thought that the formula of this particular fish food had been changed.
Best Fish Food Buying Guide
There are a few things to consider when purchasing fish food, but it mainly comes down to the type of fish food, high-quality ingredients, and the type of fish.
It’s important to note that not all fish foods are made equal, and the majority of them are made with specific fish in mind such as coldwater, tropical, and marine fish food.
When making your choice, make sure that you thoroughly research the type of fish that you have and choose their food in accordance with their specific needs.
Read the factors below before choosing a fish food for your fish.
Type of fish food
When it comes to choosing fish food, you will need to consider the type of fish food that is best for your fish.
The first type is dry fish food, and there are several varieties including:
- Flakes - Fish flake food is probably the most common and popular option of them all, as pretty much all the common types of aquarium fish will go for it.
- Granules - Granules come in bite-sized pieces so they are easier to consume. Additionally, they tend to sink very slowly, meaning the granules are available to all of your fish in the tank.
- Crisps - This type of fish food tends to float for longer periods of time, maximizing the time your fish have to eat before they fall to the bottom.
- Pellets - Pellets float on the surface of the water, making it easier for the fish to eat. You can get small and larger pellets depending on what type of fish you have.
- Tablets - Tablets sink rapidly, so they’re better suited to feed bottom-feeders such as catfish and loaches.
- Wafers - Wafers are disc-shaped pellets designed to specifically meet the needs of bottom-dwelling fish species. They reduce competition with top-dwelling fish species at feeding time because they sink quickly.
Additionally, you can feed your fish:
Freeze-dried - Freeze-dried foods are usually whole ingredients, such as whole bloodworms or brine shrimp, that have been freeze dried. These have a great shelf life and are an excellent way to supplement your fish’s staple diet.
Gel food - Gel fish food comes in powder form that you mix with boiling water, causing it to set up into stiff gelatine. This is incredibly popular for fish and invertebrates.
Frozen food - Frozen foods are whole ingredients that have been frozen into cubes that you can defrost and feed to your fish. Commonly available foods include bloodworms, shrimp, algae mixes, or beef heart.
However, these foods end up being about 70% water, so you need to feed your fish a bigger volume than if you were feeding them dry fish food.
Live foods - Live foods include different kinds of small critters and fish that you feed to your fish. It could be small invertebrates such as daphnia, brine shrimp, or ghost shrimp. That being said, some people feed guppies, minnows, or goldfish to their large predatory fish.
However, by feeding your larger fish live foods you can run the risk of infecting your fish with parasites and diseases from the feeder fish to the fish in your display tank.
It is worth mentioning that just looking at a fish's mouth can normally tell you what form factor of food he or she needs. Typically, an upturned mouth means that your fish is a surface feeder.
Best food types for upturned mouths:
- Sticks (larger fish)
- Floating pellets (medium and large fish)
Type of fish
You will also need to take the type of fish into consideration. You’ll often see on the fish food packaging which type of fish the food is suitable for.
If you don’t already know, it’s essential that you research the type of fish that you’re going to be getting and buy fish food in accordance with that.
For instance, if you know you’re going to be getting tropical fish, buy tropical fish food. While it’s fairly easy to navigate the market once you know which type of fish you’ll be getting, the choice can still feel overwhelming if you’re a beginner.
You should always do your research and check the ingredients on the back of the fish food that you’re interested in buying. You are what you eat, and this saying applies to your fish, too!
A few good ingredients include but are not limited to:
- Whole fish
- Squid meal
- Black worms
- Algae meal – This is usually made from grinding up dehydrated Chlorella.
- Spirulina – Blue-green algae that are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as protein
- Krill – Small, shrimp-like crustaceans
- Black soldier fly larvae
A few ingredients you should look out to avoid include but are not limited to:
Low-quality fish meal - Low-quality fish meal is made from the leftovers of the fishing industry. Fish processing plants cut the meat off the fish, leaving the guts, scales, skin, bones, and other low-quality bits. While it does contain protein, it is inferior compared to whole fish meal.
While it does contain protein, it also contains a lot of indigestible things, too, and is inferior compared to whole fish meal.
Grains and legumes - Fish can’t digest ingredients such as soy or wheat gluten very well. Their systems just haven’t evolved to break down these types of ingredients, as they wouldn’t encounter them in nature.
Ingredients like wheat and soy mostly just pass through their digestive system as waste that then breaks down in the tank and fouls your water.
Even high-quality fish foods do include some terrestrial grain/legume products, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid them entirely. That being said, it’s better to opt for fish food and a brand where terrestrial grain/legume products are not one of the primary ingredients.
Something you’ll need to think about when purchasing fish food is a feeding schedule for your fish. As a beginner, it can be hard to know how much food to give your fish when you’ve not got the experience or anything to compare it to.
It is important that fish have the correct type and amount of food, to keep them healthy and vibrant and therefore keep your tank at its best in both quality and appearance.
How often you feed your fish will be determined by a few things such as the type of fish you have and the water temperature.
The water temperature regulates fishes’ metabolisms and influences how often and how much they need to be fed.
Typically speaking, feeding your fish once or twice a day should be enough food for them. However, this can vary depending on the type of fish that you have. For instance, larger, more sedentary fish can go longer between meals.
If you’re worried your fish aren’t getting enough food, begin by feeding them a small quantity and observe how fast your fish consumes it.
If it is completely consumed in less than 2 minutes, give them a little more. It won’t take long to figure out how much food to give them at each feeding.
Another consideration is what part of the water column your fish feed in. Fish can be surface feeders, mid-water feeders, and bottom feeders.
The majority of fish will learn to take food wherever it’s available, but shy fish may wait until the fish food sinks into their safe zone. These fish may need to be target fed, meaning you direct food to them.
When purchasing fish food, you’ll need to make sure you consider the weight of the fish food container. Some people prefer to buy their fish food in bulk, as it can be more expensive to buy smaller containers of fish food, but this comes down to personal preference.
How much fish food you buy will also depend on how many fish you have. For instance, if you have a tank full of 30 to 40 fish, you might benefit more from buying fish food in bulk than someone that only has 10 fish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for when buying fish food?
There are a few things to note when you’re choosing fish food. You need to make sure that the first few ingredients listed on the label are high-quality proteins such as fish meal, shrimp, and other types of seafood.
Fish don't need much carbohydrate in their diet, so try to avoid giving them fish foods with a large number of grains, or grains listed as the first ingredients.
How much food should you feed your fish?
It’s always best to underfeed your fish, especially in new aquariums. This is because uneaten food can cloud your water and cause dangerous rises in ammonia and nitrite levels.
A general rule of thumb is to feed only what your fish can consume in 2 to 3 minutes. Otherwise, you will find yourself needing to clean the water in the tank far more frequently than you would otherwise.
When should you feed your fish?
Although aquarium fish can be fed at any time of day, morning and evening feedings are best. This is because in nature, most fish feed in the early morning and at night. Exceptions are herbivores and omnivores that forage throughout the day and nocturnal species.
In an aquarium, on the other hand, they quickly learn when ‘feeding time’ is, eagerly swimming back and forth at the surface or emerging from hiding places in anticipation of their next meal. That being said, it’s best to stick to a feeding schedule.