Best Foods For Different Types Of Aquarium Fish You Must Know

Dwarf Chain Loach Best Foods For Aquarium Fish

Being fish lovers, we crave the best foods for different types of aquarium fish. that need food just the way humans do. When they are left in the ocean or freshwater, they can find food themselves. However, when they are limited to an aquarium, you need to ensure that they get the required nutrients to stay healthy and happy.

When you step into a pet food store, you will notice so many varieties of fish food. It will only make you more confused about what to feed your fish.

Here’s a guide on choosing the right type of food for aquarium fish.

How To Choose The Right Food For Different Types Of Fish

Several factors count when choosing the best type of food for various fish species. You’ll get to know more about some of these factors below.

  • The level at which the fish feeds – top, middle, or bottom
  • The size of the fish
  • The type of fish such as carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores

Different Types Of Food For Aquarium Fish

The type of suitable food differs from one fish to the other. You must choose the correct type of food depending on the fish to get the required nutrients. 

Some fish consume food at night. So, the food you put in should not be stale overnight.

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Let’s take a look at the types of food available so that you can choose the best foods for different types of aquarium fish.

Dried Food

Dried food comes in many varieties, out of which flakes are the most common. They are also available as pellets, crisps, and stick-on tablets. Dried fish food has low levels of fiber, so you need to combine it with vegetables so that fish get the required nutrients.

Flakes, pellets, crisps, stick-on tablets, and wafers are examples of dried food.


Flakes are the most common type of fish food available. They are also very cost-effective, which is one reason for their popularity. 

Flakes dissolve faster in water, making these suitable for fish that feed on the surface.

Due to this reason, flakes are not suitable for high-mercury fish that live at the bottom of the tank.

Flakes come in different colors and sizes. If the flakes are too large for the fish, you can easily crush them. Flakes can also improve the fish’s color making them look better. This type of food is suitable for top and mid-feeding fish.


Pellets are also known as granules and can be used to feed fish anywhere in the water. They come in various sizes, from small to large, which makes them suitable for many types of fish. 

Use pellets that dissolve faster for surface-level feeders and others for bottom-dwellers. Choose from three different types of pellets depending on the kind of fish: floating pellets, slow-sinking pellets, and fast-sinking pellets.


Crisps are slightly denser than flakes. They float longer and dissolve faster, making them suitable for top and mid-level feeders. Crisps also retain nutrients longer and leave less waste, making it easier to clean the tank. 

Crisps are more expensive than flakes. They can also be too large to be fed on fish with smaller mouths, such as neon tetra. A solution to this is to crush them to be put inside the fish’s mouth.

Stick-On Tablets

Stick-on tablets provide the best viewing experience in fish feeding. With other types of food, you cannot see much if it falls behind plants or floats on the surface. 

All you have to do is hold a tablet in front of the glass of your tank for a few seconds and remove your hand. The tablet sticks to the glass, and even the laziest fish will come at full speed to the food on the basis of the best foods for aquarium fish.


The most significant advantage of wafers is that they dissolve slowly, making them suitable for bottom-level feeders. Wafers are designed to quickly break up while nibbling instead of eating in one bite.

Wafers come in small and large sizes, which you can choose depending on the type of fish you have. They are also packed with plants and vegetables, making them nutritious and delicious meals for fish like shrimp and plecos.

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Frozen Food

Frozen foods are single-live foods that are frozen. Common types of frozen food include bloodworms, shrimp, planktons, krill, prawns, and mussels, ideal for carnivores. Herbivores have options such as frozen spirulina cubes. 

You can keep frozen food for longer if you store it properly in a freezer. These are also readily available both at physical and online pet stores. You can either feed this food in cubes or thaw them before feeding.

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried foods come in cubes and are ideal for carnivores. They are extremely nutritious with a mixture of different ingredients. Popular freeze-dried foods include krill, tubifex, blackworms, and shrimps.

Freeze-dried foods are made by wholly drying live foods. They have a long shelf life and can be crumbled to be fed on small fish. A popular freeze-dried food type is the bloodworm on which goldfish, betta, and other pet fish love to indulge.

Vacation Food

What if you need to go on a long trip and leave your aquarium fish back at home? How will they survive without you feeding them? It is when you need to use a vacation feeder that releases densely-packed fish food that gradually breaks down over time.

These feeders are great as they can feed your fish for up to 14 days without your involvement. 

It is better to do a test run on your vacation feeder before you leave on your journey. It will avoid the disappointment of knowing that your fish refused the food and made the water appear cloudy.

Live Food

Live food was the only type of food available for feeding fish back in the day. Some fish, like wild-caught species, don’t count anything immovable as food. You need to use live food to feed your fish in such cases with the best foods for aquarium fish. 

The biggest downside to live foods is that they could contain parasites and introduce diseases to your aquarium. To avoid this, purchase live foods in stores that have been sustainably farmed.

Bloodworm, tubifex, water flea, and brine shrimp are popular types of live foods given to aquarium fish. 

Fresh Food

Certain species of herbivores and omnivores love to eat fresh food like vegetables. For instance, swordtails and catfish like to eat squashed peas removed from their pods. Squash is also another popular fresh food fish like to eat.

Feeding your fish fresh food can help build a protein-rich diet which is essential. Remember to remove any leftover food from the tank before they get rotten. Don’t keep fresh food in the tank for more than four hours as a rule of thumb.

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Understanding Different Types Of Fish And Their Needs (Carnivore, Herbivore, Omnivore)

There are three different types of fish, depending on the kind of food they eat.

  • Carnivores – Eat other fish
  • Herbivores – Eat plants
  • Omnivores – A mix of carnivorous and herbivorous diet.

Here is a guide on the different types of fish and their diets.


Type Of Fish Examples Natural Diet Restricted Food
Carnivore Bettas and Discus Smaller fish, insects, invertebrates, and crustaceans Vegetables and other plant-based foods
Herbivore Plecos and tangs Live plants, algae, and seaweed Meat and land plants
Omnivore Gourami and goldfish A variety of animal-based food and vegetables Some grains and aquatic plants

Essential Nutrients Required For Fish

Fish need a number of nutrients to stay healthy, most importantly fat, protein, and fiber. Apart from these primary nutrients, they also need the following:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Phosphorous
  • Calcium
  • Moisture & ash
  • Vitamins
  • Testosterone
  • Carotenoids

Look out for the nutritional information in the food you buy from the store to ensure that you are giving your fish healthy food.

Different Feeding Levels Of Fish

Fish feed at different levels in the tank. The level it feeds on is important to determine the type of food you should give your fish. Have some ideas on the best foods for aquarium fish.

  • Top feeders: These fish feed at the water surface. Therefore, the food you give this type of fish will be easily soluble. Examples include guppies, mollies, zebrafish, and hatchet fish.
  • Middle feeders: These fish can grab food from the middle of the tank. Therefore, these foods should not be as easily soluble as food for top feeders. Examples include tiger barb and tetra fish.
  • Bottom feeders: These fish sit at the bottom of the tank and feed on foods that take a long time to dissolve. Examples include scavengers such as catfish.

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Tips For Feeding Fish The Right Way

Remember these points when feeding your aquarium fish.

  • Don’t overfeed. Feed adult fish once a day around the same time and young fish about three or four times a day.
  • Understand your fish type, habits, and needs before determining which food to feed.
  • Monitor your fish to ensure it is eating properly because food habits change from one fish to another.
  • Keep an eye on the nutrition information of store-bought food.
  • Some fish need to be fed at night. Be mindful of this when feeding your fish, as the food should be able to survive overnight.


Now you’ve got a clear idea of the different types of food available for aquarium fish. Identify the types of fish you’ve got and give them food that suits them according to the above points. 

Good luck with feeding your fish to keep them healthy and happy with the best foods for different types of aquarium fish!

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