Planted Aquarium Expert

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What types of fish foods will my fish love and eat?

Aquarium fish have a significant disadvantage compared to their wild relatives. Aquarium fish have a smaller choice of foods they can choose from.

Without the possibility of chasing and picking their preferred meal, aquarium fish rely on what you choose to purchase for them.

There is a wide variety of options available, with hundreds of possibilities to fit every occasion and species.

mosquito larvae
Tetra Pro color crisps


We can classify all fish food into four categories:

1. Flakes, pellets, and other types of manufactured dried food

Nowadays, dried is the typical fish food—it’s cheap, effective, has plenty of varieties and has a long shelf life. Dried foods contain a mixture of nutrient-rich ingredients that assure a balanced diet for your fish.

2. Freeze-dried foods

Fish food manufacturers can preserve fish foods by freeze drying them. For example, bloodworms, black worms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and other standard aquarium food creatures. They go through a process called cryodesiccation. Cryodesiccation is a dehydration procedure that uses freezing temperatures instead of heat. Think “freezer-burn.”

The cryodesiccation process makes the foods long-lasting.

What’s the downside?

Some experts suggest the freeze-drying process reduces nutritional value, so it might be a good idea to complement freeze-dried foods with other food choices.

3. Live food

Maybe, the solution is to skip the cryodesiccation process altogether and feed your fish live food.

Most fish species enjoy chasing live prey, and a few ones require them to reproduce, or won’t accept any other type of food.

The most well-known live food is daphnia, tubifex, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and black worms.

4. Fresh Veggies

This is the vegan alternative to live food. Omnivorous fish enjoy snacking on certain vegetables, and it’s even a requirement for some (like plecostomus).

The benefits of adding fresh vegetables to your fishes diet are plentiful as they have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and anti-parasitic properties.

Any vegetable is safe, as long as it’s low in carbs and starch. Cabbage, peas, spinach, and zucchini are some of the best picks. You can feed vegetables to your fish raw, cooked or out of a can.

Something I’ve learned is that feeding vegetables to your fish also means you are feeding any snails in the tank. Fat and happy snails mean lots of baby snails.

Your best pick

With so many options, what should you choose?

It’s up to you, and the particular species of fish you own. The best bet is to select a mix of all the alternatives, as it ensures a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients.

spotted head stander fish

“Ask not what you can do for your country.

Ask what’s for lunch.”

― Orson Welles

picture of Orson Wells

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