What Can Fish Eat Besides Fish Food? Find Out Now!

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Feeding your fish is a crucial part of keeping them healthy and happy. However, sometimes it can be tempting to give them something other than regular fish food. Have you ever wondered what else they could eat? You’ll find the answer here!

Fish have different dietary needs depending on their species and size. Some may require more protein while others need fiber and vitamins. Keeping that in mind, here are some options you can consider:

“Fresh vegetables like lettuce, spinach, cucumber or zucchini make great treats for herbivorous fish.”

If you have carnivores, you can add shrimp, krill, or worms as a supplementary source of protein. Even fruit such as peeled grapes or small pieces of apple can provide essential nutrients to your fish.

Besides providing nutritional benefits, incorporating variety into your fish’s diet can also stimulate their senses and encourage natural feeding behaviors. Sounds interesting right? So let’s dive into this blog post and explore the healthy and yummy alternatives for your beloved underwater friends!

Vegetables and Fruits

If you’re a fish owner, it’s important to know what can fish eat besides fish food. One answer is fruits and vegetables! While this may seem surprising, many types of fish actually benefit from adding fresh produce to their diet.

Leafy Greens

One popular option for fish owners is leafy greens such as spinach or kale. These greens are packed with nutrients that can be beneficial for your fish, including vitamins A and C. In fact, some aquarium experts recommend using leafy greens as a staple in your fish’s diet.

“Feeding fish dark, leafy greens is an excellent way to promote overall health,” says Mark Callahan, founder of Mr. Saltwater Tank. “Not only does the fiber help maintain good digestion, but these greens also provide essential vitamins and minerals.”

You can serve these greens raw or lightly blanched, making them a convenient addition to your fish’s mealtime. Just be sure to rinse them thoroughly before feeding them to your fish!

Citrus Fruits

Another great option for fish owners is citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits. These fruits are loaded with vitamin C, which can help boost your fish’s immune system and keep them healthy.

“Fish require vitamin C just like humans do,” explains aquatic veterinarian Dr. Jessie Sanders. “Adding citrus fruits to their diet can help prevent diseases and infections, while supporting their overall well-being.”

To prepare citrus fruits for your fish, simply peel away the skin and remove any seeds. Cut the fruit into small pieces and feed them to your fish fresh. Just be sure not to overfeed – too much citrus can upset a fish’s stomach!

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional fish food, consider adding some fresh produce to your fish’s diet. Leafy greens and citrus fruits can provide essential nutrients that help keep your fish happy and healthy.

Live Foods

If you have fish at home, then of course you want them to stay healthy and grow. One way to achieve that is by feeding your fish a varied diet. Besides commercial food, there are also many live foods that can be given to your beloved pets.

Brine Shrimp

One of the popular live foods for fish is Brine shrimp. These small crustaceans are high in protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids needed for growth and overall health. They are also easy to find as most pet stores sell them either as eggs or as already hatched adults. Just note that these creatures tend to skim on the surface, so it’s best to feed them to top-swimming fish like bettas or gouramis.

“Feeding brine shrimp has become a staple among aquarists worldwide because of its health benefits” -Aquarium Source


Daphnia is another nutritious live food option. These tiny microscopic water fleas are packed with vitamins and minerals vital for making fish strong and vibrant. These shrimps also aid in digestion since they’re high in fiber, which helps clear out the intestines of any blockages. Daphnia tends to float near the surface too, so they’re best suited for medium to top swimmers like cichlids, tetras, and angelfish.

“Daphnia provides an extensive range of nutrition for aquatic animals, from supporting their digestive system to bolstering their immune response system.” –Marine Depot


When we think of worms for fish, earthworms may come into mind, but most aquarium enthusiasts prefer Grindal or Red Wiggler worms. These options are small in size, making them easy for fish to chew and digest, and they’re excellent protein sources, which is beneficial for developing their muscles. To avoid overwhelming your aquatic pets with one type of worm, you can alternate between the two or even mix and match meaty foods like bloodworms.

“Worms serve as a natural food source that will satisfy your fishes’ nutritional needs.” -Pethelpful

Small Fish

A less common but still highly nutritious diet option is feeder fish. Feeder fish refer to smaller minnows and guppies that are meant to be preyed upon by larger predator fish. It’s essential to note that not all fish should eat live prey, especially those who may become aggressive towards other fish in your tank. Some experts believe that feeder fish come with risks since they may introduce new diseases into an aquarium, so it’s best to quarantine them before adding them to your tank.

“Feeder fish aren’t inherently bad for your fish, but they can cause problems if not sourced carefully.” -The Spruce Pets

No matter what kind of live food you choose, make sure you research before introducing any new species into your aquarium. While offering fresh and varied meals is essential for promoting healthy growth and development, proper nutrition alone won’t guarantee your fish’s wellbeing; consistent cleanliness and maintenance are also crucial factors.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-Dried Krill

One of the best options for your fish is freeze-dried krill. It provides a high source of protein, around 60-70%, making it similar in nutrition to shrimp and other crustaceans that many types of fish would eat as part of their natural diet.

Freeze-dried krill can be crushed into smaller pieces or fed as whole chunks. Most commonly used for carnivorous fish, such as angelfish, bettas or cichlids. However, keep in mind that solid diets like these should not constitute more than 10% of the fish’s total food intake since it doesn’t provide well-rounded nutrients on its own.

“As an aquarist, I love feeding my fish dried krill. Not only is it relatively inexpensive compared to live foods, but it has excellent nutritional values that help support my fish.” -Seth Murphy, Founder of FishTankBank.com

Freeze-Dried Bloodworms

In addition to getting some plant-based foods in their diet, bloodworms offer a great alternative to frozen/live foods. These little worms have shown to promote growth and prompt breeding, which may be useful if you’re looking to cultivate any fry.

Bloodworms also work well for omnivorous, bottom-feeding species including Catfish, Corydoras, Loaches and even small saltwater Clownfish. To supplement this food item into your fish’s diet, crush them down or soak them in water to soften them up first. This ensures digestibility since they tend to get stuck in gills or digestive tracts when consumed too quickly.

“Bloodworms are one of the best alternative foods to provide quality nutrition for your fish, while also giving them the excitement of ‘hunting’ their food.” -Sylvester Ong, Founder of AquaristGuide.com

Freeze-dried foods such as krill and bloodworms are safe and effective ways to get essential nutrients into your fish’s diet. While they can’t replace regular feeding with standard commercial diets entirely, these alternatives make up a great supplement every so often.

Pellets and Flakes

Fish food pellets and flakes are common options for feeding fish. However, these cereal-based foods can be high in phosphorus and low in other nutrients, such as essential fatty acids. Here are some alternative types of pellets and flakes that fish can eat:

Sinking Pellets

Sinking pellets are a good option for bottom-feeding fish like catfish or loaches. These types of pellets tend to have a higher vegetable content than regular pellets, which makes them a healthier choice for your fish.

“Sinking pellets work well for bottom-dwelling fish to get their nutrition.” -Dr. Thomas R. Reich, Aquatic Animal Veterinary Services

Color Enhancing Flakes

If you want to bring out the natural colors of your fish species, color enhancing flakes are a great option. They contain additional carotenoids that help enhance pigmentation. However, due to their added ingredients, they should not replace your fish’s primary diet.

“Using color enhancing flakes is one way to keep your fish healthy while maintaining vibrancy.” -David Lass, The Spruce Pets

Veggie Pellets

Veggie pellets provide an excellent source of fiber for herbivorous fish, such as cichlids. They usually contain algae and spirulina, both of which promote optimal health. You could switch between veggie pellets and other pellet types to ensure that your fish get all the required nutrients.

“Veggie pellets with Spirulina are a healthier option compared to plain cereals which lack vitamins and minerals.” -Ferenc Sipos, Fishkeeping World

Protein-Rich Pellets

If you are looking for a high-protein alternative to regular pellets, protein-rich pellets may be an excellent option. They contain additional sources of protein like shrimp and fish meal. These types of pellets work well in diets for carnivorous fish species.

“Protein-rich pellets can provide necessary nutrition such as amino acids while also maintaining optimal health.” -Jennie Jorgenson, Fishkeeping World
Overall, there are many options for feeding fish besides traditional flakes or pellets. It’s always good to switch between different kinds of food to ensure your fish get all the required nutrients. You could combine these alternatives with fresh foods like fruits and vegetables to create a more varied diet. By providing healthy and nutrient-rich food options, you can maintain a healthy aquarium ecosystem.

Leftovers from Your Meals

If you are a fish owner, then you may be wondering what else to feed your aquatic pets besides the usual fish food. Surprisingly enough, there are many other foods that can make for great alternatives and treats that your fish can enjoy! One option is using leftovers from your meals.

Steamed Vegetables

Vegetables such as carrots, peas, broccoli, and zucchini are rich in vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your fish’s health. You can steam them or boil them until they are soft enough for your fish to eat. Let them cool down before adding them to your aquarium. Avoid feeding leafy greens like spinach or kale since they break apart easily and can cloud the tank water.

“For vegetable matter, you cannot beat fresh vegetables.” – Chris Lukhaup, aquarist expert

Boiled Rice

Rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates and protein, which can provide energy and encourage growth in your fish. Boil some plain rice without any seasoning, butter, or oil added to it. Cool it off and add small amounts to the aquarium once or twice a week. Make sure not to overfeed your fish or leave any leftover rice in the tank overnight as this could cause bacterial problems.

“White rice has many essential nutrients that your fish will love.” – Brent Whitmore, Certified Fisheries Scientist

Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken, turkey, or lean meats can also serve as good quality sources of protein for your fish. Grill or bake your meat without any seasoning, skin, or fat and cut it into very tiny pieces to ensure easy consumption by your aquatic pets. Feed only a few times per week as excessive proteins could harm your fish’s digestive system.

“Fish love all sorts of proteins including grilled chicken.” – Tania Mazoni, Aquaculture expert

Note that before introducing any new food items to the tank water, it is crucial to remove any uneaten pieces first. Overfeeding can cause high nitrate levels in the aquarium which can be harmful to the fish and other aquatic animals living there. Always make sure the water temperature and quality are within suitable parameters for your fish and consult with a veterinarian or specialist if you have questions about specific feeding habits for particular species.

Insects and Worms

Are you tired of feeding your fish the same old fish food every day? Did you know that there are other options out there, such as insects and worms?


Mealworms are a great source of protein for your fish. They can be found at any pet store or online retailer. Simply sprinkle a few mealworms into your aquarium and watch your fish enjoy their new treat!

It is important to note that while mealworms are safe for your fish to eat, they should not make up their entire diet. Variety is key when it comes to providing a well-rounded diet for your fish.

“Mealworms have been shown to be an excellent source of nutrition for some species of fish.” – The Spruce Pets


Another insect option for your fish is crickets. Like mealworms, crickets can be found at pet stores or online retailers. Simply toss them into the aquarium and let your fish reap the benefits.

Crickets are also high in protein, making them a great supplement to your fish’s regular diet. However, like with mealworms, it is important to offer a variety of foods for your fish to ensure they receive all necessary nutrients.

“Crickets are a natural food item for many species of fish and provide a healthy and nutritious snack.” – Backwater Reptiles

While insects may seem like an unusual choice for feeding your fish, they can actually provide a lot of benefits. Not only do they offer a different taste and texture for your fish to enjoy, but they also provide a source of entertainment and stimulation.

If you are looking to switch up your fish’s diet or simply add some variety, consider giving mealworms or crickets a try. Your fish will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some natural foods that fish can eat?

Fish can eat a variety of natural foods such as small insects, worms, plankton, and algae. Some fish, like tilapia, can also eat aquatic plants. It’s important to research the specific dietary needs of your fish species to ensure they receive the proper nutrition.

Can fish eat fruits and vegetables?

Some fish, like goldfish, can eat small amounts of fruits and vegetables like peas, lettuce, and cucumber. However, most fish are carnivorous and require a diet of meaty foods such as insects, worms, and small fish. It’s important to research the dietary needs of your fish species to ensure they receive the proper nutrition.

What types of insects can fish eat?

Fish can eat a variety of insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and mosquitoes. Some fish, like bettas, prefer live food like brine shrimp or bloodworms. It’s important to research the dietary needs of your fish species to ensure they receive the proper nutrition.

Is it safe to feed fish human food?

Feeding fish human food can be harmful to their health as many human foods contain additives and preservatives that can be toxic to fish. Additionally, human food may not provide the proper nutrition needed for fish to thrive. It’s best to stick to commercial fish food or natural foods that are safe for fish to eat.

Can fish eat live prey?

Many fish species can eat live prey such as insects, worms, and small fish. Some fish, like bettas, prefer live food like brine shrimp or bloodworms. It’s important to research the dietary needs of your fish species to ensure they receive the proper nutrition and to only feed them live prey that is safe for them to consume.

What are some commercial alternatives to fish food?

Commercial alternatives to fish food include freeze-dried foods, pellets, and flakes. Freeze-dried foods are made by freeze-drying natural foods like shrimp or krill. Pellets and flakes are made with a variety of ingredients to provide complete nutrition for fish. It’s important to research the dietary needs of your fish species to ensure you choose the appropriate commercial food.

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