Tired of feeding regular fish food to your fish every day? Bring a change in the diet of your fish by adding few alternatives to your fish food. What can you feed your lovely pet apart from the ready made fish food available in the market? Find out few healthy alternatives for fish food that can be given to both predatory and herbivore fish.

Experimenting with new calorie sources can be an awesome thing for the wellbeing of your fish, whether you’re doing it on purpose or you’re being forced to by your circumstances. A balanced and diverse diet, complete with a variety of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, is the best diet you can offer fish in captivity. They wouldn’t be as spoiled in their natural habitats.

The food you can safely feed aquarium fish, other than fish food, will also depend on the type of diet your pet fish eat: herbivorous, omnivorous, or carnivorous.

Other Variety Of Food For Fish

Earthworms: You can take a break from those small fish balls and feed earthworms to your colourful aquatic pets. Fish love to eat earthworms and these are filling too. If you are too lazy to go out and buy from market, raise them at home and then give to your aquatic pet.

Lettuce: This green leafy vegetable are loved by fish. You can cut the lettuce into small pieces and add in your fish tank. Within minutes your fish will eat all the pieces. Be careful as some of the fish are allergic to this leafy veggie. If your fish becomes lazy, then stop giving lettuce. You can feed frozen or boiled lettuce so that your fish can eat easily. Make sure that it is not left in water for more than 2 hours as it can pollute the water if it rots.

Boiled rice: Fish loves to eat boiled rice. Even frozen rice is appreciated by these aquatic pets. Defrost the rice before feeding your fish. This is another easy alternative for fish food. Shockingly, fish can also have boiled pasta. So, next time you prepare rice or pasta, drop few pieces in the fish tank.

Sprouts: It is another alternative for fish food. Algae and plecos fish love to eat Brussels sprouts. For a change, feed frozen sprouts to your pet. You can soak the sprouts overnight or boil them before feeding. Defrost the sprouts to ensure good health of your lovely aquatic pet. Sprouts sink in the water so leave over night for the plecos to feed.

Peas: Boiled peas are loved by fish. It is one healthy alternative for fish food. Even frozen peas can be used to feed the aquatic pet.

Fresh food | Unprocessed

Depending on your aquarium fish’s diet, you can feed them pieces of whole foods that you would use when cooking your meals.

Fresh vegetables and fruit, raw meats (no fat), greens, etc., can all be safely consumed by your pet fish.

You just have to make sure these fresh foods have the appropriate texture (not watery or oily) and that they fit the dietary properties your fish need (don’t feed meaty foods to herbivorous fish!).

The food should not be processed (pickled, canned, etc.), as it can contain additives, preservatives, and other ingredients that can be hazardous for fish when ingested.

Cooked food | Unseasoned | Minimally processed

Cooked vegetables (peas, cauliflower, pumpkin, carrots, etc.), boiled or steamed, are great food alternatives to fish food flakes once in a while for your omnivorous and herbivorous aquarium fish.

You can even feed some fish (goldfish and koi in particular) cooked rice or oatmeal. Keep in mind that cooked human food should never be fed to pet fish if it’s been seasoned (with salt or spices).

Some fish cannot digest certain types of grains that are staples in a human’s diet. So, if you’re experimenting with feeding your fish cooked grains, do it with caution!

What Fruits Can Fish Eat?

Plant-eaters and omnivorous/herbivorous fish in your tank can benefit from being fed small quantities of fruit once in a while because they can get a vitamin/mineral boost while digesting fruit.

Here are some fruits you can safely feed your pet fish:






You can feed them as-is without softening them up like you would root vegetables in appropriately sized chunks. Even the invertebrates in your tank will appreciate a fruit treat (snails in particular!).

One fruit you should never feed your pet fish is avocado! Both the skin and pit of the avocado contain persin, which is a toxin that leeches into the body of the avocado. It’s considered deadly for most house pets, so you should definitely not feed it to your fish.

Even with fish-safe fruits, you should only feed them to your pet fish in small quantities sparingly. It’s not the type of food that aquarium fish would ever encounter or feed on in the wild.

What Vegetables Can Fish Eat?

The list of vegetables you can safely feed your pet fish is generous:

Boiled/steamed root vegetables;

Lettuce and other leafy greens;

Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers (with seeds and soft inside removed);

How Often Should You Feed Your Fish?

How often you should feed your fish depends on countless factors, but there are some general guidelines you can follow. Going by age is the easiest way to determine how your fish feeding schedule should look like:

Newborn Fry: 4 to 5 times daily for at least the first 2-4 weeks of their lives;

Juvenile fish: 2 to 3 times daily;

Adult fish: 1 to 2 times daily.

Regardless of their age, sick fish will eat significantly less frequently, if at all.

How Much Should You Feed Your Fish?

can you feed fish bread

Cory catfish (Corydoras acutus)

When feeding fish their regular fish food flakes, a few flakes for each fish should be enough. You can better gauge the amount of fish food you should feed your fish by timing them during a feeding.

They should be able to eat all the food within 2 minutes.

If you’re feeding your pet fish using alternative food options (veggies, fruits, meat, etc.), you should definitely start out small, with maybe a chunk of food at a time. Remove all uneaten/leftover food from the tank after 5 minutes or so.

Overfeeding fish is extremely dangerous for pet fish, as they can’t really tell when they’re full. This can lead to constipation and other issues. Leftover food that starts decomposing inside the tank is harmful to fish because it lowers water quality, spiking ammonia levels.

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