The best fish food for your underwater buddies

Swim through our top food picks on the market with our detailed guide on the best fish food.

A woman feeds her pet fish in the morning. She is smiling as she adds flakes of fish food to the small tank.

by Piper Huxley |

If you’re a new fish parent, there are plenty of things that you will need to prep for. Firstly, you need a great tank or aquarium fit for your new friend to swim around to its heart’s content. Next, you need to make sure you have your friend’s new home is decked out with a good filter and cool aquatic decorations to keep your fish safe, happy and healthy. Lastly, you need to be stock up on the best fish food for your scaly pal.

In the wild, fish are free to roam and find (or even catch) their favourite food on their own. However, our little friends don’t have that same opportunity from their aquarium. Instead, it’s up to us to make sure that our fish receive a nutritious diet to stay happy and healthy.

When taking a trip to the pet store, you’ve probably noticed the vast variety of fish food that is available on the market, so many choices, all for different types of fish. That’s because certain fish have dietary requirements, just like us. So, it’s important to find those out.

Got some fishy friends that you need to provide for? Take a Break has put together a comprehensive guide to the best fish food on the market.

Which type of food does my fish need to eat?

Learn more about your fish species, starting with whether the species are meat-eaters (carnivores) or vegetation eaters (herbivores). Then, find out what nutrients they need in their diet to stay swimming – as well as the things that they should avoid.

What types of fish food are there?

There are different options when it comes to fish food.

Dry fish food – is arguably the most common and well-known fish food and is available in flakes, pellets and granules. Dry fish food is a safe option for most species, however, it can be low in fibre. Adding some veggie foods to their diet can reduce bloating and other problems in vegetarian species. You can get floating or sinking varieties of dry food, depending on the species.

Live fish food – meat-eating (or carnivorous) fish will much prefer to catch their own meal, so you will need to buy live food such as shrimps. Fresh food will help vary their diet and ensure they’re getting the right nutrients. If you’re not sure about the suitability, ask your local pet store or vet.

Frozen fish food – generally, if something is live, it can be frozen – from shrimps to bloodworms. Therefore, frozen food can be another great way to keep your fish healthy. Just make sure to double-check if your fish can have it.

Greens - a vegetarian or omnivorous fish will require greenery in their diets. While live plants are the ideal source of nutrition, you’d probably prefer it if they didn’t eat all the decorations in your aquarium. So, as an alternative, you could pop greens (like lettuce or cooked spinach) to the side of the tank for them to graze on. Algae is great, too.

The best fish food for your aquarium

With a 100% recyclable pot and lid, this fish food is high in vitamins C and E to support a healthy immune system. There are no synthetic colours, either. Aquarian only uses natural ones. Feed up to twice a day with the amount of food that your fish will eat within five minutes. These flakes are also available for small pond fish.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: All goldfish at all life stages

Ingredients: Fish and fish derivatives, cereals, oils and fats, vegetables, derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, fruit, yeasts, algae

Feed your tropical fish a diet that is specially formulated to help promote healthy growth, colour and vitality. These flakes are ideal for all types of tropical fish including Tetras, Angelfish, Discus, Barbs and Guppies. Also, they offer a complete diet that helps your tropical fish stay active and healthy, formulated with Vitamin C and E.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: All tropical fish (including tetras, angelfish, barbs, guppies, etc.)

Ingredients: Fish and fish derivatives, cereals, oils and fats, vegetables (including 0.8% beetroot), derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, fruit, yeasts, algae

A staple for all pond fish, these sticks allow fish to feed easily. With an easy-to-eat formula, these sticks reduce nutrient loss in the water. All the essentials are within - nutrients and vitamins in an easily digestible format. It's also suitable for all pond fish!

Diet: Omnivore

Suitability: All pond fish

Ingredients: Cereals, Vegetable protein extracts, derivatives of vegetable origin, fish and fish derivatives, oils and fats, minerals, algae, yeasts

These small floating pellets have added shrimps for high palatability. Not only do they contain all the essential nutrients, fibre, minerals and vitamins, but the formula is specifically geared towards goldfish. They promote a healthy immune system, energy and vitality.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: All goldfish

Ingredients: Cereals, Derivatives of vegetable origin, Vegetable protein extracts, Fish and fish derivatives, Yeasts, Molluscs and crustaceans (Shrimp 3%), Vegetables, Algae, Oils and fats, Minerals

Containing up to 35 per cent of quality insect larvae, this high-protein fish food takes a little while to reach the bottom. Perfect for omnivorous bottom-feeders, these granules are easy to digest - so no waste! They contain no artificial fillers or preservatives, either.

Diet: Omnivore

Suitability: Mid and Bottom Feeders

Ingredients: Black soldier fly larvae (38%), salmon (20%), fish protein concentrate, peas, potato, wheat, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, calendula, rosemary

Highly nutritious for the best feeding, this fish food contains algae concentrate and prebiotics for improved digestion. This food is for healthy tropical fish in clear water. The premium complete food with excellent nutritional value thanks to its gentle, low-heat manufacturing process from Tetra. We're loving this one.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: All tropical fish

Ingredients: Fish and fish derivatives, Vegetable protein extracts, Cereals, Yeasts, Oils and fats, Molluscs and crustaceans, Algae (Spirulina 1,1%), Various sugars (Oligofructose 1,0%).

With algae protein, these wafers meet the specific nutritional needs of algae-grazing fish. Not only is it rich in essential fibres for easy digestion, but the wafers don't cloud the water, either. These wafers are perfect for tropical herbivorous bottom-feeding fish.

Diet: Herbivore

Suitability: Bottom Feeding Fish

Ingredients: Cereals, Vegetable protein extracts, Derivatives of vegetable origin, Yeasts, Algae, Oils and fats, Minerals.

Spirulina is a high-quality plant offering awesome colour enhancement and healthy skin, scales and fins. This formula also includes six types of vegetables to support the health of your fish, whether they’re herbivores, carnivores or omnivores. These added vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients are important to their health and vitality. With an excellent amino acid profile and high in protein, fish love them.

Diet: Any Diet

Suitability: Beneficial for all fish

Ingredients: Spirulina (16%), Insect Meal (Mealworm 10%, Black Soldier Fly Larvae 5%), Wheat, Potatoes, Fish Hydrolysate, Brewer’s Yeast, Krill, Shrimp Meal, Alfalfa, Kelp, Cauliflower, Spinach, Garlic, Salmon Oil, Carrot.

Lasting up to five days, these sticks can be perfectly dispensed. With a high proportion of essential minerals and a high protein content, these sticks from Tetra do not affect the water quality. They're perfect for feeding goldfish and other coldwater fish when you're away.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: Goldfish and other cold-water fish

Ingredients: Vegetable protein extracts, Minerals, Vegetables, Molluscs and crustaceans, Oils and fats, Yeasts.

These bloodworms make an excellent treat for fish as they're full of protein and they will complement a balanced diet.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: Suitable for all aquarium fish, plus turtles & terrapins

Ingredients: Freeze-dried insect larvae

Tetra Pond Pellets is a complete food in floating pellet form which contains everything small pond fish need for a healthy, balanced diet. With BioActive formula, these pellets are designed for a healthy immune system, energy and vitality. They are easy to ingest and improve the water quality and increase resilience due to all the good stuff inside for your fishy friends.

Diet: Omnivore, Carnivore

Suitability: Goldfish and other cold freshwater aquarium fish

Ingredients: Derivatives of vegetable origin, Cereals, Vegetable protein extracts, Fish and fish derivatives, Oils and fats, Minerals, Algae, Yeasts


How much does my fish need to eat?

The amount of food that you can give to your aquatic friends depends on their size and type. As a rule, referring to the guidelines laid out by the fish food itself, or alternatively speaking to an expert at your local pet store will hopefully point you in the right direction. It should take around five minutes for your fish to eat a helping of dried food scattered in their tank twice a day.

Above all, it’s important to underfeed your fish because your little friends will become sick. Similarly, eating is bad for fish as the leftover food will decompose in the tank and that can be toxic for them.

What do I need to avoid?

Fish can’t digest things like soy or gluten. Their bodies haven’t evolved to handle things like that so their waste will break down the tank and foul the water. That’s not what you want.

Also, you probably should avoid fish food on the cheaper end of the scale if you can. These cheaper alternatives tend to be lower quality and inferior to the goodness of a wholefood version. If you want a better diet for your fish, opt for something high quality and look at reviews, too.

What to read next:

The best aquariums and fish tanks for your fishy friends

Everything you need to know about the best aquarium filters

A full guide to bearded dragon care

The best vivariums for your bearded dragon

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