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Which fish food is best?

Fish are common pets because they are quiet creatures whose bubbling aquariums provide a pleasant, calming ambiance. Due to their reputation for being such low-maintenance creatures, owners easily can overlook the importance of proper nutrition.

Fish require a balanced diet to thrive. Royal Pet Supplies Inc Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food provides pet fish with top-quality ingredients in flakes you can sprinkle directly into your aquarium from the can or break up into smaller pieces to feed fish of all sizes.

What to know before you buy fish food

Your fish’s diet

Carnivorous fish have different dietary requirements compared to those that feed on plants. Some fish are omnivorous scavengers, while others exclusively feed on algae. Select a food that is specifically formulated for the species of fish you are keeping.

Fish food types

It’s important to purchase fish food that not only meets the nutritional needs of your pet but also appropriately matches their eating habits.

  • Flakes are best suited for fish that feed at the surface of the water. You can crumble them into powder to feed even the smallest fish.
  • Sinking wafers that rest on the aquarium floor are required for bottom-feeding fish. Special wafers are available for bottom feeders that eat algae.
  • Pellets are available in both floating and sinking varieties. Many pellets initially float but sink to the bottom once saturated. This makes them a great way to feed communities of multiple fish species that inhabit the same aquarium.
  • Freeze-dried foods are usually whole food items such as blood worms or small shrimp. These foods are for predatory and carnivorous fish.
  • Frozen fish foods are made from whole ingredients and are thawed out prior to giving them to your pets. These foods are great for fish that refuse to eat prepared flakes or pellets.

Live food

Some fish owners feed their pets live animals. This can range from crickets and shrimp to “feeder” fish like goldfish, minnows and guppies. Unless you plan on carefully breeding your own live food source, a high-quality prepared fish food will help protect your pets from any illnesses or parasites that may be contracted from eating live animals.

What to look for in quality fish food


Many commonly available fish foods contain fillers such as legumes, wheat or grains that fish are not able to digest. Look for foods that contain high volumes of the following ingredients:

  • Algae meal or spirulina
  • Krill
  • Fly larvae
  • Earthworms
  • Squid meal
  • Whole fish or whole fish meal

Nutritional content

While requirements vary by species, healthy fish generally require a diet that is low in fat, low in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Carnivorous fish need a diet that is 40%-50% protein, while herbivorous fish require a diet that contains 15%-30% protein. To provide vitamins for your fish, feed them a varied diet.


Flake and pellet fish foods are available by the can. Wafers, frozen and freeze-dried ingredients are often packaged in smaller amounts in plastic bags. Consider how many fish you need to feed before purchasing in bulk, as vitamins lose potency over time. Promptly dispose of expired food.

How much you can expect to spend on fish food

Prepared fish food flakes, pellets and wafers come in small packages for $5-$10 and will last most fish owners for some time. Frozen food such as shrimp, small squid or bloodworms are $10-$20, depending on package size and branding.

Fish food FAQ

Are some fish picky eaters?

A. Yes. Some species of fish can be particular when it comes to feeding in captivity. Many aquarium owners encourage these fish to eat by using live or frozen food. The strong smell of these food types can be irresistible to stubborn eaters.

Can you feed fish vegetables?

A. You can give herbivorous fish fresh vegetables as part of their diet. Lettuce, zucchini and spinach are all great sources of vitamins and needed nutrition. Many people use a clip to hold the vegetables in place in the aquarium, making cleanup easier. Be sure to remove any uneaten portions before they cloud the water.

Can you overfeed fish?

A. Yes. One of the leading causes of death and illness in aquarium fish is overfeeding. Not only is excessive eating bad for your fish’s health, but any uneaten food soils the water and leaves nutrients that encourage harmful bacterial and microbial growth. Research the species of your fish to determine proper feeding habits.

What’s the best fish food to buy?

Top fish food

Royal Pet Supplies Inc Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food

Royal Pet Supplies Inc Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food

What you need to know: This flake fish food is full of quality ingredients and is an excellent source of protein.

What you’ll love: Rich in ingredients like salmon meal and shrimp, this fish food provides good nutrition in an affordable package from a reputable brand.

What you should consider: In spite of its quality ingredients, this food still contains some grain and soy filler.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Top fish food for the money

Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Fish Food

Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Fish Food

What you need to know: Available in different-sized granules, this high-protein, insect-based fish food is great for a wide variety of species.

What you’ll love: This food’s main ingredients are soldier-fly larvae and salmon, both excellent sources of nutrition for aquarium fish. It is available in sticks and multiple pellet sizes to accommodate different sizes of fish.

What you should consider: Some fish owners have noted that this food’s texture has become inconsistent, with purchasers occasionally receiving powder instead of pellets.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Worth checking out

Omega One Freshwater Flakes

Omega One Freshwater Flakes

What you need to know: This nutritious fish food contains no meal or pre-processed proteins.

What you’ll love: Whole ingredients like salmon, shrimp and kelp make this fish food highly nutritious and tempting enough to encourage picky eaters. Its natural contents enhance the color of your fish. 

What you should consider: It contains some filler ingredients, and some purchasers feel that the large container is misleading given the amount of food within.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, PetSmart and Chewy

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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