Fish & Aquariums

What Should You Feed To Your Pet Fish?

what to feed your pet fish
Written by Arlene S. Lane

If you are planning to get an aquarium for your home or have just one then you will be wondering about how and what to feed your pet fish? There are literally hundreds of kinds of fish that one can have as pets so there isn’t a general answer for the best fish food type.

While thinking about what to feed your pet fish then mind the fact that not every fish eats the same. So it would be great to know what sort of food is the best pet fish food. In this pet fish food guide, we will discuss every aspect of feeding the fish with the right type of fish food so they will not only stay healthy but you will notice an overall great environment in the aquarium. Continue reading our pet fish food guide.

The Importance Of Feeding The Right And Best Food For Pet Fish

As we all know that there is a huge variety of fish out there and each fish type despite its size has its own nutrition requirements. This is the reason that you should know if you are feeding your fish in the right way and with the right food. It is crucial for their health.

To start, we will categorize the fish food types to make things easier for everyone. Fish have three types of diet: herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. If you don’t know what category your fish falls in then don’t worry just continue reading the following for a better idea about your fish type to get them the best pet fish food.

What To Feed Your Pet Fish?

Following is our guide for what to feed your pet fish, continue reading to learn more.

Herbivore Fish Type

If your fish tends to eat only see plants and a plant-related diet then you have a herbivore fish. This is a vegetarian feeding group of animals. Very few fish fall under this category and can only digest a plant-based diet. The most common herbivore fish include: 

  • Some African Cichlids
  • Most Plecostomus species

So, how to feed a pet fish if it is an herbivore? well if this is so then it is better to stick with the flake food. However, they can also enjoy the algae wafers. You can go for fresh food for fish as well so fresh vegetables and fruits can also be good options to feed the fish.

Omnivorous fish types

This fish family can have a wide range of diet options. So you won’t have to worry about how to feed a pet fish if it is omnivorous. They have plenty of diets to live on from herbs to meats. The predator fish and fish that eat with feeders can eat a lot when they get it in abundance. However, they may pass when the meal isn’t available. If you ever wonder why your aquarium fish run for flakes of food for fish every time you feed then this is the reason eventually.

Usually, they don’t have a routine time for meals. On the other hand, Carnivorous fish will eat less frequently. This is because they will be less likely to catch their food during the day and the aquarium feeding schedule is something that matches their diet routine. Common omnivorous fish include: 

  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Goldfish
  • Most Catfish 
  • Cory Catfish
  • Barbs
  • And many others.

If your fish falls under the omnivorous category then you have a wide range of diet options for them. From veggies, and fresh fruits to even frozen items and live food for fish. They can eat according to their desire and nutritional needs if given properly by the owner. If you are going for flakes food for fish then you should check the label first for a better idea about the diet.

Can I overfeed the fish? 

While feeding the fish with the best pet fish food, you may wonder if this is too much for the fish. Well, it can be a little hard to tell if your fish is hungry. They cannot tell you like other pets such as cats, dogs, and birds. So even when you have to feed flakes food for fish you will have to check at specific set hours. You may figure out on your own that your fish is hungry but it may not be.

This situation may lead to overfeeding of the fish. Feeding the fish like a goldfish 2-3 times a day should be enough. However, this will highly depend on the species of fish you have in your tank. There are some signs to consider when you may find that you are overfeeding your fish. Such as:

  • You may notice uneaten best food for pet fish remains in the aquarium and fish have no interest in eating it. In extreme cases, a fuzzy or cottony white fungus may start to grow on the cotton of the aquarium.
  • The water of the aquarium is cloudy and hazy. It is emitting a foul odor, and you may notice foam or froth on the surface.
  • Even after cleaning the filter too often, you may notice that the filter media is clogged now.
  • The algae are not growing excessively. Even if you have good filtration and do water changes. You may see an increased amount of phosphate and nitrate accumulation due to heavy feeding. It can cause high amounts of HP levels in the aquarium water.

A Quick Pet Fish Food Guide

Here is a quick list of the best pet fish food options.

Dry Food

No pet fish food guide is complete without dry food. This is mostly pellets, sticks, and flakes food for fish. You can store this food for a long time. However, you should feed this to your fish in small portions only. They keep the vitamins and minerals in a fish’s health high. They are usually low in fiber and can cause constipation among fish. Your fish may suffer from bloating and swim bladder disorder. So dry food you choose for your pet fish should have high fiber and vegetable supplements.


Krill, Blood worms, and other crawly creatures are the best food as treats for carnivorous fish.


This food option has all that your carnivore fish can need. They have the best ingredients and that too in better condition.


Some fish types may show interest in eating zucchini, or shrimp. You can only determine the best food for your fish according to its species and size. You can partially cook the veggies and then cool them at room temperature before feeding them to your fish. Chopped shrimps are also a great option for your pet fish and you.

Live Food.

This may not be too comfortable an experience for you but for your fish, it is important because some just love live food. If you want this food for your fish then instead of buying on your own, ask the experts first and then buy only recommended live food for fish.

Bottom Line

Things would be much easier when you know what to feed your fish. From dry food to flakes food for fish, they have a wide range of diet options. They are unique pets and this is why their diet is unique too. Choosing the best food for pet fish can be a tricky part of feeding the fish. Ensure you understand your pet fish diet so they will look and feel healthy and active. You can browse our blog for more pet care guides and other pet care guides.

About the author

Arlene S. Lane

Arlene S. Lane is a veterinary technician and hospital manager with over 12 years of experience. Arlene has been contributed expert content to The Pet's Rise for over 10 years.
Arlene has worked in veterinary medicine since 2017. Arlene's veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration.

You cannot copy content of this page