Alternative fish food!

There are many reasons to want to lessen your use of regular fish foods like pellets and flakes. A lot of the varieties available in aquarium stores are not of the quality we’d like them to be, especially in flake foods. They are also often very expensive and they don’t offer enough variation. But are there alternatives? Well, turns out there are!

Feeding pellets is quick and easy, but they aren't always as healthy and nutritious as we'd like them to be.

Feeding pellets is quick and easy, but there are often healthier options out there for our fish!

Gel food
Gel food is probably one of the best alternatives to regular pellets or flakes. It’s a homemade fish food prepared with gelatin or agar agar and any ingredients you like. This means it can be fully adapted to the needs of your fish! Make gel food with protein-based ingredients for your discus, a mix of veggies and protein for your goldfish or a fully vegetarian variety for plecos or shrimp. You can also add any ‘extras’ you like: red bell pepper for brighter colors, Spirulina to improve the overall health of the fish or garlic to improve the taste and help fight internal parasites.

Gel food is super easy and quick to make – check out the Aquariadise article on how to make gel food for recipes, instructions and tips! If you’re short on time or not ready to make your own fish food yet, Repashy also sells great quality gel food premixes for all types of fish.

gel fish food

 

Frozen foods
Frozen fish foods usually come in handy blister packs and are available in pretty much every variety you’ll ever need. Most frozen foods are protein-based (blood worms, mosquito larvae, fish eggs/meat, krill, cockle meat etc.), but some companies also sell veggie based frozen foods like spinach or seaweed. This means there’s a frozen food for every fish! There are many benefits to feeding frozen food:

  • No chance of parasites (contrary to live foods)
  • No added preservatives
  • No mostly unnecessary “fillers” like wheat flour, corn meal, oatmeal etc.
  • Easy to feed
  • Comes in many varieties
  • Almost all fish will accept frozen food
  • Can be kept in the freezer for a long time

To feed your fish frozen food, just thaw the required amount in a cup of water and you’re ready to go! I wouldn’t personally use frozen foods as a “main” food source to completely replace pellets for most fish, but I think it’s a great way to add some variation (which is very important!). All of my fish/inverts are regularly fed frozen food, and I have built up quite the collection over time :D

frozen fish food

Fresh vegetables
This is a great option for fish and invertebrates that are herbivorous or omnivorous. There are many types of veggies you can try, but I’ve found that the all-time favourites among my own fish are zucchini, peas and spinach. All of these are easy to find (peas and spinach are usually available frozen) and easy to feed. Zucchini and peas can be blanched beforehand so they soften a bit, and spinach can be fed as is!
Fish and inverts that are especially fond of vegetables are shrimp, plecos, goldfish, otocinclus, etc., but there are many more species that will eat them. If you’re unsure, just try with a smaller piece! Be sure to remove any uneaten bits after a maximum of 12 hours, though, or the water may become dirty.

Dwarf shrimp like this Red Cherry will really appreciate the occasional piece of zucchini or spinach!

Dwarf shrimp like this Red Cherry will really appreciate the occasional piece of zucchini or spinach!

Live food
Although store-bought live foods can come with the risk of transferring parasites to your fish, there is no reason to steer clear of live fish food altogether! You can easily culture many types yourself. Live foods have many benefits and smaller kinds like infusoria and baby brine shrimp are especially suitable to feed to newly hatched fish fry that usually don’t accept anything else.
Live fish foods that are easy to culture include:

  • Infusoria
  • Dwarf shrimp
  • Grindal worms
  • Brine shrimp

A great guide on how to culture different live foods can be found here!

Although you can definitely keep using pellets (they are, after all, the easiest option), adding some variation with the options listed above can really benefit your fish and help cut aquarium spending. If you know another good alternative to pellets or flakes, leave a comment below or contact me and I’ll add it to this article!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

You might also like:

5 thoughts on “Alternative fish food!

  1. Hello! I have found a recipe for a gel food high in calcium for my snails that can be adapted to anything! My fish love it more than the snails do haha

  2. I’ve tried the premade gel foods before but never even considered making my own. Definitely a good way to go with some of the messier food options that tend to break up before the fish can get at them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


4 + = eight

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>