What To Feed Fish Other Than Fish Food (& What To Avoid)

Even though there are a lot of fish foods on the market, as aquarists, we might want to feed our fish something other than fish food. Could it be out of curiosity? Or maybe you want to know what else you can feed your fish in case you run out of food. In order to provide your fish with nutritional variety, you should be aware of the types of food that are safe for them to eat. Also, if you know what to feed your fish, you can give them food that can make them healthy and prevent them from getting digestive health problems.

What to Feed Fish Other Than Fish Food

Fish are a popular pet, but it can be difficult to know what to feed them. Fish food is great for providing necessary nutrients, but there’s more than one way to keep your fish healthy and thriving! Here are seven alternatives to traditional fish food that you can try out in your tank.

1. Peas

Cooked peas are a great option for herbivorous fish. Not only are they rich in vitamins and minerals, but their soft texture is easy to chew and digest. Make sure you remove the shell before feeding them.

2. Bloodworms

Bloodworms are one of the most common meat foods you can find to feed your fish. It is high in protein and an excellent source of nutrition for carnivorous fish. They’re also very easy to find in most pet stores, making them a great staple for any tank.

3. Vegetables

You can also your feed with fish fresh vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, and lettuce (just remember to remove the stems and seeds first). They’re an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals that your fish needs to stay healthy.

4. Shrimp

There are some small shrimps that have a hard exoskeleton made of chitin, which acts like fiber and helps fish get rid of waste. Small, frozen shrimp are also another great way for most fish to get protein. You can also find shrimp that has been freeze-dried at many pet stores.

5. Insects

With the exception of bottom dwellers, most fish will happily accept small insects like brine shrimp and daphnia as a snack. Just make sure they’re frozen first to avoid any potential parasites or bacteria.

6. Fruit

Fruits like apples and melons can add some variety to your fish’s diet. But before you feed your fish, you need to know if they are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. You can only feed fruits to fish that are herbivores or omnivores, and remember to take out any fruits that haven’t been eaten after 24 hours, or they will start to make the water quality bad.

7. Eggs

Boiled or scrambled eggs are a great source of protein and essential amino acids that can help promote growth and development, especially in young fish. However, make sure that you cook the eggs first because raw eggs actually contain bacteria that can be harmful to the fish.                                                                                

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What to Feed Carnivorous Fish Other than Fish Food

Carnivorous fish need more than just their regular fish food to remain healthy and thrive. Other foods, such as live prey, can provide essential nutrients that fish lack in commercial diets. Here are six things to feed carnivorous fish other than traditional store-bought fish food.

1. Live Prey

Feeding live prey to your carnivorous fish is the best way to provide them with a balanced diet. Options such as earthworms, crickets, wax worms, blackworms, and brine shrimp are all excellent sources of protein and other essential nutrients.

2. Frozen Prey

While not as nutritious as live prey, frozen prey items can still be a great option for carnivorous fish. Frozen food like bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and krill are all good options and can be found in most pet stores.

3. Vegetables

Believe it or not, many carnivorous fish enjoy vegetables such as peas, spinach, and zucchini. When living in their natural environments, even strictly carnivorous fish will need to consume some vegetable matter, typically in the form of algae and plant leaves. This is because these vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals that are lacking in traditional fish foods.

4. Insects

Many insects, such as grasshoppers and mealworms, are high in protein and other essential nutrients. These can be a good alternative to traditional fish foods for some species of fish. But be careful when feeding such insects to your fish as they might carry deadly parasites with them, which might harm the fish.

5. Beef Heart

Even though you shouldn’t feed meat to your fish because it tends to be very fatty, beef heart can be a great source of protein for your predatory fish. To feed this to your fish, cut the heart into chunks and freeze them. Then, use a cheese grater to make small beef heart flakes to feed for your fish.

6. Other Fish

You can feed your predatory fish with other smaller fish. It can be alive, frozen, or even cooked fish. Some carnivorous fish like to hunt, so eating live fish can be a good way for them to get exercise.

What To Feed Omnivorous Fish Other Than Fish Food

Omnivorous fish can be a fun and interesting addition to any aquarium. However, feeding them the same old fish food day in and day out can get boring for your underwater friends. Luckily, there are a variety of other foods that you can feed omnivorous fish that will provide them with the nutrition they need while also spicing up their diet. Here are seven things you can feed your omnivorous fish other than fish food

1. Vegetables

Vegetables such as cooked peas, spinach, and zucchini are a great way to give your omnivorous fish some added nutrients. Be sure to cut them into small pieces so they can easily be eaten by your fish.

2. Insects

Many omnivorous fish will enjoy the occasional treat of insects like brine shrimp, crickets, and worms. Live food is always a hit with these omnivores!

3. Shrimp

Cooked shrimp is another great option for your omnivorous fish because it provides them with protein. Be sure to cut the shrimp into small pieces so that your fish can easily eat them.

4. Fruit

Fruits like melon, banana, and berries make a great addition to an omnivorous diet. Omnivorous fish in your tank can benefit from a small amount of fruit every now and then because it gives them a boost of vitamins and minerals when digested. Just remember to slice them into small pieces before feeding them to your fish.

5. Plant-based Pellets

If you want to provide your fish with a more natural food source, plant-based pellets are a great option. These can be found in most pet stores and offer your omnivorous fish the nutrients they need without all of the extras that come with traditional fish foods.

6. Snails

Snails make an excellent treat for omnivorous fish, as they are packed with protein and other nutrients. Be sure to only give your fish a few at a time so that you don’t overfeed them.

7. Frozen Foods

Frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms can provide your omnivorous fish with the nutrition they need while also adding some variety to their diet.

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What To Feed Herbivorous Fish Other Than Fish Food

Herbivorous fish require a different diet than carnivorous fish. They need a certain balance of nutrients, which can be difficult to achieve with just regular fish food. Luckily, there are plenty of other options available that offer the nutrition herbivores need while still providing variety and flavor. Here are seven things to feed your herbivorous fish other than traditional store-bought fish food.

1. Algae Wafers

Algae wafers are an excellent source of nutrition for many species of freshwater and saltwater herbivores. These wafers contain high levels of proteins and vitamins that help to keep your fish healthy and energetic. They’re also great for providing extra fiber in their diet if your fish needs it.

2. Spirulina

Many types of herbivorous fish love spirulina, which is a type of blue-green algae. It’s rich in proteins and minerals that can help to maintain optimal health for your fish. You can buy spirulina flakes or powder and feed them to your fish as part of their diet.

3. Vegetables

You can give your herbivorous fish some fresh vegetables like lettuce or spinach as occasional treats. The fish easily digests these and provide plenty of vitamins and minerals that will keep them healthy. Be sure to rinse off fresh vegetables before feeding them to your fish, as they may contain pesticides from farm fields.

4. Fruits

Some species of herbivorous fish also enjoy fruits like chunks of melon or banana. These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars that will help your fish to stay healthy. Just be sure to remove any uneaten fruit from the tank after a few hours, as it can start to break down in the water.

5. Frozen Foods

You can buy frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and other foods that are suitable for herbivorous fish. They’re a great way to add variety to their diet and provide extra nutrition when needed.

6. Flake Food

There are many types of flake food available specifically designed for herbivorous fish. These usually contain some plant-based proteins and other nutrients that will help to keep your fish healthy.

7. Live Foods

You can also feed your herbivorous fish some live foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia. These provide a natural source of proteins and minerals as well as plenty of movement in the tank, which is stimulating to the fish. Just be sure to only feed these once in a while as too much live food can lead to water quality problems.

What Human Food Can Fish Eat

Fish are one of the most popular types of pets, and it’s not hard to see why. They come in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes, are relatively low maintenance compared to other pets, and can make great conversationalists (if you give them enough space). But when it comes to feeding your fish, it’s important that you know what is safe for them to eat. Here are six human food items that fish can enjoy!

1. Cooked Beans

Fish can’t digest the skins on beans, so be sure to cook them thoroughly before feeding them to your fish. You can also mash up cooked beans and mix in some water to create a paste-like mixture for an easy meal.

2. Frozen Peas

 Peas are packed with nutrients and make a great treat for your fish! Just defrost frozen peas before feeding them to your fish, and you can even give them the whole pea or mash it up into smaller pieces.

3. Blanched Vegetables

Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and spinach are great for fish! Blanch the vegetables before giving them to your fish so that they can easily digest them.

4. Fruits

Fish love sweet fruits like melons, bananas, grapes, and apples! Dice up these fruits into small chunks before tossing them in your tank – just be sure to take out any seeds from the fruit before adding it.

5. Cooked Meats

Small amounts of cooked chicken, beef, or other lean meats can make a nice occasional treat for your fish! Be sure to remove any bones or fat from the meat before feeding it to your fish.  

6. Boiled Chicken Eggs

There are a lot of important nutrients in eggs that help fish grow. Some aquarists even give their small fry bits of hard-boiled egg yolk to give them the nutrients they need. Just make sure the egg is cooked all the way through to kill any bacteria that could be harmful.

What Fruits Can Fish Eat

Fish are known for their diverse diets and the ability to eat a variety of foods. While most fish feed on small aquatic larvae, tiny insects, worms, and other small animals, some species can also benefit from fruits in their diet. Here are seven fruits that make great treats for your finned friends.

1. Apples

Apples are high in vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and iron, which makes them excellent sources of nutrition for many freshwater fish, such as goldfish and koi. They should be cut into small pieces before being added to the tank, so they don’t get stuck or pollute the water.

2. Bananas

Bananas can provide a healthy snack full of potassium, vitamins, and minerals. They should be peeled first before being chopped into small pieces, so they don’t cause the water to become cloudy.

3. Mangoes

These sweet treats are packed with vitamins A, C, E, and B6, and essential minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium, which make them a great snack for many kinds of fish.

4. Oranges

The vitamin C content in oranges makes them an ideal food source for many freshwater species, such as tetras and gouramis. Cut them up into small pieces before adding them to the tank to prevent them from becoming too messy or polluting the water quality.

5. Peaches

Peaches are a great source of fiber and vitamins A, C, and K. They can be added to the fish tank in small slices but should be monitored closely as they will quickly break down into an unidentified mess.

6. Strawberries

Fish love the sweet taste of strawberries! These fruits are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, which make them a great addition to your freshwater aquarium. They should be cut into small pieces before being added so that the fish can easily consume them.

7. Watermelons

Watermelon is packed with vitamins A, B6, and C as well as essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which make it a great food choice for many species of fish, including goldfish and koi. Cut it up into small slices before adding it to the tank.

What Vegetables Can Fish Eat

Fish can eat a variety of vegetables, providing them with important nutrients and helping to keep the tank clean.

1. Spinach

Spinach is high in vitamins A, C and K, as well as iron and calcium. It’s also low in calories and fat-free, making it a great snack for fish. It should be blanched before feeding to fish so that it softens up enough for them to consume easily.

2. Carrots

Carrots are packed with beta carotene – an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage – as well as fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. Carrots can be grated or finely chopped before adding them to the tank; they should not be fed to fish raw.

3. Peas

Peas are a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for fish; they also help keep the tank clean by providing additional fiber that can prevent ammonia buildup. Shelled peas should be blanched before feeding to fish so that they soften up enough for them to eat easily.

4. Zucchini

Zucchini is low in calories but high in vitamin C, beta carotene, and other antioxidants – making it another excellent addition to a fish’s diet. It should be grated or chopped into small pieces before adding it to the tank – raw zucchini can be too tough for some fish to consume easily.

5. Broccoli

 Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. It should be blanched before feeding to fish in order to soften it up enough for them to consume easily; it can also be finely chopped or grated first if desired.

6. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants – making it beneficial for overall health and well-being. It should be cooked before feeding to fish – either boiled or steamed – so that it softens up enough for them to eat easily.

7. Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is a great source of vitamins A and K, as well as iron and calcium – making it beneficial for fish’s overall health. It should be blanched or finely chopped before adding it to the tank; raw lettuce can be too tough and difficult for some fish to consume easily.

How Often Should You Feed Your Fish

Knowing when to feed fish, what to feed them, and what other foods to give them is important if you want to give them the right nutrition and keep them from getting sick. It is common for beginning aquarists to worry that they are either overfeeding or underfeeding their aquatic pets. To know when to feed your fish, you have to think about a lot of things, like the fish’s metabolic rate, what kind of fish it is, whether it eats meat or plants, and whether it sleeps during the day or at night.

Most aquarists usually feed their fish once or twice a day since a lot of fish need 16 to 24 hours to fully break down the food they eat, so it’s fine to feed them this much. Then there are herbivorous fish, which need to be fed up to four times a day, and an aquatic plant to nibble on because their stomachs are small and can’t hold a lot of food. There are also small fry that needs to eat as much as they can, so you can give them a pinch of food several times a day.

Whether you feed them once or twice a day, the key is to give them very small amounts. This will give them the time to digest the food inside their stomach while preventing obesity, which leads to much bigger problems. The time is not important, except for species that only eat at night, like some catfish and nocturnal loaches. If you have fish that come out at night, feed them right before you turn out the lights at night.

How Long Can Fish Survive Without Food?

Most tropical fish are capable and have a great ability to fast, which is a surprise. How long depends on a number of things, like how big the fish is, how old it is, and whether or not it eats meat or plants. There are some exceptions, but in general, big or old fish can go longer without food than small or young fish.

Because there isn’t as much prey in the wild, most carnivores are used to going three to four days without eating and still being healthy. On the other hand, herbivores tend to eat every day. This is because they eat plant matter, which is hard to break down, and so they have to eat a lot of it to get enough nutrition. There are also fish that can go a week or two without eating, but we don’t recommend this because it could hurt your fish’s health and even kill it.

There are a lot of benefits the fish can have when you leave them with no food. Your fish are less likely to have constipation or bloating, which can cause swim bladder disease. It would also clear their digestive system. If you plan to fast your fish, keep an eye on them as much as you can so you don’t put them at greater risk.


 Can Fish Eat Rice?

Fish can eat rice, but you shouldn’t give them rice because it’s not good for them. Also, starch in rice is hard for fish to break down. If you always feed fish rice, they can get stomach problems that might kill them.

Can Fish Eat Bread?

Technically, a fish can eat bread. However, It’s not good for them at all because bread has yeast and gluten, which fish can’t eat. This can cause a number of digestive health problems, such as constipation, swelling, and bloating.

Can You Feed Fish Dog Food?

You should never feed your fish dog food because dog food is made with a different recipe that is made to feed dogs. Even if you feed fish dog food, they will still grow normally, and they may even become more beautiful and attractive on the outside. However, internally, fish that eat dog food can get sick and have a lot of problems.


The first step in making sure your fish eats well is to find out what kind of food it eats naturally. There are a lot of varieties of food that you can give your fish that will keep them healthy. That includes fruits, insects, and veggies. Some of the food that we humans even eat can be given to your fish as fish food like meat and eggs but make sure you feed your fish this food occasionally. Even though fish food and pellets are easy to find at any pet store, it is also very important to give your fish a variety of other healthy foods every now and then.

About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!