Review of the Best Cichlid Food and Everything You Need to Know About Feeding Your Cichlid Fish

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Finding the best cichlid food might be difficult in most cases just because you have to pay attention to several things. Firstly, you have to provide the best cichlid food to give them the right nutrients to grow and look their best. Second, you have to understand how these fish live in the wild because different groups of cichlids don’t always occur in nature.

Sometimes it is difficult to choose the right food your cichlids just because different types of cichlids require different types of food. You might be wondering if can cichlids eat tropical fish food, or can you give them live fish food.

At first, it might look complicated, but you can understand their eating habits and adapt their diet to suit their needs.

For starters, you must understand that there are three different types of cichlids,  Carnivores, Herbivores, and Omnivores. All require a different kind of food. Carnivores have mostly animal source diet, while on the other hand, Herbivores eat primarily plant-based diet. Omnivores are basically a combination of both, and they can eat animal-based and a plant-based diet.

This means that you have to provide the right food for each group of fish in your aquarium to maintain a healthy diet.

In this article, we will review some of the best cichlid food and go through the whole process of feeding your fish.

TetraCichlid Balanced Diet Flakes

If you want to choose the best cichlid food, obviously you have to buy a well-known brand. Tetra Company has German roots, and it is doing business for over 50 years. They offer high-quality products developed by their own team of chemists, nutritionists, and biologists.

To give the best chance for your cichlid fish to look great and stay healthy, you have to choose carefully balanced food. This is what Tetra offers. Basically, it is a perfectly balanced mix of biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and immune system boosters just to make sure your fish stay immune to fight disease, weather stress, and develop a healthy metabolism.

Also, they are full of protein and carefully developed an easy-to-digest formula that your fish will appreciate. These flakes are for mid-water feeding cichlids, and the best thing is that they stay together and do not fall apart in the water, which can cloud the water and affect the water mixture.

Choosing TetraCichlid will satisfy your fish nutritional needs and ensure they have a stress-free and healthy life. Your cichlid fish will definitely love them and will go crazy when you drop them into the water.

​Pros

  • ​Full of Nutrients for maintaining your cichlid healthy.
  • ​Do not dissolve in water
  • ​The larger container offers a more reasonable price

​Cons

  • ​Getting a larger container will take forever to finish off
Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets Small Sinking

Omega One is another well-established brand, started by two brothers in Alaska 20 years ago. Just because they were not satisfied with the food quality for fish at that time, they decided to develop food packed with all the nutrients that every fish demands for healthy living.

These are the best cichlid pellets for establishing better growth and color on your lovely fish.

When you buy your food for your fish, you have to pay attention to the quality of the proteins. This formula contains higher levels of better quality proteins and also omega-3 and -6 to boost your fish’s immune system.

Just like the TetraCichlid food, Omega One Super Color pellets do not dissolve in water, making it cloudy. They are sinking pellets which are perfect for mid and bottom level feeders. These pellets sing pretty quickly, so you have to aim the food close to the fish for mid-level feeders. The best way is to sprinkle small amounts multiple times.

It is also important to note that this fish food too smells good even for human sensibilities, and your cichlid will love it since it is very delicious to them.

​Pros

  • ​Good Quality Ingredients
  • ​Do not dissolve in water
  • ​Great for color enhancing

​Cons

  • ​Low on fiber

New Life Spectrum Cichlid 300g - High-quality Ingredients

New Life Spectrum Cichlid 300g

Paying attention to the ingredients in your fish food is the only way to choose the best cichlid food, and to ensure your fish stay healthy all the time. Sometimes, fish food can be packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals that come from low-quality ingredients making it difficult to provide an optimal diet for your cichlids.

That is not the question in New Life Spectrum Cichlid food. It is made from aquatic sources, and all meals are made from whole ingredients. This means that they use spirulina, algae meal, and food and vegetable extract to provide the optimally balanced food great for color enhancing.

It also includes herring, squid, south Antarctic krill, and mussels for providing the ultimate protein quality. Since it is made from good-quality ingredients, it makes the food easily-digestible for your cichlids.

This is a sinking food, and you have to pay attention to top feeding fish just because it drops down to the bottom very quickly.

Just because it is packed with all-natural and delicious protein, your cichlid will love it.

​Pros

  • ​Many color enhancing ingredients
  • ​High-quality ingredients
  • ​Perfectly balanced food for Cichlids

​Cons

  • ​Sinks quickly

Northfin Food Veggie Formula 2mm Pellet - Best Veggie Ingredients

Northfin Food Veggie Formula 2mm Pellet

The truth is, vegetable-based fish foods are rare on the market than the more complexed protein pellets, and choosing a good one is even harder.

However, Northfin Veggie is one of the best cichlid pellets made with natural ingredients that are perfect for your cichlids. At first glance, you may think that this food is made for herbivorous fish, but the high concentration of animal protein makes it better suited for omnivorous fish.

Protein-wise it is made from whole Antarctic krill meal and sardine meal, which are the finest quality ingredients that can provide the necessary protein intake for your cichlid fish. It also has Calcium Montmorillonite clay, High Omega-3 Herring meal, Haematococcus algae, and other vitamins making it perfect for enhancing the color on your fish.

These are slow sinking pellets, and they are the right size for your cichlid fish. This means that you have to make sure shy bottom feeders get the necessary food. Since it is made from good quality ingredients, it tends to be a bit more expensive than the other options.

​Pros

  • ​High-Quality Ingredients
  • ​Algae and spirulina are great color enhancers

​Cons

  • ​High with animal protein for herbivores
  • ​Low on fiber

Fluval Bug Bites Pellets - Budget Choice

Fluval Bug Bites Pellets

This product is relatively new to the fish food market, but people quickly catch the trend and use it to provide a balanced diet for cichlids. The two main ingredients are dried black fly larvae and salmon, which are good protein sources and easily digestible by your cichlids, which is very important.

Just because it is made from soldier larvae, it is an excellent diet for your freshwater fish since it mimics what they would eat in nature. Black fly larvae don’t have an exoskeleton, and they are almost pure protein making it easy to digest.

The only downside to these pellets is that they do not offer any color enhancing ingredients, they are made from ingredients which are unnatural to your cichlid fish like a potato. However, since it is made from 40% reliable soldier fly larvae, it is an excellent choice for your cichlid fish.

If you want to choose the most likable cichlid food, this is the obvious choice. Your cichlids will go crazy for it, maybe because it mimics their natural diet.

​Pros

  • ​High-Quality Ingredients and Natural Proteins
  • ​Mimics the natural diet of your cichlids

​Cons

  • ​Does not contain processed ingredients
  • ​Does not contain a lot of color enhancing ingredients

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets - Best Cichlid food for Growth and Color

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

We’ve all went through the trouble of finding the best floating pellets on the market since most of the sinking pellets go down very quickly, making it harder for your fish to catch their food. Floating pellets are perfect for monitoring how much your fish eat, and do not leave any uneaten food that can affect the water mixture.

However, if they do leave something behind, you do not have to worry since these pellets do not dissolve in the water, making it cloudy.

The best thing about Hikari Cichlid Gold floating pellets is that it has a unique blend of nutrients. It is also one of the best cichlid foods for growth and color since it is rich with protein, NS Germ, and beta-carotene.

You don’t have to worry about your cichlids immune system as it provides the necessary vitamin C and vitamin E to increase amino acid levels. It would have been the best cichlid food if it contained some kind of vegetable or algae ingredients to ensure easy digestion for your cichlids.

It is a premium quality food, and it is essential to note that it is slightly more expensive than other options available on the market.

​Pros

  • ​Floating pellets making it easy consumption tracking
  • ​High-quality ingredients
  • ​Do not cloud the water

​Cons

  • ​Some cichlid do not prefer to eat these pellets

​Frequently Asked Questions

Maintaining a proper diet is essential for keeping your cichlids healthy. There are few things to pay attention to, to take good care of your fish. Developing a good meal plan and choosing the food with the right nutrients is the only way to avoid health complications for your fish.

Since the food has the most significant impact on your cichlids' health, you have to know all the requirements before you choose their primary food.

In the next section, we will go through some of the frequently asked questions about cichlid so that you can have a better understanding of how to take care of them.

What fish can eat cichlid food?

Three types of cichlid require a different kind of diet. Carnivores eat mostly animal sources of food, Herbivores eat plant sources of food, and Omnivores can combine animal and plant sources of food. It is essential to know what can cichlid eat before you buy their food.

The products that we reviewed earlier were from all these categories, and they contain usual ingredients commonly found in other types of fish food. They contain proteins from krill, squid, sardine, black fly larvae, or vitamins and color enhancers from algae. This means that you will be able to feed different types of fish like goldfish or betta fish with cichlid food, just because they have similar types of food.

Since cichlids are freshwater fish, it is perfectly okay to feed cichlid food to other types of freshwater fish.

More: Find out What is the best HOB Filter here

How long can cichlids go without eating?

If you are planning a vacation, it is crucial to know how much time your cichlids can last without food. If your cichlids fish are in good health, they can go without food for 7 to 10 days, so you don’t have to worry if you plan to be gone for a week.

All you need to worry about is maintaining a steady diet a few days before you go on your trip. If you need to take a longer vacation, you must ask someone to take care of them while you are gone, or buy an automatic fish feeder. It is vital to give clear instructions if you give someone to take care of them since they can compromise their health quite quickly.

If you want to extend the time a bit more, you can also lower the temperature of the water a few degrees, which will slow the cichlids’ metabolism — that way, they do not need as much energy. You can also manipulate the environment with the aquarium lights on a timed schedule, just to make the daylight period shorter.

Cichlids typically do not eat at night, so it would be easier for them to adjust. However, all these things can affect your cichlids' health, so it is always the best that you maintain a constant diet.

More: Find out What is the Best Nitrate Remover here

How much & How Often do you feed a cichlid fish?

Feeding your cichlids is very straightforward. The rule is to feed your fish as much as they can eat within 2 minutes without leaving anything behind. You must do this 2 to 3 times a day. Just like any other fish, you mustn't overfeed your fish, which can cause health problems.

Most of the time, your cichlids should be very excited when it is feeding time, and if you spot any other behavior, something could be wrong. They could be overfed, or they have other health issues.

Since cichlids live in very dense areas, they can be competitive with other fish for their food. You should always supply enough food to eliminate any tension with other fish in your aquarium.

If you have an aquarium with different fish, it is essential to make sure that every fish gets its part. 


You should also give a treat to your cichlids once in a while (preferably vegetable) just to balance their diet and supply them with the right nutrients they need.

More: Find Out What is the Best Automatic Fish Feeder Here 

What kind of vegetables can I feed my cichlids?

You can also give your cichlids an extra treat between meals. The good thing is that the threat can be found in our everyday food. The best thing is that you can feed your African cichlids vegetables straight from your garden.

Vegetables are a great treat, and they can replace the natural green algae which they are eating in their natural habitat. Vegetables are vital ingredients, even on some of the best cichlid food on the market.

Green vegetables are a great source of vitamins, and also they make great color enhancers. You can give your cichlids broccoli, peas, cucumbers, spinach, or even finely chopped garlic. In order to make your life easier, you can freeze your vegetables into ice cubes and pop them into the water when it is time for the treat.

Why are my cichlids losing their color?

It is common for many fish, cichlids included, to see some color fading. These color changes can be short term and affected by environmental things, or long-time caused by ontogenetic changes. The good thing is that you can control most of the factors that affect the color of your cichlids.

Cichlids color can be affected by species mix, aggression, gender ratios, and other things. Other things like the water temperature, the substrate, and their daily food intake can also affect cichlids' color. This means you need to give them the best cichlid food. Stress causes fish to display color changes, so you must keep them in a healthy environment to avoid such things.

Providing a portion of good quality food is also essential for maintaining their color. As we mentioned earlier, most of the high-quality food has color enhancers, which is excellent for maintaining their colors.

Can cichlids eat flakes?

The short answer is yes. Cichlids have very specialized feeding habits and adaptations that they developed to survive in their natural habitat. However, feeding them commercially available food like flakes is the easiest way to go.  As we can see from our review, TetraCichlid Balanced Diet flakes are the best cichlid food for your fish.

There are many cichlid flakes on the market, and most of them are made from high-quality ingredients.  Since cichlids are top and mid-water feeders, providing flakes is not going to be a problem for your fish.

Can you feed cichlid live fish?

Yes, you can feed your cichlid with live fish, but you have to be extra careful in order to avoid digestive problems. However, you have to be cautious and know what type of cichlid you have. This is not always the best food for a cichlid.

Carnivores and Omnivores can handle live fish, but it is wise to skip the live fish meal just because they could carry all kinds of diseases that might cause fatty liver disease or killing your fish. If you want to introduce a meal into their diet, brine shrimp and prawns are a great choice. However, they should be used as supplements once or twice a week.

Conclusion

Providing the best cichlid food is very important in order to avoid health problems. Your first step should be determining what kind of cichlid fish you have so that you can optimize the diet to fit their needs.

It is important to know the difference just because what is suitable for carnivores, isn’t the best choice for herbivores who prefer a plant-based diet. You have to be extra cautious, especially when you are giving them an extra treat.

When it comes to the food products that we reviewed, all of them provide the right nutrients they need. They also contain natural ingredients and greens to make your cichlid color stand out.

TetraCichlid Balanced Diet flakes are the best cichlid food to go for just because it provides the right balance with proteins and vitamins. It is also suitable for their digestive system and maintaining its vibrant colors.

The best way is to research about your type of cichlid just so you can meet their specific dietary requirements and find the best cichlid food for your fish.

More: If You have other types of Tank Fish, find out what is best for them:

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