Do Angelfish Eat Bloodworms? (Benefits & Risks)

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Lots of people with fish tanks have learned that Angelfish eat whatever fits in their mouths, be it plant or meat matter.

But do they eat bloodworms, too? Are some types of Angelfish more into these snacks than others? Also, how should you give them bloodworms to munch on?

In this article, I’ll answer all these questions and more, so you leave with everything you need. Let’s get started.

Also Read: What Do Angelfish Eat?

What Exactly Are Bloodworms?

Bloodworms are the larval form of the midge fly Chironomidae, often used as high-protein feed for aquarium fish.

They are called ‘bloodworms’ due to their red coloration, which is a result of hemoglobin in their bodies.

  • Natural Habitat: Bloodworms reside in the silt of shallow water bodies, tolerating low oxygen levels while consuming detritus and microorganisms.
  • Dietary Staple: Aquarium enthusiasts prize bloodworms for their nutrient profile, offering fish a diet rich in protein and iron essential for vitality.
  • Cultivation Method: Culturing bloodworms involves simulating their natural conditions, typically with non-chlorinated water and organic matter for food.
  • Usage Caution: Overfeeding with bloodworms can lead to fat buildup in fish; hence, most aquarists recommend them as a dietary supplement, not a staple.

Do Angelfish Eat Bloodworms?

Yes, angelfish do eat bloodworms; they are considered a treat and an excellent source of protein that can be included as part of a balanced diet.

These freshwater beauties will readily accept bloodworms, either live, frozen, or freeze-dried, enhancing their vibrant colors and overall health.

  • Protein-Rich Treat: Bloodworms, packed with proteins, help in muscle growth and repair, making them a nutritious snack for angelfish.
  • Feeding Routine: Incorporating bloodworms once or twice a week into an angelfish’s diet ensures variety and prevents nutritional deficiencies.
  • Color Enhancement: The natural pigments found in bloodworms can augment the red and orange hues in angelfish, making their colors pop.
  • Acceptance Rate: Angelfish, typically omnivorous, have a high acceptance rate for bloodworms due to their movement and size, which triggers the fish’s hunting instincts.

My recommendation: San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Bloodworms (link to Amazon).

What Nutrients Do Bloodworms Offer to Angelfish?

Bloodworms offer a range of nutrients to angelfish, primarily protein for growth and muscle development.

They also supply iron, essential for healthy blood function, and fatty acids that contribute to cell integrity and energy.

  • Protein Content: Bloodworms are a protein powerhouse, typically comprising up to 60% protein, which supports tissue repair and growth in angelfish.
  • Iron Source: The hemoglobin in bloodworms provides iron, a key component for oxygen transport in the angelfish’s bloodstream.
  • Fatty Acids: They contain beneficial fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, which are crucial for healthy angelfish skin and scales.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Alongside macronutrients, bloodworms also provide a spectrum of vitamins and minerals, supporting angelfish immune systems and metabolic processes.

How Do Bloodworms Fit into the Nutritional Landscape?

In the nutritional landscape, bloodworms serve as a supplemental feed that complements the base diet of angelfish with high protein and essential micronutrients.

  • Protein Supplement: As carnivorous elements of an angelfish’s diet, bloodworms fill the gap for animal protein not always met by flake or pellet foods.
  • Dietary Variation: They add dietary diversity, mimicking the varied diet angelfish would experience in their native tropical freshwater environments.
  • Feeding Behavior: Bloodworms stimulate the natural predatory behavior of angelfish, providing both a nutritional and psychological benefit to these fish.

In What Forms Can You Find Bloodworms for Your Angelfish?

Bloodworms for angelfish are available in various forms to suit different feeding preferences and aquarium setups.

You can purchase them live, frozen, freeze-dried, or even in gel form, each offering different benefits.

  • Live Bloodworms: Offering the most natural feeding experience, live bloodworms encourage angelfish to hunt, providing both nutrition and stimulation.
  • Frozen Bloodworms: These are convenient, retain most of the nutrients found in live worms, and are free from the risk of parasites and bacteria.
  • Freeze-Dried Bloodworms: Easy to store and long-lasting, freeze-dried options offer a convenient, though less nutritionally complete, alternative.
  • Gel-Based: Some manufacturers provide bloodworms in a gel that can be mixed with other foods, enhancing the overall nutritional value.

Is It Okay to Give Dried Bloodworms to Angelfish?

Yes, it is okay to give dried bloodworms to angelfish, as they are a convenient and safe option to provide the essential nutrients that angelfish need.

  • Nutritional Value: Dried bloodworms retain most of the protein and nutrients, although some vitamins may be lost during the drying process.
  • Feeding Convenience: They are easy to store and dispense, making them a hassle-free option for many angelfish owners.
  • Safety Factor: The drying process eliminates many pathogens present in live foods, reducing the risk of disease transmission to your angelfish.
  • Hydration Note: It’s often recommended to rehydrate dried bloodworms before feeding to prevent potential digestive issues in angelfish.

How Do You Feed Bloodworms to Angelfish?

To feed bloodworms to angelfish, you should offer them in moderation as part of a varied diet, either as live, frozen, or freeze-dried treats.

It’s important to ensure that the bloodworms are appropriately thawed and rinsed if frozen, and rehydrated if freeze-dried, before offering them to your fish.

  • Quantity Control: Feed angelfish a small pinch of bloodworms, no more than they can consume in 30 seconds to prevent overfeeding.
  • Thawing Frozen Bloodworms: Always thaw frozen bloodworms in a bit of tank water before feeding to ensure they’re easy for angelfish to digest.
  • Rehydrating Freeze-Dried: Soak freeze-dried bloodworms in aquarium water for 5-10 minutes to rehydrate them, which makes them more palatable and easier to digest.
  • Direct Feeding: Use tweezers or a feeding stick to place bloodworms directly into the water, which can help shy angelfish feel secure while eating.
  • Avoid Contamination: When feeding live bloodworms, ensure they’re sourced from a reputable supplier to avoid introducing diseases into your aquarium.
  • Observation After Feeding: After feeding, watch your angelfish to ensure they are eating the bloodworms and remove any uneaten portions to maintain water quality.
  • Regular Rotation: Incorporate bloodworms into a feeding schedule, perhaps 2-3 times per week, to maintain a balanced diet for your angelfish.

What Precautions Should Angelfish Owners Take When Feeding Bloodworms?

Angelfish owners should feed bloodworms carefully to prevent nutritional imbalances and maintain water quality.

It is important to offer bloodworms in moderation and to observe how the angelfish react to different forms of this food.

  • Source Verification: Purchase bloodworms from reputable pet stores or breeders, ensuring they are free from contaminants and haven’t been exposed to harmful bacteria.
  • Portion Control: Offer bloodworms no more than 2-3 times per week, providing only as much as your angelfish can consume in under 5 minutes.
  • Observation Required: Watch your angelfish eat; any bloodworms left uneaten after feeding should be promptly removed to prevent decay and ammonia spikes.
  • Nutritional Balance: Balance bloodworms with a variety of foods, like high-quality flakes or pellets, to provide a rounded diet and prevent reliance on any single food source.

Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Fish Poop?

What Happens When Angelfish Get Too Many Bloodworms?

When angelfish are fed too many bloodworms, they can develop health issues due to the high protein and fat content, and it can also impact the tank environment.

  • Obesity Risk: Excessive bloodworms can lead to obesity in angelfish, causing liver problems and a decreased immune response due to the high fat content.
  • Digestive Issues: Overconsumption of bloodworms, especially freeze-dried ones that aren’t rehydrated, can cause bloating and constipation in angelfish.
  • Water Quality Decline: Uneaten bloodworms decompose quickly, leading to a build-up of ammonia and nitrites, which can be toxic to angelfish and disrupt the tank’s balance.
  • Nutrient Imbalance: Reliance on bloodworms can result in a lack of essential vitamins and minerals that angelfish would normally obtain from a more varied diet, potentially leading to deficiencies.

What Else Do Angelfish Eat?

As mentioned earlier, bloodworms should be incorporated into the angelfish’s diet along with other types of food. Here are some common examples:

1. Brine Shrimp

Angelfish have diverse palates and can thrive on a variety of foods, including brine shrimp, which is a nutritious live food that provides essential fatty acids and protein.

  • Brine Shrimp Benefits: These tiny crustaceans are a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, enhancing growth and vitality in angelfish.
  • Feeding Frequency: Brine shrimp can be given to angelfish 2-3 times per week, as a supplement to their regular diet to ensure variety.
  • Preparation Tip: Offer freshly hatched brine shrimp to young angelfish for an added nutritional boost, as they are especially rich in lipids and amino acids.

2. Flake Food

Flake food is a staple in the diet of angelfish due to its convenience and balanced composition of nutrients.

  • Flake Food Essentials: Quality flake foods are formulated to provide a balanced diet with vitamins, minerals, and color enhancers for angelfish.
  • Daily Diet: Feed angelfish flakes once or twice a day, providing only as much as they can consume in about 3 minutes to prevent overfeeding.
  • Diet Tip: Crush flakes between your fingers for smaller, younger angelfish to ensure ease of eating and better digestion.

My recommendation: TetraCichlid Cichlid Flakes (link to Amazon).

3. Pellets

Pellets are another common food choice for angelfish, offering a dense source of nutrients in a compact form.

  • Pellets Advantage: Pellets often have a higher nutrient density than flakes and can provide a more substantial meal with less waste.
  • Feeding Amount: Use pellets sparingly, as angelfish only need a few pellets per feeding, depending on their size—usually 2-3 medium-sized pellets per fish.
  • Soaking Tip: Pre-soak pellets in tank water for a minute before feeding to make them easier to digest and to reduce the risk of swim bladder issues.

My recommendation: TetraCichlid Floating Cichlid Sticks (link to Amazon).

4. Mysis Shrimp

Mysis shrimp are an excellent addition to an angelfish’s diet, providing them with high-quality protein and essential fatty acids, which are vital for their health and coloration.

  • Nutritional Value: Mysis shrimp are particularly high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can enhance the growth and color vibrancy of angelfish.
  • Feeding Guidelines: Offering mysis shrimp to angelfish 2-3 times per week will provide variety without compromising their nutritional balance.
  • Feeding Tip: Ensure mysis shrimp are thoroughly thawed and rinsed (if frozen) before feeding to remove any preservatives and reduce the phosphate content.

5. Tubifex Worms

Tubifex worms, though nutritious, should be given to angelfish with caution due to their potential to carry disease and pollutants.

  • Nutrient-Rich: Tubifex worms are a good source of protein and iron, but they should be sourced from clean, uncontaminated environments.
  • Feeding Practice: Feed tubifex worms sparingly to angelfish, no more than once a week, as a part of a diverse diet to prevent over-reliance on a single food type.
  • Precautionary Tip: Always purchase cultured tubifex from trusted suppliers rather than those harvested from the wild to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Their Own Babies?


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish readily consume bloodworms, which are high in protein and help in enhancing their vibrant colors and promoting muscle growth.
  • Bloodworms should be offered as a supplemental food, no more than 2-3 times per week, to maintain nutritional balance and avoid overfeeding.
  • Available in various forms such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, or gel, bloodworms should be sourced from reputable suppliers to minimize disease risk.
  • While dried bloodworms are convenient and retain most nutrients, they should be rehydrated before feeding to prevent digestive issues in angelfish.
  • Overfeeding bloodworms can lead to health problems such as obesity and digestive issues, and negatively affect water quality in the tank.