How To Feed Angelfish: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

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Feeding Angelfish might seem a little tricky if you’ve never done it before and aren’t familiar with what they eat.

In this article, I’ll show you the ropes on feeding Angelfish, tweaking their meals as they grow, the problems that come with giving them too much food, and how to mix in some veggies for a balanced diet.

By the end of this guide, you should have all the knowledge you need. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

How to Give Different Foods to Angelfish

There are numerous food options available for Angelfish, and each comes with its specific feeding guidelines. Here’s a brief summary:

Food TypeFeeding Instructions
Brine ShrimpDispense live brine shrimp 2-3 times weekly with a pipette. Don’t exceed a 5-minute feeding window.
BloodwormsFeed a small pinch once weekly after thawing in tank water. One cube per 4-5 angelfish community is sufficient.
Flake FoodsOffer 1-2 times daily; ensure all is consumed in under 2 minutes. High-quality flakes with at least 45% protein.
PelletsProvide 5-6 pellets per medium angelfish once daily. Alternate with other food types for variety.
Mysis ShrimpServe thawed in tank water, enough to be eaten in 3 minutes. Distribute evenly.
SpirulinaMix into the diet 2-3 times a week, making up about 5% of the diet. Use flakes or powder.
DaphniaFeed live daphnia as a treat, 1 teaspoon for 5 angelfish, with a 3-minute feeding rule.

Also Read: Angelfish Care Guide

1. Brine Shrimp

Brine shrimp are a live food that can boost the health and coloration of angelfish, suitable for all ages due to their soft body and high protein content.

  • Protein-Rich Source: With up to 60% protein, brine shrimp are excellent for growth; juveniles benefit from extra protein.
  • Feeding Method: Use a pipette to dispense live brine shrimp into the tank, targeting areas near angelfish to ensure they notice.
  • Controlled Servings: Administer brine shrimp 2-3 times weekly, careful not to exceed what angelfish can eat within 5 minutes to prevent waste.

2. Bloodworms

Bloodworms serve as a high-value food for angelfish, rich in nutrition but should be fed in moderation due to their high-fat content.

  • High Nutrient Content: Packed with iron and protein, a small pinch of bloodworms (0.5% of angelfish body weight) suffices.
  • Thawing Procedure: Defrost a cube of frozen bloodworms in tank water for 5-10 minutes prior to feeding to ensure softness and digestibility.
  • Feeding Restraint: Limit bloodworms to once per week, no more than a small cube per feeding for a community of 4-5 angelfish.

3. Flake Foods

Flake foods provide a balanced diet for angelfish, formulated with essential nutrients, and are convenient for daily feeding.

  • Balanced Diet Staple: Choose high-quality flakes with at least 45% crude protein and spirulina for optimal health.
  • Dispensing Technique: Sprinkle flakes lightly on the water surface, ensuring they spread out to allow all fish to feed without competition.
  • Feeding Consistency: Offer flakes 1-2 times daily, with the quantity such that all is consumed in under 2 minutes to maintain water quality.

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

4. Pellets

Pellets are a compact source of nutrition for angelfish and can be used to provide a well-rounded diet when chosen correctly and served properly.

  • Nutrient Composition: Select pellets with a high-quality ingredient list, ideally with at least 40% crude protein content.
  • Serving Size: Offer a small pinch of pellets (5-6 per medium-sized angelfish) to ensure complete consumption without leftovers.
  • Feeding Frequency: Introduce pellets once daily, alternating with other food types to maintain a varied diet for your angelfish.

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

5. Mysis Shrimp

Mysis shrimp are a nutrient-packed food that can help mimic the natural diet of angelfish, providing essential fatty acids and promoting vivid coloration.

  • Rich in Omega-3: Mysis shrimp have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for healthy angelfish development.
  • Quantity to Feed: Offer a portion size equal to what your angelfish can consume in 3 minutes to prevent overfeeding and waste.
  • Thawing and Serving: Thaw mysis shrimp in tank water for several minutes before feeding; distribute evenly across the tank.

6. Spirulina

Spirulina is an algae-based supplement that enhances the immune system of angelfish and can promote better digestion and coloration.

  • Immune System Boost: Spirulina contains vitamins and minerals that support fish health; include it in about 5% of the angelfish diet.
  • Inclusion in Diet: Mix spirulina flakes or powder with other foods or choose spirulina-enriched flakes/pellets for convenience.
  • Regular Supplement: Incorporate spirulina into the diet 2-3 times a week, mixed with other food types for a varied diet.

7. Daphnia

Daphnia, also known as water fleas, are an excellent source of protein and fiber which can aid in the digestive health of angelfish and serve as a live food treat.

  • Fiber-Rich Food: Daphnia help with digestion due to their high fiber content; beneficial especially if angelfish have bloating issues.
  • Live Food Treat: Offer live daphnia sparingly as a treat; a small scoop (about 1 teaspoon) is enough for a group of 5 angelfish.
  • Feeding Approach: Introduce daphnia into the tank with a feeder cone or by sprinkling them directly into the water, observing a 3-minute consumption rule.

Also Read: What Do Angelfish Eat?

Feeding Angelfish at Different Ages

Similar to most other fish, Angelfish’s dietary preferences evolve as they mature. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

1. Adult Angelfish

Adult angelfish require a balanced diet that sustains their health, enhances their vibrant colors, and keeps them active.

It’s essential to offer both plant and animal-based foods in proper quantities to prevent obesity and maintain their long, flowing fins in good shape.

  • Varied Diet: Adult angelfish thrive on a diet that includes flakes, pellets, live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms, balanced weekly.
  • Portion Control: Feed small amounts twice a day, enough that they can consume in under five minutes to avoid overfeeding and tank pollution.
  • Nutritional Balance: Ensure that the food contains at least 30-40% protein and is supplemented with vitamins and minerals for overall health.
  • Observation is Key: Regularly observe eating habits and body shape to adjust food types and quantities, preventing health issues related to poor diet.

2. Baby Angelfish

Baby angelfish, or fry, have different dietary requirements compared to adults; they need frequent feedings of high-protein food to support their rapid growth.

Proper nutrition at this stage is critical for their development into healthy adults.

  • High Protein Diet: Offer microscopic foods such as infusoria or freshly hatched brine shrimp larvae (artemia) to meet high energy demands.
  • Frequent Feeding: Feed baby angelfish small amounts 3-4 times a day, ensuring the food is sized appropriately for their small mouths.
  • Growth Monitoring: Monitor growth rates and adjust food quantities and types to ensure consistent and healthy development.
  • Water Quality Management: More frequent feedings require vigilant tank maintenance to keep water quality high and prevent disease.

How to Feed Angelfish When They’re Breeding

When angelfish are breeding, it’s crucial to provide them with a rich diet that supports egg production and energy needs.

The correct feeding regimen can significantly impact the health of the parents and the success rate of the fry.

  • Enhanced Nutrition: Incorporate live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms to provide the essential proteins for egg production, ensuring each adult consumes about a cube’s worth per day.
  • Small, Frequent Meals: Feed small portions that can be eaten within three minutes, and increase feeding frequency to 3-4 times a day to support the heightened energy needs.
  • Clean Water Priority: After each feeding, check for uneaten food and remove it with a siphon to keep the tank water pristine and safe for eggs and fry.
  • Diet Variation: Alternate the protein-rich foods with high-quality flakes or pellets enriched with vitamins to maintain the overall health and vitality of the breeding pair.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Setup

How Much to Feed Angelfish?

Angelfish should be fed amounts they can consume within a few minutes to prevent overfeeding and ensure tank cleanliness.

A general guideline is about 1% to 3% of their body weight per day, distributed over their daily meals.

  • Flake and Pellet Foods: Provide a pinch of flakes or pellets (5-6 per fish) that can be completely consumed in under 5 minutes, twice daily.
  • Live or Frozen Foods: When feeding live or frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, a portion that equals 1% of the fish’s body weight is sufficient.
  • Juveniles’ Diet: Baby angelfish require more frequent feedings with amounts small enough to eat in 1-2 minutes, due to their faster metabolism.
  • Observation Adjustments: Regularly assess the angelfish’s girth and activity post-feeding; adjust amounts if you notice weight changes or leftovers.

Also Read: How Much To Feed Angelfish

How Often to Feed Angelfish?

Angelfish should generally be fed twice a day, allowing them to consume their food within a few minutes, which mimics their natural feeding habits.

This frequency can be adjusted based on the age, health, and breeding status of the fish.

  • Adult Feeding Schedule: Typically, adult angelfish should be fed once in the morning and once in the evening, spacing meals about 12 hours apart.
  • Juvenile Feeding Frequency: Feed baby angelfish 3-4 times a day due to their need for more nutrients to support rapid growth and development.
  • Breeding Angelfish Consideration: Increase feeding frequency to 3-4 times daily for breeding angelfish to support their elevated energy needs.
  • Health and Diet Adjustments: If you notice signs of overfeeding or underfeeding, such as lethargy or excessive waste, adjust the feeding frequency accordingly.

Also Read: How Often Should Angelfish Be Fed?

Can You Feed Goldfish Flakes to Angelfish?

Yes, you can feed goldfish flakes to angelfish occasionally, as long as they’re not the only food source.

However, goldfish flakes may not contain all the necessary nutrients angelfish require, such as higher protein levels and certain vitamins, so they should be part of a more varied diet that includes angelfish-specific flakes, live, frozen, or pellet foods.

Why Won’t My Angelfish Eat Flakes?

If your angelfish aren’t eating flakes, it could be due to a taste preference or a sign that something is off in their environment or health.

It’s important to observe if they’re avoiding the flakes while eating other foods or not eating at all, which can help pinpoint the issue.

  • Taste Preference: Angelfish may prefer meatier foods; try mixing flakes with brine shrimp or bloodworms to enhance their appeal.
  • Flake Size: If the flakes are too large, crush them into smaller pieces that are easier for your angelfish to ingest.
  • Water Quality: Check your water parameters, as poor conditions can lead to loss of appetite; optimal levels should be ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and nitrate below 20 ppm.
  • Health Check: Observe your angelfish for signs of disease or stress, such as erratic swimming or faded colors, and consult a vet if necessary.

Can You Feed Angelfish Vegetables?

Angelfish can indeed benefit from the occasional inclusion of vegetables in their diet, as it provides additional nutrients and variety.

  • Peas: Offer deshelled, cooked, and mashed peas once a week to aid digestion; a small pea per fish is plenty.
  • Spinach: Blanch a small leaf of spinach for 2-3 minutes, cool it, and place it in the tank; one leaf can be shared among the fish and removed after 24 hours if uneaten.
  • Zucchini: Slice a small piece of zucchini, blanch it, and clip it to the side of the tank; a slice around 2 inches long is sufficient for a small group.
  • Cucumber: Attach a 1-inch blanched cucumber slice to a vegetable clip in the tank; it’s a good source of vitamins and can be left in the tank for up to 12 hours.
  • Lettuce: Use soft lettuce leaves like romaine, blanched lightly, and placed in the tank; ensure it’s in small enough pieces to be eaten in a single feeding.

What Happens When an Angelfish is Overfed?

When an angelfish is overfed, it can lead to health problems such as obesity and a compromised immune system, as well as detrimental effects on the tank environment. 

Overfeeding can also result in uneaten food, which decomposes and pollutes the water, leading to poor water quality and associated health issues.

  • Obesity and Organ Stress: Overfed angelfish can become obese, leading to fatty liver disease and strain on their bodily systems, reducing their lifespan.
  • Water Quality Deterioration: Excess food breaks down into ammonia and nitrates, which can spike to dangerous levels and stress or even kill fish.
  • Increased Algae Growth: Uneaten food contributes to nutrient imbalances in the tank, promoting unwanted algae blooms that can outcompete aquatic plants and upset the tank’s ecosystem.

Can Angelfish Survive Without Food?

Angelfish can survive without food for a period, usually up to two weeks, as they are capable of utilizing their stored energy reserves.

However, extended periods without food can lead to health issues and a weakened immune system.

  • Metabolic Reserves: Angelfish will first use their fat and then muscle tissue for energy during starvation, which can weaken them and make them prone to disease.
  • Immune System Impact: Long-term lack of nutrition can compromise the angelfish’s immune response, making them more susceptible to infections and parasites.
  • Behavioral Changes: A starving angelfish may become lethargic or overly aggressive due to stress, potentially disrupting the tank’s harmony and its own well-being.

Do Angelfish Eat Algae When Starving?

No, angelfish do not typically eat algae even when they are starving. They are primarily carnivorous and prefer a diet consisting of live, frozen, or flake foods that are high in protein. 

If deprived of their usual diet, angelfish might nibble at algae but are unlikely to consume it in sufficient quantities to sustain themselves.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish require varied nutrition including brine shrimp and bloodworms; moderation and proper feeding frequency are crucial for health.
  • Baby angelfish need frequent, high-protein meals for growth, while adults require balanced diets to maintain color and prevent obesity.
  • Breeding angelfish demand a richer diet with more frequent feedings to support egg production, alongside meticulous tank maintenance.
  • While angelfish can eat goldfish flakes, these should be supplemented with specific nutrients; vegetables serve as occasional treats.
  • Overfeeding angelfish harms their health and the aquarium’s ecosystem; starvation leads to health decline, but they won’t consume algae.