Angelfish are pretty common these days. They are pretty straightforward fish that look absolutely amazing.
But what do they eat? Do they require a specific diet? Can you feed them vegetables? How often and how much should you feed them?
In this article, I’ll tackle all these questions and many more, so you leave with all the information you need. Let’s get started.
Also Read: How To Feed Angelfish
What Do Angelfish Eat?
Angelfish can be fed various types of food. Here are the most common ones with some useful feeding instructions:
1. Brine Shrimp
Angelfish, being omnivores, relish brine shrimp as a part of their diet. Brine shrimp provide essential nutrients and are an excellent source of protein.
Live or frozen varieties are readily consumed by angelfish, stimulating their natural hunting instincts.
- Feeding Amount: For adult angelfish, feed about 6-10 brine shrimp per fish, ensuring they are small enough to be consumed easily.
- Feeding Frequency: Offer brine shrimp 2-3 times a week, combined with other foods for a balanced diet.
- Tip: Always opt for high-quality, parasite-free sources, and thaw frozen brine shrimp before feeding.
Bloodworms are another favorite for angelfish and can be a treat due to their high protein content.
They are particularly good for conditioning angelfish before breeding. However, they shouldn’t be the sole diet, as overfeeding can lead to obesity.
- Feeding Amount: For each adult angelfish, provide around 4-6 bloodworms, ensuring they are an appropriate size.
- Feeding Frequency: Introduce bloodworms to their diet 1-2 times a week, but not daily.
- Tip: As with brine shrimp, purchase from reliable sources to prevent potential diseases, and always thaw if using frozen bloodworms.
3. Tubifex Worms
Tubifex worms are a rich food source that angelfish usually love.
They’re packed with protein and can aid in the growth and vitality of your fish. Yet, due to potential contamination risks, they should be given cautiously.
- Feeding Amount: A small clump, roughly the size of a pea, is sufficient for a couple of adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: These can be given once a week, but always ensure they are clean and from a trusted source.
- Tip: Consider buying the freeze-dried version to minimize the risk of transmitting parasites or diseases to your angelfish.
4. Mysis Shrimp
Mysis shrimp are small, nutritious, and loved by many freshwater fish, including angelfish.
They are rich in essential fatty acids and other nutrients, making them an excellent choice for a balanced diet.
- Feeding Amount: For each adult angelfish, offer around 5-8 mysis shrimp, depending on their size.
- Feeding Frequency: Mysis shrimp can be provided 2-3 times a week as part of a mixed diet.
- Tip: As always, opt for parasite-free sources and, if using frozen mysis, ensure they are thawed before feeding to your angelfish.
Daphnia, commonly referred to as “water fleas,” are an excellent source of roughage that can help prevent constipation in fish.
They are tiny, but their movement in water can trigger the hunting instincts of angelfish.
- Feeding Amount: A small pinch, enough that it can be consumed in under 5 minutes, is ideal for a group of adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Introduce daphnia 1-2 times a week to ensure variety in the diet.
- Tip: Daphnia can be an excellent choice to stimulate sluggish eaters due to their movement. However, make sure they come from clean sources to avoid introducing contaminants.
6. Beef Heart
Beef heart is a contentious food in the aquarium hobby.
While it’s packed with proteins and can promote growth, it’s not a natural food for angelfish and can be fatty. Use sparingly and ensure it’s finely chopped or ground.
- Feeding Amount: A piece roughly the size of a small pea is enough for 2-3 adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Limit beef heart in the diet to once every 1-2 weeks at most.
- Tip: Always prepare the beef heart by removing any fat and ensuring it’s fresh. Overfeeding can lead to fatty deposits in the fish, so moderation is key.
Fish flakes are one of the most common foods for aquarium fish. They are formulated to provide a balanced diet, containing a mix of proteins, fats, and essential vitamins.
They float at the surface, which can encourage angelfish to feed from the top.
- Feeding Amount: Offer enough flakes that angelfish can consume within 2-3 minutes without leaving excess.
- Feeding Frequency: Flakes can be a daily staple, but always ensure you’re rotating with other food sources for variety.
- Tip: Store flakes in a cool, dry place to retain their nutritional value. Wet or damp flakes can lose nutrients and potentially grow mold.
Pellets come in various sizes and can sink, allowing angelfish to eat from mid-water or the bottom.
They are denser in nutrients compared to flakes and are often used to ensure fish get a hearty meal.
- Feeding Amount: For adult angelfish, 3-5 medium-sized pellets per fish are usually appropriate. Ensure pellets are small enough to be swallowed easily.
- Feeding Frequency: Pellets can also be a daily staple, but remember to incorporate other food types for a diverse diet.
- Tip: Always choose high-quality pellets designed for cichlids or similar species, ensuring they have a balanced nutrient profile suitable for angelfish.
What Vegetables Can Angelfish Eat?
While angelfish primarily eat protein-based foods, they can occasionally benefit from small amounts of certain vegetables, which can offer added vitamins and fiber.
Here’s how you might incorporate these vegetables into an angelfish diet:
Carrots are rich in vitamins and can be a crunchy treat for angelfish. However, they aren’t a natural part of their diet and should be given in moderation.
- Feeding Amount: Offer tiny, finely grated pieces, about a pinch for 3-4 adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Carrots can be given once every two weeks or less frequently.
- Tip: Always blanch the carrots to soften them, making it easier for the angelfish to digest.
Broccoli is rich in essential vitamins and can be an occasional supplement for angelfish, helping with digestion due to its fiber content.
- Feeding Amount: A small floret, finely chopped, is sufficient for a group of 4-5 adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Offer broccoli once every two weeks or less.
- Tip: Blanch the broccoli to soften it. This process also helps in removing any pesticides if not using organic broccoli.
Spinach provides a good source of vitamins and minerals and can be readily accepted by angelfish when prepared correctly.
- Feeding Amount: One small, blanched spinach leaf, torn into pieces, can feed a group of 4-5 angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Introduce spinach into the diet once every two weeks or even less frequently.
- Tip: Always use fresh spinach, and ensure it’s thoroughly washed. Blanching not only softens the spinach but also reduces the oxalic acid content.
Cabbage can be a source of vitamins for angelfish, though it’s not a common food. If you choose to feed cabbage, ensure it’s soft and easily digestible.
- Feeding Amount: A small leaf or portion, finely chopped, is enough for a group of 4-5 angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Cabbage can be introduced once every three weeks or less.
- Tip: As with the other vegetables, always blanch the cabbage to soften it and to ensure it’s free from pesticides if not using organic sources.
Peas are a popular choice among aquarists for various fish species, including angelfish. They help prevent constipation and are easy for fish to digest when prepared properly.
- Feeding Amount: One de-shelled, blanched pea, mashed or broken into small pieces, can be shared among 3-4 adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Peas can be offered once a week, especially if you suspect digestive issues in your fish.
- Tip: Always remove the outer skin/shell of the pea after blanching. This makes it easier for angelfish to consume and digest.
Cauliflower, like broccoli, is dense in nutrients. When softened, it can be an occasional treat for angelfish, although it’s not a natural part of their diet.
- Feeding Amount: A small floret, finely chopped, can feed a group of 4-5 adult angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Offer cauliflower once every three weeks or less frequently.
- Tip: Ensure the cauliflower is blanched to soften it and remove potential pesticides if not using organic sources.
Lettuce, especially darker varieties like romaine, can be a source of vitamins. However, it’s not very nutrient-dense and can be given sparingly to angelfish.
- Feeding Amount: One small leaf torn into pieces can feed a group of 4-5 angelfish.
- Feeding Frequency: Lettuce can be introduced once every two weeks or less frequently.
- Tip: Opt for organic lettuce to minimize pesticide risks. Blanching isn’t strictly necessary for lettuce, but it can make it more palatable.
What Do Angelfish Eat in the Wild?
In the wild, angelfish predominantly consume small invertebrates and crustaceans. They are opportunistic feeders, scouring the water column and plants for anything they can catch.
- Small Invertebrates: Angelfish hunt for tiny creatures like insect larvae, which are abundant in their native South American habitats.
- Crustaceans: They enjoy feeding on small shrimps and other minute crustaceans that thrive in freshwater environments.
- Plant Matter: While primarily carnivorous, angelfish might nibble on algae or other aquatic plants, though this constitutes a minor portion of their diet.
Commercially Prepared Food for Angelfish
Commercial foods for angelfish are specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs and mimic their natural diet.
These foods come in various forms and are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some common ones that I usually recommend:
- TetraCichlid Cichlid Flakes (link to Amazon): This flake food is designed for cichlids, including angelfish, and offers a balanced diet with an optimal protein-to-fat ratio for healthy growth.
- TetraCichlid Floating Cichlid Sticks (link to Amazon): These floating sticks provide a hearty meal and cater to angelfish that prefer to feed at the water’s surface, replicating the floating insects they’d chase in the wild.
- San Francisco Freeze Dried Bloodworms (link to Amazon): An excellent treat for angelfish, these freeze-dried bloodworms offer high protein content and can be vital for color enhancement and conditioning.
How Much Food Should You Give Angelfish?
Angelfish should be fed a quantity they can finish within 2-3 minutes, ensuring no leftovers. Overfeeding risks poor water quality and angelfish health issues.
- Observe and Adjust: Initially, offer half a teaspoon of flakes; if consumed in under a minute, add an extra quarter teaspoon next time.
- Varied Diet: Offer 3-5 bloodworms per fish; if they eat them quickly, next time, provide 5-7, but always observe their pace.
- Juveniles vs. Adults: For rapidly growing juveniles, offer food amounts 10-15% more than for adults but still within the 2-3 minute rule.
Also Read: How Much To Feed Angelfish
How Often Should You Feed Angelfish?
Angelfish thrive when fed once or twice a day, depending on their age and activity. Consistency in feeding times can aid in their overall well-being.
- Young Fish Frequency: Juvenile angelfish, given their growth, should be fed twice daily, ideally morning and evening.
- Adult Fish Routine: Mature angelfish fare well with once-a-day feeding, best done at the same time each day for routine.
- Special Treats: Once a week, substitute a regular meal with treats like brine shrimp or bloodworms to enrich their diet.
Also Read: How Often Should Angelfish Be Fed?
What Should You Do if Your Angelfish Isn’t Eating?
If your angelfish isn’t eating, it’s a sign of potential stress, illness, or environmental issues. It’s crucial to act promptly and assess the possible causes.
- Water Quality Check: Test the water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Ensure parameters are within safe levels; for instance, ammonia should always be at 0 ppm.
- Observe Behavior: Check if the fish is lethargic, has clamped fins, or shows unusual swimming patterns, indicating potential health problems.
- Dietary Variation: Sometimes, a change in diet helps. Try offering live brine shrimp or a different brand/type of pellet to entice them.
- Tank Environment: Ensure the tank isn’t overcrowded and that the angelfish isn’t being bullied. A 55-gallon tank for a pair of adult angelfish is ideal to prevent stress.
How Long Can Angelfish Go Without Eating?
Healthy adult angelfish can survive without food for up to 10 days, though it’s not recommended. Extended fasting can lead to stress and health complications.
- Short Absences: For vacations under a week, healthy adult angelfish will manage without food, but ensure they’re well-fed before you leave.
- Juvenile Concerns: Younger angelfish have a faster metabolism. They shouldn’t go without food for more than 3-4 days.
- Auto-feeders: If away frequently, consider an automatic fish feeder to ensure consistent meals. Ensure it’s calibrated to avoid overfeeding.
Here are some common questions I am frequently asked when it comes to the angelfish diet:
Do Angelfish Eat Algae?
No, angelfish are not known to primarily consume algae.
While they might nibble on it occasionally, they predominantly prefer protein-rich diets like small invertebrates and commercial foods.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Algae?
Do Angelfish Eat Plants?
Yes, angelfish might nibble on plants, especially when they’re hungry or lack other food sources.
However, they aren’t strict herbivores, so plants make up a minor part of their diet. Aquarists should provide them with a balanced diet to prevent them from excessively picking at plants.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Plants?
Do Angelfish Eat Snails?
Yes, angelfish can and often will eat small snails, especially the baby ones.
They see these tiny snails as a source of protein. However, larger snails are generally safe from angelfish predation.
Here are seven types of snails that are small enough for an angelfish to eat:
- Bladder snails
- Pond snails
- Ramshorn snails
- Malaysian trumpet snails
- Mini ramshorn snails
- Tadpole snails
- Physa snails
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Snails?
Do Angelfish Eat Dead Fish?
Yes, angelfish can consume parts of dead fish, especially if they stumble upon them before the aquarist has a chance to remove the carcass.
However, it’s vital to remove deceased fish promptly to maintain water quality and prevent disease.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Other Fish?
Do Angelfish Eat Fish Poop?
No, angelfish do not typically eat fish poop. If you observe such behavior, it might be mistaken for them foraging for food particles among the substrate.
A balanced diet and clean tank are essential for their well-being.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Fish Poop?
Do Angelfish Eat Bloodworms?
Yes, angelfish readily consume bloodworms. They are an excellent source of protein and are often used as a treat or dietary supplement for angelfish in captive environments.
However, they should be offered in moderation as part of a varied diet.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Bloodworms?
Do Angelfish Eat Their Eggs?
Yes, angelfish can eat their own eggs, especially if they are first-time breeders or if they feel threatened or stressed.
Inadequate water conditions or disturbances in the tank can also lead to this behavior.
It’s essential to provide a safe and stable environment for breeding pairs to increase the chances of successful egg hatching.
Do Angelfish Eat Their Babies?
Yes, angelfish might eat their fry, especially if they perceive them as a threat or if they are stressed. It’s common among many fish species, not just angelfish.
To prevent this, breeders often separate the fry from the parents or provide plenty of hiding spots for the young ones to escape.
Also Read: Do Angelfish Eat Their Own Babies?
How to Stop Angelfish From Eating Plants?
To prevent angelfish from nibbling on plants, it’s crucial to ensure they have a balanced diet and are in a stress-free environment.
Meeting their nutritional and environmental needs can significantly reduce their inclination to munch on plants.
- Protein-Rich Diet: Ensure angelfish receive enough protein, like brine shrimp or bloodworms, as a deficiency can make them nibble on plants.
- Plant Choices: Opt for tougher plants, such as Java fern or Anubias, which are less palatable and harder for angelfish to damage.
- Feeding Frequency: Feed angelfish twice daily in appropriate amounts; consistent feeding can deter them from seeking alternative food sources.
- Enriched Environment: Provide ample hiding spots and decorations; a stimulating environment can divert their attention from plants to exploring.
Also Read: How To Stop Angelfish From Eating Plants
For quick readers, here’s a short summary:
- Angelfish are omnivores, consuming various foods including brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex worms, and a mix of protein-rich and vegetable-based foods in captivity.
- In the wild, angelfish primarily eat small invertebrates, crustaceans, and occasionally nibble on plant matter.
- Commercially prepared foods for angelfish are formulated to mimic their natural diet, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
- Angelfish should be fed quantities they can finish within 2-3 minutes, once or twice daily, with the amount and frequency adjusted based on their age and activity.
- If angelfish are not eating, potential causes could be stress, illness, or environmental issues; they can survive up to 10 days without food, but extended fasting is not advised.