What’s the Best Food for Angelfish?
Feeding your angelfish anything short of the best diet is just asking for trouble. In an effort to take the guessing out of things, throughout this article, we’re going to explain what we believe to be the best foods for angelfish throughout the six different food categories – flakes, pellets, frozen, freeze-dried, live foods, and vegetables. We’ll also explain proper portion control, achieving a balance between foods, and trying new foods. We hope that all of this information, you’ll be better-equipped to provide your angelfish with an ideal home.
Flakes & Pellets
Flakes and pellets are a great place to start when assembling the diet of your angelfish. They are easy to store and can quickly be added into the tank without much prep work.
The best flake food for angelfish is one that is spirulina-based. It ensures they are getting their fair share of plant material to satisfy their omnivorous nature. The ones that we like to use are the Nutrafin Max spirulina flakes. They have a high spirulina content (40%) and they have plenty of multi vitamins. They also contain garlic too, so they have a strong, appetizing smell for the fish when you add them to the tank.
When it comes to pellets, it’s very common for cichlid keepers to recommend New Life Spectrum pellets. For many years, they have been seen as the go-to for cichlid pellets. We like them, but we find that nothing beats Northfin Cichlid pellets. Just by comparing the two with your sense of smell, it’s pretty clear that the Northfin premium pellets are filled with fresher, fuller ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to get either of these two if you prefer other brands, however. Angelfish also really enjoy Hikari Cichlid Staple and any shrimp pellet, so we recommend those as well.
Frozen foods aren’t as nutritious as their live food counterparts, but they are still packed with nutrition. Since they are stored in your freezer, they don’t take up any precious storage space around the aquarium.
When feeding your fish frozen food, it’s best to grab a small cup or bowl, add some aquarium water to it, then place the frozen food in that water and stir it around to thaw. After it’s thawed, you can add it straight to the aquarium as your feeding, but the water is usually quite murky, so ideally you would strain out all of the water first. The easiest way to do this is to use a fish net. The holes are usually small enough so that none of the thawed food can pass through, only the murky water. After you’ve strained it, it’s just a matter of adding it to the tank. We’ve included a quick video below that demonstrates this whole procedure quite nicely.
We recommend feeding your angelfish frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, plankton, or beef heart. They find them all quite tasty.
There is actually quite the controversy over using beef heart for angelfish. So people say that it is quite dangerous to feed it to angelfish, but that is only the case when the beef heart hasn’t had its fat stripped from it. If it has, it’s usually quite valuable in terms of the nutrition that it carries. It’s full of protein, so it is probably one of the best foods for angelfish growth and mating. However, some people also don’t believe in feeding beef heart because it’s not something that an angelfish would typically eat in the wild. If you have beliefs that fall in line with this, it’s probably best you avoid feeding your angelfish any beef heart.
Freeze-dried foods go through a manufacturing process like frozen foods, but instead of being frozen, they have been dehydrated. You do lose some nutritional value when this process occurs, but it does have the benefit of making the food sterile, so there is no chance of adding any diseases to your tank.
We have found that angelfish prefer freeze-dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mysis shrimp. But before you go placing any freeze-dried food into your aquarium, we recommend submerging them in aquarium water for 5-10 minutes. Since they have been dehydrated, they absorb water like crazy. So if you don’t submerge them beforehand and your fish eat them, the food will expand inside their stomachs, potentially causing a long list of health issues.
Live foods are technically the most natural and nutritious type of food you can feed your angelfish. But with all their glory, they have the greatest chance of introducing illness into your aquarium upon adding them. Oftentimes feeder fish aren’t treated the best because they are, well, feeder fish, not pet fish. With the mistreatment, they are oftentimes quite stressed, thus their immune system is weakened and their health is exposed to many diseases. If they have acquired an illness and you feed them to your fish, you’re literally placing an infected fish into the body of your angelfish. So be careful.
Nevertheless, live foods are still very nutritious and they are the only food you should really feed angelfish fry for about the first month of their life. Bloodworms and brine shrimp are both great options. You can probably pick them up at your local fish store.
Since angelfish are omnivores, it’s important to satisfy their vegetable requirement. And to do that, nothing beats fresh vegetables. Try boiling some peas, removing their shells, and slicing them up into tiny bits. Your angelfish will love them and the peas will help clear out any blockages throughout their digestive track.
You can also try slicing a chunk of cucumber or zucchini, or shredding some fresh lettuce, and putting it into the tank. Experiment a little bit. They’ll love it.
Control the Portions
So here’s the big question – how much should you feed your angelfish? Well it’s going to vary from person to person, depending on quite a few factors:
- The number of angelfish in the tank
- The size of the fish
- The diet they have been fed prior to this moment
- The temperature of the water
- The pH of the water
- Their current health
But it doesn’t have to be too confusing. To keep things simple, we recommend feeding your angelfish as much as they can eat within 2 minutes, once to twice a day. Then if you notice they do better with more or less food, adjust. If you’re ever unsure, just remember:
If you overfeed your fish, more waste will be produced in the tank. If you’re familiar with the nitrogen cycle, with an increase in waste, ammonia is going to build up quicker. If the amount of beneficial bacteria that you have in your aquarium can’t handle this increase, it may cause the ammonia or nitrite concentrations in your aquarium to increase to toxic levels. If this is the case, you’ll have to seed your aquarium with an established filter medias from another tank, or do water changes more frequently until your colony of beneficial bacteria can grow in numbers to handle the increase in ammonia production.
Although we recommend feeding your angelfish consistent portions of food, we do not recommend feeding them the same food for every meal. If you do, your fish will be missing out on quite a few essential nutrients, which can lead to health issues.
The best thing to do is feed your fish a healthy, staple food for about 60-70% of the feedings and to switch things up for about 30-40% of the feedings. This way your fish’s body will expect and rely on a healthy food, but will also get the luxury of indulging in a different food once in awhile – one packed with nutrients that may not be found in their staple food. Doing thing this way gives them a very well-rounded, healthy diet.
Find the Favorites
Fish are just like any other animal – they have individual preferences when it comes to their food. One angelfish may really like shrimp pellets, then another one might despise them. Throughout this article we have listed many different foods that you can feed your angelfish, but don’t expect them to absolutely love every one of them. We recommend trying different ones regularly, in the search of finding the favorites of your particular angelfish.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
When it comes to feeding, there really is no overall best food for angelfish. What really matters is feeding them a combination of nutritious, healthy foods in the proper portions. Follow this one simple rule, my friend, and you’ll have a healthy angelfish on your hands.