Cichlids have a varied diet and it’s important that they receive all the proper nutrition to stay healthy. This has led many Cichlid owners to wonder, can cichlids eat tropical fish food?
No, cichlids should not eat tropical fish food. You should provide your cichlids with a varied diet that goes beyond just tropical fish food in order for them to stay healthy. Feeding cichlids tropical fish food will greatly reduce the vibrancy of their colors and can lead to health problems.
Why Cichlids Should Not Only Eat Tropical Fish Food
Cichlids are somewhat sensitive to carbohydrates. Do you want to guess the main ingredient in most commercially available tropical fish food?
That’s a problem.
If your cichlids eat too many carbohydrates, then they will start to get bloated and their colors will fade. It can even cause an upset stomach and lead to gastrointestinal problems.
They can still process the carbs, but it’s a lot harder for them.
This is why I say that you can feed your cichlids tropical fish food if necessary. It’s not something that you should make a habit out of, though.
The Natural Diet of Cichlids
There are many different types of cichlids. Some are carnivores and some are herbivores.
Most cichlids that you will have in a fish tank are omnivores, though. They will eat just about anything that you put in the fish tank. Worms, fish food, larvae, and so on. Omnivore cichlids are not usually picky eaters and have the stomach to process most food.
What to Feed Cichlids?
Feeding cichlids is a little more difficult than you might think. There are some questions that you must answer about your cichlids before selecting a food for them to eat.
Diet Group of Your Cichlids
The first thing to know before feeding your cichlids is their diet group. A carnivorous cichlid cannot, and probably won’t, eat vegetables or plants. They will eat strictly meat.
I recommend bloodworms and larvae for carnivorous cichlids. You can feed them frozen bloodworms or live bloodworms. They really like live bloodworms and that’s actually something that they eat in the wild, so they will definitely like it.
I recommend algae wafers and other plant based food for herbivore cichlids. They have the intestinal fortitude and stomach to process the vegetables. You do have to make sure they get enough protein, though. Protein fortified veggie fish food is always an option for cichlids.
Omnivorous cichlids are by far the most common type of cichlid. They are also the easiest type of cichlid to feed because they eat everything that carnivorous and herbivorous cichlids eat. Again, you have to feed them meat on occasion. They will have health problems if they don’t eat meat from time to time. Bloodworms and larvae are the perfect occasional snack for omnivorous cichlids.
How Often to Feed Cichlids?
I recommend feeding your cichlids at least twice a day (morning and evening). You should feed them three to four times a day if you can, but I know that’s difficult for most people.
Now, you do not to feed cichlids a lot of food. You actually are supposed to feed them a small amount of food a few times a day because this best mimics how they eat in their natural environment. It’s also a good idea to collect any food they don’t eat because it will rot in the fish tank.