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Best Food for Angelfish – How to Feed Your Freshwater Angelfish?
Anyone who owns pets knows the importance of a healthy diet, especially if you want to meet all the nutritional needs of your pets.
Angelfish are voracious eaters and their dietary needs must be met if you want them to develop a strong immune system that can ward off diseases and infections.
Feeding your angelfish a balanced diet that contains a mix of high quality commercial angelfish foods and home-made angelfish foods will go a long way in ensuring a healthy development.
If you’re a first-time angelfish keeper, in this article I will discuss the types of food to feed your angelfish and the best angelfish food options.
How to Feed Your Angelfish?
As omnivorous species, Angelfish need a wide variety of foods to stay healthy. They’re large and active fish that burn through calories fast, so they need a lot of nutrients to keep strong.
It’s also good to know that they have a huge appetite and need a good amount of food. That said, angelfish are opportunistic eaters meaning they don’t know when to stop, so overfeeding is a risk that you should be aware of.
How Much Food Should You Feed Your Angelfish?
Most aquarists agree that feeding your angelfish an amount of food they can eat in 30 seconds is the gold standard.
If your angelfish still appear to be hungry after this, you may add 20-30 seconds of feeding time, but you should never let them eat for minutes on end.
Feed angelfish once in the morning and once in the evening and keep to a schedule. Alternatively, you can work out a bi-daily feeding schedule, the key is to keep things regular.
What Happens if You Overfeed Your Angelfish?
Overfeeding is a problem you should be mindful of when feeding any type of fish, not only angelfish. Overfeeding is harmful for the fish and the tank environment.
Overfeeding angelfish can lead to digestive problems, constipation, which may cause a swollen belly.
Because of their narrow bodies, angelfish are more prone to digestive issues, therefore, overfeeding them is a strong no-no.
You may ease angelfish constipation by adding a few drops of castor oil to their food or feeding them mashed blanched peas.
Besides the indigestion or constipation angelfish may experience as a result of overfeeding, problems related to the water chemistry can also appear.
When leftover food is left to decompose in the tank or when fish produce too much waste, ammonia levels can spike and cause health problems.
The Types of Food to Feed Angelfish
In terms of nutrition, angelfish need vitamins, proteins, minerals and other nutrients to stay healthy and active.
Because of their omnivorous nature, they’ll accept all types of food including plant-based foods and animal-based foods, however, one type of food alone won’t meet all their nutritional needs.
Therefore, you’ll need to feed them a mixed diet that includes both home-made angelfish food and commercially available foods.
Here are the types of food angelfish eat:
1. Flake Foods
Flake foods are the generic food option that most fish will eat. Flake foods are probably the most affordable food option and if choose a high-quality flake food, it can also be nutritious.
When choosing flake foods for your angelfish, I recommend going with foods designed for angelfish, because it will contain nutrients in the levels they need.
Look for ingredients such as fish meal or protein and avoid those that have wheat or starches listed as the primary ingredients, because they lack nutritional value for your angelfish.
2. Frozen Foods
Frozen foods that you can feed your angelfish include frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, frozen Mysis shrimp.
Since they’re frozen, they don’t pack the same nutrients as live foods, but they can be a good substitute for live foods, when these are not available.
Before feeding frozen foods to your angelfish, add a small amount of aquarium water to the food to let the food thaw out before adding it to the tank.
3. Freeze-Dried Foods
Like the other food options on this list, freeze-dried foods have their pros and cons. A great advantage of this type of food is that it’s completely sterile.
The freeze-drying process kills off bacteria and parasites that may be present on food, therefore, there is no risk of passing something onto your angelfish.
A word of caution, however: freeze-dried foods will expand in the bellies of your angelfish, causing constipation or indigestion if they’re not soaked in aquarium water prior to feeding your fish.
Freeze-dried brine shrimp and freeze-dried bloodworms are popular options that angelfish can enjoy. These foods don’t pack as much nutrients as their live versions do, but they also don’t contain parasites or bacteria.
4. Live Foods
As far as nutrition goes, live foods are highly nutritious, providing superior growth and reproduction to your angelfish.
Beyond the nutritional benefits that live foods deliver, live foods are also great at engaging your angelfish in a little hunt for brine shrimp and bloodworms.
There are some caveats when it comes to feeding your angelfish live foods. A problem with live foods is that they can contain bacteria and parasites that may infect your angelfish and cause serious health issues.
Therefore, it’s important to source your live food from a reputable pet store and make sure live foods are cultured to avoid parasitic or microbiological infestations in your aquarium.
If you’re unsure about the source of the food or you can get them from a reputable place, it’s better to avoid them.
Vegetables like boiled and blanched pees, zucchini, cucumber, small amounts of shredded lettuce can complete the diet of your angelfish.
Angelfish require plant-based foods to stay healthy, so make sure to include these fresh and nutrient-rich foods into their diet.
Best Food for Angelfish
As I mentioned, there is no one food that’s best for angelfish, and angelfish thrive on a mixed diet that contains plant matter and meat.
Still, if I were to pick one snack or treat from the ones discussed above, I’d go with the freeze-dried food option, which is safe for your angelfish and can meet their nutritional requirements.
I recommend the Tetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried Treat, which is a nutritious supplement to a primary diet of flake foods adding extra energy and condition to your angelfish.
Plus, because live bloodworms can carry undesirable diseases that can affect your fish, this product is a completely safe alternative.
Although it doesn’t have the same nutritional value as the live food alternative, it’s still a valuable source of protein, nutrients and minerals for your angelfish, minus the potential health risks associated with live foods.
In the same vein as the freeze-dried bloodworms, you can add freeze-dried brine shrimp or freeze dried Mysis shrimp to the diet of your angelfish, both of which are safe alternatives to live food.
Brands such as the Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp or San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp are good options if you want to give your angelfish a delicious and nutritious snack or treat.
While these foods are great, the type of food I think may be the best food of all for angelfish is something that I like to prepare at home, and that’s beef heart paste food.
Home-Made Angelfish Food
So far, I’ve only discussed commercial angelfish foods, but how about home-made angelfish foods? Are these a good option for your angelfish?
Food variety is important for your angelfish and while commercially-available options can be great at meeting their requirements, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t surprise your angelfish with something even better.
In fact, if you have the time to prepare paste foods for your angelfish, I recommend doing so, since these are a superior option to commercial foods.
A type of paste food that you can make at home is beef heart paste food, which is a highly nutritious food you can prepare with the help of a blender.
Below you can find the recipe of the beef heart paste and the steps to prepare it. I really recommend you give it a try if you have the time for it!
Beef Heart Paste Food Recipe
Beef heart paste is a meaty food packed with protein, meat and plant matter, making it an ideal substitute to flake foods.
- Fresh beef heart;
- Vegetables you have available (broccoli, carrots, spinach, peas, etc.);
- Raw peeled shrimp;
- Unflavored gelatin.
These are the basic ingredients to which you can put your own twist by adding spirulina, liquid vitamins, and krill meal as well, but the recipe works fine with just the basic ingredients too.
How to Prepare It:
After de-veining and removing the fat from the beef heart, pass it through a food processor or meat grinder multiple times until it reaches a very fine consistency.
Blend the peeled shrimp, cook the vegetables and blend them until they’re smooth, then mix the beef heart with the vegetables, and the liquid gelatin as per the instructions on the sachet.
If you’re adding more ground raw shrimp, you won’t need as much gelatin as the shrimp has a glue-like consistency that can bulk up the paste.
If the paste is not thick enough, you can add some flake to get a better consistency. Once the mixture reaches the consistency of oatmeal, you can put it in ice trays and place it in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can use fish bags and flatten the mixture, so when it’s frozen you can easily break off chunks to feed your angelfish.
The ingredients in this paste can be substituted for other ingredients every few months to add variety to add even more variety to the diet of your angelfish.
For example, you can replace beef heart with very lean beef or you can add fish meat instead of shrimp but be advised that the recipe will then require more gelatin.
You can also use different vegetables or substitute them for spirulina powder. I recommend experimenting with the recipe and you can even monitor your angelfish to see which recipe they seem to enjoy best.
When feeding beef heart paste to your angelfish, simply add the chunks of frozen mixture to the tank and your angelfish will feed on these chunks.
If your angelfish have been eating only commercially available foods with the occasional veggie snack, it may take them a while until they catch on that this is food too.
The first time I added beef heart paste to their diet, I got them real hungry and added only small chunks of the paste. Once they got the hang of it, they voraciously consumed it.
Make sure to remove any leftover paste chunks as they can foul the water and throw off the water chemistry if they’re left to decompose.
You can keep the frozen fish food in your freezer no longer than 12 months. Once the cubes are frozen solid, you can place them in an airtight container or a sealed bag.
You’ll usually need a single ice cube for a moderately stocked 50-gallon tank. Shave off pieces of it and watch your angelfish enjoy the food.
If you’re fish are accustomed to a certain diet, don’t switch them immediately to home-made foods.
Maybe you can feed them their normal foods in the morning and give them beef heart paste in the evening and see how they like it.
If they seem to enjoy it, with time, you can completely replace flake foods with home-made foods.
Proper nutrition influences many things in the lives of your angelfish. With a diet that can meet their requirements, they can develop and reproduce more easily.
Angelfish that are fed a varied diet develop more beautiful colors, are much stronger and energetic.
They also have a much stronger immune system that can protect them from potential infections or diseases or help them recover more easily after infections.
I recommend experimenting with different foods and see how your angelfish respond. Make sure you don’t overfeed them and that you’re offering them a varied and balanced diet.