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Top 11 Best Cichlid Food Reviewed (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

Cichlids are stunning fish that come in a lot of different varieties. With their vibrant colors and big personalities, it’s no wonder why cichlids are so popular among aquarists.

To fuel that big attitude, cichlids need a balanced and healthy diet. Not only is food key for your cichlid’s health, but it also helps enhance and brighten their coloring. 

Finding a high-quality food for your cichlid is important for keeping them at peak performance, so I’ve reviewed a range of foods to help you find the best option for your fish.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Review Summary

Best All-Rounder

Omega One Super Color Sinking Pellets

Omega One Super Color pellets are naturally insoluble, which decreases water pollution. They also contain low levels of starch to reduce the amount of waste your fish produces.

Omega One Super Color Sinking Pellets

Out of all the cichlid foods I’ve reviewed, this one is my top pick

Omega One sinking pellets are my overall recommendation for carnivorous cichlids as they are healthy and nutritious. The formula doesn’t contain any pre-processed protein and improves the coloring of your fish.

Best on a Budget

Tetra Cichlid Fish Floating Pellets

Main ingredient of this cichlid food is micro milled fish meal, which is easier to digest. It’s high in protein, so they’re ideal for medium/large carnivorous cichlids.

Tetra Cichlid Fish Floating Pellets

This is the best cichlid food if you’re on a budget as it’s very affordable. 

This cichlid food from Tetra is an inexpensive but good-quality choice for your fish. Not only does it enhance the color of your cichlids, but it also supports their immune system. It’s best suited to carnivorous cichlids as it’s high in protein.

Editor’s Choice

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Fish Formula

It has color enhancing properties for a balanced diet that keeps your fish’s colors and immune system in top condition.

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Fish Formula

My personal favorite best cichlid food. It’s a little pricier than some of the other products, but it provides excellent nutrition.

This cichlid food has one of the best formulas for enhancing the color of your cichlids. It contains high-protein ingredients like krill and whole fish, as well as beta carotene for good immune system health.

What Food Can You Feed Cichlids?

Cichlids can eat a variety of different foods, including store-bought and fresh products. Giving your cichlids a balanced diet provides them with a multitude of nutrients, so it’s a good idea to offer fresh foods alongside their normal pellets or flakes.

Cichlids can eat a variety of different foods, including store-bought and fresh products…

Green vegetables like spinach, peas, cucumbers, and broccoli are a good option for some types of cichlids. Some of these veggies might need to be weighed down to prevent them from floating to the top of your tank. You can purchase special aquarium clips for this, but a wooden skewer or fork works just as well.

Other Food Options

Bloodworms and brine shrimp are also a good choice for some types of cichlids once or twice a week to add variety. A lot of cichlids are omnivores, which means they eat both animal and plant sources.

However, African cichlids like Mbuna and Tropheus are herbivores, with their main diet being algae, aquatic plants, and biofilm. In contrast, some cichlids like Jack Dempseys and Oscars are carnivorous.

NOTE

Make sure you know the types of cichlids you own before feeding them foods high in protein as it could cause bloating in herbivorous varieties.

Degeni Cichlids
Degeni Cichlids

How Often to Feed Cichlids

It’s generally recommended that you feed your cichlids either 2 or 3 times daily…

It’s generally recommended that you feed your cichlids either 2 or 3 times daily. By nature, cichlids are competitive when it comes to food as they live in dense areas in the wild where food sources are scarce. 

This is why it’s advised to feed your cichlids a few times each day. It helps control aggression and ensures all your fish get a bite to eat.

How Much Food to Feed Cichlids?

Only feed your cichlids as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes to prevent overfeeding. Your cichlids will probably always look hungry, but this is normal as fish are opportunistic feeders.

How Long Can Cichlids Go Without Eating?

Cichlids can go around 7 or 10 days without food, provided they are in good health. If you’re going away for up to a week, then you don’t really need to worry about your cichlids. Some aquarists fast their cichlids every so often, normally around the time they change the water in their aquarium.

NOTE

Before you go away, make sure your cichlids have eaten regularly. However, if your trip lasts longer than a week, then you’ll either need to use an automatic feeder or get someone to feed your cichlids while you’re away.

Best Cichlid Food Reviews

Best All-Rounder

Omega One Super Color Sinking Pellets

Omega One Super Color pellets are naturally insoluble, which decreases water pollution. They also contain low levels of starch to reduce the amount of waste your fish produces.

Omega One Super Color Sinking Pellets

In my opinion, the best cichlid food for your fish are these sinking pellets from Omega One. They have a color enhancing formula thanks to the inclusion of salmon skin, which contains high levels of beta carotenes.

Helps Reduce Tank Pollution

Omega One Super Color pellets are naturally insoluble, which decreases water pollution. They also contain low levels of starch to reduce the amount of waste your fish produces. No digests, meals, hydroslylates, or any other pre-processed protein are used in the formula, too.

My only gripe with this color enhancing fish food is its hard consistency, which some cichlids might not be a fan of.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 3.3” x 3.3” x 6.3
  • Weight: 16.25 oz
  • Food Type: Sinking pellets

Pros

  • Contains salmon skin to enhance fish colors
  • Naturally unsoluble to reduce fish waste
  • High in protein
  • Doesn’t contain pre-processed protein

Cons

  • Hard consistency

Best on a Budget

Tetra Cichlid Fish Floating Pellets

Main ingredient of this cichlid food is micro milled fish meal, which is easier to digest. It’s high in protein, so they’re ideal for medium/large carnivorous cichlids.

Tetra Cichlid Fish Floating Pellets

Tetra’s cichlid floating pellets are an incredibly affordable but good-quality food for cichlids, specifically for top- and mid-feeding types. The pellets are high in protein, so they’re ideal for medium/large carnivorous cichlids. 

incredibly affordable but good-quality food for cichlids…

The main ingredient of this cichlid food is micro milled fish meal, which is easier to digest and contains fewer colorants. This makes for a cleaner aquarium as your cichlids will make less waste. 

Immune System Support

Additionally, the formula contains ProCare to support your cichlids’ immune system, alongside natural color enhancers. When used as directed, Tetra cichlid pellets don’t cloud the water in your aquarium, which is a plus!

However, some cichlids might refuse to eat this food, particularly when first introduced to it. This could be due to a possible lack of flavor.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 2.9” x 2.9” x 5.6”
  • Weight: 6 oz
  • Food Type: Floating pellets

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Helps support your cichlids’ immune system
  • Includes natural color enhancers
  • Doesn’t cloud aquarium water

Cons

  • Possible lack of flavor

Editor’s Choice

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Fish Formula

It has color enhancing properties for a balanced diet that keeps your fish’s colors and immune system in top condition.

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Fish Formula

Containing a range of natural ingredients, New Life Spectrum cichlid food is a fantastic choice for your fish. It has color enhancing properties for a balanced diet that keeps your fish’s colors and immune system in top condition.

has color enhancing properties for a balanced diet that keeps your fish’s colors and immune system in top condition…

The formula contains high-protein antarctic krill, whole fish, beta carotene, and other beneficial ingredients that make sure your cichlids get a nutritious meal. 

Despite its positives, New Life Spectrum cichlid food has a couple of drawbacks. For one, the pellets can sometimes struggle to sink. And secondly, the size of pellets are a little small.

However, these are quite minor gripes for what is otherwise a very good food for cichlids.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 5” x 2” x 4”
  • Weight: 70.5 oz
  • Food Type: Sinking pellets

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Contains color enhancers
  • Helps support immune system

Cons

  • Pellets are a little small and can sometime struggle to sink

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

The formula is rich in NS Germ and beta carotene, which improve the color of your fish.

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

Hikari Cichlid Gold Pellets are an excellent cichlid food as they contain a variety of healthy and natural ingredients. The formula is rich in NS Germ and beta carotene, which improve the color of your fish.

excellent cichlid food as they contain a variety of healthy and natural ingredients…

This food contains stabilized vitamin C, alongside high levels of protein. When used correctly, the pellets don’t cloud the water in your tank. 

If you own carnivorous cichlids, then Hikari Cichlid Gold pellets are worth considering. The only downside of these pellets are their hard texture, which some fish might find unappetizing. This can be easily fixed by soaking the pellets in your tank water before feeding them to your cichlids.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 10.2” x 2.4” x 7.5”
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Food Type: Slow-sinking pellets

Pros

  • Color enhancing formula
  • High in protein
  • Contains stabilized vitamin C

Cons

  • Possible lack of flavor

Northfin Food Cichlid Formula

This fish food is specially formulated to enhance the health and colors of your fish naturally. It doesn’t use any unnecessary fillers or color additives.

Northfin Food Cichlid Formula

Made with Antarctic krill, Northfin’s fish food is a great option for your cichlids. Antarctic krill is very high in protein, so it’s ideal for cichlids that require a carnivorous diet. 

specially formulated to enhance the health and colors of your fish naturally…

This fish food is specially formulated to enhance the health and colors of your fish naturally. It doesn’t use any unnecessary fillers or color additives, allowing your cichlids to easily digest the food and take in more nutrients. 

However, it is possible this formula may be lacking the flavour of other foods and therefore some cichlids might be a little reluctant to eat it, especially when first introduced to it.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 10.2” x 2.4” x 7.5”
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Food Type: Slow-sinking pellets

Pros

  • Enhances fish colors
  • High in protein
  • No unnecessary fillers or color additives are used

Cons

  • Possible lack of flavor

Aqueon Cichlid Fish Food Pellets

Inexpensive but decent option for cichlids. They contain ingredients like krill and squid to appeal to even the most fussy cichlid fish.

Aqueon Cichlid Fish Food Pellets

These sinking pellets from Aqueon are another inexpensive but decent option for cichlids. They contain ingredients like krill and squid to appeal to even the most fussy cichlid fish.

contain ingredients like krill and squid to appeal to even the most fussy cichlid fish…

When used as directed, the pellets won’t cloud your water. They’re specially designed to reduce the amount of waste your fish produce. The formula has color enhancing properties and uses no artificial colors, too!

Unfortunately, these pellets are a little on the small side and can occasionally fail to sink properly.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 5” x 8.5” x 1.5”
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
  • Food Type: Slow-sinking pellets

Pros

  • Contains krill and squid to appeal to picky fish
  • Includes color enhancers
  • Doesn’t cloud your fish tank water
  • No artificial colors

Cons

  • Pellets are a little small and can occasionally fail to sink

Omega One Veggie Rounds

Packed with fresh ocean kelp harvested from Alaska, as well as omega-3 and omega-6. Both of these support your cichlids’ immune system.

Omega One Veggie Rounds

If you own herbivorous cichlids like Malawi fish, then these Omega One veggie pellets are a solid pick. They’re packed with fresh ocean kelp harvested from Alaska, as well as omega-3 and omega-6. Both of these support your cichlids’ immune system.

This fish food also contains spirulina, which is a powerful cyanobacterium that helps destroy internal bacteria and pathogens…

This fish food also contains spirulina, which is a powerful cyanobacterium that helps destroy internal bacteria and pathogens. These pellets reduce water pollution and fish waste as it has a naturally insoluble and low-starch formula.

For herbivorous fish like Malawi cichlids, you really can’t go wrong with Omega One Veggie Rounds. However, some fish might not be too fond of the taste of the pellets at first, which might suggest a possible lack of flavor.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 2.8” x 2.8” x 5.8”
  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  • Food Type: Sinking pellets

Pros

  • Provides a varied diet for herbivorous fish
  • Packed with omega-3 and omega-6
  • Helps support immune system
  • Contains spirulina to eliminate internal parasites and pathogens

Cons

  • Possible lack of flavor

TetraCichlid Cichlid Crisps

Made with easy-to-digest ingredients, as well as vitamin C, algae extract, dried krill, and shrimp. They’re best suited to large cichlids like Oscars and Jack Dempseys.

TetraCichlid Cichlid Crisps

Designed specifically for cichlids who feed from the middle or top of the tank, this cichlid food from Tetra is packed full of protein. Compared to other flakes, Tetra Cichlid Crisps cause 35% less waste to keep your fish healthier and your tank water clearer.

best suited to large cichlids like Oscars and Jack Dempseys…

The flakes are made with easy-to-digest ingredients, as well as vitamin C, algae extract, dried krill, and shrimp. They’re best suited to large cichlids like Oscars and Jack Dempseys.

However, this fish food from Tetra could be unappetizing to some cichlids. This might be due to the small size and round shape of the flakes.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 3.6” x 3.6” x 7”
  • Weight: 8.82 oz
  • Food Type: Flakes

Pros

  • Reduces fish waste
  • Doesn’t cloud water
  • Easy to digest
  • High in protein

Cons

  • Small size and round shape might be unappetizing to some fish

Fluval Bug Bites Granules Cichlid Food

The formula is fortified with essential vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to provide your cichlid with a nutritious meal. No artificial fillers, preservatives, or colors are used in this.

Fluval Bug Bites Granules Cichlid Food

When you own a small omnivorous or carnivorous fish, you obviously want the best cichlid food designed for them. Fluval Bug Bites are a great pick for a cichlid that requires protein in their diet.

Fluval Bug Bites are a great pick for a cichlid that requires protein in their diet…

The granules are made primarily (up to 40%) of black soldier fly larvae, but they also contain omega-3 and omega-6 sourced from whole salmon. This makes sure your fish’s skin, scales, and fins stay healthy.

Fortified with Essential Nutrients

The formula is fortified with essential vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to provide your cichlid with a nutritious meal. No artificial fillers, preservatives, or colors are used in this cichlid fish food, which is a bonus!

However, Fluval Bug Bites can have quite a pungent odor. In addition to this, some fish might be reluctant to eat the granules, at least when first introduced to them.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 2.3” x 2.3” x 2.8”
  • Weight: 1.6 oz
  • Food Type: Granules

Pros

  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • High in protein
  • No artificial colors, preservatives, or fillers

Cons

  • Can have a strong odor
  • Some fish might find the taste unappealing

Tetra Cichlid Floating Sticks

This cichlid fish food is designed to enhance the color of your fish and support their immune system.

Tetra Cichlid Floating Sticks

These floating food sticks work best for large fish like the Firemouth and Convict. The sticks easily float at the top of your aquarium, making them ideal for top-feeding cichlid varieties.

designed to enhance the color of your fish and support their immune system…

This cichlid fish food is designed to enhance the color of your fish and support their immune system. A precise blend of vitamins, immunostimulants, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids is used in the formula to keep your cichlid at peak performance.

While these sticks won’t cloud your water when used as directed, they are quite messy. The sticks often sink fairly quickly and swell up as a result. 

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 3.6” x 3.6” x 7”
  • Size: 11.3 oz
  • Food Type: Floating sticks

Pros

  • Enhances fish colors
  • Helps support immune system
  • Contains a lot of vitamins and minerals

Cons

  • Can be quite messy

Northfin Food Veggie Formula Cichlid Food

The formula is easy to digest allowing your fish to absorb more nutrients. This helps keep your fish healthy and produce less waste

Northfin Food Veggie Formula Cichlid Food

Northfin’s veggie fish food is best for a cichlid that needs an omnivorous or herbivorous diet. It contains organic kelp, whole krill meal, and spirulina. 

The formula is easy to digest allowing your fish to absorb more nutrients…

The formula is easy to digest allowing your fish to absorb more nutrients. This helps keep your fish healthy and produce less waste. Another plus is that no fillers, by-products, artificial colors, or hormones are used in the food.

However, these pellets are prone to sinking quite fast. Some fish might also be reluctant to eat them, which might mean the formula is too bland.

Specs

  • Product Dimensions: 9.1” x 1.6” x 6.3”
  • Weight: 4 oz
  • Food Type: Slow-sinking pellets

Pros

  • Easy to digest
  • No fillers, hormones, by-products, or artificial colors,
  • Helps fish produce less waste

Cons

  • Can sink quite quickly
  • Possible lack of flavor

Summary

Here’s a quick recap of all our top picks…

Best-Allrounder

Out of all the foods I’ve looked at, I think the best cichlid food is Omega One Super Color Sinking Pellets. The pellets are low-starch, insoluble, and include salmon skin to enhance the color of your fish.

No pre-processed protein, meals, hydrolysates, or other undesirable ingredients are used in Omega One’s formula. If you’re looking for something natural, then Omega One pellets are a fantastic choice for your cichlid fish. 

Best on a Budget

Two other strong options that provide your cichlid with a balanced diet are the Tetra Cichlid Floating Pellets and New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula. The former is extremely affordable and is a great match for large or medium cichlids.

Editor’s Choice

The latter is a little more expensive, but contains a wealth of high-quality ingredients that improve your fish’s colors and immune system.

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