What Does Small Fish Eat

Pet fish or aquarium fish offer fantastic life to any fish tank with aesthetic value. To keep your fish happy and dynamic always in your tank condition, you need to pay more concentration about fish food that you offer for your aquarium fish. If you give them incorrect fish foods, they will negatively impact energy and make your fish weakness.

In the pet fish market, there are numerous types of nutritional and well-balanced fish food.

Various types of fish species are available in the aquatic world. They have specific feeding habits which differ from species to species. Among them, some are entirely herbivorous, some carnivorous and others are omnivorous (feed on both plants and animals) in nature.


In this case, carnivorous require meaty foods, while herbivorous take plant matters. Generally, fish take rich nutrients from the aquatic environment where they live in.

For maintaining the optimum growth of fish and health, you should provide the correct diet on a regular basis. If the feed does not contain proper nutrition, they lessen the life expectancy of fish and fish becomes susceptible to diseases. They also decline the quality of water by making water pollution.

Generally, fish are categorized into bottom feeders, column feeders, and surface water feeders. Downward position mouth is the characteristic of bottom feeder fish while the upward facing mouth is present in the surface feeder fish.

Most fish need animal protein while some herbivores require plant protein. Plants protein comes from spirulina and similar algae flakes or wafers. To make your aquarium ammonia free, a small amount of protein-rich foods should be used. Less protein-rich food is also required for temperate or cold water fish like koi or goldfish.


Fry or baby fish need highly protein-rich food as speedy moving fish.

High level of protein-rich food is also recommended for brood fish to enhance more egg production during the spawning period. The fish feed should compose based on the nutritional needs of your fish.

Generally, fish food should consist of essential nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber with vitamins, and minerals. 

To maintain feeding preferences and habits, there are many shapes and sizes fish foods available in the pet market with the sensible cost including live foods, flakes, granules, pellets (sinking and floating), frozen or dried food, etc.


To maintain optimum health, vegetable matter, bits of beans, raw potatoes, zucchini, peas, etc. are fed to the pet fish. Besides these, spirulina algae are the best food that you can give to the fish in the frozen form.

There are huge varieties of freshwater aquarium fish. They have a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Among them, some are small in sizes which are usually bright, colorful and easy to care for. They need a variety of fish food in the captive condition. To make the fish happy, you may give the following food items to your fish.

Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are considered very high-quality food which is very popular among the aquarium enthusiasts.

In the pet fish market, this type of food is available as a whole and combined frozen foods or mix up with other food ingredients. It is suitable for all types of small-sized fish. Like freeze-dried food, frozen foods are in its natural form very popular among pet fish keepers which include daphnia, krill, squid, brine shrimp, Cyclops, bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, crab, and glass-worms.

Some fish like pacus prefers frozen peas and lima beans while larger carnivore fish may appreciate frozen beef-heart or perhaps frozen squid or silversides.

To keep your fish healthy and happy, you should incorporate into the diet if possible. Food should be supplemented to their regular staple diet, and it makes a perfect alternative to living food.

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried foods are a popular supplemental food which makes an excellent alternative to live food. They are natural with an excellent balance of nutrients. In the pet fish market, lots of verities of freeze-dried foods (krill, plankton, bloodworms) are available. All types of fish eagerly feed on freeze-dried foods. You can use it as the staple fish food item or as a supplement to flake and pellet foods.

Flake Food

Flake is the most common type of food for all types of fish. There are commercially flake foods available for fry fish. Generally, fry flake foods are suitable for large fish fries, such as livebearers and most cichlid fish. In this case, it does not work well for small fry.

Generally, it is very easy to use and is suitable for small sized fish like tetras, barbs, angels, goldfish, and cichlids. You can scatter the food just a little over the top of your tank water, and the fish can easily come up to eat but make sure only to give them the actual amount of flakes they will eat for a meal. If the uneaten flakes reach the tank bottom, they will turn into waste and make pollution the water.

It is a great basic staple food for all fish and also suitable for many saltwater fishes. Each flake is made using the ingredients like fish, squid, and plants and is fortified with vitamins and minerals to keep the fish happy and healthy that based on the natural diet of each type of fish.

Beginners and experienced fish keepers choose it to feed their fish. They are available in the pet fish store around the world, and most fish can live happily on this food.

Live and Cultured Foods

Live food is always natural, high in protein and usually nutritious. There are many types of live foods for baby fish such as vinegar eels, micro-worms, baby brine shrimp, and infusoria, etc. Live foods keep hold of balanced nutrition. Among them, some live foods are extremely nutritious, but they have some disadvantages, and such live foods should always be avoided.

Favorite live foods are blackworms, bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, copepods, ghost shrimp, Cyclops, etc. They are good options for many small fish. They differ in sizes, and among them, Daphnia is very tiny and suitable for fry and other fish types which have tiny mouths while Mysis shrimps have medium size body which is suitable for 3-5 inches fish. They are used in raising baby fish due to their high protein levels which help to increase the growth rate.

In the first week of life of fish, it is recommended to feed the baby fish with live food for increasing optimum growth. During the breeding time, you should also feed your brood fish with live food.


  • Extremely nutritious;
  • It does not need cook or frozen, so all nutrition is intact;
  • It enhances stimulation to the fish mentally;
  • You can easily culture it at home;


  • Some live foods ( such as blackworms) are collected from dirty or nasty muddy water causing water pollution;
  • Sometimes they can bear pathogens by which your fish can be susceptible to disease;
  • This type of foods have a limited shelf life;
  • Not available in the pet fish stores to buy;
  • Expensive to purchase;

Some important live foods

Vinegar Eels

Vinegar eel (Turbatrix aceti) is a non-parasitic roundworm. It can live in vinegar or culture in apple cider vinegar hence it is so-called Vinegar Eels. It is a famous food for baby fish.

This type of food is available in the local pet fish market and online vendor with sensible cost. It is a small sized organism, and it can grow up to 2 mm in length. It is easy to keep and makes special foods for baby fish that will not take prepared foods.

In aquarium water, it can survive for a long time (up to 24 hours). It does not pollute the aquarium water rapidly.

Artemia / Baby Brine Shrimp (BBS)

Brine Shrimp (Artemia salina) is a typical food among the aquarium hobbyists. It is crustacean arthropods which can produce egg-like cysts that can survive in a dry state for years before hatching within hours after being returned to saltwater.

It is the most nutritionally complete food. It is still a good addition to an overall dietary profile for many fish, especially small fish. Newly hatched brine shrimp is 0.08 to 0.12 mm in size. It is easy to culture, and they can live for up to five days in freshwater condition.


Infusoria are composed of various types of minute organisms (such as ciliates, unicellular algae, small invertebrates, mini rotifers, phytoplankton or green water) which are used to feed the smallest fish fry. They are much smaller than brine shrimp nauplii.

Generally, they are 0.02 mm or larger, depending on the species. It was first noticed in 1763 as a baby fish food. Over 2,000 different types of species have been identified as food for feeding newly hatched fry. All types of infusoria are ideal for baby fish food which provides sufficient nutrient to fry.

It is a favorite new-born baby fish food which is available in the pet fish market with sensible cost. To feed new-born baby fish, infusoria is perfect. Many aquarists use infusoria as new-born baby food.

Among the infusoria, green water is the smallest foods which are available in the market. It is a very crucial food for newly hatched fry (such as neon tetras or some rainbowfish species). This type of food floats in the tank water where stay long times until it is consumed.


It is a junior or small sized fish food which is also called scuds. It is a very small shrimp-like amphipod crustacean organism which belongs to the family Gammaridae, and it is commonly found in freshwater. It is native to the Atlantic coast of North America. They prefer to live in clear and unpolluted waters like ponds, streams, springs, and lakes where oxygenated shallow areas with lots of vegetations are available. The average size of the male is 10.5 mm while the female can grow up to 7.6 mm in length.

It plays a key role in the detritus cycle in aquatic ecosystems. They also make up an important element in food webs by providing prey for secondary consumers. It is easy to culture, and they contain high calcium and cellulose.

During culture the Gammarus, the culture tank should have live plants, floaters, gravel or driftwoods. They prefer to cling to plants, or they hide in gravel, under driftwood, etc. For feeding them, you should provide seaweed powder.


Krill are shrimp-like marine crustacean arthropod which makes excellent food for tropical fish. They are typically available in the pet market with at least three different sizes. Among them, the smallest one is usually sold as “plankton” which is the best choice for most fishes while larger krill is used for feeding big sized carnivorous fishes.


Bloodworms are the midge-type flying insect’s larvae (Chironomus larvae) which are abundant in the freshwater lakes and ponds. It is an excellent food source for your all sized fish and should be considered a necessary part of any fish diet. Besides live bloodworms, both frozen and freeze-dried varieties are available in the pet fish market with reasonable cost.

In nature, all types of fish take bloodworms as fish food. It looks bright red in colors which gives the name bloodworms. Some fish species does not accept pellets or flakes at all. In this case, you can feed the fish with live bloodworms.


Daphnia is a small size crustacean zooplankton which is 0.2–5 mm in length.

Large numbers of Daphnia species with varying size are available in the freshwater ecosystem. It belongs to the order Cladocera under Class Crustacea. It is also known as water fleas which prefer to live in freshwater lakes, ponds, and swamps. It is a suitable live food for small sized fish which provide sufficient nutrients to the fish during the growing period.

You can feed the fish to treat constipation. It can be sensitive to environmental changes and water quality.

Grindle Worms

Grindal worms (Enchytraeus buchholzi) are an excellent source of food for many fish such as baby fish, smaller adult fish (Endler’s Livebearers or Killifish) and larger fish. They usually grow up to 10 mm in length which makes them an ideal food for all types of fish. It is a non-parasitic worm which is available in soils around the world.

This worm can live several days under the immerse condition in any water body. You can easily culture them, and it requires a small space and easily reproduces under the most room temperature. It is also a suitable food source for many pets like Newts, Salamanders or tadpoles.


Microworms (Panagrellus redivivus) are small-sized nematodes which can grow up to 2.0 mm in length and 0.5 mm in diameter. It makes the suitable food source for your baby fish. It is always recommended for any new-born fish (Rainbowfish or small newborn Livebearer fry).

All types of fish accept it greedily. But it can`t live a long time in the water. In this case, overfeeding should be avoided to prevent pollution.

Final words

Fish is a cold-blooded aquatic animal which needs protein mainly for their growth. Generally, they need less food for growing than other animals. Before feeding your fish, you should know the feeding behavior of your fish because fish often have very specific diets.

Generally, fish is classified into herbivorous (eating plants), carnivorous (eating animals), or omnivorous (eating both plants and animals). Fish food should always consist of essential nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber with vitamins, and minerals. For maintaining the optimum growth of your fish, you must provide them correct diet on a regular basis.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: