Among the countless species out there, cichlids are surely one of the hot favorites of the aquarists.

Wild fishes don’t need to maintain a diet and they can go eating whatever they want. However, in an aquarium, the situation is entirely different.

The growth, color and health condition of the cichlids depend widely on what you feed them. Giving them the best kind of foods will bring up a huge change in their overall health and growth.

Life in a domestic aquarium is entirely different than it is in the wild. You can’t possibly replicate the wild environment so it’s important that you create an environment which will work as a substitute.

It’s crucial that you provide the fishes with a nutritious balanced diet. The best idea would be to provide small portions throughout the day. But, that’s not mostly possible, so make sure you give the fishes a properly balanced food at least twice a day.

Dietary Groups in Cichlids

Cichlids can be classified into three different dietary groups and each of them has different dietary needs.

  • Carnivores- These are flesh-eating cichlids. They feed on small fishes, planktons or invertebrates.
  • Herbivores- These kinds of cichlids eat algae, plants, etc.
  • Omnivores- This group is not a picky eater and they usually eat whatever they can find.

Even though these fishes are categorized according to their food habit, they accept a variety of other foods as well. Commercially processed foods come in different flavors and textures which the fishes will easily grow onto with time.


Best Cichlid Foods – Side by Side Comparison

Hikari 8.8-Ounce Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets for Pets, Large [2-Pack[
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Omega One Super Color Sinking Cichlid Pellets, 2mm Small Pellets, 16.25 oz
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Omega One Veggie Rounds, 14mm Rounds, Sinking, 8 Oz Container
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Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581
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Aqueon Cichlid Food Medium 25 Ounces
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Top 8 Best Foods For Cichlids Reviewed

1. Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

Product Features
61 Reviews
Product Features
  • Floating pellets allow easy monitoring of amount eaten
  • Will not cloud water
  • High in beta carotene and NS Germ, brings out natural brilliant colors
  • Promotes long healthy life
  • Contains stabilized vitamin C

Hikari is making fish foods for over a century now. One thing we can tell you about them is that they are extremely concerned about the fishes and they want you to feed them nothing but the best.

This food is incredibly economic with superb quality. So, if you’re on a budget then the Hakiri Gold Floating Pellets are a must have for your cichlid. They are rich in nutrients which is extremely useful for healthy growth in the fishes.

It’s made using only easily digestible natural protein with lots of carotenoids that helps to enhance the color of the cichlid. This is a floating pellet kind of product so it floats on the surface of the water as the fishes feed on it.

Even though it floats, it will not make the tank cloudy. You can monitor how much the fishes have eaten and how much is left. This will help you to figure out a proper dietary plan of your fishes.


  • Nutritious
  • Contains Astaxanthin and carotenoid to promote coloration
  • High protein formula
  • Doesn’t cloud the water


  • Small cichlids might have trouble eating the pellets

2. New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula

Product Features
245 Reviews
Product Features
  • New Life Spectrum is made from quality natural ingredients
  • Extreme Color enhancement and vitality in your fish
  • Made in the USA

If you’re looking for a nutrient-rich formula for your small or medium sized cichlids then the New Life Spectrum in an ideal choice for you. This has an easy sink formula so it quickly reaches the bottom of the tank which makes it easier.

It comes in a 250g pack with quite a reasonable price. The main ingredients in this formula are krill and herring that provides amazing protein content to the fishes. The pellets are 1mm in size with full of plant-based nutrients such as algae, seaweed, kelp, etc. Also, there is no artificial color added to the formula so it’s absolutely safe for the cichlids.

This formula is suitable for the cichlids who like eating from the bottom of the tank. These pellets float for a while then sinks down the tank so that the fishes can easily feed on them.


  • Affordable
  • Full of nutrition
  • Suitable for small and medium cichlids
  • Helps in their growth and enhances their color


  • Large fishes may avoid the food as it sinks at the bottom

3. Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets

Product Features
2,019 Reviews
Product Features
  • IDEAL BALANCE: Omega One Floating Cichlid Pellets are formulated with a variety of fresh seafoods, ocean kelp, and spirulina to address the opportunistic dietary needs of cichlids
  • KEEP A CLEANER TANK: Our Floating Cichlid Pellets are naturally insoluble, which reduces water pollution, and they have significantly less starch, which reduces fish waste
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY: No meals, hydrolysates, digests, or any other pre-processed protein
  • INSTRUCTIONS: Feed 1-3 times daily, using only as much food as fish can consume in two minutes
  • GUARANTEED ANALYSIS: Min Crude Protein 42% / Min Crude Fat 11% / Max Crude Fiber 2% / Max Moisture 8.5% / Max Ash 8%

The Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets come in a 16.25oz pack that will last you quite a while. This is a complete food the cichlids as they provide all the necessary proteins and nutrients required for their healthy growth and coloration.

It’s rich in Omega 3 and 6 which help to improve the immune system of the fishes. The natural pigment and the skin of the cichlids will flourish with the help of this superfood.

This formula contains very low amount ash, therefore, it will never cloud the tank. Also, it contains a low amount of starch that will eventually lead to lesser waste.

These pellets are great for the middle and bottom feeders. As it doesn’t float on top, therefore, it’s not a good option for the top feeders.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Contain Omega 3 and 6
  • Color enhancer to flourish the natural skin and color
  • Balanced nutrition


  • Not suitable for top feeders

4. Omega One Veggie Rounds

Product Features
573 Reviews
Product Features
  • NUTRITION: Veggie Rounds are loaded with fresh ocean kelp hand harvested in Alaska! They are rich in Omega 3 & 6 HUFA's to support strong immune systems, and contain Spirulina, a powerful cyanobacterium that eliminates internal bacteria and pathogens
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY: No meals, hydrolysates, digests, or any other pre-processed protein
  • KEEP A CLEANER TANK: Our Veggie Rounds are naturally insoluble, which reduces water pollution, and they have significantly less starch, which reduces fish waste
  • INSTRUCTIONS: Feed 1-2 rounds daily, or as much as can be consumed in 4 hours. If uneaten food remains after 4 hours, remove it and begin to feed a smaller amount
  • GUARANTEED ANALYSIS: Min Crude Protein 35% / Min Crude Fat 10% / Max Crude Fiber 4% / Max Moisture 8.5% / Max Ash 9%

Foods for herbivore cichlids are quite different than the carnivores. They need quite a lot of plant nutrients for their growth. This food is suitable for the omnivorous cichlids as well.

The Omega One Veggie Rounds have so much more nutrient content than the other food options. It contains a very high amount of crude protein with lots of nutrient-rich natural ingredients.

This food is suitable for the bottom feeders as it tends to sink at the bottom of the tank. However, it contains very little amount of ash so it doesn’t cloud the tank.

The packaging of the product is very handy. It also includes a small plastic spoon along with the jar. This jar comes in a size of 227g with quite an affordable price tag.

It’s rich in Omega 3 and 6 which helps build a strong immune system. Also, the nutrients help to enhance the natural color of the cichlids.


  • Rich in nutrients
  • Suitable for herbivores and omnivores
  • Helps to develop a strong immune system
  • Enhances color


  • These pellets sink in the bottom so the leftovers are hard to clean from the tank

5. Fluval Bug Bites Pellets

Product Features
2,225 Reviews
Product Features
  • Tropical fish food that contains up to 40%, nutrient-rich Black Soldier Fly Larvae, the first ingredient
  • High in multiple proteins like whole salmon – rich in Omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin, scales and fins
  • Fortified with essential vitamins, amino acids and minerals for a balanced daily diet
  • Slow sinking pellet format (5-7mm) – all fish can feed at their preferred depth; feed as much as fish can eat in two minutes, two or three times daily
  • Sustainably processed in small batches for quality control and maximum freshness

If you’re low on the budget but don’t want to compromise when it comes the nutrition of the fishes then get your hands on the Fluval Bug Bites Pellets. It is rich in a number of proteins and nutrients such as Omega 3 and 6.

One of the prime ingredients of this formula is the black soldier fly larvae that is extremely rich in protein. It contains all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids required a properly balanced diet.

There’s no artificial flavor or color added to the Bug Bites Pellets so it bears no risk of harming the fishes. It boosts up their digestion and helps to enhance their immune system.

These pellets are suitable for the medium to large sized fishes. If your cichlids are small then this wouldn’t be the ideal choice for them. These pellets are slow sinking, therefore, it’s a perfect choice for the top feeders.


  • Full of nutrients
  • Contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals
  • Easily digestible
  • Naturally palatable
  • No artificial fillers or colors


  • Not suitable for small cichlids

6. Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets

Product Features
2,451 Reviews
Product Features
  • Contains premium ingredients such as shrimp and squid meal that all types of cichlids should enjoy
  • Quality, nutritious ingredients naturally attract fish, support a healthy immune system, bring out their true colors and provide the essentials for proper growth and vitality
  • Formulated so that fish utilize more of what they eat and create less waste
  • Will not cloud water when fed as directed
  • Ideal for South American, West African and Carnivorous Rift Lake Cichlids

One of the best features of the Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets is that there are multiple sizes of bags available ranging from 4oz to 25oz with different size of pellets. The formula and the size of the pellets are suitable for cichlids of all size and shapes.

The Aqueon Pellets are rich with premium ingredients like krill and squid. It contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals that promote healthy growth in the fishes. One thing you should know about these pellets that they are floating pellets. So, they are an ideal choice for the top feeders.

There are several sizes available so you can pick the one that suitable for your fish’s size. Also, if you’re on a budget or you want to get a trial version first then go for the 4oz pack to make sure the cichlids love it or not.


  • Many size variants available with different pellet size
  • Contains a high amount of nutrition and protein
  • Promotes healthy growth in the fishes
  • Budget-friendly


  • These are floating pellets which are not mentioned in the packaging

7. TetraCichlid Balanced Diet Flakes Food

Tetra is in fish food making business for around 50 years and they are quite good at it. They make top-notch fish foods with outstanding nutritional value to ensure that the fishes are healthy and happy.

This balanced diet flakes formula contains all the necessary ingredients required for their growth and nourishment. It’s very affordable and there are several sizes available for this product.

It contains vitamins, biotins, Omega fatty acids, and several other necessary nutrients to ensure a strong immune system and improved digestive system.

These pellets can be considered as floating or partially floating pellets, therefore, they are suitable for top and mid-water feeding fishes. However, the flakes will not cloud the water and the flakes will also not break into pieces when the fishes take bites.


  • Affordable
  • Suitable for top and middle feeding cichlids
  • High nutrition amount
  • Full of necessary vitamins and minerals


  • Not suitable for bottom feeding cichlids

8. Northfin Food Veggie Formula

Product Features
96 Reviews
Product Features
  • NorthFin Veggie Formula is professionally developed to improve the health and well-being of your herbivorous and omnivorous fish. With certified organic kelp as its main ingredient. Supports a healthy immune system and promotes increased activity.
  • A Marine Protein Based Diet allows your fish to fully digest and absorb more Nutrients; Your Fish stay healthy and produce less Waste in your Tank
  • Key Ingredients: Organic Kelp, Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, Spirulina
  • Made In Canada
  • Slow Sinking Pellet

The Northfin Food Veggie is another superb formula for the herbivorous cichlids that are loaded with nutrition. This product is absolutely based on a marine protein that ensures healthy and sound growth in the cichlids. Also, the marine protein helps to produce less waste to it’s easier to filter the tank.

The key ingredients of this formula are organic kelp, whole Antarctic krill meal, and spirulina. They are not only beneficial for the herbivores but extremely suitable for the omnivores as well. The nutritional value they provide is sufficient enough for the growth of the cichlids.

Northfin ensures that the fishes get only the best ingredients, therefore, they add no filler or bi-product to their formula. They also refrain from introducing any artificial pigment or hormones to the food.

The Northfin Food Veggie Pellets are slow sinking. It would be an ideal choice for the top or middle feeding cichlids.


  • No artificial flavor or hormones
  • Marine protein to support healthy growth
  • Less waste production
  • No fillers


  • Not suitable for carnivores

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are all cichlids have the same food habit?

No, the food habit varies from species to species. The cichlids can be categorized into three different groups: herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Each of the classes has a slightly different food habit than each other.

Best Cichlid Food

How often to feed cichlids?

Keep a close eye on your cichlid’s food habits or needs. We suggest to provide the food in 2/3 small portions instead of giving it all at once. This will help them maintain a healthier lifestyle with better immune and digestive system.

An automatic fish feeder would be a good option to run everything smooth.

How much food to feed cichlids?

There no certain amount for this. Observe how much they can finish off in 2 minutes and provide accordingly. However, make sure you don’t overfeed them as that not beneficial for them. Ensure that there’s no leftover or cloud on top of the tank. If there’s any food left try to clean it properly.

Is it possible to enhance the color of the cichlids?

Yes, with proper nutrients it’s possible to enhance their colors. Most of the foods that we reviewed have nutrients that enhance their color.

Wrapping Up

We know how much you love and care about you cichlids and we want you to give them nothing but the best. All the foods that we reviewed are made with top of the line ingredients with balanced nutrients and proteins.

There are various kinds of cichlids with different eating habits. Observe what works the best for your fishes and go for the one that provides them the best-balanced diet.

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