Best Cichlid Food – Top 5 Reviews, Comparisons, Guide, FAQs & More

We agree! Choosing and buying food for your Cichlids is harder than it sounds.

Bearing this in mind, we’ve spent weeks testing out different Cichlid food in the market to bring you this list of the best ones around.

In today’s post, we’ll be helping you figure out which Cichlid food is best suited for your fish based on their habits and other factors.

Top Pick

This is ideal for your mid and top-water feeders. The 1.75-pound container will last forever. And it may prove to be the best choice for you.

Runner Up

If you want to bring out the natural colors of your Cichlids, this is for you! They float on top of the water as well, which makes for easy monitoring.

Also Great

If you’re having trouble keeping your tank clean, this is perfect for you! It’s a complete staple diet for your Cichlids that makes them produce less waste.

Our Cichlids loved testing out all the different Cichlid food on the market and they decided for us that these three are the best ones out there.

Now, let us get to the reviews for the top 5 best Cichlid food.

Best Cichlid Food for Growth – Top 5 Reviews

1. Best All-Around Cichlid Food - Tetra TetraCichlid Balanced Diet Flakes Review

Tetra TetraCichlid Balanced Diet Flakes come in a humongous 1.75-pound container and they will feed your Cichlids for a very long time.

They float on the surface for a while and then eventually start sinking which makes them perfect for your mid and top-water feeders. Our fish were fighting with each other over the food.

The dispenser lid made it easy for us to take out the amount of food we need without getting our hands dirty.

The product claims to be a complete staple diet. Within days of starting our fish on this product’s diet, we noticed them to be more alert and active. They chased each other around and made a lot more bubbles than they used to.

Features of Tetra TetraCichlid Balanced Diet Flakes – Best Cichlid Food

  1. 1.75-pound container
  2. Complete, staple diet
  3. Contains ProCare which boosts the immune system
  4. Suitable for all life stages
  5. Abalone-free
  • Do not cloud the water
  • Produce less waste
  • Contain natural color-enhancers
  • Cure stress-related diseases
  • Easy to digest
  • Small in size and easy to eat
  • Contains wheat gluten

If you’re looking for the complete, staple diet for your Cichlids that will last you a long time, this is it. They enhance the colors of your fish and are easy to ingest.

2. Best Baby Cichlid Food - Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets Review

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets come in 8.8 oz packets and are ideal if you have small, growing Cichlids.

We dropped them into the water to note that these are floating pellets which made for easy monitoring of the food that had been eaten. Our Cichlids came up to the surface to chow down on them and not a single pellet was left uneaten.

This product claims to contain Beta carotenes which are natural color-enhancers and indeed, after a few days of starting their diet, we started noticing our Cichlids becoming much more vibrant. 

Features of Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

  1. 8.8 oz packet
  2. Suitable for all life stages
  3. Contains stabilized Vitamin C
  4. Complete staple diet
  5. Promotes long and healthy life
  • Floating pellets
  • Do not cloud the water
  • Small in size for easy ingestion
  • Promotes vibrant colors
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Bad smell

If you want to promote growth in your little Cichlids and provide them with food that is easy for them to eat, this is for you. These pellets contain stabilized Vitamin C and are a complete staple diet for your Cichlids.

3. Best Cichlid Food for Cleaner Water - Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets Review

Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets are small in size and come in a 16.25 oz easy-to-store container.

We noticed upon dropping these into the water that these are sinking pellets which made them perfect for our mid and bottom-feeder Cichlids.

They are very small in size which allowed even our smaller Cichlids to eat them whole quite easily.

We noticed our fish produced a lot less waste after starting their diet of this product. This made for a much cleaner tank and much clearer water.

The product claims to contain naturally-occurring fatty acids which help boost the immune systems of fish. It helped promote growth and activity in our Cichlids. 

Features of Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellet

  1. 16.25 oz container
  2. Low starch content
  3. High in protein
  4. Complete staple diet
  5. Suitable for all ages
  • Small in size for easy ingestion
  • Produce less waste
  • No artificial dyes or pigments
  • Do not cloud the water
  • Boosts immune system
  • Expensive

If you don’t want to invest too much time cleaning your tank, go for this. Their low starch content causes your fish to produce less waste and it’s a complete staple diet.

4. Best Sinking Cichlid Food - New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula Review

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula is made completely natural ingredients and comes in a 17.6 oz jar.

These pellets sank into our fish tank which made them perfect for our bottom-feeding freshwater Cichlids. They were quite popular with our fish; Not a single pellet was left uneaten.

One of our Cichlid’s colors had been fading, this product not only brought back those colors but gave the Cichlid an outwardly sheen that we had never seen before.

It is a complete nutritious diet for your fish and we noticed heightened activity and growth in our fish after starting their diet on this product.

Features of New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula Food

  1. 17.6 oz jar
  2. High protein content
  3. Contains Spirulina
  4. Completely natural ingredients
  5. Complete staple diet
  • Contains natural color-enhancers
  • No artificial preservatives or dyes
  • Promotes breeding
  • Boosts immune system
  • Does not cloud the water
  • Hard to clean leftover food in the tank

If you want to provide your bottom-feeding Cichlids with the best nutrition out there, this is for you. Their focus on balanced nutrition boosts the immune system and promotes breeding.

5. Best Budget Cichlid Food - Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets Review

Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets come in a huge 25 oz packet. At a price point of $10, this is a steal.

These are advertised as slow-sinking pellets and indeed, when we dropped them into our fish tank, they floated for a while and then started sinking slowly. This made them ideal for our Cichlids at all levels.

We noticed a never-before-seen energy in our fish after starting their diet on this product. They started blowing a lot more bubbles and raced each other around. 

Features of Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets Food 

  1. 25 oz packet
  2. For daily feeding
  3. Cashew-free
  4. Made from Krill and Squid
  5. High in protein
  • Do not cloud the water
  • Ideal for top, mid and bottom-feeders
  • Promotes color-enhancement
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Large amount for low price
  • Pellets may be too large for smaller fish

If you’re low on cash but still want to provide your Cichlids with high-quality food, this is it. Their focus on growth will not only keep your Cichlids happy but also keep them healthy and bring out their colors.

best cichlid food

Buyers’ Guide


What Are The Different Types Of Food Available For Cichlids?

It’s very important that you get the appropriate food for your Cichlids. This depends on a number of factors such as their size, age, eating habits, etc. The different types of food for Cichlids available in the market are:

  • Flakes

Flakes are very thin slices of food and are the most popular fish food available. If you have Cichlids who are top-feeders and small in size, these would be perfect for them. They float on the surface of the water and are easy to eat. 

  • Pellets

Pellets come in floating, sinking or slow-sinking varieties. Get the variety that is most suited for your fish depending on the fact that whether they are top, mid or bottom-feeders.

  • Crisps

These are slightly thicker than flakes and float on top of the water for a long time. They are ideal for small-sized top-feeders. 

  • Tablets

Tablets soak up water very quickly and then sink to the bottom of the tank. This makes them ideal for any bottom-feeding Cichlids you might have. 

  • Live or Frozen Food

While these foods are a great source of protein and nutrition, make sure to give these to your fish as an occasional treat in addition to their daily food. If you give them only live or frozen food, they might become bloated or develop swim-bladder disease. 

How Do I Choose The Best Cichlid Food?

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the best Cichlid food but to keep things simple, we’re keeping it to the three most important factors that can you help you make the most informed choice:

  • Nutrition

Different kinds of Cichlids vary in their nutritional needs but in general, they require food that is high in protein, fiber, vitamins and fats. Live foods are a good source of protein but they can’t be used as a sole source of nutrition as they don’t provide all the other nutrients needed.

If you feed for fish with food that is only high in protein, they might develop diseases. If you feed them food that has all other nutrients but not protein, this might result in low growth and lethargy. As a rule of thumb, it is never a good idea to get Cichlid food that contains too much of any single ingredient. Try to get food that contains a healthy balance of all the required nutrients.

  • Color Enhancement

In order to maintain the gorgeous color of your Cichlids, you should get food that claims to have color-enhancers in them so that your fish stay happy and vibrant. Just make sure that these color-enhancers and pigments are made from naturally occurring ingredients.

  • Food Type

Keep the size and eating habits of your fish in mind. If they are small in size, get them food that is small so they can eat it whole and not have trouble with having to break pieces off of larger sized food. Also keep in mind whether your Cichlids are top, mid or bottom-feeders and get food accordingly, i.e., floating, sinking or slow-sinking food. 

Do All Cichlids Eat The Same Type Of Food?

In short, no. There are a number of differences between the eating habits of Cichlids. African Cichlids alone have species that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores and species that are top, mid and bottom-feeders.

If you have only one type of Cichlid in your fish tank then getting food should not be too much of a hassle. However, if you own different species of Cichlids, make sure you do your research about their eating habits and get different kinds of Cichlid food accordingly.

Can I Mix Different Foods To Give My Cichlids A Varied Diet?

Yes. It is very likely that a single food does not contain all the nutrients necessary for a Cichlid to grow. So, it can be a good idea to get different products and mix them together to provide your Cichlids with a varied diet and ensure that they’re consuming everything they need to. Just make sure none of the products are made from any artificial ingredients which could be harmful to your Cichlids. 

Which Nutrients Should I Make Sure Are In My Cichlid’s Food? 

Protein is the big one. You have to make sure your Cichlids are getting their required dose of protein.

That’s not all though. They also require vitamins, fats and fiber. Getting vitamins into them will enhance their colors and boost their immune system while fiber will prevent constipation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How frequently should I feed my Cichlids?

It is wise to feed your Cichlids 2 to 3 times a day. Be careful not to overfeed as this can cause bloating.

If your Cichlids aren’t excited to see you coming with the food, something may be wrong. Either you’re overfeeding them or they may be sick.

It’s important that you don’t overfeed them but it’s also important that you don’t under-feed. This is to control their aggression. Cichlids are very competitive creatures which often compete with each other for food in the wild. If you provide them with an abundance of food in the fish tank, this will help relieve that tension between your Cichlids.

How much should I feed my Cichlids?

You can judge how much to feed your fish by measuring the amount of food it eats within 2 minutes. This should then be your set amount that you can feed your Cichlid during each feeding session.

Do not give your Cichlid more than this set amount even if it is begging for food. Cichlids cannot tell when they are full and constantly giving them food will cause them to become bloated and even get swim-bladder disease in extreme cases.

How long can Cichlids go without food?

Cichlids can live for about 7 to 10 days without food. However, we recommend that if you have to go on a vacation, make sure your fish have had food in the days leading up to your trip and they should be okay.

It is better still if you do have to travel that you invest in an automatic feeder for your fish or get a friend or a family member to look after them.

While they can go for up to 10 days without food, this is not something that they should be subjected to. 

Can I feed my Cichlids vegetables? Which vegetables do they like?

There are many vegetables that you can give to your Cichlids as an occasional treat in addition to their daily diet. Vegetables provide important nutrients that can help enhance their colors and boost their immune system which can prevent and cure diseases. Some vegetables which Cichlids like are:

  • Skinless peas
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Romain
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash 

My Cichlids’ colors are fading, what should I do?

There can be a number of factors that could be contributing to the fading colors of your Cichlids but the most common culprit is stress. Your fish could be stressed for a number of reasons:

  • Aggression

We already discussed in the answer to the first question how aggression can be solved. Just provide your fish with ample food so no fish gets left out. This will relieve a lot of the tension among them and help alleviate the aggression.

  • Overcrowding

An overcrowded tank can lead to some very unhappy Cichlids. You can try switching some of your fish over to a secondary fish tank and see if that makes a difference on their colors.

  • Poor water quality

Make sure to clean your tank at least once a week. Poor water quality due to high ammonia levels can lead to the deterioration of not only your fish’s colors but also their health.

  • Poor diet

A very big reason as to why your Cichlid’s colors may be feeding could be because they’re not getting all the nutrients they need. Look at the ingredients of the daily food you’re giving your Cichlids and try to see if something is missing. You can supplement food that has those missing nutrients in addition to the daily food or you can try changing their diet entirely. 

How long do Cichlids live? 

It depends on the species. African Cichlids normally live for about 8 years inside aquariums where as Oscars can live from 10 up to 20 years.

On average, Cichlids live for about 10 years in fish tanks. 

Final Verdict 

Cichlids are by far one of the most popular aquarium fish around but they are also one of the harder ones to take care of. With all these options out there, we know it’s important for you to make the right choice for your Cichlids.

In the end, we’ve chosen Tetra TetraCichlid Balanced Diet Flakes as the undisputed king of Cichlid food. Not only do they promise a huge quantity at a reasonable price, they are easy-to-eat, highly nutritious and promote color-enhancement.

This brings us to the end of our article for the best Cichlid food.

Give us feedback and let us know what your Cichlids are being treated to.

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