Do You Know What Fish Food is Best for Your Tropical Fish?

Date Posted:19 July 2023 


If you’ve hitherto owned goldfish only, you’ll soon learn that tropical fish food is a whole other kettle of fish to what you know. Like goldfish, tropical fish often eat flakes and pellets, but the difference lies in the macronutrient breakdown. So, what is the difference between goldfish flakes and tropical fish flakes? Let’s discuss the specifics and ultimately determine why the distinction is so important.


Why the ‘Tropical Diet’ Is So Important?


Just as tropical fish thrive in different conditions to goldfish, they also have different dietary requirements. And because there are many varieties of tropical fish, it’s impossible to pin down one overarching ‘tropical diet’. That said, most tropical fish do eat omnivorous diets, and you can purchase fish food flakes that cater to this majority. It’s fit for most feeding styles and contains at least 40% protein.


To determine your fish’s feeding style, all you need to do is examine their mouth. Its shape and orientation should tell the tale of which tropical fish food to purchase. If you find yourself wondering, ‘Is it better to feed fish flakes or pellets?’, these physical characteristics may also provide clarity in that regard.


Surface Feeders


Is your fish pursing its lips for a kiss? If their mouth is slightly upturned, you’re dealing with a surface feeder, who prefers their fish food in the form of flakes or floating pellets.


Mid-Level Feeders


Mid-level feeders gave us the original ‘fish gape’. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, all you need to know is that they have forward-facing mouths. Mid-feeders—as their name suggests—prefer food that falls somewhere between the surface and the floor of their tank. See if you can find some fish food tablets that stick to the glass to help meet these needs.


Bottom Feeders


Perhaps the most famous bottom feeder is the blobfish. These guys are perpetually down-in-the-mouth, sporting downward-facing frowns (or half-smiles, at best) that, yet, serve one impressive purpose: to scour the seafloor like a low-speed vacuum cleaner. For bottom feeders, choose fish food pellets that will sink to the bottom of the tank.


Above all, when feeding a fish, ensure to dispense the correct amount of food. It’s important to nail the portion sizes, which are critical to fish health.


What’s the Difference Between Goldfish Food & Tropical Fish Food?


While goldfish food tends to be the same across the board, there’s a smorgasbord of tropical fish food by comparison. Variety aside, the key difference between goldfish and tropical fish food is the macronutrient breakdown. Goldfish food contains high levels of protein and fat, which does not suit tropical fish. That said, you can feed your tropical fish goldfish food so long as it’s not their long-term diet.


Why is the distinction between goldfish and tropical fish food so important? Because a ‘goldfish diet’ won’t meet a tropical fish’s needs. It skimps on nutrients critical to a tropical fish, much in the way that a cow’s grass-heavy diet would fall short for a dog. Feed a tropical fish on goldfish food alone and they run the risk of obesity, fatigue, weakened immunity, a shortened lifespan and lacklustre scales. In extreme cases, they may even sustain organ damage.


Can a goldfish have tropical fish food though? The answer is also yes, but with a similar caveat: so long as it’s not a long-term solution. As a general rule, it’s better to feed your fish their corresponding food. It’s not that the food is unsafe, so much as it’s lacking correct macronutrient balances required long term.


What Is the Best Tropical Fish Food?


The answer to this question will vary depending on which species of tropical fish you’re housing. Although most tropical fish are omnivores, there are also carnivorous and herbivorous variants. Moreover, you will also need to determine if you’re dealing with a surface feeder, mid-level feeder or bottom feeder. Once you’ve nutted out these two details, determining the best tropical fish food should be more straightforward. Of course, you can buy the one-size-fits-most tropical fish food flakes for omnivores, but it’s also important to check your fish’s individual needs before diving into the simplest solution.


Specific species will sometimes have specific nutritional requirements. For example, GloFish require carotene or beta-carotene to keep their scaly coats aglow. In cases like this, you should either locate species-specific tropical fish food or supplement their diet with unprocessed food (e.g. vegetable pieces or even live food like worms, shrimp or krill, for predatory species). It’s important to do your own research to ensure you’re providing the best diet to your tropical fish.


Where Is the Best Tropical Fish Food?


Tropical fish are the warm, colourful cousins of goldfish that come with their own host of environmental and dietary requirements. While you can feed them goldfish food occasionally, you should not stray from their regular diet that’s designed with their needs in mind. If you have a tropical fish, it’s best to research what they need as nutritional needs can vary between species. Finally, if you’re unsure about anything, it’s best to consult a vet or expert rather than Dr Google.


At Aquarium Kingdom, we stock all kinds of fish food. From fish food flakes to pellets, we have what you need at an affordable price. Our experts are always on hand to give you some top industry recommendations. Check out our online store and order your next batch of tropical fish food today!