Cichlids are an aquarist’s favorite. Truthfully, some of the most popular aquarium fish are cichlid species, such as Convicts, Discus, Angelfish, and Oscars.
With their irresistible vibrant colors and unique personalities, cichlids will, no doubt, add more life and charm to any aquarium.
Furthermore, they are resilient and tend to live longer compared to other types of aquarium fish.
Unfortunately, keeping them may not be an easy experience for most fishkeeping newbies.
Other aquarium hobbyists even say that they are a little challenging to keep, citing problems in their behavior as one of the primary reasons.
But, a lot of these problems can be easily avoided with the best cichlid food and proper nutrition.
In the wild, cichlids eat as much as they can and whenever they want. But, in the fish tank, it is primarily your responsibility to make sure that they are correctly fed and provide your cichlids with a healthy and balanced diet.
At first, keeping a school of cichlids may seem complicated. But, trust me, things will turn easy and smooth-sailing once you understand their habits in eating as well as adapt to the diet that perfectly suits their needs.
And guess what? I am going to help you find the best cichlid food that will help your fish pop with color, grow, and live an active and healthy life.
Of course, I am also sharing my handpicked best cichlid food options.
Ready? Let us get started!
Table of Contents
How to Identify the Right Diet for Your Cichlids?
Beginners might find it surprising to know that cichlids have an array of nutrient source diet requirements, depending on the species.
And, the first step to finding the best cichlid food for your finned pet is to figure out their ideal natural source of food.
For the most part, cichlids are categorized into three types, namely:
These cichlids get their nutrients, energy, and calories from animal tissues, meaning they prefer animal-based fish food. They usually eat crustaceans, insects, fish, or a blend of these three sources.
Jaguar, Oscars and Jack Dempseys are all cichlid carnivores.
They have a healthy diet varying between plant and animal nutrients. These cichlids benefit from both plant and animal-based food.
Peacocks, firemouths, and Angelfish are some of the most common types of cichlid omnivores.
And, they practically eat anything edible for them.
Their digestive tract is a combination of a herbivore and a carnivore.
These aquarium fish get the nutrients and calories that they need from plants, so it is ideal to feed them with plant-based food. A lot of African cichlids, such as Mbuna and Tropheus, eat aquatic plants, biofilm, and algae.
These cichlids graze the entire day and have quite a long intestinal tract, allowing them to absorb as many crucial nutrients as they can from food with low protein and fat content.
Types of Fish Food for Cichlids
Cichlid food is available in different types. Here is a list of the typical cichlid food options.
Frozen or Live Food
Bloodworms are not only ideal for cichlids but suitable for other types of aquarium fish as well. Packed with nutrients and protein, these food options will make your fish’s color pop as well as let them live a healthy life.
Since live bloodworms do not last quite long, I suggest that you opt for the frozen ones. Also, consider buying frozen brine shrimps since they have terrific nutritional values.
Frozen daphnia, clam meat, and cyclops are other wondrous options, as far as live or frozen food.
Granules slowly sink, meaning all kinds of fish, including bottom and mid-water eaters, may eat it. Additionally, it is a fish food variety that can be consumed by some fish in just one bite.
Ideal for bottom-feeding finned pets, fish food tablets soak up water quickly and sink to the aquarium’s bottom.
These ball-shaped or small cubic fish food options are available in the slow sinking, floating and sinking types. Several pellet sizes are available to meet your fish size requirements.
Flakes are thin fish food slices that usually float on the water’s surface and are perfect for top-feeding aquatic pets.
They are, hands down, the most popular type of fish food in today’s market and can be beneficial in many ways.
On the low side, they quickly break up and dissolve in aquarium water, ultimately losing some of their nutrients.
Crisps look quite like the flakes, but a tad thicker. Moreover, they float so much longer in aquarium water, making a terrific option for aquarists with top-feeders.
Medium and small-sized fish are best fed with these options.
Cichlid Food Comparison Chart 2020
Want to score the best cichlid food for your beloved fish? Then, make sure to check out this informative and handy comparison chart!
|Product Name||Fish Food Type||Quantity/Size||Special Features|
|TetraCichlid Balanced Diet - Best Overall||Flakes||1.58 oz to 1.75 lbs||Cichlid formulation|
|Fluval Cichlid Fish Food - Budget Pick||Pellets||Not specified||Contains salmon and Black soldier fly larvae|
|Northfin Veggie Cichlid Food - Best for Herbivore Cichlids||Sinking pellets||250 g||High-protein marine diet|
|Omega One Cichlid Food - Best Sinking Pellets||Sinking pellets||4.2 oz to 3 lbs||Keeps aquarium water clean|
|Hikari Gold Cichlid Food - Best Color Enhancer||Floating pellets||250 g||Contains Vitamin C|
|API Cichlid Food Pellets - Best for Large Cichlids||Floating pellets||200 g||Designed for cichlids that are 5 inches long or more|
|New Life Cichlid Food Pellets - Best Food for a Well-Balanced Diet||Pellets||80 g||High amounts of vegetable extracts and fruits|
|Tetra Cichlid Food Crisps - Best Fish Food Crisps||Crisps||3.28 and 8.82 oz||Formulated specially for cichlids|
|Omega One Veggie Cichlid Food||Veggie rounds||2 oz to 15 lbs||Superior quality|
|Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets||Sinking pellets||4 to 25 oz||Premium food ingredients|
|Tetra Cichlid Dual Fish Food||Sinking and floating pellets||4 oz||Nutritionally balanced and color enhancer|
|Royal Pet Cichlid Food||Flakes||2 and 4 oz||Rich in raw protein, excellent for breeding|
|Repashy Cichlid Food||Powder/gel||3 and 12 oz||Rich in crude protein|
|Tetra Blood Worms||Frozen||100 ml||Specially processed|
|New Life Spectrum Cichlid Food||Sinking pellet||500 g||Extreme color enhancer|
What is the Best Cichlid Food to Buy?
Searching for something more specific? Looking for the best cichlid food that best fits your budget and preferences?
Why not consider my top picks? Who knows? One of them might be the best cichlid food for your fish.
- Best Overall – Tetracichlid Balanced Diet
“Formulated scientifically for cichlids, this outstanding nutritionally-balanced food enhances colors, and boosts its immune system for long life and optimal health!”
- Budget Pick – Fluval Cichlid Fish Food
“This wallet-friendly cichlid food is fortified with minerals, amino acids, and essential vitamins for a balanced and healthy daily diet.”
- Best for Herbivore Cichlids – Northfin Veggie Cichlid Food
“With its organic premium ingredients, this outstanding formula is perfectly and scientifically designed to boost health and promote growth for herbivore fish.”
- Best Sinking Pellets – Omega One Cichlid Food
“Rated as one of the best cichlid food brands today, this superior quality pellet is formulated with an array of ocean kelp and fresh seafood to provide the ideal balanced diet.”
- Best Color Enhancer – Hikari Gold Cichlid Food
“Rich in NS germ and beta carotene, this fish food brings out the dazzling natural colors of your fish as well as promotes a healthy and long life.”
- Best for Large Cichlids – Api Cichlid Food Pellets
“Formulated with a wide array of natural ingredients, these fish food pellets are designed for larger cichlids that are 5 inches long or more.”
- Best Food for a Well-Balanced Diet – New Life Cichlid Food Pellets
“Not only does it contain all the essential nutrients, but it also is a potent color enhancer for cichlids.”
- Best Fish Food Crisps – Tetra Cichlid Food Crisps
“Explicitly designed for mid and top-water feeding cichlids, these fish food crisps are nutritious, safe, and incredibly clear for your aquarium.”
Top 15 Best Cichlid Food Reviews 2020
If you want to find and score the best cichlid food for your fish, you need to read a ton of product reviews. And, luckily for you, I have rounded reviews for some of the best cichlid food options in the market today.
1. TetraCichlid Balanced Diet
To get the best cichlid food, you have to go with a trusted and renowned brand. And, trust me, you cannot go wrong with Tetra.
Trusted by fishkeepers for more than 50 years, this beloved brand has been producing superior quality products developed by a team of biologists, nutritionists, and chemists.
And, this fish food is no exception.
The TetraCichlid Balanced Diet is a perfectly healthy blend of immune system boosters, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and biotin. It is formulated to ensure that your finned pets develop a super healthy metabolism, as well as stay immune to battle weather stress and disease.
Ideal or mid-feeding fish, these protein-packed flakes do not cloud the water or affect the water chemistry since they do not fall apart easily.
- Formulated specifically for cichlid
- Ideal for everyday feeding
- Does not cloud the water
|Sizes available||1.75 lbs, 5.65 oz, 2.82 oz and 1.58 oz|
- Aquarium water remains clear after feeding
- Flakes float quite well
- Great value for the money
- Excellent texture and size compared to other flakes
2. Fluval Cichlid Fish Food
I love the Fluval cichlid fish food. Not only is it incredibly affordable, but it also closely mimics the natural diet of a cichlid.
After all, the formula consists of a whole Omega 3 and 6-rich salmon and has a Black Soldier Fly Larvae as its main ingredient.
Even better, this cichlid food is formulated for healing and conditioning, which will come in handy if you have a pretty aggressive cichlid.
And, unlike other pellets, this fish food is easily digested by your cichlid, thanks to its natural ingredients like potatoes and peas. Plus, it is all-natural, free from any preservatives, artificial colors or fillers.
- Made in Canada
- No artificial preservatives, colors or fillers
- Fortified with minerals, amino acids, and essential vitamins
- Contains whole Salmon and Black Soldier Fly Larvae
|Dimensions||2.5 by 5 by 7.8 inches|
|Sizes available||Not specified|
- Mimics your fish’s natural diet
- Natural protein
- Superior quality ingredients
- Lacks color enhancing ingredients
3. Northfin Veggie Cichlid Food
(Best for Herbivore Cichlids)
Technically, this food is formulated and made for herbivores. But, with its high protein concentrations, it makes a suitable option for omnivorous and carnivorous fish as well.
As a matter of fact, Northfin Veggie is packed with high-quality, protein-rich ingredients, such as a sardine meal and an Antarctic krill meal. Moreover, it contains color-enhancing vitamins and ingredients, including Haematococcus algae and Calcium Montmorillonite clay.
And, they are perfectly sized as well as slow sinking pellets, making it an ideal option for bottom-feeding fish.
- Slow sinking
- Rich in protein
- Contains other vitamins and minerals
- No additives and artificial hormones
|Dimensions||9.1 by 1.6 by 6.3 inches|
|Sizes available||250 g|
- Uses natural ingredients
- Free from any synthetic pigments and fillers
- Lets your fish fully digest and absorb a ton of nutrients
- Suitable to the diet of herbivores and omnivores as well
- Fiber content is low
4. Omega One Cichlid Food
(Best Sinking Pellets)
These Omega One pellets not only help your fish thrive, but they also enhance your pet’s colors.
Moreover, it seems a delicious treat for them because they are so eager to eat it.
Another thing I really love about this product is its impressive high-quality protein content.
Additionally, it comes with omega 6 and omega 3 to further boost your cichlid’s immune system.
The pellets are mainly derived from salmon skin, combined with extracted marigold and astaxanthin to enhance the vibrant natural colors of your fish.
It is, however, worth noting that this fish food is at the spectrum’s lower end, as far as fiber content.
- Enhances fish color
- Ideal balance
- Premium quality ingredients
|Dimensions||3.3 by 3.3 by 6.3 inches|
|Sizes available||16.25 oz, 15 lbs, 8 oz, 4.2 oz and 3 lbs|
- Exceptional color enhancer
- Does not dissolve quickly in water
- Smells good
- Superior quality ingredients
- Low fiber content
5. Hikari Gold Cichlid Food
(Best Color Enhancer)
Planning on keeping top-feeder cichlids? My advice is, opt for the Hikari gold fish food.
Your fish will undoubtedly benefit from it because it is a fish food product tailored to their nutritional needs.
Its high protein content is sufficient entirely for your finned buddies. And, it contains a mishmash of other essential vitamins, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
And, did I mention that it is the best color enhancer, thanks to its high beta carotene content?
Of course, these pellets are perfect for top-feeding fish as they float on the water’s surface for a while. And, they maintain their own form, even when sunk underwater for a pretty long time.
- Does not cloud aquarium water
- Has essential nutrients
- The best in color enhancing
- Helps promote a healthy and long lie
|Dimensions||9.1 by 1 by 3.7 inches|
|Sizes available||250 g|
- Keeps water clean
- An excellent option for enhancing the vibrant colors of your fish
- Suitable for top-feeders
- Other cichlid species might have a hard time eating these pellets
6. API Cichlid Food Pellets
(Best for Large Cichlids)
Are your cichlids around five inches long or even longer? You might want to consider buying API cichlid food pellets.
These floating fish food pellets have the nutrients and calories needed for larger cichlids to thrive. And, they contain a smorgasbord of natural ingredients that your finned creatures will absolutely love.
For instance, it contains menhaden and squid for protein, garlic for taste, and peas and bananas for increased digestion.
As a bonus, this cichlid food is suitable for other fish types as well, including goldfish, angelfish, tetras, and many more.
- Contains tons of healthy natural ingredients
- Designed for fish that are inches long or more
- Floats for a long while
|Dimensions||4.1 by 4.1 by 6.5 inches|
|Sizes available||200 g|
- Enhances the vibrant color of your fish
- High-quality cichlid food
- Formulated into perfection
- Clouds the aquarium water a bit
7. New Life Cichlid Food Pellets
(Best Food for a Well-Balanced Diet)
New Life has all the top ingredients of the best cichlid food. Unlike some fish food brands today, all of the food’s main sources are genuinely aquatic, and each meal is made from whole pure ingredients.
Algae meal, Spirulina, and all of vegetable and fruit extracts make it a balanced fish food. To me, it is by far a perfect choice as a staple fish food for omnivores and carnivores.
All of the product’s plant sources, definitely, make it a top option for enhancing the fish’s colors.
On the low side, these sinking food pellets drop pretty quickly.
- Has all the essential ingredients
- Made from a trusted manufacturer
- A healthy staple for cichlids
|Sizes available||80 g|
- Superior quality ingredients
- Plenty of color-enhancing natural ingredients
- A balanced and healthy diet for omnivores and carnivores
- Quickly drops
8. Tetra Cichlid Food Crisps
(Best Fish Food Crisps)
Cichlid owners will absolutely have a swell time using these crisps. After all, this cichlid food is formulated specifically and scientifically with the cichlid’s nutritional requirements in mind.
As with most of Tetra’s products, this one features an outstanding clean tank water formula, meaning your aquarium will not become murky or clouded.
A perfect staple for a cichlid, this fish food has concentrated algae, to help make your fish healthy. Additionally, it contains shrimp as well as dried kill, which is loved by marine fish and large cichlids.
On top of it all, it has natural chemicals that help improve the fish’s orange-red and pink colors.
- Clear water formula
- Formulated specifically for cichlid
- Uniform size
- Reduces waste
|Dimensions||3.6 by 3.6 by 7 inches|
|Sizes available||3.28 and 8.82 oz|
- An excellent option or alternative to some live food
- Clean water
- Has all the critical healthy ingredients
- Crisps are a little rough for some fish
9. Omega One Veggie Cichlid Food
Does your pet prefer to forage and eat at the aquarium’s bottom? Then, consider this Omega One product as one of your options when looking for the best cichlid food!
Unique and nutritious, these veggie rounds are designed and formulated for Jewel cichlids and other bottom-feeding herbivores.
They immediately sink, meaning they are perfect for getting fish food past the faster surface-feeding fish.
However, these rounds have low fiber content, so you will need other fish food for your pet. Nevertheless, it is a terrific supplement for your cichlid pet.
- Keeps aquarium clean
- Premium quality ingredients
- Balanced nutrition
|Dimensions||2.8 by 2.8 by 7.8 inches|
|Sizes available||2 oz, 2.75 lbs, 4.2 oz, 8.1 oz and 15 lbs|
- Contains Spirulina, whole kelp and other exceptional nutrient sources
- High-quality ingredients
- Does not cloud the aquarium water
- Low in fiber
10. Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets
If you are looking for slow sinking cichlid food pellets, you might want to consider this Aqueon product. Providing balanced and healthy nutrition for your cichlid, this fish food has all-natural and healthy ingredients, like squid and krill, that even the pickiest fish will love.
As a matter of fact, it has 42 percent protein, giving your fish enough fuel to stay healthy and grow strong.
Of course, your fish will look totally gorgeous and bright, thanks to its natural color enhancing ingredients.
Even better, these pellets do not have any artificial colors and additives.
- Balanced and healthy nutrition
- Pellets are slow sinking
- Premium ingredients, like squid and krill
|Dimensions||5.9 by 4 by 9 inches|
|Sizes available||4 oz, 7.5 oz and 25 oz|
- Pallets do not easily break
- Provides quality nutrition to other tropical fish
- Superior quality ingredients
- Great value for the money
- Size of pellet is small for some larger fish
- Disperse quickly, meaning an aquarium water pump must be turned off before using
11. Tetra Cichlid Dual Fish Food
When it comes to cichlid food, there is nothing quite like this Tetra product. It is a one-of-a-kind product that caters to a variety of fish types by mixing both floating and sinking pieces in one bag.
Both fish food types have the same healthy and nutritious formula. The bag contains mixed fish food sticks and pellets that are suitable for all kinds of cichlids.
This fish food mainly comes from potatoes, shrimp meal, and fish meal. Plus, it has soybean oil, dried yeast, wheat gluten, and wheat flour.
And, it has tons of added nutrients and vitamins that combine to create a healthy and solid food staple for your fish.
- Color enhancer
- Packed with nutrients
- Suitable for different species of cichlid
|Dimensions||4.8 by 1.5 by 8 inches|
|Sizes available||114 g|
- Perfect for medium and small fish
- An excellent protein source
- Suits passive and aggressive fish as well as the bottom and top feeders
- Enhances fish colors, especially red, yellow and orange
- More floating pellets
- Main ingredients are wheat gluten and wheat flour instead of a protein source
12. Royal Pet Cichlid Food
The ingredients of Royal Pet cichlid food are simply fantastic. For one, it contains Zoo Med, which is a salmon meal packed with fats, vitamins, and protein that are needed for your fish to stay healthy.
But, the ingredient that makes this product unique is Spirulina, which is green-blue algae packed with helpful essential fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid.
Other perks of this ingredient include crucial vitamins and color-enhancing properties.
Not to mention, this ingredient enhances breeding since Spirulina improves the production egg, hatching rates as well as helps younger finned creatures survive.
- Rich in raw protein
- Enhances fish breeding
- Suitable for saltwater or freshwater fish
|Dimensions||4 by 4 by 7.2 inches|
|Sizes available||2 oz and 4 oz|
- Boost the metabolism of your cichlid
- High protein content
- Excellent color enhancer
- Fiber content is low
13. Repashy Cichlid Food
Repashy cichlid food comes in powder form that has to be mixed with a little boiling water. You will have to keep mixing it until it has a gel’s consistency.
Afterward, the gel can be used as fish food to deliver superior quality nutrients, vitamins, and protein.
This fish food comes from genuine plant-based natural sources, meaning you may feed it to your colorful herbivorous cichlid.
Excellent nutrients aside, the food contains ingredients that enhance your fish’s natural colors, such as Hibiscus, Paprika, Marigold, and Spirulina extracts.
- Rich in protein
- Enhance colors
- Nutrient packed
|Sizes available||3 oz and 12 oz|
- Perfect for protein diet for herbivores, such as Tropheus and Mbuna
- Rich in color enhancers
- Has a somewhat strong smell
- You will have to mix it up by yourself
14. Tetra Blood Worms
They do not call this fish food as the best freeze-dried treat for nothing. Perfect for omnivores and carnivores, these bloodworms are a superb way to give some extra protein boost to your fish’s diet.
These treats are freeze-dried, meaning the parasites and toxins are ideally treated out.
My cichlids totally love these bloodworms, and swim-up for a flurry, instantly gobbling these treats down.
It comes from one of the most dependable fishkeeping brands, and since it contains insect larvae, this fish food does not have any of the unhealthy and unnecessary fillers.
- Nutritious freeze-dried bloodworms
- Suitable for saltwater and freshwater too
- Processed specially
|Dimensions||1.9 by 1.9 by 3.2 inches|
|Sizes available||100 ml|
- Mimics cichlid’s favorite food in the world
- Minimal fillers
- High in crude protein
- High raw fiber content
- Not an ideal stable, and is best used as a supplement
15. New Life Spectrum Cichlid Food
With its high fiber content, these small sinking pellets definitely make a terrific choice for owners of herbivorous cichlids.
These cichlid food pellets are made to sink. So, they are ideal when keeping cichlids that eat in the lower and middle portions of your aquarium.
Even better, this extraordinary formula contains quality nutrients from a plethora of plant and animal sources that omnivore fish appreciate.
And, did I mention that New Life cichlid food is easy to eat for the fish, with their small 1-mm size?
- Made 100 percent in the USA
- Enhances color
- Made from premium quality natural ingredients
|Dimensions||3.8 by 3.8 by 3.8 inches|
|Sizes available||500 g|
- Does not contain artificial hormones or colors
- Contains a heap of vitamins and minerals to promote health
- Uneaten fish food pellets are so small that they work into the tank’s substrate
How to Find the Best Cichlid Food?
Still having problems making a decision? Then, make sure to heed these tips when looking for the best cichlid fish food.
Cichlids, for the most part, vary when it comes to nutritional needs. In general, though, fish food for cichlid should be high in digestible fats, fiber, and protein.
To me, high protein content is crucial because it will help them stay at their health’s peak.
Sources of nutrition vary, depending on the cichlid species you keep. And, understanding your cichlid’s nutritional needs will help you make a more apt choice.
Cichlid-specially made food is typically an excellent base that you can work with when it comes to nutrition.
Not all of them might not be what your cichlid pets need (some are actually supplements), but it is undoubtedly a better choice than generic food for tropical fish.
One of the perks of having food that is specially designed for cichlid is the addition of safe color enhancers. Typically, these sources are listed or called pigments.
They are mainly added to help maintain or bring out the vibrant colors of your cichlids.
Orange, yellow, and red colored cichlids need higher pigmentation levels in their food to make their colors look even brighter.
Green plants, such as broccoli, spinach, and peas, as well as underwater plants like seaweed, kelp, and algae, can also enhance the cichlid’s natural color.
Pick the Right Food Type for Your Cichlid
Cichlid food usually comes in the form of flakes or pellets. Smaller cichlids prefer eating flakes, while the larger ones may eat any of the two options.
Pellets have the tendency to sink to the aquarium’s bottom more quickly. Flakes, on the other hand, can disintegrate as well as cloud the aquarium water.
Flakes are superb when you are feeding your cichlids several times a day so that you can feed your fish a little food at a time.
Pellets, in my book, are more suitable for larger fish that are fed once a day.
You should look for fish with some other nutrient content. The best cichlid food contains sources like omega-3 fatty acids, which will promote growth as well as increase their energy levels.
The added fish food nutrients are crucial for cichlids in a fish tank environment since they are fed only a few times a day.
Avoid Cichlid Food With High Salt Concentrations
The best cichlid food options do not have high salt concentrations. Even fish that originates from a brackish water environment will likely suffer from an intestinal issue when it consumes a lot of salt.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Fish, like humans, need variety. Although every species has a preferred food source, it is essential to spice it up every once in a while for a healthy and complete diet.
Some of the best cichlid food producers always add more variety to each of their products.
If the cichlid food is pretty specific in its nutrient content, try to supplement it with other food sources.
This is so crucial for omnivore cichlids.
My Top Pick
TetraCichlid Balanced Diet is, to me, holds the title of the best cichlid food in the market today. Formulated by a team of knowledgeable experts, this Tetra product will satisfy the nutritional needs of our fish, helping them live a healthy, happy, and stress-free life.
Even better, it contains ingredients that will enhance the colors of your cichlid. And, apparently, it is tasty for the fish because they always go crazy whenever I feed them with TetraCichlid Balanced Diet.