How to Feed a Fish with Live Food?

It is acceptable to be overwhelmed with the type of food you can provide for your aquatic pets. The kind of food they will have will significantly affect their overall health and the water they live on. Knowing what food they should eat gives you the edge and confidence to become healthier in the coming days. Feeding fish live food is among the most exciting things you can do on your meals. Here’s a quick guide on feeding your fish the right live food.


What type of food should my fish eat?

Fish naturally find their food in the habitat. However, they cannot be as free to hunt for their food inside a fish tank. As a responsible fish owner, you should be able to identify the types of fish food that will keep your aquatic babies healthy and happy. Here are the common fish food types that you can provide:

Dried food

These are the most common fish food you can find in pet stores. Being the cheapest kind of fish food, you can find the most economical food for long-term feeding. It also comes in different recipes and flavors and is very convenient to feed your fish. It is also easy to store and will last you for a couple of months under the shelf. This food type includes fish flakes, crisps, pellets, stick-on tablets, and wafers.

Live food

This type of food is one of the best food you can provide your fish for a balanced diet. It is live, smaller aquatic animals that fish typically feed on. By giving this kind of food, you let your fish mimic having a meal under the sea. This food type includes brine shrimp, tubifex, blackworms, Daphnia, microworms, etc.

Freeze-dried food

Unlike dry food that comes in different recipes, ingredients, and flavors, the freeze-dried variant is a live food that has been processed and dried. This type of food has a long shelf life. It can also be crumbled and broken down into pieces for smaller fish to feast on. The most popular one is the frozen bloodworms. Other freeze-dried foods are Daphnia, brine shrimp, tubifex, blackworms, and krill.

Frozen food

Another variety of fish food is when live food is frozen up into cubes for future use. It can be a combination of different food, and when feeding comes, it is easily tossed in the tank. Some fish tank owners thaw these cubes before feeding. This type of food is easy to store and is readily available. Because it is in cube form, it is also easy to measure for future fish servings.

Fresh food

This food type will make your feeding more fun because it includes typical human food. It may surprise you that fish eat vegetables and fruits, just like their owners. Among the most common fresh food that you can provide your fish include peas and squash. Remember that you should take uneaten food away to prevent it from contaminating the water tank.

Vacation food

Instances that leave you with no option but to leave your fish for a couple of days will make you choose to have vacation food for your pets. This food type is also known as the slow release fish food. These are densely packed food blocks that can feed your fish for up to 14 days. While some fish will not fancy vacation food, it is best to have a test run with this food before letting them have it for a couple of days.

feeding koi fish

What live food can my fish eat?

Live food for common freshwater fish is easy to source out and are pretty common to feed your aquatic babies. The most common live food your fish can eat is brine shrimp, and it is also known as Artemia. Although some pet stores don’t sell this out as commonly as the others, this can be grown at home. Some fish owners breed their brine shrimp for regular fish meals. You can source out brine shrimp eggs, and some even come with hatching kits. The other live food that experts suggest is the Daphnia, which is water fleas. They carry a lot of nutritional benefits and are also easy to grow at home.

Aside from those two typical live food, carnivore fish breeds may also eat guppies and goldfish. Here is other live food you can provide your aquatic pets:

  • Earthworms
  • Microworms
  • Grindal worms
  • White worms
  • Maggots
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Wingless fruit flies
  • Vinegar eels


What are the advantages of letting my fish eat live food?

Live food has a lot of advantages over the more common and accessible fish food sold today. Feeding your fish with live food will let them experience their natural lifestyle of having meals under the sea. Unlike commercial flakes and pellets, live food has a nutritional content that is not affected by intensive processing. They are an excellent food choice for filling the gaps with having dried food for your fish. Live food is also an ingenious way of delivering vitamins and minerals to your fish. Here are other reasons why letting your fish eat live food is beneficial:

  • Live food is excellent for fish who do not eat pellets or flakes.
  • It encourages and stimulates natural habitat and behavior.
  • They can be grown, and some live food can survive for life.
  • It is the best food for the fish fry.
  • High nutritional value that you cannot replace with other alternative fish food.


Are there any drawbacks to feeding my fish live food?

One thing that will hold fish owners when it comes to feeding their fish with live food is the cost. Live food is more expensive than the typical dried food found in stores. That is why most fish owners who are fond of live food breed their food for a decent amount of savings.

Another drawback in live food for fish feeding is that it is a potential carrier of fish disease. It can directly transmit any harmful pathogen within the live food to the fish. And it is hard to dissect which live food does or doesn’t have the pathogen.

Live food also has a shorter shelf life than other fish food options. Storage can also be a problem, especially for fish owners who have limited space at home.


How often should I feed my fish with live food?

There is no concrete frequency as to how often each fish will have its meal. If it is a growing fish, it can have two to three meals in a day. Most fully grown breeds of fish will grow sufficiently with one meal in a day. The kind of fish is also a significant factor as to how often you should feed it. Keep in mind that the key to having a successful feeding is to provide small fish food to avoid overeating.


How much food should I feed my fish?

When it comes to feeding, two different types of fish can be observed –the fast eaters and the slow eaters. Most fish owners will tell you that the right amount of food a fish should have is the amount they can eat in five minutes. At the same time, some will argue that it should only be 30 seconds. Factors that will affect the amount of food a fish should eat include the breed, the kind of food being fed, and a fast or slow eater. To avoid overfeeding, observe the size of your fish’s belly from side to side and from top to bottom. A slightly rotund belly will signal you that the amount of food you have given is enough.

fish being fed

Can I grow my live fish food?

Yes, you can grow your own set of live food for your fish. Several live foods can sustain in most homes. Fish owners usually hatch brine shrimp in any container, but the best one to grow on is the one with a concave bottom. A daphnia culture can also thrive where there is enough sunlight or artificial light. Microworms can also be grown at home using yeast. There are a lot of ways to grow your fish food. The idea of having live food at home secures that these are grown in safe and healthy environments.


Is it okay to overfeed my fish with live food?

Overall, overfeeding your fish is harmful. Having too much food in their small gut will do more harm than good. Overfeeding is the most common cause of fish loss because most fish owners feed according to the tank’s size. Remember that your fish should have sufficient amounts of fish food no matter what you feed, and nothing more. To prevent overfeeding, feed your fish according to schedule and have the right amount of food with the number of fish inside the tank. You may also remove uneaten food to prevent water contamination.


Feeding your fish is probably one of the most exciting things you will look forward to in a day. It is worthy to note that there are a lot of options for their meals. And feeding fish live food is one of the best things you can do to ensure that they grow healthy and happy. Live food will mimic the environment they naturally grow in, and it has a lot of nutritional content that cannot be sourced out from other fish food. Keep in mind that a healthy meal will promote a healthy lifestyle for your aquatic babies.


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Rita Wagener
Rita is a resident paw expert at Pet Keepers. A registered & licensed dog trainer, she also has a degree in animal nutrition, and runs her own dog training course.

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