An In-Depth Review Of The Best Cichlid Food & Buying Guide

It’s no doubt, fish loves food, but Cichlid fish loves food extraordinarily. And we see the results on their body: a beautiful, glowing, and colorful skin.

When you’re looking for the best cichlid food, its important to prioritize a high-quality formula.

Why?

Because these beautiful fish must always maintain their amazingly colorful skin. And….for the fact that they are kept in groups in the same environments (both the gentle ones and predators)- something they are not naturally used to. That means you have to always get their foods ready instantly as at when needed.

Best Cichlid Food 2019

Image Product Features Price
API fish food pellet Type of food- Pellet

Made by- API

Best for- All types of Cichlid

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TetraCichlid Cichlid Crisps Advanced Clear Water Formula Type of food- Crisp

Made by- TetraCichlid

Best for-  Carnivores and omnivore Cichlid

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Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Type of food- Flake

Made by- Zoo Med

Best for- Carnivores and Omnivores Cichlid

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Tetra Cichlid Balanced Diet Flakes Type of food- Flakes

Made by- Tetra

Best for- Herbivore Cichlid

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Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets Type of food- Pellet

Made by- Hikari Cloud

Best for- Carnivores and Top-feeders Cichlids

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Aqueon cichlid pellets Type of food- Pellet

Made by- Aqueon

Best for- Top feeder Cichlid

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Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets Small Sinking Type of food- Pellet

Made by- Omega one

Best for- Middle and top feeders  Cichlid

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NewLife Spectrum Cichlid Formula Type of food- Pellet

Made by- New Life Spectrum

Best for- All kind of Cichlid

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Northfin Food Veggie Formula Type of food- pellet

Made by- Northfin

Best for- herbivores Cichlid

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Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Pellets Type of food- Pellet

Made by- Fluval

Best for- Carnivore Cichlids

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Cichlids are usually grouped into three: the carnivores, omnivores and the herbivores. Although some groups are natural predators and would feed on their roommates, they won’t go past the food either.

Again, it’s crucial to have their food ready and must be an excellent formula which they would love to eat. The food you provide must be high on pigments to help keep their skin beautiful and vibrant.

Without wasting much time, let’s hop over to the 10 best cichlid food in the market. These excellent formulas will ensure that your fish remains satisfied, colorful, and overall healthy.

API Fish Food Pellet

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Let your cichlid enjoy a tasty, protein-rich, and scientifically formulated food for healthy growth, leaving your water cleaner and clearer. We are introducing the API fish food pellet, a large nutritious pellet for your cichlid.

Overfeeding and low quality result in a poorly digested or even unconsumed food which increases ammonia levels and causes wastes.

When the ammonia level is too high, it can lead to toxicity for the fish and cause stress, illness or even death. API fish food pellet produces over 30% less ammonia than their counterparts.

The product comes with garlic to improve palatability and nutritionally improved squid, protein, and menhaden to enhance growth.

When your fish digest more nutrients, they tend to release less waste and ammonia, leaving your water clean and clear. Feed your cichlid the API fish food pellet twice a day and provide as much as they could eat within a short time. This best food for cichlid is formulated for other types of fish as well, including tetra, angelfish, goldfish, and lots more.

Keep your cichlid happy, healthy and vibrantly colourful with the API fish food pellet that comes with optimal nutrition levels and help reduce waste, stress, and toxins.

Pros

  • Packs high-quality ingredients for vibrant color
  • Specially formulated for healthy living of your cichlid
  • One of the highest quality food in the market

Cons

  • Some user complains of clouding water.

Tetracichlid Cichlid Crisps Advanced Clear Water Formula

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This product is designed specifically with the nutritional requirements of cichlids in mind.

Like the majority of Tetra fish foods, this model features a clean water formula that your aquarium water doesn’t become clouded or murky.

TetraCichlid Cichlid Crisps contains concentrated algae and the standard cichlid food staple.

This floating stick is one of the most beneficial alternatives to messy live foods, especially for aggressive cichlid fish. Keep your cichlid happy and healthier with the TetraCichlid Cichlid Crisps Advanced Clear Water Formula that comes with maximum nutrition levels and help reduce waste and toxins. However, we noticed that the crisps were tough.

Pros

  • Clean water formula
  • An incredible alternative to live food
  • Contains excellent ingredients that cater to the nutritional needs of your cichlids

Cons

  • Crisps may be a bit tough

Zoo Med Spirulina 20

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Are you looking for the all-round cichlid food for your omnivores and carnivore? Have a look at the Zoo Med Spirulina 20. This flake comes with a 20% spirulina, which is a popular color enhancer, contains a naturally high protein and vitamins. It is perfect for daily feeding of your saltwater and freshwater fish.

Zoo Med’s Spirulina 20 fish food flakes are a perfect option not just for cichlids, but also the plates, molliens, tangs, and saltwater Angels.

Instead of the flakes breaking up into small pieces which are usually ignored by cichlid, they stick together and don’t disintegrate quickly.

When flakes stay together, your fish will be able to eat the whole flake, allowing them to enjoy the entire nutrient and filling up faster.

Zoo Med Spirulina 20 will never break easily or cloud your water. The flake is also a good option for your big fish as they can get satisfied easily.

The only issue is that it contains a low fibre level (around 3%), which may affect the direction — overall this is a fine flake that promises to keep your cichlid healthy while maintaining vibrant color.

Pros

  • Contains spirulina, a natural protein and color enhancer
  • Will never cloud water

Cons

  • Low on fibre

Tetra Cichlid Balanced Diet Flakes

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Available in a 1.75lb container and 1.580z box, Tetra Cichlid Balanced Diet Flakes is formulated explicitly for top and mid-level feeding cichlids from across the world. You can use it for your African and your American cichlids as well.

The highly nutritional food comes with a high protein content gotten from excellent shrimp and fish meal.

The mix also constitutes of different healthy vegetable ingredients that provide fibres and vitamins.

Tetra Cichlid Balanced Diet Flakes also contains the hosts of ground brown rice, algae meal, wheat gluten, cornflower, dried potato product, to name a few. The manufacturers add colorants to give your cichlid a vibrant, brighter color, especially if you own a blue and yellow cichlid.

Most of the ingredients I highlighted up there also help enhance your cichlid color. Instead of the flakes breaking up into small pieces which are usually ignored by cichlid, they stick together and doesn’t disintegrate quickly.

When flakes stay together, your fish will be able to eat the whole flake, allowing them to enjoy the entire nutrient and filling up faster.

Pros

  • Great texture and size when compared to its counterparts
  • Includes economy size that offers excellent value as well
  • Flake floats very well at the surface for easy feeding
  • Water remains clear after feeding

Cons

  • May not satisfy large fish
  • The varying fake size may cause clogging up of the auto feeder

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

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Do you own a carnivores top-feeding cichlids and looking for a food tailored to their nutritional requirements? Check out the Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets.

The floating pellet is designed for cichlids that love to floats on the water surface. These pellets can maintain their form even after getting sunk in water for a long time. With this, your water is clean and prevented from discoloring the water. One of the best parts of this food is its blend of premium ingredients.

The high protein level is entirely sufficient for your cichlid fish. The high vitamin C level boosts immunity.  Vitamin E also improves the level of Amino acid.

It also contains carotene at a high level for color enhancement which prevents your cichlids from getting dull or washed away.

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets also packs excellent vitamins to promote a healthy fish.

With each pellet containing a maximum 4% crude fibre, herbivores will never find this food source appealing.

However, some users complained that their cichlids were unable to eat the pellets quickly.

Pros

  • Best for top feeders
  • Pellets don’t cloud the tank water

Cons

  • Some species of cichlid may find it hard to eat this pellet.

Aqueon Cichlid Pellets

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If you’re looking for a pellet that suits your different types of cichlid, Aqueon cichlid pellets will be a good buy. You’re free to choose from different sizes ranging from the 40z to 250z bags. You can also get other pellet sizes ranging from large to mini.

This food is also specially designed for top feeding fish, and it comes with an excellent nutritional level that is useful as a regular cichlid food.

The pellet does not contain any added artificial color. Pigments like marigold powder and chili powder which is present in the formula enhance your fish color.

You’ll also get to enjoy protein obtained from dried krill, squid meal, fish meal, and lots more.

The product also strikes a balance between essential vitamins, protein, including other nutrients.

We dropped the pellet inside the water, and they floated perfectly for some minutes. Thanks to the slow-sinking design of this pellet. That way, your Fish will have more time to eat.

Pros

  • Slow sinking design helps your cichlid eat more food
  • Excellent ingredients at a great price
  • Provides excellent nutrition not just for cichlids but for other tropical fish as well
  • Pellet doesn’t break easily, until after some minutes

Cons

  • Pellet disperse quickly so water pump must be switched off before use
  • Size of pellet is small for large fish

Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets Small Sinking

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Omega one pellet does not only lets your cichlids thrive but also boost their color.

Plus, they love their deliciousness. The formula packs a higher and high-quality protein level. It also comes with omega 3 and omega 6 to boost the immune system of your cichlid while helping them live a healthier, happier life.

The color enhancement feature of this food is mostly due to the inclusion of the pigments added to the ingredients.

Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets Small Sinking is the best for your middle or bottom level feeders. Also, the formula is designed in a way that they would never cloud the water.

Overall, let your cichlid enjoy a tasty, protein-rich, and scientifically formulated food for healthy growth, leaving your water cleaner and clearer.

Pros

  • Slow sinking feature helps your cichlid eat more food
  • Excellent ingredients at an affordable price
  • Provides excellent nutrition for cichlids as well as other tropical fish as well
  • Pellet doesn’t break easily or cloud water
  • Comes with an excellent color enhancement feature.

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain fibre

NewLife Spectrum Cichlid Formula

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Coming at 250g container, this formula from Newlife spectrum is available in a 1mm large sinking pellet. Although this food is specially designed for African cichlids, the American cichlids can also enjoy the formula.

NewLife Spectrum Cichlid Formula contains a rich amount of plant-based nutrients like drawers, algae meal, and kelp. Oh, and not forgetting fruit and vegetable extracts.

These ingredients are known to enhance the beautiful color of your cichlid fish. Like other top-quality fish food, NewLife Spectrum Cichlid Formula does not come with any artificial color.

Apart from the plant-based ingredients, the formula also packs whole getting and protein-rich krill to improve the dietary requirements of your cichlid.

Due to their sinking pellet nature, they are a perfect option for cichlid species that love to eat at the bottom of your tank.

The pellet floats for a few minutes, but it sinks quickly and status at the tank bottom for your fish to eat. This is exceptionally great if you own a cichlid that eats quickly. Larger fish may not like this pellet because they can be too small for them.

Pros

  • Best for small fish
  • Excellent formula for a vibrant color
  • A great mix of nutrient for your African cichlid

Cons

  • May cloud the water if much of it sinks
  • Best for small-sized fish

Northfin Food Veggie Formula

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My herbivorous cichlid loves this formula from Northfin. Manufacturers use a careful mixture of organics plants to deliver the crude fibre of the Northfin Food Veggie Formula, as well as spirulina and kelp.

These sources are capable of delivering a top level of natural nutrients and minerals. The pellet size makes it easy for many cichlids to enjoy.

Northfin Food Veggie Formula does not contain any added artificial color. Pigments like marigold powder and chili powder which is present in the formula improve your fish natural color.

You’ll also get to enjoy protein from dried krill, squid meal, fish meal, and lots more.

The product also strikes a balance between essential vitamins, protein, including other nutrients.

Northfin Food Veggie Formula doesn’t come with fillers. This means that your fish will be able to eat more of the pellet and churn out least waste. You can buy this best food for cichlid in different bag size.

Pros

  • Free from fillers and any artificial pigment
  • Uses different plants based nutrients for your herbivore

Cons

  • Some users complain of the pellet sinking quickly.

Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Pellets

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Looking for an insect-based formula for your carnivore? Fluval created the formula using high-quality animal protein source which is natural for your cichlid. Cichlids are usually used to the nutrients provided by insects in the wild. That’s why Fluval used larvae as 40% of their pellet content.

The company claimed to select their larvae based on its extremely high nutritional level. The whole salmon blends with fish proteins to deliver a high level of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

As usual, I dropped the pellet inside the water and they floated perfectly for some minutes. Thanks to the slow-sinking design of this pellet. That way, your Fish will have more time to eat.  Fluval also used potatoes, wheat, and green peas to increase the level of crude fibre content on each big bite pellet to up to 5%.

Pros

  • The food is an animal-based protein made from a reliable source
  • It doesn’t swell in water quickly

Cons

  • The product is specially designed for large cichlids.

How To Choice The Best Cichlid Food

Identifying your cichlid’ natural food source

As a new hobbyist, you may be surprised to learn that cichlids are picky when it comes to choosing their food. Also, they have specific varieties of nutrient combination for their diet (depending on the species you keep).

To be able to determine their preferred food, it’s important to know their natural food source. This wonderful fish is grouped into 3 species, namely:

Carnivore

As with other carnivores animal, cichlid draws its nutrients from animal tissues. I recommend feeding them with foods that is animal-based.

Herbivore

These groups get their nutrients from plants which mean that you should feed them with plant-based fish food.

Omnivores

These groups don’t care. As long as the food is tasty, either it’s plant or animal-based, they are good to go. In other words, they feed on both plant and animal-based fish food.  That said, you’ll need to do a bit of research to determine your fish’s preferred food source because what works for a herbivore may not do for an omnivore.

How To Choose The Right Cichlid Food

Say no to Fiber

Unfortunately, most of the fish foods on the market today contain a high level of fibre. Fibres are considered fillers.  Ideally, you need to choose a food that contains more protein and less fibre.

All the foods we reviewed are specially formulated to provide your fish with the right nutrient that allows them to grow beautifully and live healthily.

An excellent quality cichlid food will provide nutrients that are based on the fish’s food source, irrespective of whether they are herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores.

Additional Nutrient

High-quality food for cichlids must contain those excellent adds-on nutrients. This could be sources like omega 3 fatty acids that help boost growth and overall energy.

Color Enhancer Ability

Another quality to watch out for in a cichlid food is whether it contains colour-enhancing nutrients. These nutrients are basically pigments added to the foods.

Their primary function is to bring out the freshness and bright color of your fish.

What do you think is responsible for the different colors of plants? It is a pigment called carotenoids.

They are responsible for the yellow, red, and orange colors of your fruits and vegetables.

For instance, beta carotene creates the orange color of sweet potatoes and oranges. Most animals, including fish, cannot produce this fish on their own. They can only obtain than through foods. Makes sure you feed them with food rich in carotenoids to greatly enhance their color.

Less salt

A good cichlid food must avoid adding too much salt. Not only cichlid, but even fish from the brackish waters may also suffer intestinal problem because of kg excess salt in their diet.

Variety is imperative

Although your cichlid may show a higher preference for a specific type of food, it’s crucial that you explore other varieties of nutrient. Shuffling their food will avail them the exposure to other nutrients essential for their healthy development.

An excellent quality cichlid food will make sure variety is added to each food. Okay, sometimes your cichlid may prefer a particular food which only contains specific contents. In this case, make sure you supplement the meal with food from another source. This is more important if your cichlid is omnivore by nature.

Research on your cichlid diet

Doing research will leave you surprised at the extent to which cichlid diets can differ. However, this food can be highly tailored to a particular region of cichlid. For example, the natural food source for an East African cichlid would be different from the South American one.

According to research, avoid feeding your cichlid with live heart because their body is unable to absorb fats from warm-blooded animals. Also, don’t just buy tubifex or blood worm from an animal. Always try to confirm their food source. That way, you can prevent potential diseases.

Insects are one of the major diets of many fish in the wild. These insects are known to contain protein in high concentration. To mimic this food source, look for food with ingredients like the black soldier fly larvae meal as they are a reliable source of protein.

Consider Insoluble Fiber

For cichlid, especially the herbivores species, insoluble fibre is essential.

Fish are unable to digest fibre. Fibres pass through their digestive system unchanged. So fish does not get any nutritional value from the fiber. A big up is that these fibres do not break down inside the water or cloud the water like most compounds.

Fibres play a considerable role with digestion in fish by reducing the rate of digestion. That way, the fish can absorb more nutrients before the food digests.

These insoluble fibres also add bulk to your fish’s still. Unlike smaller stools, your fish can pass larger stools easily, which prevent constipation. As you know: this is important as it prevents the common fish death from constipation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Often Should your Cichlid Feed?

Going with their nature, cichlid can feed at any slight opportunity of food. But you cannot always feed them every day. Feed your cichlid 2-3 times per day.

Following a decent feeding routine will help them maintain a healthy metabolism. Make sure you break down their feeding time according to natural conditions. Makes sure you feed them with what they can consume within 2-3 minutes. Doing this will help prevent having leftover in your aquarium water.

Remember, some foods like pellets may expand once put into the water. So make sure they’re soaked upfront before feeding them to prevent bloating.

Can an Automatic Feeder Works for My Cichlid?

Sure, if you’re travelling or going for a long day vacation, you might want to consider using an automatic feeder to provide daily mean to your cichlids.

However, we highly recommend having someone who will monitor your cichlid’s activities while you’re away. They would be able to keep track of, for example, how much food your fish are eating and if they’ve not been overfed.

Why is my Cichlid Losing their Once-Bright Colors?

Most times, cichlids lose their bright colors for two reasons: not getting the right amount of quality nutrients or they are going through stress.

One of the things that may cause stress for your fish is the water condition. Test the water conditions of your aquarium to see if it’s causing them stress before analyzing other factors like disease or dietary problem.

Conclusion

All the cichlid food reviewed up there are high-quality products, with all capable of providing the necessary nutrients that your fish needs to thrive and live healthily.

However, we do think that the API food pellet is the best food for a cichlid.

The formula keeps your cichlid happy, healthy and vibrantly colorful with the API fish food pellet that comes with optimal nutrition levels and helps reduce waste, stress, and toxins.

Not just that, API fish food pellet is formulated for other types of fish as well, including tetra, angelfish, goldfish, and lots more.

Feel free to pick from any of our reviewed product, and you’ll be glad you did. Good luck!