Cichlid food and feeding

Sample of cichlid foods used. Photo by the author.

I’m a firm believer that there is no set method by which all cichlids should be fed. This means there are no criteria dictating what you feed (other than the species dietary requirements/restrictions), when you feed, or how you feed. There are certainly tried and true practices, but ultimately you should decide what works best for your fish, your set-up, your time, etc. Having said that, I DO have specific feeding method(s) that I follow religiously. 

My method has been modified/tweaked over many years, and it seems to work perfectly fine.

I feed all of my adult fish once a day, 5-6 days a week and at the same time each feeding day. I don’t feed by amount of time it takes for them to eat (i.e., feed for a minute and half) but by volume. Each tank gets the same amount of food each feeding unless the number of occupants changes. And the food is dispensed in the same location within each tank. What I do vary is the food itself. I rotate five to seven different foods, meaning each tank doesn’t get the same food on consecutive days. 

Fry have a more dynamic feeding scheme. It depends on the species, the number, and their size.

This might all sound very complex, but it really isn’t. It’s a routine…for both me and the fish. I have found over the years that having a routine results in healthier fish and overall healthier tanks. Furthermore, when something seems to go awry with any tank, I know it’s not because I did something out of the ordinary with the feeding. This means if I suddenly have a noticeable outbreak of algae or if it seems I have an odd amount of uneaten food, something else is to blame. For example, both of these scenarios could be a sign that someone is not eating, which means I have a sick or dead fish. 

So what foods do I use? For adults, I use the following brands:

  • Xtreme
  • Aquavore
  • AquaLife
  • Ken’s fish
  • Omega One
  • Sera
  • Tetra 

For fry, I use the following:

  • Ken’s fish
  • Extreme

The bottom line is that everything related to feeding my cichlids is the result of trial and error. I have found what works well for my particular situation. 

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