How to Feed Vegetarian Fish

Aquarium with cichlids fish from lake malawi
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Some fish are meat-eaters (carnivores), some are fully vegetarian (herbivores), while others eat a variety of food (omnivores). Almost all fish will benefit from some vegetable matter in their diet. So even if you don't eat your veggies, don't skimp on adding vegetables in your fishes' diet.

Which Fish Are Vegetarian?

Pacus, Silver Dollars, Farowellas, and Mollies are primarily vegetarian fishes. Catfish are not fully vegetarian, but require a great deal of vegetable matter in their diet. Many other fish, from the Goldfish to Guppies, enjoy having vegetables as part of their diets. With the exception of a few carnivores, such as Piranhas, most fish will accept and enjoy vegetables as part of their diet.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh greens are an ideal way to include vegetables in your fishes' diet. Some options are:

  • Fresh peas with the skin removed
  • Raw zucchini slices/pieces
  • Raw cucumber slices/pieces
  • Blanched lettuce
  • Fresh spinach with stem removed

All foods should be washed well before serving. Leafy foods should be secured to the side of the tank. Pet shops offer vegetable clips for that purpose. If you have a magnetic algae cleaner, it will work just as well as a vegetable clip. For bottom- dwelling fish, use a rock to hold the greens in place. Promptly remove any uneaten food, as it will rot and foul the tank if left for more than a few hours in the aquarium.

Other Non-Meat Options

It's not necessary to feed fresh vegetables every day. Vegetable flakes and pellets are a good option and should be used as part of a well-balanced diet for most fish.

Algae wafers are an excellent way to provide vegetable matter to bottom-dwelling fish, such as plecos.

Vegetarian fish often enjoy fresh fruits. Pieces of banana, peeled grapes, and melon chunks can also be periodically offered. Use small pieces, and remove uneaten portions within the hour, so they do not foul the tank.

Article Sources
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  1. Aquarium Water Quality: Nitrogen. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.