What Can You Feed Fish Other Than Fish Food?

Maintaining an aquarium and keeping fish healthy is a task. And this task can quickly make you overwhelmed if you don’t know the right way of managing tanks and fish. 

For instance, when it comes to maintaining an aquarium, it’s advised to change the water every month. Also, one can vacuum to remove the debris that’s settled at the bottom of the tank. This way, fish can have a friendly environment. 

Similarly, fish keepers need to maintain a balance between underfeeding and overfeeding. That’s because, in either case, fish can fall sick. Generally, it’s advised to feed small portions to fish throughout the day. 

While feeding, make sure the fish eats all the food in just a few minutes. If they are taking more than usual, that means you have overfed them. In this situation, the remaining food particles settle at the bottom, which then contaminates the water. 

Also, it’s common for fish keepers to run out of fish food some day or other. But it’s not normal to let the fish go days without eating. Even if you don’t have the specific fish food, you can feed your fish something else. 

But what can a fish eat? Well, we have tried to explain this thing in the post. 

What to Feed Fish if You Don’t Have Fish Food?

Feed for Fish if You Don't Have Fish Food

Do not panic if you don’t have food because most aquarium fish can go 3-7 days without eating. Also, some exotic fish species can fast up to 14 days. But you should only make your fish fast for a long time during emergencies. 

Most of the time, it’s beginners who run out of fish food. That’s because they tend to overfeed. And when there is no food left for the fish, they feel bad. But one needs to understand that it’s sometimes beneficial to let the fish fast. It can make them feel healthy. 

After running out of fish food, you can order a new stash. Till then, you can feed your fish some alternative options depending on their diet. When you are experimenting with the diet, remember to add vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It’s the best way you can feed them without making them fall sick. 

Even if you have fish food, you can feed your fish something new in between. That’s because fish tend to get bored of the same item. Below is the list of some common aquarium fish and what their diet is. 

Herbivorous Aquarium Fish

Herbivorous Aquarium Fish

Omnivorous Aquarium Fish

Omnivorous Aquarium Fish

Carnivorous Aquarium Fish

Carnivorous Aquarium Fish

What to Feed Herbivorous Aquarium Fish Other Than Fish Food?

For your herbivorous fish, you can bring a varied diet of plant-based food. A fish that only eats plants has a kind of digestive system that quickly breaks down plant matter. 

Herbivorous Aquarium Fish alternative food

Another thing about herbivorous fish is that they can eat food till their stomach can’t take any more. And since they have small stomachs, they need to be fed constantly. 

Most commonly, herbivorous fish can eat softened peas, spirulina, and edible live aquatic plants. Also, you can offer them lettuce and other leafy greens, boiled root vegetables, and certain kinds of fruits. 

What to Feed Omnivorous Aquarium Fish Other Than Fish Food?

Just like herbivorous fish, omnivorous fish can also adapt themselves to new food options. These kinds of fish are less picky. Omnivorous fish has a kind of digestive system that can easily break down nutrients. 

Omnivorous Aquarium Fish Alternative Food

So, if you have omnivorous fish, you can feed them insects, snails, hard-boiled egg yolk, insect larvae, and crustaceans. Besides this, you can also feed some veggies that include boiled/steamed carrots, lettuce, cucumber (soft part and seed removed), boiled/steamed potatoes, boiled/steamed peas, and boiled/steamed broccoli. 

What to Feed Carnivorous Aquarium Fish Other Than Fish Food?

Lastly, if you have carnivorous aquarium fish, you can feed it a couple of items. It includes brine shrimp, snails, crickets, daphnia, bloodworms, superworm, and mealworms. 

Carnivorous Aquarium Fish

No matter what, you should never feed your carnivorous fish any fatty meat. That’s because such food items can quickly damage their reproductive system and liver. 

While feeding these food items, it’s important to remember that these are just alternatives. So, you should never change them with their regular food. 

What Human Food Can Fish Eat?

Fish can eat human food, but not all human food is compatible with them. Some common human food that you can feed fish includes watermelons, leafy green vegetables, carrots, cabbages, and more. 

Human food for fish

You can also feed hard-boiled eggs. These items are full of nutrients and proteins that fish require for balanced growth. When putting hard-boiled eggs in the tank, add a small portion because the uneaten egg can make the water smelly and cloudy. Avid fish tank keepers also feed their fish cooked rice and pasta.

If you plan on leaving your fish alone for a couple of days, you can add a small boiled potato to the tank. Of course, overfeeding is dangerous for fish, but the boiled potato is the best alternative. 

While you are feeding these items, you should avoid adding any oily food. Fish cannot digest oily food, and this can further result in health complications. 

Can You Feed Your Fish Dog Food?

A common question that beginners ask is whether they can feed their fish dog food or not. Well, you cannot. The reason behind this is that dog food contains some different formulas, which can cause harm to the fish. 

Can You Feed Your Fish Dog Food

You might not tell the difference from the outside since the fish will seem to be doing fine and look beautiful even after eating dog food. However, from the inside, dog food can damage their health system. 

In short, none of the fish’s stomach can bear the dog food nutrition ingredients. So, you should not play with your fish’s health by offering it something harmful to eat. 

How Much Should You Feed Your Fish?

Overfeeding is a common mistake that many fish keepers unknowingly make. And the key to stopping this mistake is knowing the actual food quality that needs to be given to the hungry fish. 

It is advised to feed a fish once or twice a day, depending on the requirement of fish species. You must not be overfed fish because they require some time to digest the food they have eaten. Also, you should keep the feeding portion small. 

But there are certain exceptions. For instance, if you have catfish, you must feed it at night right before turning off the light. That’s because catfish are nocturnal fish. Also, if you have herbivorous fish, you must offer them frequent food since this species has a small stomach. 

Besides herbivorous fish, newly hatched fish also need constant feeding. So, if your fish has recently laid eggs or if you have brought new fish that are not fully grown, you must offer them frequent food. 

Talking about the quantity, you must feed only the amount of food that fish can consume in five to ten minutes. After the given time, if the food is still floating on the water surface, that means you have fed the fish more than required. And the remaining food particles will get settled at the bottom, polluting the tank. 


If you ever run out of fish food, you can feed your fish alternative food items. Depending on the diet, you can pick the right thing that the fish can easily digest. 

But it’s important to remember that alternate food items should not be replaced with the main fish food. That’s because fish food is specially created to provide all the crucial nutrients and vitamins. 

Also, permanently replacing the main fish food with alternate food can impact the fish growth and make it sick. So, until not needed, you must not feed your fish alternate food. 

While feeding, try to offer the food in limit because one can easily overfeed fish. The key to avoiding overfeeding is underfeeding. Moreover, you can offer food in small quantities at a frequent duration. This way, your fish will stay happy and healthy.

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