What Can Fish Eat Besides Fish Food? [Answered]

What you feed your fish is essential because an incorrect diet can be detrimental to their health. Although there are many types of fish food, sometimes you may not have access to them – or maybe you simply want to mix things up a bit.

Sometimes you want to try something different for your fish. Research shows that there is a variety of non-fish food that is of good quality and is nutritious. But you have to be very careful on what you feed your fish apart from fish food, as many types of food can be dangerous to them.

The food that fish can eat besides from the usual fish food is earthworms, fresh vegetables that almost always need to be boiled, boiled rice in small quantities and egg yolks. Homemade fish food is also a great alternative as it will be more tailored to your fish and cost-effective.

Deciding on what diet is best for your fish is already confusing as there are a lot of fish foods to choose from and they are usually enough to meet all the dietary needs of your pets.

fish eating pellets

But if you run out of fish food for some reason or you just want to try something different, things might become a bit more challenging.

Although the primary type of fish food is flakes and pellets, fish also love different food just like you and I do. Let us take a look at the other foods that will keep your fish happy and healthy.

1. Earthworms Are A Good Source Of Protein For Fish.

Although they may not look appealing, earthworms are loved by your colorful aquatic pets, especially meat-eating fish (carnivores).

Feeding earthworms to your fish will benefit them greatly as earthworms are filling, add some much-needed protein to the fish diet and have adequate nutrients that are important to the health of your fish.

Make sure to only put a small amount into the fish tank as earthworms are greasy and can turn the water murky if added in large amounts and not consumed immediately.

It is also recommended that you soak the earthworms in milk for a few minutes before feeding them to the fish if they are bought fresh. Ensure that you thoroughly dry them afterward before dropping some into the tank.

Only add a small amount – enough to be eaten in 1 minute by your fish. Otherwise, the earthworms can ruin the water quality and harm your fish.

2. Lettuce

lettuce as fish food

Fish love this leafy vegetable. The lettuce should be cut into smaller pieces, boiled, and then dropped into the fish tank for the fish to munch on.

It is crucial to first cook the lettuce so that it is soft, making it easier for the fish to eat.

Don’t cook it too long – keep it for some 10 seconds in boiling water and it should be enough!

Although this is an excellent alternative to fish food, some fish are allergic to lettuce. Finding out what types of allergies your fish have is imperative.

Keep an eye on the fish tank to make sure that all the lettuce pieces have been consumed and if not, remove any leftover pieces so that they do not rot and pollute the water.

3. Brussel Sprouts

Whether fresh or frozen, these are a nice change for fish and contain the necessary nutrients that the fish need.

They can be eaten raw, but soaking the frozen ones overnight or boiling them to defrost is much healthier and makes it easier for the fish to eat.

Plecos and Algae eating fish love to feast on these, although most aquarium pets will munch on them (including snails and shrimp).

4. Peas

peas as fish food

Boiled peas are another healthy alternative that your fish will appreciate. These can be freshly bought peas or frozen peas that are defrosted and cooked. These should also be cut and fed to the fish in tiny pieces.

Although fresh vegetables are preferable, frozen vegetables work just as well. Canned vegetables are not safe as they have added preservatives, and some have been processed and are no longer organic and safe for the fish to consume.

The vegetables are often liked by fish that are omnivores or herbivores.

Fresh fruits like apples or bananas can be fed to fish, but because of their sugar content, vegetables are generally preferred over fruits because they can lead to the unwanted growth of bacteria.

IMPORTANT: Always remove any fruits and vegetables that were not eaten so that the water does not get contaminated!

5. Boiled Rice

Rice is a great alternative to fish food. Fish love boiled rice and even frozen rice, as long as it’s defrosted and cooked beforehand.

Make sure that only a small amount is dropped into the fish tank at a time. The soft texture of the rice will make it easier for the fish to digest.

Rice is one of the things that Goldfish can eat, just like other types of aquarium fish.

6. Egg Yolk

When the egg yolk is hard-boiled, fish tend to love eating it. Because of how soft it is, it is easy for the fish to digest, and it is also safe.

Homemade Fish Food Is a Great Cost-Effective Alternative to Traditional Fish Food

One way to make homemade food is to use several yolks of hard-boiled eggs. You pass these through a filter so that they are in fine pieces but still retain their texture.

The fine pieces should then be dried out in the oven. Only use the top setting for the heat and stir the yolk every one minute to prevent it from burning.

The goal is to have the yolk be a golden-like color and have a pellet-like texture. This can then be fed to your fish.

Herbivore fish may not be big fans of it, but most fish like Bettas are. The food is filled with protein, can last a while, and is much cheaper than store-bought pellets.

You have other options that you can make at home, including ones with algae that grows in your aquarium, mixed with lettuce or other vegetables and even egg yolk. But we’ll discuss these options in an upcoming article.

How Much Should You Feed Your Fish?

Although this depends on the type of fish and the size, the general rule used is to feed them as much as they can consume in up to a few minutes.

It is always recommended to underfeed rather than overfeed your fish, as most fish can survive for several days without being fed.

Your goal is to feed them just enough without making them feel too heavy so that they can’t swim properly and sink to the bottom. That can cause a lot of health problems for your fish.

Also, any food that is not consumed immediately can rot and ruin the quality of the water, causing long term problems and potentially affecting all the fish in the tank.

This is why you should always keep an eye on the amount of food required to feed your fish, no matter if we’re talking about regular, store-brought fish food or homemade alternatives like the ones recommended above.


Always make sure to feed your fish a varied diet of good quality to avoid stunted growth, a lack of vigor and color.

As you can see, you have many options to choose from that are easy to get a hold of and prepare at home.

Although it is more convenient to get ready-made food from the shops, homemade food can be richer in nutrition and cost-effective. Plus, they can offer more satisfaction as you know you made it yourself.

Share the article below:

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.