Can African Cichlids Eat Bread or Breadcrumbs?

When you run out of food, giving your African Cichlids breadcrumbs might seem like a great idea. The crumbs can be arbitrarily small and there is plenty of nutrition in them, right?

Well, not exactly. It is actually one of the worst ideas when it comes finding some food for your fish.

The problem with bread is that it contains various ingredients that are bad for your fish. It is made of sugar, yeast, coloring, flavor, corn syrup etc.

There are really a lot of different types of bread in the market but none of them are good.

If you are not sure what to feed to your cichlids, then just keep on reading. We are going to talk about what African Cichlids prefer to eat and some great options in case you run out of fish food.

What do African Cichlids Eat?

Every single fish species has its own preferred diet and African Cichlids are no exception. They have adapted to their natural environment in a certain way.

This is why there are foods specifically made for cichlids in the market.

They get their vitamins and proteins from specific foods as omnivores. Their preferred foods are mainly mosquito larvae, krill and brine shrimp.

However, you can also buy commercial foods such as flakes and pellets. There are many of them that contain all the nutrition and vitamins they need.

The difference between flakes and pellets is that the former stays near the surface while the latter sinks to the bottom.

It really depends on the African Cichlid species you have and your tank setup which one you choose.

Also, you should definitely get some frozen foods as an addition to the rest of their diet. You can feed them frozen foods as treats, they are going to love it.

Best Food for African Cichlids

The best food for African Cichlids is the one that is specifically designed for them. Buying some high-quality commercial food is always the most straightforward idea when it comes to fish keeping.

What we would recommend you is to buy the Cichlid Formula from New Life Spectrum.

It is a comprehensive formula in the form of pellets that your cichlids will be more than eager to consume.

The best thing about it is that it contains plant-based and meat-based ingredients as well. The New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula is made of krill, algae and kelp.

Furthermore, it contains vegetable and fruit extracts which will make your African Cichlid flourish in its beautiful colors.

And no, it doesn’t contain any artificial color enhancers. It’s all made of natural, high-quality ingredients.

The reason why you should choose these pellets is that cichlids absolutely love to eat in the bottom layers of the aquarium.


  • An outstanding option for smaller African Cichlids
  • Brings out the true colors of your fish with natural ingredients
  • Contains all the nutrients they need
  • It sinks quickly to the bottom of the tank


  • The leftover food can make the water cloudy
  • The pellets are too small for bigger cichlids

What to Feed African Cichlids when Out of Food?

If you ran out of fish food, then you might still be able to find something in the kitchen that they can eat. Some of the foods you can prepare at home include spinach, shelled peas, garlic, whole prawns and oranges.

Spinach is one of the vegetables that African Cichlids find easy to digest. It is an incredibly great resource of antioxidants and vitamins.

Shelled peas, on the other hand, contain lots of protein. Orange is not only full of vitamin C but can also help with the digestion of your cichlid.

Adult whole prawns can be blended together with any of the above-mentioned foods.

Although animal protein is not the main part of an African Cichlid’s diet, it is still of crucial importance.

Homemade African Cichlids Food

The most popular homemade food among fish keepers is made of shrimp and peas. Your African Cichlids are going to love these two ingredients.

All you need to do is take a kilogram each of the two deep-frozen ingredients. Then, defrost and wash the shrimp and peas and put them in the blender.

The next step is to mince them until you get a gloopy texture. Then add 10 mL of spirulina powder, which is an algae-based and protein rich powder.

It has to be blended to the point when the ingredients are spread evenly. Then, take a 100 grams of gelatine powder and mix it with water.

You will probably find instructions on the gelatine packaging on how to dissolve it. Put the gelatine water in a pot on low heat and start to pour the mixture in.

Add little by little while you stir it constantly. The point is to mix it in well so that the texture becomes consistent in the end.

It will be quite watery at first but as you stir it will become more thick. Once the substance is consistent enough, prepare a flat tray with a tin foil on it and pour the whole content of the pot into it.

Spread it evenly and put it into the refrigerator for a few hours.

Try it with your fingers and if it’s not sticky, then your homemade African Cichlid food is finished. Keep it in the freezer until you feed it to your fish.

How Often to Feed African Cichlids?

African Cichlids should be fed 2-3 times a day. You should feed them the amount of food they can eat in about 2 minutes.

If you follow our advice, then you are going to minimize the chance of overfeeding them.

It is important to feed them at least 2 times a day because otherwise, they can get aggressive towards each other.

During the night hours, they take a rest and it takes them a while until they “wake up”. Therefore, you should wait at least half an hour after turning the light on to pour their food in.

Also, feed them a couple of hours before you switch the lights off.


Considering the nutritional needs of African Cichlids, there is really no reason to feed them bread or breadcrumbs.

Just take a look at the ingredients of the commercial cichlid foods you can buy at the pet shop. Or check out the ingredients of the homemade recipe that we shared in this article.

They can give you a pretty good idea on what consists a healthy meal for a cichlid. Hopefully, this article has proven helpful in improving the diet of your fish.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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