Can African Cichlids Eat Shrimp? 5 Things to Consider

Whether your African cichlid is going to eat shrimp or not depends on its diet. In general, most of them are not going to eat it because the majority of them are herbivores. The cichlids that do prefer eating shrimp are typically from lake Malawi. These are either omnivores or carnivores.

It is best to feed shrimps in small amounts because leftover foods can quickly contaminate the aquarium water. Pretty much every Malawi cichlid has to be kept on a high-protein diet.

In shrimps, there is plenty of protein and also nutrients that can enhance the colors of your little pets.

It is also not good to feed them shrimp all the time. This is why it is commonly offered to them as a treat. They love to be surprised with something special from time to time.

Without further ado, let’s answer some questions when it comes to feeding shrimps to African cichlids!

What Happens if You Feed Shrimp to Herbivore Cichlids?

Feeding anything meat-based to an herbivorous fish is really bad in general. Their digestive system is simply not built in a way to digest such foods. They are not used to a high-protein diet either and they can’t do anything with that type of nutrition.

Giving them meat-based foods can lead to health problems as well. They will get bloated, which is often called as Malawi bloat. The reason it got this name is because this condition usually affects African cichlids. The symptoms can be bloody ulcers and white feces.

To put it short, it is not going to be pretty. Make sure that you do the research or ask someone about the ideal diet for the particular species you keep at home. This way, you can avoid this issue completely.

Can You Feed African Cichlids only Shrimp?

The ideal diet of any African cichlid is certainly not based on only one type of food. You need to introduce variety to their diet and give them at least 4-5 different foods.

This way, they can get all the nutrition they need without getting bored of eating only one thing all the time.

Furthermore, you should introduce some unusual treats every now and then as well. Your fish are always going to be happy to eat something out of the ordinary.

So, the answer is no, feeding them shrimp all the time is not good for them. They rather need a balanced diet of various foods.

African cichlids that absolutely love shrimp are Auloncara, Buccochromis and Caprichromis species. These all prefer a high-protein diet throughout the day.

Why You Should Feed Shrimp to Your Fish?

Besides protein, there are other nutrients in shrimp that can further emphasize the colors of your fish.

All you need to do is to feed it to them, give it some time and admire their beautiful colors. When it comes to African cichlids, colors are very important.

After all, we are talking about some of the most colorful fish species in the World. It is recommended to feed them all those foods that are healthy and have color enhancing effects at the same time.

Although feeding them shrimp is not the cleanest option, you can offer it as a treat a few times a week.

Can You Keep Shrimp with African Cichlids?

African cichlids are aggressive and territorial in general. They are going to bully and eat anything smaller than them that lives in the same aquarium.

There are cichlid species among them that don’t like to eat shrimp in particular. Nevertheless, most of them are still going to kill this little crustacean.

Therefore, we would not recommend keeping shrimp together with African cichlids. You should only put shrimp in the tank if you feel like giving your cichlids a treat.

Carnivores and omnivores are going to be more than happy to eat them if they are hungry.

Will African Cichlids Eat Amano Shrimp?

Unfortunately, we can only say the same thing for the Amano shrimp as we did for shrimps in general. African cichlids are either going to kill them or eat them.

They might live for a while, but it is only a matter of time until your cichlid will get hungry or in the mood to bully the little shrimps.

Amano shrimps can certainly survive in many different community tanks, but not in the ones where African cichlids live.

Can You Feed Cocktail Shrimp to African Cichlids?

There is nothing wrong with feeding your African cichlids cocktail shrimp, just make sure that you defreeze it before feeding. Although cocktail shrimp is something that us, humans eat as a specialty, it can be a healthy treat for your cichlids too.

If you have eaten some of it at home and don’t know what to do with the leftovers, then you know what to do. Cut it into tiny pieces and give some to your little pets. They are going to appreciate it.

Can Peacock Cichlids Eat Shrimp?

There is a wide range of meats that carnivorous and omnivorous cichlids can eat. The overwhelming majority of Peacock cichlids fall into these two categories.

Shrimp can be a healthy and protein-rich part of their diet but only if it is part of a diverse diet.

Peacock cichlids are going to be more than happy to eat it as an occasional treat.


All in all, shrimps can be offered as treat to every omnivorous or carnivorous African cichlid. You only need to keep in mind that this is something that should be offered in moderation.

Nevertheless, shrimps are full of proteins and color-enhancing nutrients as well, which makes them super healthy.

Fish keepers are often not aware of the fact that their cichlids are strictly herbivores. Feeding shrimps to these species can result in serious health conditions such as bloating.

Make sure to avoid this mistake by reading more about the particular fish you keep or asking an experienced fish keeper.

Although shrimp might not be a good addition as a pet to your African cichlid tank, it is certainly a delicious treat!

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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