5 Best Food for African Cichlids Fry

African Cichlids look amazing and they are also easy to breed. No wonder so many fish enthusiasts are interested in breeding them and raising up their fry.

It is often the easiest part to get a cichlid male and a female to mate. Once the fry are free swimming, you really need to ensure the best water conditions for them.

Furthermore, you need to make sure they are not going to be bullied or eaten by other fish.

These two factors are really important, but there is another one that is actually going to be the topic of this article.

After you have set the right conditions for them to grow up, you need to feed them healthy and nutritious food day by day.

Since they are so tiny, you can’t just give them the regular fish food you give to your other fish. You either need to crush those flakes to even tinier pieces or buy commercial food specifically made for fish fry.

Keep on reading if you want to find out more about the best foods for African Cichlid fry available in the market!

Best Food for African Cichlid Fry

The first thing you need to look at on a commercial fish food box is the list of ingredients. This is an important step towards ensuring the healthy growth of your little pets.

The commercial food you buy should contain a wide range of proteins and vitamins that are appropriate for fish babies.

There are many fish foods to choose from even in your local pet store, not to mention the abundance of brands available on the internet.

Costs, reviews and ingredients might vary and it can quickly get confusing. But that’s why we have wrote this article.

We are here to narrow it down for you a bit and show you our reviews of the best foods for African Cichlid fry in our opinion.

The bites and flakes we are about to show you are all top-quality and many fish keepers use them to feed their own fry. Let’s see what these brands have to offer for your fish!

1. Northfin Fry Starter

One of the simplest high-quality foods you can get is the Northfin Fry Starter. What makes it simple is that it’s made entirely of Antartic Krill.

There is a wide range of nutrients that can be found in this type of krill. These include amino and fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, chitins and phospholipids.

The abovementioned ingredients will all contribute to the growth and well-being of your African Cichlid fry.

There is also some Astaxanthin in it which plays a huge role in bringing out the bright colors of cichlids. Depending on how many fry you want to feed, you can choose from the 50 g and the 250 g packages.

Since the Northfin Fry Starter has an expiration date, the 250g package is simply too much in some cases.

With this formula, you can feed them up to 3 times a day giving them a portion they can consume in about 2 minutes.


  • It is the type of formula your fry will get excited to eat
  • You can give the leftovers to the adults, they are going to love it
  • It consists of fine particles that fit easily in their mouth
  • Ideal for fry that swim near the bottom


  • Unpleasant fishy smell after opening the package
  • It is in powder form and can contaminate the water if not consumed


2. Hikari Tropical First Bites

Hikari Tropical First Bites is a straightforward first food you can give to your African Cichlid fry.

What they did is they produced nutritious fish food in powder form and then covered it with a coating that holds it together.

It is outstanding for little baby fish because you need to give them a small amount.

This fish food will not only make your fry grow faster but also protect them from diseases in the long run. It also does a great job bringing out the beautiful colors of your cichlids.

At the beginning, it will require a bit of experimenting until you get used to feeding your fish small enough portions.

But once you figure it out, you only need to give them the same portions each day. It contains a wide range of nutrients that will ensure the rapid growth of your fry.

The great thing about the coating they have applied to it is that it preserves the nutritional value of the powder.


  • Lasts longer than many other fish foods
  • Your fish will grow rapidly and flourish in bright colors
  • Coated micro pellets that take more time to dissolve
  • It slowly spreads in the water


  • Going to be hard to feed the right portion
  • It is too much for a small group of fry


3. Seachem NutriDiet Cichlid Flakes

The Seachem NutriDiet is a great option if you want to mix up the diet of your African Cichlid fry a little bit.

When it comes to cichlids, there is definitely no need to think twice about giving them frozen foods. This food is going to be a treat they will be excited about.

It not only gives them a boost of energy but also strengthens their immune system.

If you are looking for something extra in addition to the fish food you typically give to your fry, then this is the one you need.

The Seachem NutriDiet contains a huge variety of nutrients that will help your little African Cichlids grow.

The best thing about it is that it contains vitamin C, which will help them build up an indestructible immune system.

By stimulating their appetite, they will consume more food and thus grow faster. In the meanwhile, you also keep them healthy and full of energy by feeding it to them.


  • Contains all the vital nutrients that cichlids need
  • Gives a huge boost to their immune system with Vitamin C
  • Probiotics that completely prevent digestive problems
  • Little to no leftover food


  • It makes the tank water a bit gloomy over time
  • Strong color enhancing effect that can look artificial


4. New Life Spectrum Grow Fry Starter

New Life Spectrum is easily among the brands that produce the highest quality fish foods in the market.

They use only those ingredients that are actually good for your fish and help them grow. Your fish babies are going to love it and it will be a delight to see them thrive on such a healthy diet.

Experienced fish keepers know that for small freshwater fish, this one is one of their best options. It is basically a powdery fish food that easily spreads around in the water.

This will make it easier for every single one of your African Cichlid fry to eat.

What makes it a perfect first food is the fact that it is in powder form. You can start to feed it to newborn fish without hesitation.

It also contains an incredibly huge amount of protein which is important for your fish to thrive.


  • Contains a huge amount of protein
  • Practical for baby fish because of its powder form
  • Accelerated nutrient absorption and easy digestion
  • Gives an extra energy boost to your fish fry


  • Overfeeding will cause the water to be contaminated quickly
  • Not every fish finds it tasty despite it being nutritious


5. Ocean Nutrition Cichlid Veg Flake

This veggie flake from Ocean Nutrition provides you a straightforward way to feed your little African Cichlids.

Your cichlid babies are going to absolutely love this food thanks to its attractive flavor. Including some vegetable-based food is just as important as feeding them protein-rich live foods.

These flakes contain a wide range of vitamins that are all essential for a growing little baby cichlid. The pieces are also small enough to fill in their mouth.

The long-term effects of this veggie flake are vivid colors and lots of energy for your fish throughout the day.

It is especially great for those fish that swim in the upper layers of the tank because most of the flakes are going to float on the surface.

The fresher the flakes are, the more delicious they are going to be for your fry. This is why we recommend you to buy the smaller package. Unless you have lots of baby cichlids, of course.


  • Cichlids absolutely love the taste of it
  • High-quality and full of nutrients that facilitate growth
  • Makes your fish flourish in its beautiful colors
  • A great resource of energy for your African Cichlids


  • The leftovers might cloud your fish tank
  • It is a bit too powdery for juveniles


When do African Cichlid Fry Start Eating?

When the spawning is complete, it is best to remove the fry from the adults and start feeding them.

This is only possible when the female stops carrying them in her mouth and they become free swimming.

There are methods to force her to release them early but it really depends on how fast you want it to happen.

In the first few days, they are not going to be hungry because the leftovers of their yolk sac are a good source of nutrition.

Once they have consumed it all, you can start feeding them. Even if you would try feeding them during that period, it would only cause the water to be contaminated.

The food is simply not going to be eaten while the yolk sacs are there. After that, you can start feeding them any of the foods that we reviewed in this article.

They are all small enough to fit into their mouth and full of nutrition.

How Often to Feed Cichlid Fry?

African Cichlid fry should be fed two or three times a day. Just give them a portion that they can consume in about two minutes.

No more and no less. If you give them more, it will greatly decrease the water quality. If you give them less, they are not going to grow as quickly as they should.

Besides feeding them one of the protein-rich fry foods we talked about in our list, you should give them live foods as well.

You can do so by mixing two or three different types of foods together and feeding it to them at once. For some commercial foods, it might take you some time until you figure out the portions.

Live Food to African Cichlid Babies

When it comes to live foods, brine shrimp and infusoria are your two main options. These contain all the nutrients your fry needs in order to thrive.

Make sure the read the description on the commercial food you want to buy for your fish.

If it contains the required vitamins and proteins for them to grow, then you might not even need to feed them live foods.

But still, feeding them the same food day by day is rather boring and they are not going to be very excited the umpteenth time.

This is why you should mix things up and include some live foods and frozen foods besides the flakes and powdery foods we reviewed.

You need to wake up their scavenging instinct every now and then.


Once you have one of the best African Cichlid foods at hand, it is going to be a rewarding experience to start raising your fry.

You will be able to follow their growth day by day and see their colors flourish. The foods that we reviewed contain all the nutrition that cichlid babies need in order to thrive.

Therefore, you don’t need to invest time and effort into figuring out how to combine the diet for them.

All you need to do is to get a pack of fish food from our list, open it and feed them two or three times a day. Now it is up to you to decide which one of these brands will work for you the best.

You can even combine them to introduce some variety into their diet. Hopefully, this article helped you find the best food for your own African Cichlid fry.

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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