5 Best Food for African Cichlids – What do They Eat?

When you’re choosing the food for African cichlids, you have to consider its natural behavior and how they eat in their natural habitat. You should also consider what foods they prefer, and how often you are planning to feed them.

When it comes to food, African cichlids are not that fussy. As they are omnivores, they are likely to accept both meat-based foods and plant-based foods. However, to keep them healthy, allow them to display their colors, and to keep them happy, you need to strike the perfect balance when it comes to diet.

Pellets and flakes can represent the main source of food for these fish. But you can’t just buy any types of pellets. You should buy pellets that are specifically designed for African cichlids. If you don’t know which types of food to choose, then you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best types of food for African cichlids that you can buy now. I’ll also give you some very useful and actionable tips on how to feed your African cichlids.

Best Foods for African Cichlids

Here are the foods I consider to be the best for African cichlids.

1. New Life Spectrum Cichlid Fish Food Pellets

These sinking pellets represent the perfect balance of nutrients for cichlids. This product is made specifically for cichlids, and they are suitable for African cichlids, too. They are high in protein, as they contain the nutrients from squid.

Also, this food contains ginger and garlic, which contain elements and compounds that are incredibly helpful for African cichlids. Namely, they will boost their immune system, and it will also protect them from parasites.

Your African cichlids will just love these pellets. They taste great, and they are full of nutrients (proteins, minerals) that will help your fish grow and display their best colors.


  • Pellets that are full of beneficial nutrients, especially protein.
  • Contains ginger and garlic, which boosts the fish’s immune system.
  • They taste great.
  • Easily digestible.


  • The pellets are small in size, which might turn larger fish away.


2. API Fish Food Pellets for Cichlids

The API large pellets for cichlids are designed specifically with cichlids in mind, so they will certainly satisfy your African cichlids, too. With the right nutritional structure, these pellets are one of the most beneficial types of food that you can give to your African cichlids.

Not only do these contain the proteins needed for healthy fish, but there’s also a great mixture of minerals and vitamins for the fish. You’ll be able to see the most attractive colors from the fish if you feed them these pellets in no time.

Mind you, these pellets are on the larger side, so you will only be able to feed them to fish that are larger than 5 inches. Simply feed them these pellets twice a day, and you’ll start seeing results in no time.


  • Pellets full of beneficial nutrients.
  • They produce less ammonia.
  • Floating pellets, which is great for African cichlids.
  • Taste great.


  • Not for smaller fish (under 5 inches).
  • Can make water cloudy.


3. Aqueon Cichlid Food Pellets

When it comes to pellets, you can opt for these pellets that will certainly satisfy a wide range of tastes. It’s for cichlids primarily, so your African cichlids will go mad for these. Not only they taste good, but they are also full of beneficial nutrients.

Of course, these pellets are full of proteins that will boost your fish’s immune system and make them healthier. It will also allow them to grow better and develop the attractive colors that make African cichlids so special. It contains the formula that will enhance the fish’s colors – marigold, chili powder, and astaxanthin will boost the fish’s colors.

These pellets represent the perfect balance of nutrients for your cichlid. With them, you’ll keep your fish healthier and happier for longer.


  • The perfect blend of nutrients for cichlids.
  • Enhances the fish’s colors.
  • Contains premium ingredients.
  • Balanced nutrition.


  • These can produce a foul smell.


4. Hikari 8.8-Ounce Cichlid Excel Floating Pellets

These floating pellets are made especially with cichlid fish in mind. With them, you’ll be able to control easily the amount of pellets that the fish consume. It contains a good amount of wheat-germs, which boosts the immune system of the fish.

The pellets are designed for promoting long-term health and vigor. They are very easy to digest, and lightweight. They will make your fish healthier and improve their colors while not congesting them too much or making them fatter.

It’s the perfect blend of nutrients for cichlids and other tropical fish. I’m sure your African cichlids will just love these pellets.


  • Great balance of nutrients.
  • Appropriate for tropical fish – cichlids.
  • Designed for long-term healthiness.


  • Can produce bloating.


5. Northfin Food Veggie Formula

This product is slightly different from the rest – it’s based on a veggie formula, that is free of filler foods and ingredients. It only contains the high-quality ingredients, which will help your fish become healthier and produce the stunning colors the African cichlids are capable of.

It’s a premium product that contains only the high-quality nutrients and ingredients for your fish. They are slow-sinking pellets. The main ingredient is organic kelp, allowing your fish to get fully natural ingredients.

Overall, you should choose this food to try something different from the rest – it’s a plant-based food that your fish will just adore.


  • Natural, veggie-based formula.
  • Full of great nutrients for your fish.
  • Makes your fish healthier.


  • Sinks to the bottom.


What do African Cichlids Eat in the Wild?

Most African cichlids are omnivores, although many of them prefer a carnivorous diet. This mostly means other smaller fish, crustaceans, and insects. In most cases, it is the combination of those sources of foods that makes the trick for African cichlids.

But, some African cichlids also like a very vegetable-based diet, especially if there are no other food sources around. The diet largely depends on the fish’s surroundings and what is readily available from the environment. They will eat algae, biofilm, and other aquatic plants.

As we’ve mentioned, most are omnivores, so it’s likely that they will eat a variety of the above-mentioned foods. So it’s crucial that you can keep a balance with these fish and their diet.

How Much and How Often to Feed African Cichlids?

You will want to be pretty adaptable when it comes to diet, and keep it as balanced as possible. But it’s also important how often you feed these fish, and how much.

It’s recommended that you feed your African cichlids twice a day, but with moderate to small amounts of food. The importance here is that you don’t feed them too much, even if you are feeding them twice a day.

Some users also say they feed their cichlids once a day with larger meals. Whatever you do, don’t overfeed them and keep the diet varied.

Can African Cichlids Eat Flake Food?

Yes, African cichlids are more than happy to settle on flake and pellet foods, but these should not be the only sources of food. You can create a healthy and balanced diet from pellets that are made especially with these fish in mind.

Finding high-quality pellets that will feed your fish should be your priority in this case. Hopefully, you’ll be able to choose from the right pellets from this list.

Can African Cichlids Eat Bloodworms?

Some of the cichlids from this species are primarily carnivorous, which means that they are very happy to consume foods such as bloodworms. The bloodworms you feed to these fish are full of nutrients, especially proteins.

However, for some cichlids, feeding bloodworms too often can lead to bloating. As the worms are full of protein, you should know that overfeeding with these worms is not a great thing.

Can African Cichlids Eat Vegetables?

Yes, vegetables can be a good source of food for your cichlids. They will happily eat vegetables, while other fish will love to eat these foods primarily.

However, it takes some trial and error here. Some of your fish might like some vegetables better than the others, so you should try and see which foods they like. It’s best to enumerate the cichlids and which veggies they like, so that you can feed them later on.


To conclude, we must say that African cichlids are some of the most colorful species out there, but their diet is important to see those colors. Hopefully, you know now which foods are the best for them, and choose them easily.

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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