Whether you have a bright, beautiful betta fish or a tropical tetra, you want to feed your pet the healthiest, most nutritious food available. Some of these foods can also enhance your fish’s color, so why not get the best of both worlds?
Read this guide for help choosing the best color enhancing fish food for your beloved pet.
Did you know that seaweed is a natural color enhancer for herbivorous fish? Different colors of seaweed bring out different colors, too!
Seaweed for Herbivorous Fish
If you have a red (vegetarian) fish, for example, try feeding them red seaweed and watch their colors intensify!
Bloodworms and Brine Shrimp for Carnivore Fish
If your fish is a carnivore, feeding them bloodworms and brine shrimp can help bring out their colors. Keep in mind, however, that bloodworms and brine shrimp do not create a balanced diet, and they should only be used as supplements or treats.
We like Tetra’s Freeze-Dried BloodWorms, especially because you can find them online and in most pet stores.
Other Natural Ways to Enhance Color
In addition to feeding your fish special treats, you can enhance their color by keeping them happy and healthy. Creating and maintaining an ideal environment for your fish can go a long way in bringing out their natural colors.
Color Enhancing Flakes and Pellets
Most fish are omnivores and thrive on flakes and pellets. Even if you are feeding your fish seaweed and bloodworms, they still need a balanced diet.
You can make sure your fish gets the proper nutrition while bringing out their vibrant, natural colors — but only if you choose the right food!
Below, we’ll review the best color-enhancing flakes and pellets on the market.
TetraColor PLUS Tropical Flakes with Color Enhancing
- TROPICAL FORMULATION: Highly digestible flake formula for use as staple food for all tropical fish.
- PLUS COLOR ENHANCEMENT: Rich in carotene and other ingredients to bring out natural pink to orange-red coloration.
Tetra has been one of the most trusted brands in fish keeping for as long as we remember. The company’s TetraColor PLUS Tropical Flakes with Color Enhancing balance vibrancy and nutrition by adding carotene to the protein-rich food.
People love it, and fish seem to love it, too. Unfortunately, the container sometimes opens during shipping leaving pet owners with a big mess and no fish food.
The food also contains shrimp, which may not be listed among the ingredients, so be careful if you have shellfish allergies!
Some buyers also note that the food makes a mess of their tank, but that seems to be on the rare occasion when their fish don’t eat it up!
What We Like:
- Fish eat it up
- Nutritious and color enhancing
What Needs Work:
- The container opens during shipping
- Not all ingredients are listed
- Uneaten food can make a mess of the tank
Fluval Fish Food
- Tropical fish food that contains up to 40%, nutrient-rich Black Soldier Fly Larvae, the first ingredient
- High in multiple proteins like whole salmon – rich in Omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin, scales and fins
- Fortified with essential vitamins, amino acids and minerals for a balanced daily diet
Fluval Fish Food Bug Bites Color Enhancing Formula combines fish and insect protein to enhance color while providing a balanced diet.
If you’re looking for fish food that sinks instead of floating at the top of the tank, consider Fluval Fish Food. The Bug Bites Color Enhancing Formula is made of salmon and insect larvae, and reviewers seem to love it for their bettas and other fishy friends.
Some reviewers say the pellet sinks too quickly, and like other fish food, it can dirty the tank when your fish doesn’t eat it all.
The pellets can also break down during shipping, leaving owners with more unusable powder.
Though it can be a bit messy, even the pickiest of fish seem to go for this food!
What We Like:
- Insect-forward formula
- Many types of fish seem to like the food
- Works for picky fish, too
What Needs Work:
- Pellet sinks too quickly
- Pellets can break down during shipping
- Uneaten food dirties the tank
Aqueon Tropical Color Enhancing Flakes
- Natural ingredients and colors with added vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients
- Nutritious food ingredients that fish are naturally attracted to
- Formulated so that fish utilize more of what they eat and create less waste
Aqueon Tropical Color Enhancing Flakes is designed for all tropical fish and has many ingredients to bring out the color.
Fish keepers love Aqueon as a budget-friendly brand, and the well-balanced formula works well for most fish and actually seems to intensify colors.
Unfortunately, picky fish won’t so much as touch this food, and owners of herbivorous fish wish there were more veggies on the ingredient list.
The food can also turn the tank (and filter) red, particularly with overfeeding.
As long as your fish likes it, you feed them the correct amount, and you clean the tank regularly, these flakes work perfectly.
What We Like:
- Balanced formula
- Intensifies color
What Needs Work:
- Some fish won’t eat it
- Uneaten food can turn your tank and filter red
Ultra Fresh Goldfish Ultra Color
- CLEAR WATER FORMULATION The shrimp pie softens quickly, easy for algae eaters to digest and remains intact within 24 hours, thus keeping the water clear.
Ultra Fresh Goldfish Ultra Color is organic fish food made of spirulina, seaweed, shrimp, and prawn. It comes in pellets.
Ultra Fresh is a new arrival on the fish-keeping scene, but this food really seems to bring out the color in goldfish. People and fish alike also love organic ingredients.
While the pellets work well for smaller goldfish, they seem to be a bit too small for bigger fish and can be harder to find for older fish.
For the few fish that don’t eat it up fast enough, the pellets can make a mess of the tank when they dissolve into the substrate.
What We Like:
- Organic ingredients
- Smaller goldfish love it
What Needs Work:
- Pellets are too small for larger fish
- Dissolving pellets can make a mess of the tank
You may have noticed that many of the best color-enhancing fish foods are quite messy and can get your tank dirty.
To avoid this problem, remove any uneaten food immediately after feeding — many fish keepers find this easier to do with pellets than flakes — and clean your tank regularly.
You can always experiment with different foods to find what works best for you, your fish, and your tank. Plus, variety can help you keep your tank clean (most fish will never leave a bloodworm behind, so you won’t have to worry about scooping it out of the substrate later).
What Gives Fish Their Color?
Fish get their color from two types of cells: chromatophores and iridophores. Chromatophores make your fish colorful, and there’s one primary color in each chromatophore. Iridophores make your fish shiny.
Like any cells, chromatophores and iridophores can be affected by several factors in your fish’s environment, including stress, hormones, water quality, and feeding.
People keep ornamental aquarium fish due to their vibrant natural colors, so the best way to bring out your fish’s natural colors is to carefully mimic its environment and make sure it is happy and healthy.
How Can I Increase My Fish Color?
Take care of your fish’s color-producing cells by taking good care of your fish.
If you want to be healthy and bright, you paint your plate with the colors of the rainbow, and the same is true for fish. Colors often signify different nutrients.
Give your fish a varied diet with plenty of different colors, and if you’re going for a certain color, feed them more of that one!
Please be careful of overfeeding, though. Fish can only eat so much in a day, so your fish does not need a five-course meal with every feeding — nor do they need breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Do Fish Have a Color Preference For Their Food?
Yes! Fish use color to determine what is edible and what isn’t, and some fish have preferences for certain colors. Guppies, for example, prefer their food to be orange, and zebrafish prefer green over blue and red over green.
It all seems to be based on the fish’s natural habitat and what they recognize as food, so the best thing you can do is learn about how your fish lives in the wild and try to mimic that at home.
You can make your fish more at home using anything from water quality (temperature, pH, harness) to decorations (bettas love live plants) to diet.
So, What’s the Best Color Enhancing Food for Me to Feed My Fish?
The best food you can feed your fish to enhance its color is… more than one!
We recommend starting with a basic flake or pellet designed for your fish’s needs — perhaps the TetraColor PLUS Tropical Flakes with Color Enhancing or the Aqueon Tropical Color Enhancing Flakes if you’re on a budget.
From there, add some colorful nutrients to your fishy friend’s diet — some bloodworms for carnivores and seaweed and spirulina for herbivores.
Of course, if you have a special fish, you can always feed it a specialized diet. For instance, many companies make unique blends to enhance color in betta fish and goldfish, and you can always do more research to see what kind of diet your fish prefers in the wild.