The Best Food for Cichlid Colors: Enhancing Their Brightness

Alison Page

Alison Page


Best Food For Cichlids Colors

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Cichlids are beautiful fish that come in many varieties. These fish are a favorite with aquarists because of their gorgeous colors and big personalities. 

To get the best from your cichlids, you’ll need to feed them a balanced, high-quality diet that also enhances and brightens their colors.

Read this guide to discover the six best foods for enhancing your cichlids’ colors and learn more about how to feed these fascinating fish!

Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets

Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets
  • COLOR-BOOSTING NUTRITION: Super Color Pellets produce significant color enhancement thanks to elevated levels of beta carotenes in salmon skin.
  • KEEP A CLEANER TANK: Our Super Color Pellets are naturally insoluble, which reduces water pollution, and they have significantly less starch, which reduces fish waste
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY: No meals, hydrolysates, digests, or any other pre-processed protein
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First up on our list is Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets; color-enhancing fish food that we highly recommend for your cichlids!

This excellent quality food contains salmon skin, which has high levels of beta carotenes for brighter colors.

These pellets are naturally insoluble, an excellent feature that helps to decrease water pollution. The formula also has low starch levels to reduce the amount of waste produced by your fish.

This food contains no pre-processed proteins, meal, or hydroxylates, offering balanced nutrition that’s great for overall health.

 What We Like:

  • Contains salmon skin natural color enhancer
  • Insoluble so reduces fish waste
  • High in protein
  • Contains no pre-processed protein

Room for Improvement:

  • Hard consistency that some fish don’t like

TetraCichlid Floating Pellets

TetraCichlid Floating Cichlid Pellets 6 Ounces
  • CICHLID FORMULATION Hearty floating pellets for use as a staple food for top- and mid-water-feeding cichlids
  • FLOATING PELLETS Scientifically developed protein-rich cichlid food – natural color enhancer works to bring out the color of your fish
  • FOR DAILY FEEDING Nutritionally balanced diet – maintains vitality and enhances fish’s natural beauty
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These floating cichlid pellets are extremely affordable but still offer excellent quality and promote vibrant colors.

The high-protein pellets are designed for medium to large carnivorous cichlid species that feed at the surface or mid-range of the water column.

The main ingredient is a micro-milled fish meal that contains fewer colorants than many other foods and is easier to digest. This helps to keep your tank cleaner, as the fish produce less waste.

The product formula contains ProCare which supports the immune system, as well as natural color enhancers.

Bonus: this food doesn’t cloud your aquarium water!

What We Like:

  • High in protein
  • Supports the immune system
  • Contains natural color enhancers
  • Doesn’t cloud aquarium water

Room for Improvement:

  • Not palatable to some fish

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula

New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula
  • All-natural color-enhancing ingredients for a balanced diet that boosts immune system and enhances the full spectrum of your fish's color.
  • Quality And Performance Driven Products For Your Pet
  • Tested For Safety And Health
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New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula is an excellent cichlid food that is perfect for most African Cichlids.

This special fish food contains a wide variety of natural ingredients, including color-enhancing elements and fatty acids for a balanced, varied diet.

It is made using a high protein content formula that includes whole fish, Antarctic krill, beta carotene, and lots of other beneficial premium ingredients that boost your fish’s immune system.

What We Like:

  • High in protein
  • Contains color enhancers
  • Helps support the fish’s immune system

Room for Improvement:

  • Pellets are small and sometimes don’t sink

Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets

Hikari 8.8-Ounce Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets
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Hikari Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets is an excellent product for carnivorous cichlid species as the formula is very high in protein.

When used as instructed, this fish food doesn’t cloud your aquarium water, and the natural color enhancers used in the formula really do boost those beautiful brilliant colors.

The formula includes a range of healthy, natural elements, including the primary ingredients beta carotene and NS germ, offering a balanced meal and effective color boosting properties.

The main issue with these pellets is that they are rather hard in texture, and some fish don’t like them. However, you can easily fix that by soaking the pellets in some tank water before you offer them to your fish.

What We Like:

  • Color-enhancing formula
  • High in protein for healthy cichlid growth
  • Contains vitamin C for health and vitality

Room for Improvement:

  • Possibly lack flavor, and not all fish will eat them

Northfin Cichlid Fish Food Pellets

Northfin Cichlid Fish Food Pellets
  • NorthFin Cichlid Formula is professionally developed to improve the health and well-being of your fish, while naturally enhancing their brilliant colors.
  • A Marine Protein Based Diet allows your fish to fully digest and absorb more Nutrients; Your Fish stay healthy and produce less Waste in your Tank
  • Key Ingredients: Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, High Omega-3 DHA Herring Meal, Organic Kelp, Spirulina
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Northfin Cichlid Fish Food Pellets are an excellent choice to boost your cichlid colors. This formula contains high-quality ingredients, including Omega-3 fatty acids and high-protein Antarctic krill, making this the perfect choice for carnivorous cichlids.

This food is specially formulated to provide your fish with essential vitamins and uses no artificial color additives or padding. This means your fish find it much easier to digest the food and utilize the nutrients it contains. 

Although this food brings out the best colors and boosts growth rates, the formula might lack flavor, as some cichlids are not that keen on the food when it’s first offered. This is a possible problem, as you’ll need to remove uneaten food from your aquarium to preserve the water quality.

What We Like:

  • Enhances vivid colors
  • High in protein
  • Contains no unnecessary fillers or artificial colors

Room for Improvement:

  • Possibly lacks flavor

Aqueon Cichlid Pellets

Aqueon Cichlid Slow Sinking Fish Food Pellets
  • Contains premium ingredients such as shrimp and squid meal that all types of cichlids should enjoy
  • Quality, nutritious ingredients naturally attract fish, support a healthy immune system, bring out their true colors and provide the essentials for proper growth and vitality
  • Formulated so that fish utilize more of what they eat and create less waste
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Aqueon floating pellets are a good choice if you’re looking for decent quality but inexpensive fish food for your cichlids. 

These pellets contain squid and krill meal that encourages even the fussiest fish to feed. The formula used won’t cloud your tank water and claims to reduce the amount of waste your fish produce.

This food will bring out your cichlids’ beautiful colors, but unfortunately, the pellets are quite small, and sometimes they don’t sink properly.

What We Like:

  • Contains krill meal and squid to tempt fussy fish
  • Includes color enhancers for brilliant colors
  • Doesn’t cloud your fish tank water
  • Contains no artificial colors

Room for Improvement:

  • The pellets are a quite small and sometimes don’t sink

What Makes a Good Diet for Cichlids?

There are many cichlid foods out there on the market, but what makes a good diet for these beautiful, popular fish?

Cichlids can be fed a pretty wide range of different foods, including commercially prepared fish foods, fresh vegetables, and frozen fare.

Providing your cichlids with a healthy, balanced diet ensures that the fish receive all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need to remain healthy. Offering your fish a range of fresh foods alongside their basic diet of flakes or pellets is the best way to manage their diet.

Fresh Vegetables

Not all species of cichlid appreciate or need meaty protein in their diet, so including lots of blanched fresh green veggies, such as peas, cucumber, broccoli, and spinach, is an excellent option.

Of course, fresh vegetables tend to float to the surface, but you can buy special aquarium clips to prevent this or use a wooden fork or skewer as a cheaper alternative.

Other Food Options

You can also offer your carnivorous and omnivorous cichlids more protein-rich type food in the form of brine shrimp, bloodworms, and similar.

Carnivorous species, such as Jack Dempsey and Red Oscar, need plenty of meaty protein in their diet to thrive, so always check the requirements of your specific species.

Omnivorous fish need a varied diet, so you’ll need to include both plant matter and meaty foods for them.

However, there are a few herbivore African Cichlids, such as Tropheus and Mbuna whose diet is primarily made up of biofilm, algae, and aquatic plants. These species need a specialist diet to ensure the fish get the blend of nutrients and essential vitamins they need for optimum growth and immune system health.

It’s crucial that you don’t feed herbivores high-protein foods, as that can cause bloating and associated health problems in these fish!

Fresh Food

In the wild, omnivorous and carnivorous cichlids gain nutrition from various food sources, including insects, small crustaceans, worms, and insect larvae. So, is it a good idea to replicate that natural diet in captivity by offering live foods?

The main issue with offering your fish live foods is that it often comes with a cargo of parasites and potentially harmful bacteria that can be dangerous to your fish.

Unless you have a home brine shrimp hatchery, we recommend that you offer your fish high-quality commercially produced foods, such as those reviewed earlier in this article.

How Often Should I Feed My Cichlids?

We recommend that you feed your cichlids two to three times per day.

Cichlids are naturally highly competitive when it comes to feeding times, and that’s because they live in relatively dense populations in the wild environment. The food here can be scarce!

If you feed your fish several times each day, you’ll help to reduce aggression in a community tank and make sure that all your fish get enough food.

How Much Should I Feed My Cichlids?

You should offer your cichlids only what they will eat in a couple of minutes. If you give your fish too much food, they will overheat, which will lead to health problems, including constipation and bloating.

If your cichlids always appear to be starving, don’t panic! Cichlids are naturally opportunistic feeders who grab whatever food is available whenever it appears. 

How Long Can Cichlids Go without Food?

If your cichlids are in good health, they can survive for up to 10 days without food. So, if you’re not around to feed your fish for a few days or even up to a week, you don’t need to worry about your cichlids.

Many experienced aquarists starve their fish once a week or so as it helps to keep their digestive systems clear of obstructions and prevents constipation and other digestive problems.

However, before you go away, you need to ensure that your cichlids have eaten a balanced, varied diet and been fed regularly.

If you are likely to be absent for more than a week, you should invest in an automatic fish feeder or ask a friend to call in to feed them while you’re not around.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to feeding cichlids? If you found the information useful, please share the article.

Cichlids benefit from two or three daily feedings and a high-quality, varied diet. But note: cichlids can be carnivorous, omnivorous, or herbivorous. To ensure that your fish get the correct diet, be sure to research each species thoroughly! 

What foods do you feed your cichlids? Tell us in the comments box below.

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