Aquarium fish are beautiful, inexpensive pets that are relatively easy to care for. Their popularity and convenience mean that there are many brands and specific types of fish flakes available, including flakes that are suitable for all fish and those for specific species. There are also flakes that aim to improve the color of your fish, which can further enhance the natural beauty of your aquarium stock.
With such a wide range of fish flakes on the market, and their varied purpose, it is important that you choose the right one. That’s why we’ve looked at dozens of different varieties to choose the 10 best. We’ve compiled reviews and listed the benefits and uses of each, so that you can choose the food that best suits you and your fish.
A Glance at Our Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||TetraMin Tropical||
|Best Value||Wardley Flake Tropical||
|Premium Choice||Omega One Betta Buffet||
|Tetra Color Tropical||
The 10 Best Flake Fish Foods
1. TetraMin Tropical Flakes Fish Food – Best Overall
TetraMin Tropical Flakes are freshwater flakes made with fish meal, yeast, and brown rice. They are easy to digest and don’t discolor the water, so you won’t have to increase your water cleaning regimen. They have high levels of protein and fat, as well as a varied selection of vitamins and minerals chosen to prevent disease and keep your fish as healthy as possible, while the omega-3 maintains a healthy immune system to protect against disease.
The tropical flakes have proven very popular with owners and have a high acceptance rate with fish, so you should have no problems getting your tropical stock to eat them. The only minor complaint about this food is that it is priced higher than some of the others in this list, but you do get what you pay for. In this case, you get high-quality, appealing food that enables your fish to thrive without requiring extra tank care or water cleaning.
2. Wardley Flake Tropical Fish Food – Best Value
Wardley’s Tropical Fish Food Flakes are inexpensive, help ensure the good health of your fish, and most users report that they do not discolor or cloud the tank water. In our tests, we found these to be the best flake fish food for the money. They have been formulated with a high protein-to-fat ratio which encourages growth from all fish, and the ingredients do not incorporate any artificial colors so your water should remain clear. Artificial colorings can leak into the water, which not only ruins the aesthetics of your tank, but it means more frequent water changes that can stress your fish, as well as you.
Wardley claims that these are large fish flakes and most buyers agree. However, there has been a small number of owners reporting that the flakes have crumbled during shipping, leaving dust that can’t be fed to their fish. There have been a small number of people complaining that the flakes leave a cloud in the water, but this could be due to the dust or because of overfeeding.
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3. Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes Fish Food – Premium Choice
Betta Buffet Flakes from Omega One have a high protein level that is especially useful for betta fish, which demand a high-protein diet. This ratio also means that the flakes are less likely to dissolve in water, which means that the food will not cloud or discolor the water and will leave a healthier living environment for your bettas. This also means that you won’t have to increase your water changes or cleaning requirements.
Ingredients include wild salmon, and the food has been formulated with less starch and filler. This is a premium fish food, which means that you may have to pay extra, but if you want healthy bettas with vibrant colors and a strong immune system built up by the omega-3 and omega-6, this is a very good choice of food that receives high ratings from buyers and betta owners.
Although billed as ideal for betta, this is a tropical fish flake that can be safely fed to other fish, so it can be used in a tank with mixed fish stock. The major drawback of this product is that it is only available in smaller bottles and at a premium price, so it does end up costing a lot more than other foods.
4. Tetra Color Tropical Flakes Fish Food
Tetra’s Color Tropical Fish Flakes are inexpensive and good quality. They come in a large tub, which means that you won’t have to keep restocking your fish food, either, while also offering good value for money. The flakes are large, with very few complaints of small flakes and dust in the container.
The food, which incorporates fish meal, yeast, and dried shrimp among other high-quality ingredients, is meant as a dietary supplement and for color enhancement. By adding this to their daily diet, you can improve the color of any tropical freshwater fish. It even proves effective for goldfish and cichlid.
This flake enjoys very positive reviews from buyers with just a small handful of complaints that fish aren’t so keen on the food. Tetra advises feeding this as a daily supplement to help overcome the dull colors that can become evident in aquarium fish.
5. Aqueon Tropical Flakes Freshwater Fish Food
Aqueon’s Tropical Flakes are formulated for freshwater fish. They incorporate whole fish meal including salmon and herring, and do not contain any artificial colorings. Some manufacturers use artificial color to help enhance the color of the flake, but this can lead to water clouding and can even increase the waste that your fish produce.
By ensuring a varied and balanced list of ingredients, the fish utilize more of the ingredients and this reduces natural waste, minimizing the need for cleaning and ensuring that your aquarium is a healthy and appealing living environment for any fish. The food comes in a large container and offers good value for money, too.
Aqueon’s flakes get very good ratings from buyers, with only a small handful of people stating that their fish do not like the flakes. There are no complaints over the food being dusty or clouding the water, which can be a common complaint in flake food.
6. Omega One Cichlid Flakes Fish Food
Omega One Cichlid Flakes Fish Food are formulated from fresh seafood combined with ocean kelp. Ingredients include fresh salmon, halibut, krill, shrimp and more. It is high in omega-3 and omega-6 to help ensure good health, high nutrition, and to improve the color of your cichlid. The formula is low in starches, which helps prevent clouding and water discoloration.
The large tub represents really good value for money; however, some buyers have reported that the flakes vary in size with a combination of small flakes and clumps, as well as the more desirable large flakes. This food is considered suitable for all varieties of cichlid and will keep yours healthy, well-fed, and with vivid colors.
The food receives generally good reviews with just a small handful of owners reporting that their fish did not take to the food.
7. Marineland Color-Enhancing Tropical Flakes Fish Food
Marineland’s Color-Enhancing Tropical Fish Flakes are high in carotenoids, which serve to enhance colors on the orange to red spectrum. They also contain anchovies that are a rich source of protein, ideal for improving the growth and strength of your fish stock.
The flakes can be fed to any freshwater fish, and Marineland has included a variety of flake sizes to ensure that they are suitable for all of the fish in your tank. They also use a low-heating preparation which helps preserve the nutrients and prevents color from bleaching the water. This color enhancing food receives positive reviews with buyers loving the fact that the food floats before sinking, making it suitable for all species in your tank, whether they are surface or bottom feeders.
The food also receives positive reviews for its popularity with fish and there are a number of reports from owners stating that the food really has helped enhance the colors of their fish. A couple of buyers have said that the food is more like crisps than flakes, so some picky eaters may not take the food.
8. API Tropical Flakes
These tropical flakes from API are ideal for smaller surface-feeding fish. The flakes are designed to be small so that they are more easily digested by smaller tank inhabitants and contain spirulina for color enhancement, garlic to improve the taste and appeal of the food, and yeast that delivers micronutrients to the fish.
API tropical flakes contain a host of different fish meals as well as added vitamins and nutrients that ensure your fish is well-fed.
The food receives generally positive reviews from buyers, many of whom claim that it is the favorite food of their fish. Other buyers have reported that changing to this food has helped ensure clearer water in the tank, which not only ensures that you can see in but also provides a healthier and more natural environment for your fish. However, a number of buyers stated that their fish would not take the food, while others have claimed that the flakes turned up as dust and clouded the water, although cloudiness can be caused by overfeeding.
9. Ocean Nutrition Food Prime Reef Flakes
Designed for reef aquariums, Ocean Nutrition’s Prime Reef Flakes is rich in seafood and plankton. The formula not only delivers the required nutrients and vitamins required by your fish, but also ensures that it is appealing to the fish.
It has also been formulated to be easy to digest. This ensures that your fish produce less waste so that you won’t have to clean the water as often. It also ensures that your fish have a healthy and pleasant living environment. Healthy, happy fish not only live longer but they have more vibrant colors and higher energy levels, increasing the pleasure of keeping an aquarium.
Unfortunately, several owners have reported that the ingredients are not as listed on the company website and include a number of lower quality additives. Others have complained that the food sinks too quickly so surface feeders have little chance to get the food before it reaches the bottom.
10. Seachem NutriDiet Marine Fish Flakes
Seachem NutriDiet Marine Fish Flakes are affordably priced and is formulated with vitamin C, chlorella, garlic guard, and probiotics to deliver all the necessary vitamins and nutrients to your fish.
The food is made from high-quality and natural ingredients, but a lot of owners have complained that the food is too small so will not be enjoyed by larger fish. There are also some reports that a lot of species of fish simply don’t like the food, and it has high GMO content in the ingredients.
GMO ingredients are considered a decent source of some vitamins for fish but is used as a replacement for natural ingredients like plankton. It keeps manufacturing costs down but is much less appealing to the fish and doesn’t provide the same range of benefits as marine food.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Flake Fish Food
Still unsure which flake fish food is right for your fish’s needs? To make your research easier, we’ve included a helpful buyer’s guide. Use it with our reviews and top picks to determine which food best suits your fish. Here’s what you need to know.
Choosing From a Dizzying Array of Options
Entering a pet store or scrolling through online options can feel like stepping into a bewildering food maze. Options abound from a wide variety of flake foods, granular feeds, pellet assortments, and frozen foods, all promising optimal nutrition for your aquatic pets.
The good news is that most aquarium fish aren’t picky eaters! They’re omnivorous, welcoming a balanced diet of both animal protein and plant-based meals.
Protein Is the Key to Your Fish’s Heart (and Health)
The world of fish diets revolves around one magic word: protein. That’s right; it’s the nutrient your fish can’t live without. Yet, too much, too little, or the incorrect type can cause more harm than good.
Premium protein usually hails from other seafood, such as fish meal, shrimp, and other marine delights. Fish aren’t exactly the breadbasket types. Foods rich in grains and carbohydrates are not on their preferred menu.
How much protein is just right? Well, young fish are protein enthusiasts, requiring a diet that’s 35% to 45% protein. As they age, their protein appetite reduces. Overindulgence in protein can lead to obesity and fatty liver disease in mature fish.
One of the unsung truths about flake food is that it doesn’t age well. It’s like a ticking time bomb; nutrients in flake food deteriorate rather swiftly. So, it’s a good practice to purchase amounts that can be consumed within a month.
Offering a buffet of freeze-dried, frozen, pelleted, or flake food not only provides the necessary nutrients but also introduces an appealing variety to your fish’s diet.
There are manufacturers who conveniently package a mix of flake types in a single can, each accessible with a twist of the top. It’s an ingenious way to provide variety without a shelf full of cans.
Even though certain fish are strict vegetarians and rely on food like spirulina (algae) flakes, don’t be surprised to find your other fish partaking in the green goodness. The distribution of flakes depends on the feeding habit of your fish.
Floating flakes cater to top or mid-level feeding fish, while bottom feeders, such as plecos, prefer algae wafers or sinking pellets.
Consider Pellets and Sticks
The larger the fish, the larger its appetite and, of course, its mouth. Consequently, larger fish enjoy bigger bites of food. Floating and sinking pellets or sticks become the food of choice for larger species, like cichlids.
It’s essential to research what your fish naturally eat. Some large fish, like the Silver Dollar, might deceive you with their size but remain staunch vegetarians.
Explore Additional Foods
There’s a world beyond the realm of flakes and pellets, and it includes freeze-dried foods such as krill, tubifex, and shrimp. These can be served in fun ways, like pressing tubifex cubes to the tank glass, turning mealtime into a fun feeding frenzy.
Don’t forget about frozen food cubes made from a variety of nutritious ingredients. They’re a hit in the fish world and a great addition to any aquarium.
Monitor Your Fish’s Eating Habits
When it comes to feeding your fish, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Always keep an eye on whether your fish eat what you serve them. Any leftovers need to be promptly removed to prevent fouling the water.
A well-balanced, varied diet anchored by flake food, with occasional servings of freeze-dried, frozen, or pelleted foods, will keep your fish happy, healthy, and vibrantly colorful.
Finding and feeding a good fish food is imperative to the good health and upkeep of your freshwater fish. Good food not only ensures a balanced diet, but it can enhance the colors and even improve your fish’s immune system. Choose according to the species of fish you have, as well as their size, and the combination of species you have in your tank. Remember that some fish are surface feeders and others are bottom feeders and provide food to meet the needs of the individuals as well as the group.
While compiling our reviews we found that the TetraMin Tropical Fish Flakes are the best food, providing a balanced diet at a good price. Wardley Flake Tropical Fish Food is the best fish flakes for the money, costing less than the TetraMin and enjoying almost as many positive reviews.
An aquarium is a great addition to any home, and fish make relaxing and enjoyable pets, but you do need to ensure that they are well-fed and receive the required vitamins and nutrients. We hope that our reviews help you find the best food for your fish so that you can continue enjoying them at their best.
Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock