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8 Best Saltwater Fish Foods 2021 – Reviews and Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove

Aqueon Shrimp Pellet mainThe ideal saltwater fish food should mimic the food that your fish would eat in their natural environment as closely as possible. The food you feed your fish will be a major factor in their overall health and vitality, and the more varied the food is, the better. The food will also largely depend on the species of fish and their age.

Most saltwater fish will prefer live food, but they can be adapted to eating commercial foods if it’s of high quality. While it is fine to feed your fish a single type of commercial food, they will thrive if given a wide variety, so their staple food should ideally be supplemented by other types.

It can be a difficult process to choose the right type of food for your saltwater fish, but don’t worry! We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you and created this list of in-depth reviews to help you find the ideal choice of fish food to suit your unique needs.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Tetra BloodWorms Freeze-Dried Freshwater Fish Food Tetra BloodWorms Freeze-Dried Freshwater Fish Food
  • High in protein
  • Encourages natural foraging instincts
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Aqueon Shrimp Pellet Tropical Fish Food Aqueon Shrimp Pellet Tropical Fish Food
  • Inexpensive
  • No artificial colorants or preservatives
  • All-natural fish meal
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Omega One Sinking Veggie Rounds Saltwater Fish Food Omega One Sinking Veggie Rounds Saltwater Fish Food
  • Formulated with hand-harvested kelp
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6
  • Promotes vibrant colors
  • Tetra BabyShrimp Saltwater Fish Food Tetra BabyShrimp Saltwater Fish Food
  • Provides essential roughage
  • Fortified with vitamin C
  • No added colorants or preservatives
  • Omega One Sinking Shrimp Pellets Saltwater Fish Food Omega One Sinking Shrimp Pellets Saltwater Fish Food
  • Made with whole shrimp
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6
  • Low in ash content
  • The 8 Best Saltwater Fish Foods — Reviews 2021

    1. Tetra BloodWorms Freeze-Dried Freshwater Fish Food — Best Overall

    Tetra BloodWorms Freeze-Dried

    Saltwater fish need large amounts of protein to stay healthy and active, and this freeze-dried bloodworm fish food from Tetra will give them just that. It is our top choice overall for saltwater fish food, as it is affordable and convenient and will add variety to your fish’s diet. The food has an appearance and texture that will encourage foraging in both carnivorous and omnivorous fish, while providing essential protein intake. The food is made with mosquito larvae and is ideal for both small and medium-sized saltwater fish. Best of all, there are no artificial flavorings or colorants, just pure bloodworms that are safe for any fish to eat.

    These worms are freeze dried, so they may powder somewhat inside the container. Your fish won’t be able to eat these fine particles, and this can swiftly make their tanks water dirty and smelly. Also, several users report that the product’s lid is difficult to open and doesn’t seal properly.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Encourages natural foraging instincts
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Powers and crumbles easily
    • Container lid is difficult to open and doesn’t seal correctly

    2. Aqueon Shrimp Pellet Tropical Fish Food— Best Value

    Aqueon Shrimp Pellet

    The best saltwater fish food for the money according to our tests is the Shrimp Pellet Tropical Fish Food from Aqueon. This pellet-based food is designed to slowly sink to the bottom of your fish tank, so it is ideal for both top-feeding and bottom-feeding fish. The pellets are made from shrimp meal and premium whole fish meal from herring and salmon. The ingredients used are all-natural with no colorants or preservatives, are designed to keep your fish healthy and full of energy, and will support a healthy immune system.

    The pellets sink fairly fast, which makes it ideal for bottom-feeders, though not great for other fish. They also dissolve slowly and contain whole-wheat flour, which can leave a mess in your tank. The pellets are also quite large and may not be suitable for smaller fish. The fact that the pellets can be messy and are oversized keep this food from the top spot.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • No artificial colorants or preservatives
    • All-natural fish meal from shrimp, herring, and salmon
    Cons
    • May sink fairly quickly
    • Doesn’t dissolve quickly, so may cause a dirty tank
    • Large pellet-size is not ideal for small fish

    3. Omega One Sinking Veggie Rounds Saltwater Fish Food — Premium Choice

    Omega One Sinking Veggie Rounds

    These Sinking Veggie Rounds from Omega One are our premium choice for saltwater fish food. The food is formulated with fresh ocean kelp that is hand-harvested in the Gulf of Alaska, and its low ash content means it won’t cloud your fish tank. It is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 to help strengthen your fish’s immune system. The pellets are high in protein and include salmon, halibut, krill, and shrimp, which will improve and promote vibrant skin color in your fish.

    The pellets sink fairly slowly, and despite their low ash content, they will make the water murky if left too long. They also contain added colorants and preservatives, which keeps this food from the top two positions.

    Pros
    • Formulated with hand-harvested kelp
    • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6
    • Promotes vibrant colors
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains artificial colorants and preservatives

    4. Tetra BabyShrimp Saltwater Fish Food

    Tetra BabyShrimp Sun Drie

    Tetra BabyShrimp Saltwater fish food will give your fish all the roughage they need, as it contains whole shrimp that includes the shell. A lack of roughage can cause serious complications in fish, and this food is an excellent source. It is also fortified with vitamin C to aid in a healthy immune system for your fish and contains no added colorants, preservatives, or fillers — just natural, whole, freeze-dried shrimp.

    However, many users report that their fish wouldn’t eat this food. The freeze-dried shrimp don’t sink, so bottom feeders will not be able to eat it. It is also best used as an occasional treat for added variety, rather than a daily staple.

    Pros
    • Provides essential roughage
    • Fortified with vitamin C
    • No added colorants or preservatives
    Cons
    • Doesn’t sink
    • Not ideal as a daily staple

    5. Omega One Sinking Shrimp Pellets Saltwater Fish Food

    Omega One Sinking Shrimp Pellets

    These sinking shrimp pellets from Omega One are made with 100% whole, fresh shrimp, which is a great source of roughage for your fish. The pellets are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids to promote a healthy immune system, and the included salmon skins will keep your fish’s skin healthy and colorful. The food is also low in ash content and will not cloud the water of your aquarium.

    This food includes fillers and binders that are not ideal for fish, including wheat and gluten. It also contains artificial colorants and preservatives. The pellets sink fast, making them unusable for top-feeders.

    Pros
    • Made with whole shrimp
    • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6
    • Low in ash content
    Cons
    • Contains unnatural fillers, colorants, and preservatives
    • The pellets sink fast

    6. New Life Spectrum Marine Fish Formula

    New Life Spectrum Naturox

    Marine Fish Formula from New Life Spectrum is designed to bring out the natural colors and patterns in your fish. The sinking pellets are tiny and will sink slowly once they get saturated with water. Their small size also makes them mess-free, and they won’t dirty your fish tank or clog up the filter. The food is high in protein, omega-3, and omega-6 and contains vitamin C, E, and D for healthy development.

    This food is not ideal for large fish, as the pellets are small. It also contains potentially harmful ingredients, including wheat flour that is used as a binding agent.

    Pros
    • Brings out the natural colors of your fish
    • Small size sinks slowly
    • Contains omega-3 and omega-6
    Cons
    • Not ideal for large fish
    • Contains wheat-flour binders

    7. Ocean Nutrition Food Prime Reef Flake

    Ocean Nutrition Food Primereef

    Primereef Flakes from Ocean Nutrition are color-enhancing flakes that will give your fish rapid delivery of nutrition. This food has a high protein content and all-natural ingredients that won’t cloud your tank’s water. This food is fairly inexpensive, and the flakes vary in size, which is great for tanks with fish of different sizes. The flakes are rich in seafood and zooplankton and will provide your fish with essential omega-3 and 6. This food has no artificial color or preservatives but instead, includes ingredients that mimic your fish’s natural diet.

    Flake-based foods crumble easily, and although these small pieces won’t cloud the water, they will collect at the bottom of your tank and most fish will ignore them. This food is not suitable for larger fish, and it contains wheat flour.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Color-enhancing ingredients
    • No artificial colorants and preservatives
    Cons
    • Crumbles easily
    • Contains wheat flour
    • Not suitable for large fish

    8. Hikari USA Inc Marine S pellets

    Hikari Usa Inc Marine

    This pellet food from Hikari USA Inc contains the essential omega fatty acids and high protein levels that your fish need to thrive. The pellets will not dissolve in water, will not cloud your tank’s water, and are designed to sink slowly enough for all your fish to eat. This food is formulated to enhance the coloration of your fish and establish and maintain a good digestive system.

    Although it states otherwise, many users report that the pellets sink quickly, not allowing your fish time to eat. They also contain wheat flour as a binding agent and are not ideal for large fish.

    Pros
    • Contains high protein levels
    • Won’t cloud your tank
    Cons
    • Pellets sink quickly
    • Contains wheat flour
    • Not ideal for large fish

    Buyers Guide

    There are hundreds of different saltwater fish species that are commonly kept in home aquariums, and each type has different nutritional requirements. That said, it is best for any species of fish to have a wide variety of food as possible, so it’s good practice to switch up foods and add in different types frequently.

    Like any other pet, fish require a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to thrive and live a happy, healthy life. Some fish like to bottom-feed exclusively, while others are the opposite and will enjoy floating food. You’ll need to consider this when buying food for your fish.

    Types of fish foods

    Just as there are many different types of fish species, there is a vast array of types of food you can choose from to feed them. There are carnivorous, omnivorous, and herbivorous fish that all have different nutritional requirements, and you’ll need to take this into consideration. The main forms that fish food commonly comes in are the following.

    • Flakes. These are ideal for small fish and the most common type available. They will usually float for a long time but will eventually sink to the bottom of the tank. The main issue with this food is that these flakes can easily break up into finer particles and cause your aquarium to have cloudy water.
    • Granules. Granulated food also tends to sink slowly, which makes it available to all the fish within the tank. They are ideal for small and medium-sized fish, as they are usually bite-sized chunks. These granules can cause a mess if they are not all eaten, and can clog up your water filter.
    • Pellet fish food comes in a range of sizes to suit different sized fish and is designed to sink slowly. This is not always the case, though, and they can also cause clogged filters if not totally consumed by your fish.
    • Freeze-Dried and frozen. This is a popular food for carnivorous fish, usually coming in the form of bloodworms and mealworms that are freeze-dried. Of course, live worms are great for carnivorous fish too.

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    Conclusion

    Our top pick for the best saltwater fish food is the freeze-dried bloodworm fish food from Tetra. It will provide essential protein, encourage foraging, and has no nasty artificial flavorings or colorants — just pure mosquito larvae that are safe for any fish to eat.

    The best saltwater fish food for the money is the Shrimp Pellet Tropical Fish Food from Aqueon. The pellets are made from shrimp and premium whole-fish meal from herring and salmon, with no colorants or preservatives, and it will give your fish the most nutrient-dense food for the buck.

    It can be overwhelming to find the right food for your saltwater fish. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped you solve that problem and find the best saltwater fish food to suit your unique needs.

    For more reviews on fish food check out these posts:

     


    Featured image credit: Aqueon Shrimp Pellet, Chewy

    Nicole Cosgrove

    Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.