Like any other pet, saltwater aquarium fish require a healthy balanced diet to thrive. If you are raising these reef fish, one of the greatest ways to show your fish love is to provide high-quality best saltwater fish food.
Many saltwater or marine fish pets prefer live fish foods, but if you find a way for these natural reef dwellers to accept commercial feed, your day will be much simpler.
Before we discuss the various foods, let’s first share a word or two about these amazing saltwater aquarium creatures we adore.
One of the reasons we love these fish tank inhabitants so much is because of the array of incredible shades, unique shapes, and curious behaviors of marine friends. Everyone loves the brilliant coloration, and the display of life in your feeding tank gives a positive boost to busy days.
If you love the aquarium hobby as much as we do, our guide below explores how you can enrich the marine fish foods through cubes, frozen fish food, a fiber fish food supplement, and other saltwater fish foods that keep your mini reef in tip-top shape.
The most suitable fish food is vital for ‘friends of fishes’ to care for these creatures. Fish eat a varied diet in the wild, and the right supplements will help them thrive.
Different fish have unique needs, so research your pet’s balanced & nutrient-rich diet type before you commit to any amount of fat, fiber, and frozen feed options.
What Do Saltwater Fish Eat?
Marine fish eat what you give them or put into their tanks. Feed your fish the right fish food in the right amount, and they’ll thrive. Before we get into specific saltwater foods, let’s become familiar with the different fish species.
Fish fall into three categories: herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Herbivores are plant-eating, carnivores are meat-eating, and omnivores consume both plants and meat.
Marine herbivores like to eat butterflies. Tangs and angelfish consume microalgae and flowering marine plants. If you have a mature tank, there will be some natural algae the friendly fishes can consume, as they would in the ocean as snacks multiple times a day.
Like lionfish and other predators, Carnivores prefer large meals at one time, especially in the form of fresh shrimp, worms, or amphipods. Responsible fish keepers find appropriate fish food delicacy and replicate those big meals so the reef dwellers can feed as they would naturally.
Omnivores eat whatever they find. You can see them circling around the aquarium, ready to eat anything they can ingest. Clownfish and Royal Gramma are often fed shrimps or small seafood in the fish tank, for example. From our experience, pellets are ideal for omnivores as they contain the necessary ingredients, including algae, vegetables, and meaty foods.
Best Dry Foods for Marine Fish in 2024
Dry foods are one of the most popular options for saltwater reef fish.
People assume that commercial foods like flakes have all the nutrients marine fish need in a day, but this feed is often inadequate. Even though flake foods include the right amount of nutrients, reef tank pets require a structured diet to develop and grow. Marine pellets can also be an excellent addition to the feeding menu, for example.
The lists below are what we consider the right options for saltwater reef fish tanks keepers. Each review includes relevant nutritional information, plus pros and cons.
1. New Life Spectrum’s Marine Fish
New Life Spectrum Marine Fish is the top dry feed option for saltwater species. It is a high-protein formula for all types of reef fish, including herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. It includes nutrients of both plant and animal-based foods and fiber, which aid digestion.
Another benefit of this dry fish treat is Bentonite Clay—a great source of minerals and an effective binder.
New Life Spectrum Marine Fish is full of organic ingredients, including Omega-3 fish oil, Spirulina, and Antarctic krill. Many refer to it as the staple combination for providing your fish with a healthy diet.
The 1mm pellets drop slowly throughout the day so that fish feeding at different levels can access it. Digestibility is the focus, enriched with all the necessary fiber and natural fats that fish need to eat.
New Life Spectrum is a perfect type of fish food for all marine fish.
- Suitable for all aquarium fish
- Quality ingredients
- Enriched with vitamins and natural ingredients only
- No artificial preservatives or flavoring
- Made in the USA
- Fish that eat flakes may transition slowly to the new feed type
- Expensive compared to other supplement options on our list
2. Aqueon Shrimp Pellets Fish Food
Aqueon Shrimp Pellets are the best tropical fish food for its size. Designed for catfish, goldfish, loaches, and other bottom-feeding swimmers, it offers an ideal treat for your reef tank pets. These sinking pellets include premium ingredients that support the immune system, provide vitamins for vitality and growth, and bring out beautiful reef colors.
The tasty shrimp pellets contain added nutrients to support health and help your pets develop and grow.
- Highly digestible pellets
- Great shrimp meal
- Staple nutrition
- Designed to create less fish taste and keep the aquarium water clear
- Shrimp pellets sink quickly if you feed a lot
3. Ocean Nutrition Formula Two Marine Pellet
Ocean Nutrition’s pellets are a perfect soft food that contains marine algae for fiber and fat content. These are suitable for all herbivore and omnivore fish. The soft, moist pellet promotes easy digestion and thriving fish. It’s quickly becoming popular with fish hobbyists.
The pellets contain quality seafood ingredients, garlic, and Spirulina. The ingredients are seen as the ideal combination for stimulating appetite, and the high-quality ingredients are easy for marine fish to digest.
- Tasty pellets tropical fish love to eat
- Soft and moist pellets
- High protein and fiber content
- Does not cloud tank water
- The pellets stay fresh three to four months after you open the bag
- The pellets may sink to the bottom too fast on feed days
1. New Life Spectrum Optimum (All Purpose Flakes for Fish)
New Life Spectrum Optimum is made with easily digestible, quality squid protein ingredients. The hormone-free feed formula boosts the immune system and improves the spectrum of color. It is suitable for all types of marine fish.
Many believe that all aquarium fish require a varied menu to eat. New Life Spectrum Optimum blends contain algae meal and vegetable extracts to make feed time a gourmet affair. The garlic-enriched flakes provide a balanced and nutrient-rich diet for fish of small-to-medium size.
- Made with South Antarctic Krill, Squid, Herring, and New Zealand Mussel protein for full fiber content and easier digestion
- Provides elements found in water environments that are missing from aquarium tanks
- Nourishes both freshwater and saltwater fish
- Not suitable for larger reef fish
- The flakes may sink fast
2. TetraMin Nutritionally Balanced Tropical Flake Food
If you are looking for the best tropical pet fish food, look no further. TetraMin provides uncompromising benefits to the fish with a comprehensive list of vitamins and minerals. Tropical fish eat high protein and fat content to stimulate development and growth, so TetraMin is ideal.
It is made with a ProCare blend of Omega-3 fatty acids and biotin, boosting immunity and increasing appetite.
The flakes are easily digestible, which means that your fish friends will produce less waste, and your tank will remain fresh and clean for longer.
- Various sizes
- All the necessary vitamins, minerals, and trace elements your fish need to eat for a staple diet
- Less time keeping the tank water clean
- Not suitable for bottom-feeders
3. Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Food
Zoo Med Spirulina 20 is great for all types of fish in the tank (whether herbivores or carnivores), but we recommend it as tropical pet fish food. The all-day snacks enhance ingredients such as minerals and raw protein.
Spirulina is the key ingredient and most important in this formula. It is a cyanobacterium that features proteins and amino acids. Zoo Med consequently provides essential nutrients that help your marine fish’s immune system, health, and well-being.
As an organic color enhancer, Zoo Med Spirulina suits swordtails, guppies, African cichlids, mollies, and tangs. As flakes, they will float, drop slowly, and feed all your fish adequately. One issue is that any leftover flakes (floating flakes) can cause algae. Following professional feeding directions and proper tank maintenance each day will successfully alleviate this problem, though.
- Includes Spirulina (algae that contain proteins and amino acids)
- High in raw protein
- Boosts the appetite
- Uneaten flakes can cause algae growth
Top Freeze-Dried Foods for Marine Fish
Freeze-dried fish food is the easiest way to give your fish a healthy and balanced diet of foods packed with beneficial supplements. It is suitable for herbivores or carnivores.
Switching to frozen dried food snacks comes with positive changes to your water pets that you’ll see from day one. For instance, all the proteins and carbohydrates lead to fewer digestive problems. After some time, you will notice that your fish are happier and have more energy, with more vibrant and colorful scales.
In our experience, freeze-dried foods maintain more proteins and fat in comparison to other saltwater fish foods. If you are feeding your fish to improve their health and not just to satisfy their hunger needs, take a look at our freeze dried food suggestions below.
Shrimp and Worms
1. Omega One Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp
Packed with healthy supplements, this high-fat treat is perfect for all carnivores. Omega One Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp contains organic proteins for healthy fish growth.
Aquarium pet enthusiasts love it because of the quality ingredients. It’s made with top-quality frozen Mysis shrimp, so these freeze-dried snacks are just as nutritious as any live food.
- High-protein treat for all fish to eat
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- No risk of bacteria or parasites in the frozen formula
- Unpleasant odor
2. San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp
Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp is a fish food favorite; it’s suitable for butterflyfish, tetras, cichlids, eels, and more. These frozen food Mysis shrimp are an excellent source of protein, and a delicious treat for frogs, turtles, and other amphibians.
The formula promotes resistance to stress, proper growth, and a long and healthy life. Created with a unique liquid-carbon-dioxide process, San Francisco Bay Brand frozen food contains no added preservatives.
- Frozen treats for fish, frogs, and turtles
- Proteins and essential fatty acids
- Necessary supplements to maintain high energy
- Not sinkable (floats around on top of the water)
3. San Francisco Bay Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp 3.35oz
Similar to the previous product, San Francisco Bay Freeze Dried Mysis Shrimp comes in a smaller package of frozen cubes.
Mysis shrimp are not only delicious but the most nutritious and accepted foods for all types of fish.
The formula is excellent for algae eaters who need fat content, like angels, tetras, clownfish, barbs, and more. As a highly nutritious fish food, San Francisco Bay Freeze Dried Shrimp is an excellent great treat for your tank pets on any day.
- Frozen with a special liquid-carbon-dioxide process (highly nutritious food)
- No preservatives
- Stimulates growth and stamina
- Tiny in size
- If fish don’t consume it in three minutes, you need to remove it
Top Green Algae for Marine Fish
When aquarium pet fans discovered the nutritional value of green algae, it quickly became a fish food favorite. High in protein and carbohydrates, it quickly became a popular fish food for marine fish, perfect for feeding clownfish, tangs, angelfish, surgeonfishes, and other algae consumers.
Depending on the type of tank inhabitants you are feeding, you can place the green algae near the bottom or the middle of your tank so that all pets can reach it.
We’ve selected the finest green algae for all of your tank pets to feed at their leisure.
Ocean Nutrition Green Algae Seaweed (10 Sheets)
Fish love this nutritious supplement, rich in Vitamin C. Green Algae Seaweed by Ocean Nutrition is a delicious and easily digestible treat, enhanced with garlic extract. It can help a lot with appetite and immunity.
You can use the seaweed as a supplement to other fish food sources, too. For easy feeding, we recommend using the Ocean Nutrition Feeding seaweed clip.
- High-fat, organic, and nutritious supplement
- Garlic aroma to boost appetite and immunity
- Optimal fish food source for herbivores
- Strong odor of garlic
Frequently Asked Questions
What Food is Best for Saltwater Fish?
Passionate aquarists use a wide variety of foods to provide the right nutrition for their pets. While some find the micro pellets or flakes an adequate choice, others prefer a combination of frozen or other options to give their colorful tank pets a wider variety of healthy meals.
The following options are considered to be the finest:
- Brine Shrimp is available in frozen saltwater fish foods, such as flakes, cubes, and in-egg form. Brine shrimp is as nutritious as any other organic fish food and is a firm favorite among pets and their owners. Brine shrimp also provide a high level of protein.
- Flakes and Pellets contain all the essential proteins and carbohydrates that your scaly friends require for adequate development. Both the flakes and pellets are excellent for a healthy fish meal.
- Seaweed is a quality supplement for all herbivorous fish. Enriched with quality ingredients, the seaweed helps fish to grow bigger and stronger, lengthening their lifespan and boosting their quality of life, too.
- Hikari Marine Angel is a frozen food that has been designed for angelfish. It is high in protein and is extremely easy to digest.
How Much Should You Feed Your Saltwater Fish?
If you stop to analyze your water friends, you will notice that herbivorous fish are constantly grazing for food. Carnivores mainly swim around.
Herbivores (tangs, for example) have a longer digestive tract, and it takes more time to digest the algae they eat.
Carnivores have a shorter digestive tract, and it doesn’t take as much to extract the protein from frozen foods, flakes, or shrimp to keep them tough.
Ideally, herbivores should have access to food sources all the time. The algae that grow in your tank will help you with this requirement. Unless you have a lot of green algae, you will need to supplement the day-to-day meals.
Feeding your saltwater fish food favorite several times per day is enough for them to live a healthy and long life.
Will My Fish Starve While I’m On Vacation?
Many pet owners wonder what would happen to their pets when they are on vacation. If you are taking some time off and want your tank to be maintained, there should always be someone looking after it.
The length of time you intend to leave the aquarium plays an important role here. Depending on your setup, you may not have to do anything in preparation. For instance, if you are out for two to three days, you can leave your pets without making any provisions for feeding.
Experienced feeders do this for one day or a few days’ leave. If your vacation is longer than this, though, we advise a responsible caretaker for your water pets or an auto feeder.
What Is The Best Food for Clownfish?
In the world of tanks and sea pets, clownfish or anemonefish are an extremely popular type found in aquariums all over the world, and they’re a reef safe tank species. The type is relatively easy to look after—the only requirement is that the tanks should be large (at least 150 liters).
The minimum requirement for this type of fish includes pH, temperature, lighting, and habitat.
When it comes to feeding anemones and clownfishes, the choices include:
- cooked mussels
- white fish
- peeled shrimps
- chicken livers
- small crustaceans
You should also provide your fish friends with some worms and brine shrimp. For vegetables, you can give them chard and cooked spinach, for example.
What Is The Best Food for Gouramis?
Gouramis are breathers of air. They are part of a group of fish with a labyrinth organ, which acts as a lung, allowing them to breathe air at the surface.
It is also what allows the gouramis to live in shallow, stagnant, or oxygen-poor water. Some of these types are mouthbrooders, and others make bubble nests to incubate the eggs until hatching.
What’s interesting is that most gouramis are omnivorous, which means that they ideally thrive on:
- Aqueon tropical flakes
- brine shrimp
- color flakes
- tropical granules
- shrimp pellets
- frozen food and live foods (which are also excellent to induce the spawning process)
For optimal results, online experts advise rotating the daily food intake and only giving food they can consume in under two minutes, once or twice per day.
Starting an aquarium may be difficult for beginners, but the experience is certainly worth the effort. Once you begin, you may find being an aquarist a lot easier than you initially imagined.
Fish make amazing pets for people who don’t have the time or space to devote to a larger animal with more hands-on needs.
Under the right circumstances, fish can also be good “starter pets,” teaching feeders about the main responsibilities of caring for a pet and keeping the environment clean.
Like any hobby, the more you know about fish and the life they lead, the more love and enjoyment you will get from the process each day.
We hope that this guide gave you valuable information and advice on the healthiest food and the right food choices for different types of fish.