If you’ve ever run out of fish food before you were able to get to the pet store or while you’re waiting for more to arrive in the mail, don’t worry. It happens to everyone at some point.
The most important thing is to remain calm. If you run out of food, there are some things you might already have in your kitchen that can tide you over until you can get to the pet store.
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What Human Food Can Fish Eat?
There are a few things to think about when feeding human food to your fish. The first is, can they eat it? The second is, should they eat it? The truth is that there are a lot of things you can put in your tank and your fish will eat them. But that doesn’t mean they should.
Here are some things that you can feed your fish that also meet at least some of their dietary needs.
Green leafy vegetables. A lot of fish love green leafy vegetables like lettuce, kale, or spinach. You can feed them to your fish either raw or boiled. If you choose raw greens, make sure you chop them into very fine pieces.
The best way to feed green leafy vegetables to your fish is to boil them first. Boiling makes the food much easier for fish to digest.
If you try feeding greens to your fish, observe them for a few hours after they eat. Some fish may have allergies or be unable to tolerate these foods and they should be avoided.
Other vegetables. Most vegetables are safe for fish, including cucumbers, sweet potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, yellow squash, lima beans, sweet corn, and brussels sprouts. Although cucumbers can be fed raw, you will need to prepare most other vegetables.
Cut the vegetables into small pieces and blanch them in boiling water before serving them to your fish. If the food has a skin or shell, like corn or lima beans, be sure to peel it off before serving.
Fruit. Some fish like fresh fruit, like bananas, apples, mangos, papayas, and pumpkin. Soft fruits can be served raw, just make sure you remove any skin and cut them into small pieces.
Seafood. Not all fish can eat seafood, but any carnivorous fish you have in your tank will love it. Whitefish, like tilapia and cod, are good options. If you’re using frozen fish, make sure it is thoroughly thawed before adding any to your tank.
Avoid oily fish, like salmon and tuna, as they can make your tank messy.
Hard-boiled egg yolks. The yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg and are great for fish in moderation. Make sure the yolk is cooked thoroughly, then break it into tiny pieces. Don’t put too much in the tank at once, though, because it can cloud the water.
Meat. Meat is not as straightforward as fruits and vegetables, but some fish can eat some times of meat. Generally, fish cannot properly digest muscle fiber and fat, which makes meat a bad choice.
That said, some lean meats are acceptable, like beef hearts, but they have to be prepared properly. The best way is to freeze them and shred them into small pieces.
If you choose to feed your fish human food, make sure to remove any uneaten portions from the tank within 24 to 48 hours. If these foods break down, they can cause a lot of problems for your tank.
Can Fish Eat Bread?
No, fish should not eat bread. Bread contains yeast, which can cause the fish to bloat and become constipated. Also, bread does not contain many of the nutrients that your fish need to stay healthy.
Some people think that breadcrumbs are okay, and you may get away with it a few times, but they’re not a good choice for fish, either. Bloating is still a risk, and breadcrumbs are no more nutritionally sound for fish than bread is.
Can Fish Eat Rice?
Some fish can eat rice, but we don’t necessarily recommend it.
First, you should never feed your fish raw rice as it will swell in their stomachs and cause constipation, bloat, and many other issues.
Cooked rice may be safe for some fish, like a betta, and may be able handle it just fine. But, much like bread, rice has little to no nutritional value for fish. So, yes, some fish can eat rice and it may do in a pinch. But it’s not the best choice.
Can Fish Eat Chocolate?
No, fish cannot eat chocolate. It has no nutritional value for them. Chocolate even has a little bit of caffeine in it, which can cause even more problems for your fish.
Another thing to consider about feeding chocolate to your fish is there is no way to do it without causing a mess in the tank. It melts and can pollute the water very quickly.
Can Fish Eat Cheese?
Cheese is another food that fish cannot eat. Most cheese is pretty high in fat, and fish are not made to digest it. The fats in cheese can lead to an intestinal blockage that can kill your fish.
Can Fish Eat Peas?
Yes, fish can eat peas if they are prepared correctly. Some fish enthusiasts even recommend feeding peas to your fish periodically as they can really help prevent and treat constipation.
To feed peas to your fish, boil them first. Then remove the outer shell and cut the pea into smaller pieces.
What Can Fish Eat Besides Fish Food?
In addition to the human foods we already covered, there are some other options for what to feed your fish besides fish food.
Most fish love insects, like flies and worms. You can find these at your local pet store, or just root around in the backyard and see what you find! Most fish love earthworms, ants, mosquito larvae, and termites. Some larger fish, like cichlids, will even eat hard-shelled insects like beetles.
How Long Can Fish Go Without Eating Any Food?
It varies from fish to fish, but most species can go between three days and a week without eating. The truth is, most of the time, people overfeed their fish, which can be quite dangerous.
It’s always better to underfeed than overfeed, as long as you don’t let your fish go too long without food. If you go away for a weekend, your fish will be fine without eating. If you’re planning to be away for three nights or more, consider an automatic feeder or having someone stop by to feed your fish every few days.
If you’re considering feeding human food to your fish, there are two things to consider: can they eat it, and should they eat it.
Some things, like cooked rice, can do in a pinch, but they don’t really have the nutrients your fish need to stay healthy for an extended period of time.
That said, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are perfectly suitable for your fish to eat. If you run out of fish food or even if you just want to give your pets a special treat, you probably have plenty of things in your kitchen that is perfectly suitable for your fish.