product shot of a blister pack of frozen Hikari mysis shrimp. It has a purple label with a seahorse and coral on it.

Top Five Beginner Fish Foods

Updated 2024

Recommending just five fish foods is a tough task because of the vast options available, and each fish has unique dietary needs. However, I’ve compiled my top five all-around tropical fish foods suitable for carnivores and herbivores. Please note that I won’t include frozen food in this list due to shipping costs. I suggest visiting your Local Fish Store (LFS) for personalized recommendations based on your fish’s requirements.

For marine aquariums, you can consider these overall types of fish food:

1. Flake – Perfect for meat-eating fish, which includes a wide variety. To ensure better distribution, I crumble flakes below the waterline, letting them move throughout the tank.

2. Pellet – Suitable for both herbivores and carnivores, pellets are available in floating or sinking varieties. Pellets often form a significant part of a fish’s diet, offering a protein-rich and easy-to-feed option.

3. Seaweed – Ideal for herbivorous fish like Tangs, seaweed is placed in a holder and offered to your fish for grazing.

4. Frozen – Finicky eaters may prefer specific types of frozen food. Your LFS can provide various shapes and sizes, allowing you to choose the right fish food for your specific needs.

Pellet Size: I typically use 1mm pellets since they can be consumed by both small and larger fish. Occasionally, I have 2.4mm pellets for bigger fish, but they are too large for the smaller ones to eat comfortably.

I personally use all the fish foods mentioned here regularly, sometimes even daily, and I stand by their effectiveness. While there are many other good options available, I can vouch for the reliability of these items on the list!

5. Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies Seaweed

Seaweed comes in various brands, but Julian Sprung’s is both respected and budget-friendly. To make feeding easier, I suggest using a magnetic clip like the one from Two Little Fishies. Although pricier than a basic plastic clip with a suction cup, its adjustability by dragging the magnet makes it worth it.

Green Seaweed is a fantastic food option for herbivores such as Tangs, Surgeonfish, and Butterflyfish. Having a pack of this on hand is always a smart move!

4. PE Pellets

One of my all-time favorite fish foods is PE Mysis Shrimp.  It’s not on the list because it’s a bit too big for smaller fish, but the product is amazing.  There’s this crystal clear lake in British Columbia that has an invasive freshwater mysis shrimp problem.  So the fine people at Piscine Energetics harvest those shrimp, and make this amazing food.

Well, utilizing the same great shrimp, they also make pellets.  Fish love it and I use it quite often.  I prefer the small size, but that’s just because I have smaller fish.  

3. Hikari Seaweed Extreme

Seaweed Extreme… where have you been all my life!  I only found this food a couple years ago, and it’s amazing.  Why, for the love of goodness, why aren’t there more herbivorous pellet option on the market?  I mean, there are plenty of herbivorous fish and inverts who could benefit.  And sometimes you aren’t at home to feed nori, so Seaweed Extreme is perfect for an auto feeder.

67% seaweed, great for all algae eaters, especially finicky fish like Moorish Idols! I also like it for my snails and hermit crabs, so I feed it every other day and make sure some pellets make it to the bottom.

2. Reef Nutrition TDO Chroma Boost Small

Probably he best pellet food on the market, Reef Nutrition developed this food specifically to raise clownfish.  They sell the entire line, from super tiny to large pellets, so you can either raise your own captive bred clownfish at home, or just use it for all your fish like I do.

It includes astaxanthin, a red pigment which really helps those orange and red colors pop. This is my daily go to, and I find the small size to be best for clownfish.

1. Hikari Frozen Mysis Shrimp

product shot of a blister pack of frozen Hikari mysis shrimp. It has a purple label with a seahorse and coral on it.

Easy #1 for me, Hikari frozen Mysis Shrimp.  Frozen food is just better, better all around and especially for beginners.  Pellet food is super nutrient dense and packed with proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fillers, whereas frozen food is largely just the fresh food and water.  Your fish and inverts will love Hikari Mysis, and it’s small enough for even little fish.

I stock this stuff up whenever I need to in order to save on shipping, and they also sell flat packs of it for extra savings.  The only annoying thing is with these blister cubes, it can sometimes be almost impossible to get them out of the plastic.  So if that happens to you, just run it under cold water for a second, and then they will pop right out!

I use those little specimen cups you pee into at the doctor’s office and just mix in some tank/RODI water, and then store it in my fridge.  I only store for one day max though, because it gets pretty stinky pretty quick!

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