Can Temperate Fish Eat Tropical Fish Food?

Newcomers to the hobby often ask whether temperate fish can consume tropical fish food. The answer to that question is yes – even though tropical foods contain different components.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

Temperate fish like glowlight danios can make an excellent addition to most tanks. These species of temperate fish thrive in cooler waters with similar-sized fish and plenty of movement, providing your tank with an ideal combination of aquatic life.


Feeding Instructions

Many tropical fish food formulations are designed for warmer waters; feeding these products to temperate species could prove disastrous. Although omnivorous species such as catfishes may accept an occasional flake food treat, more specific species like cichlids and hoplo catfish require fresh food that meets their specific nutritional requirements.

Refrigerated frozen foods such as bloodworms, krill and brine shrimp make excellent choices, as do partially-cooked vegetables such as peas or zucchini as well as pieces of fresh seafood like whitefish or prawn. Feeding your fish the right diet will lead to improved health, disease resistance and vibrant colors – providing optimal conditions for its health, disease resistance and vibrant color.

Fish should be fed twice daily as part of a complete diet, only giving what they can consume within five minutes. This will prevent overfeeding which could harm water quality and create stress on the fish. If they show signs of being underweight (skinny bodies and sunken bellies) or have lost color they may require more frequent meals.


There is an impressive variety of commercially prepared fish foods on the market that provide balanced diets in an easily accessible format, including flakes, pellets and wafers specifically formulated to cater for herbivores, carnivores and omnivores as well as goldfish or other specific species of fish.

Flakes are an extremely popular food choice among tropical and temperate aquarium fish species, providing them with quick and convenient nourishment in a quick meal format. There are numerous quality brands of these staple foods on the market such as crisps, colour enhancing flakes and herbivorous options such as green vegetable flakes.

As aquarium fish need variety in their diet to stay healthy and avoid boredom, providing foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp and frozen fish heads can add interest and variety to their daily mealtime routine. Frozen foods offer particular nutritional benefit because they have been gut-loaded with healthy ingredients before being flash-frozen to retain many of their essential vitamins and flavour.


Goldfish are omnivorous creatures and will consume most foods normally fed to tropical fish, including flakes, crisps and micro granules. If purchasing specifically tailored to Goldfishes they may include more plant matter to accommodate their natural diet.

Feeding your Goldfish a diet that is incompatible with them will limit their potential and cause them to expend energy metabolising waste products and excreting waste from their body.

Growing babies and slow grazers often struggle to consume sufficient quantities of protein from food that doesn’t contain high levels of plant matter, similar to what would be found in rivers or seas. A better option would be feeding your fish quality tropical food that contains high vegetable counts; this way they won’t expend so much energy digesting substandard offerings; avoid giving bread or crackers as these will expand in their stomachs and block up their digestive tracts.


Most aquarium foods that claim to be suitable for tropical fish actually work better when fed to cold water varieties, due to higher protein amounts that may pollute the water when processed by fish metabolizing them. Bloodworm, brine shrimp (Artemia), and daphnia can all be enjoyed by temperate species like bloodfish and daphnia and provide closer representations of what these creatures would eat in nature.

Black Tiger Badis (Dario sp var ‘Myanmar’) are an easy species of tankfish to care for and breed, living happily at temperatures between 18-23.5degC and preferring unheated tanks. Glowlight Danios, White Cloud Mountain Minnows and Hoplo Catfish are other hardy temperate fish suitable for unheated tanks; all can be easily bred – great examples for small tanks containing several different species – providing plenty of flow and a dark substrate so their colours shine at their best!