Best Cichlid Food For Color, Growth, Diet & Health 2023

If you want your Cichlids to look their best you’ll need to use the best cichlid food for color which will help bring all the natural bright colors of these awesome fish to life.

Whenever you approach the tank and grab the cichlid food jar don’t you want your cichlids to be “wagging their tails” in excitement and just waiting to gobble the food up!

Most cichlids are omnivores meaning they will eat food from both plants an animals.

So when it comes to selecting the right food for your cichlid be sure to feed them sinking pellets or flakes with the occasional live treat of brine shrimp or bloodworms.

If you want to jump to our #1 Recommendation click here to see the Best Cichlid Food For Color

Best Cichlid Food For Color and Growth - Frontosa cichlid

While their diet is one thing you also need to make sure that the food you are using will help keep their colors bright an vibrant.

Further Reading: Find more awesome ideas in our Fish Food section.

Our Top 3 Cichlid Food Picks That Will Bring Out The Vibrant Colors Of Your Cichlids

Best Cichlid Food: What To Look For?

When looking at all the different options for your Cichlid food you want one that is specifically formulated to provide all the nutritional benefits your buddies need to stay colorful and grow big and strong.

Here are a few things you should be looking for in your Cichlid food:

  • It should be formulated with a variety of fresh seafood and increased levels of color enhancers
  • It should be rich in omega 3 & 6 for strong immune systems
  • It should have Natural beta-carotene to provide extreme color enhancement

We reviewed all the best Cichlid food options available and found a few that really stood out!

Here they are:

Best Cichlid Food: Color Enhancement & Growth

1. NorthFin Cichlid Food

Northfin Cichlid Food

Buy NorthFin Cichlid Food On Amazon

Hands down this is the best Cichlid food you can buy, I personally use it daily and my fish love it.

Their Cichlid formula is made to enhance your Cichlids health and colors naturally. They don’t use any unnecessary artificial color additives or fillers which ensures your Cichlids are able to easily digest and absorb more nutrients.

Just look at some of the great natural ingredients you’ll get in this Cichlid food.


Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, High Omega-3 (DHA) Herring Meal, Whole Sardine Meal, Wheat Flour, Kelp, Spirulina, Garlic, Astaxanthin (Haematococcus Algae), Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin A Acetate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Activated Animal-Sterol (D3), DL Alphatocopherol (E), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamine, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Selenium, Zinc.

I don’t know of any other food that has this much to offer. Your Cichlids will soon show their full-color spectrum, grow big naturally and have loads of energy.

2. Omega One Cichlid Food

Omega One Cichlid-Food-Super-Color

Buy Omega One Cichlid Food On Amazon

Another great Cichlid food is by Omega who claim to be the only Cichlid food in the world made directly from fresh seafood.

Their formula is made with a bunch of fresh seafood which helps increase the color levels of your Cichlids.

It’s also rich in Omega 3 and 6 to help build strong immune systems. Oh, and the food is also naturally insoluble which keeps cloudy water and pollution to a min.

Omega also notes they are free of fillers and other pre-processed proteins which is great for your Cichlids.

Here is a look at what’s in the Omega Cichlid Food Formula


Salmon, Whole Herring, Wheat Germ, Wheat Flour, Whole Shrimp, Pea Protein, Rice Bran, Kelp, Wheat Gluten, Astaxanthin, Canthaxanthin, Marigold Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Ethoxyquin (Preservative), BHT (Preservative), BHA (Preservative), Natural and Artificial Colors, Ascorbyl Monophosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Inositol, Folic Acid, Biotin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

When compared to Northfin, Omega formula looks pretty good.

3. NLS Cichlid Food (New Life Spectrum)

NLS cichlid food-New-Life-Spectrum-Color-Enhancing-Cichlid-Food

Buy NLS Cichlid Food On Amazon

Another good Cichlid food you can try is New Life Spectrum Cichlid food.

They are known in the industry to provide improved coloration and vitality using premium natural ingredients that even finicky eaters will consume

New Life Spectrum is made with high-quality ingredients that are easily digested by your Cichlids.


South Antarctic Krill, Herring, Squid, and New Zealand Mussel protein, and all-natural color-enhancing ingredients for a balanced diet that boosts the immune system and enhances the full spectrum of your fish’s color.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the full list of ingredients or any indication that they don’t use any fillers.

That said what we can see is that they do provide some quality ingredients that your fish will enjoy.

4. Hikari Cichlid Food

Hikari cichlid food-Bio-Gold-Plus

Buy Hikari Cichlid Food On Amazon

Hikari is a well-known brand in the Cichlid food industry and notes themselves as the originator of pelleted Cichlid diets with more than 135 years of experience.

Does that mean they are the have the best Cichlid food formula?

They use only natural proteins in easily digestible form, including the highest grade of carotenoid available today which offers far superior color enhancement for your Cichlids.

The Hikari formula contains uniquely blended nutrients, including stabilized vitamin C, to help support immune system health.

5. Dainichi Cichlid Food

Dainichi Cichlid Food-Color-FX

Buy Dainichi Cichlid Food On Amazon

A new Cichlid food that is available is one made by Dainichi who claim to have something special.

What’s so special about their Cichlid food.


For one, they have a unique process where they coat their food with a vitamin and mineral coating to ensure all heat sensitive ingredients are not damaged during the cooking phase.

They say this is important because your fishes immune system lacks long-term memory, I guess we will just need to believe them.

Dainichi also notes that the vitamin and enzyme formula they supplement their food with is essential to boosting and maintaining the immune system so your Cichlids can fight off all types of disease, infection, and repair body damage all while increasing their luster and sheen.

So what’s in their food besides their special vitamins:


Whitefish meal, wheat germ, wheat flour, krill, spirulina, soybean meal, brewer’s yeast, calcium montmorillonite clay, powdered milk, vitamin mix, mineral mix, garlic, protease, and natural gum.

While I’ve never used Dainichi it might be worth the while trying it out.

Cichlid Food: Guide Enhancing the Health and Colors of Your Fish

Cichlids are a diverse and fascinating group of freshwater fish known for their striking colors and unique behaviors. To ensure your cichlids thrive in your aquarium, it’s crucial to provide them with the best cichlid food that meets their specific dietary needs. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of cichlid nutrition, from understanding their dietary preferences to selecting the right ingredients, promoting growth and longevity, and optimizing feeding techniques.

African Cichlids: Tailoring Food for Your Unique Fish

  • Understanding the Dietary Needs of African Cichlids

African cichlids, hailing from the diverse lakes of Africa, have distinct dietary requirements. They are primarily herbivorous, and their diet should include plant-based foods such as algae meal and aquatic plants. Ensuring a healthy diet rich in fiber and essential nutrients is vital for their wellbeing. Live food options like black soldier fly larvae can be a great addition to their diet, providing variety and essential vitamins.

  • The Importance of Live Food in African Cichlid Diets

Live food sources, including insect larvae and small aquatic organisms, mimic the natural diet of African cichlids. Incorporating these into their diet can enhance their vitality and coloration.

  • Selecting the Best Food for Peacock Cichlids

Peacock cichlids, a popular African cichlid species, benefit from a diet that emphasizes color enhancement. Look for food options with beta carotene and natural color enhancers to bring out their vivid colors.

Choosing the Right Main Ingredient

  • Examining the Role of Protein Content in Cichlid Food

Protein content plays a crucial role in cichlid nutrition. It’s essential to choose cichlid food with a balanced protein source that matches the dietary needs of your fish. High-quality protein ensures healthy growth and supports their dietary requirements.

  • Unlocking the Benefits of Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are vital for cichlid health. Ensure that the selected cichlid food contains a variety of amino acids, which contribute to muscle development and overall wellbeing.

  • Beta Carotene: A Key Ingredient for Vibrant Cichlid Colors

Beta carotene, found in certain cichlid foods, acts as a natural color enhancer. It can significantly impact the vibrancy of your cichlids’ colors, making it an essential component of their diet.

Carnivorous Cichlids: Meeting the Dietary Demands

  • Best Food Options for Carnivorous Cichlids

Carnivorous cichlids have a diet that includes protein-rich foods. Whole salmon and blood worms are excellent choices to meet their dietary demands for animal-based protein. These options can promote growth and provide essential fatty acids.

  • Insect Larvae: A Natural Protein-Rich Choice

For carnivorous cichlids, insect larvae are a natural and protein-rich choice. They offer a well-rounded nutritional profile that supports the health and vitality of your fish.

  • The Benefits of Live Food in Carnivorous Cichlid Diets

Incorporating live food sources, such as small fish or shrimp, can provide a diet that closely resembles what carnivorous cichlids would consume in their natural habitat. This can contribute to their overall health and satisfaction.

Understanding Cichlid Species and Their Food Preferences

  • Tailoring Diets to Different Types of Cichlids

Different types of cichlids have varying dietary preferences. Whether you have Lake Malawi cichlids, peacock cichlids, or other species, it’s crucial to understand their specific dietary requirements and tailor their diets accordingly.

  • Best Food Choices for Lake Malawi Cichlids

Lake Malawi cichlids, known for their diverse colors and behaviors, thrive on a diet rich in plant matter and small invertebrates. Selecting the right food options for these cichlids can contribute to their health and longevity.

  • Balancing Diets for Omnivorous Cichlids

Omnivorous cichlids have a versatile diet that includes both plant and animal-based foods. Finding the right balance between these food sources is key to ensuring their dietary needs are met.

Stay tuned for the next part of this guide, where we’ll delve deeper into promoting growth and longevity, maintaining water quality, and exploring a variety of food sources for your cichlids. 

Promoting Growth and Longevity

  • Maximizing Growth Rate with the Right Diet

To promote healthy growth in your cichlids, it’s crucial to select a cichlid food that offers the appropriate protein and nutrients. Adequate protein content supports their muscle development and overall growth rate.

  • Amino Acids and Fatty Acids for Healthy Growth

Amino acids and fatty acids are essential components of cichlid nutrition. They play a vital role in supporting the growth and development of your fish. Ensure your cichlid food contains these nutrients to enhance their longevity.

  • Cichlid Food and a Healthy Immune System

Providing a balanced and nutritious diet not only fosters growth but also contributes to a strong immune system. Cichlids with a robust immune system are better equipped to resist diseases and enjoy a long life in your aquarium.

Maintaining Water Quality and Reducing Waste

  • The Impact of Food on Water Quality in Your Fish Tank

Overfeeding and uneaten food can lead to deteriorating water quality in your aquarium. Learn how to manage feeding to prevent excess waste and maintain a healthy aquatic environment for your cichlids.

  • Floating Pellets vs. Sinking Pellets: Which is Better?

The choice between floating and sinking pellets can affect both water quality and feeding behavior. Understand the pros and cons of each type to make the best choice for your cichlids.

  • Preventing Health Problems and Wasted Food

Feeding your cichlids the right amount of food at the right frequency is crucial to prevent health issues and minimize food wastage. Follow guidelines for optimal feeding practices.

Exploring a Variety of Food Sources

  • The Benefits of a Varied Diet for Cichlids

Cichlids benefit from a diverse diet that includes various food sources. Mixing different types of food, such as pellets, flakes, and live food, ensures they receive a wide range of nutrients.

  • Plant-Based Foods and Aquatic Plants

Incorporating plant-based foods and aquatic plants into your cichlid’s diet can provide essential fiber and nutrients while offering a natural and varied feeding experience.

  • Nutritional Value of Algae Meal and Shrimp Meal

Algae meal and shrimp meal are excellent sources of nutrition for cichlids. These ingredients provide essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health and vitality.

The Best Cichlid Food for Vibrant Colors

  • Natural Color Enhancers in Cichlid Food

Cichlids are renowned for their vibrant colors. Discover how certain cichlid foods contain natural color enhancers, such as beta carotene, that help intensify and maintain their stunning hues.

  • Hikari Cichlid Gold and Other Color-Enhancing Options

Hikari Cichlid Gold is one of the top choices for enhancing cichlid colors. Learn more about this popular product and other color-enhancing options available in the market.

  • Tips for Maintaining the Best Colors in Your Fish

Apart from the right food, other factors play a role in preserving your cichlid’s vibrant colors. Explore tips and tricks to ensure your fish always look their best.

Selecting the Right Food Size for Your Cichlids

  • Choosing the Appropriate Food Size for Your Cichlid Species

Cichlid species vary in size, and it’s essential to select food that suits their mouth size and feeding behavior. Offering appropriately sized food ensures they can consume it comfortably.

  • Large Cichlids vs. Smaller Cichlids: Finding the Right Fit

Different cichlid species have varying food preferences and feeding habits. Tailor your food choices to suit the size and behavior of your cichlids for optimal nutrition.

  • Great Food for Great Results: The Importance of Size

Size matters when it comes to feeding your cichlids. Learn why choosing the right-sized food is crucial for their health and overall wellbeing.

Premium Ingredients for a Premium Diet

  • Examining Premium Ingredients in Cichlid Food

Premium cichlid foods are formulated with high-quality ingredients that offer superior nutritional value. Discover the benefits of investing in premium options for your fish.

  • The Role of High-Quality Protein in Cichlid Health

High-quality protein is a cornerstone of premium cichlid foods. It provides the necessary building blocks for your fish’s growth and overall health.

  • Essential Vitamins and Their Contribution to Cichlid Wellbeing

Premium cichlid foods often contain a comprehensive blend of essential vitamins and minerals. Explore how these nutrients contribute to your cichlid’s wellbeing.

Optimizing Feeding Techniques

  • The Best Way to Feed Your Cichlids for Less Waste

Proper feeding techniques can minimize food wastage and keep your aquarium cleaner. Learn how to feed your cichlids efficiently to maintain both their health and water quality.

  • Feeding Strategies for Both Large and Small Fish

Large and small cichlids have different feeding habits. Discover effective feeding strategies that cater to the specific needs of both size categories.

  • The First Step to a Good Diet: Proper Feeding Habits

Establishing good feeding habits is the first step in providing your cichlids with a balanced and nutritious diet. Explore best practices for feeding your fish.

Innovative Cichlid Food Options

  • Introducing the Benefits of Fluval Bug Bites Pellets

Fluval Bug Bites Pellets are an innovative choice in cichlid food. Learn about their unique formulation and how they can benefit your fish.

  • Exploring the Use of Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Cichlid Diets

Black soldier fly larvae are gaining popularity as a sustainable and nutritious food source for cichlids. Find out how they can be a valuable addition to your fish’s diet.

  • Tetracichlid Balanced Diet Flakes: A Nutrient-Rich Choice

Tetracichlid Balanced Diet Flakes are known for their balanced nutrition. Explore the benefits of incorporating these flakes into your cichlid’s diet for optimal health.

By understanding the dietary preferences of your cichlids and selecting the right cichlid food, you can ensure their health, vibrant colors, and long life in your aquarium. Stay informed about the latest innovations in cichlid nutrition to provide the best care for your beloved fish.

What Is The Best Food For Cichlids?

NorthFin Cichlid Food is hands down the best Cichlid food you can buy, I personally use it daily and my fish love it.

Each bag is nice, thick and resealable so it always stays fresh.

I’ve never seen it cloud up my water and I never see any leftovers.

My Cichlids LOVE it! Even my loaches eat it up every last bite.

Highly recommended and less expensive than some of the other brands listed above. You can sometimes find this product in bulk in retail stores so it’s even cheaper.

Overall great value!!!

Cichlid Food & Feeding FAQ

1. How often to feed Cichlids?

Typically you should feed your Cichlids 2-3 times per day. Sometimes you’ll notice your Cichlids may become aggressive when they are hungry.

But keep in mind Cichlids will always seem hungry it’s their nature.

So start out feeding 2 times per day and if you feel they need more than that work up the 3 times per day, but no more than that.

2. How much food to feed Cichlids?

Similar to what we mentioned above, try not to feed your Cichlids more than 2-3 times per day. It’s also okay (recommended) to skip one day a week to help prevent bloating.

Tip: Never overfeed your cichlids, excess food will rot and dirty the tank water. Only feed what they can eat in about 1-2 minutes.

3. What foods can you feed Cichlids?

As we mention above most Cichlids are omnivores, eating mostly pellets and flakes composed of meaty proteins and plant matter.

Cichlids can also eat frozen treats like brine shrimp and bloodworms. Just remember to not only feed them one source of food. Cichlids in the wild have a more varied diet.

Try mixing up some of the following into their diet.

Did you know you can keep some Cichlids in tanks as small as 10 gallons? Read our guide about some easy 10-Gallon Cichlid Tank Ideas.

Learn More About Cichlids

Jack Dempsey
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