What Is Fish Food Made Out Of? (Ingredients, Types & Natural Options)

What Is Fish Food Made Of?

Most fish foods will include a few essential proteins such as fish meal, shrimp meal, squid meal, earthworms, spirulina, and a mix of vitamins and minerals. The list of fish food ingredients may vary from brand to brand, but most fish food contains up to forty ingredients. These ingredients are designed to keep your fish healthy while being attractive and tasty.

Your fish likes this stuff, even though it’s being served in a small tank instead of out in the wild.

But ever wonder, “what’s in fish food?”

Us too.

This article will discuss what fish food is made from, how they make it, and all the tasty ingredients found in the most popular fish food brands.


Most Common Fish Food Ingredients

Let’s take a look at the ingredients fish food is made up of.

1. Fish meal

Fish meal delivers protein, energy, and vitamin B to your fish.

It’s made using small marine animals with high bone density and high oil content – fish typically not used for human consumption.

These animals are cooked, pressed to remove excess oils, dried, and then ground up so that they can be cut into flakes.

2. Shrimp meal

Shrimp meal provides your fish with protein and acts as a natural laxative to aid with digestion.

It’s made from the undecomposed waste of shrimp that is processed by drying it out and then grinding it up before mixing it with the other ingredients.

3. Squid meal

Squid meal supplies your fish with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and cholesterol.

This sounds especially yucky, but fish love it – squid meal is made from a squid’s internal organs that the canneries have discarded.

4. Earthworms

Earthworms are nutritious. They contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, and lots of minerals and vitamins that are essential to your fish’s health.

Like the other ingredients, earthworms are dried and then ground up.

5. Spirulina

Spirulina is a sort of fish superfood.

It’s blue-green plankton that helps your fish boost its immune system and gives a big assist to fight off diseases and bacteria because it’s loaded with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

It delivers vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, and E. It also contains beta carotene.

6. Vitamins & Minerals

Fish food also contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but you can usually find the following vitamins in most top fish food brands.

  • Vitamins B, C, and E
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Biotin
  • Zinc
  • Manganese

7. Other ingredients

There are too many possibilities to go into detail, but rest assured that extra vitamins and minerals are added to the mixture, often along with wheat flour, soy, and paprika oils, and fish enjoy different colors, food coloring.

Further reading: What Can Fish Eat Besides Fish Food

Fish in the wild hunt for the food they prefer, and that’s healthy for them. As a responsible fish owner, you want to make sure that the food you give them is tasty, attractive, and nutritious so that they eat well and live longer.

You can select from among a variety of foods, including these most popular choices:

  • Flakes are the best known and most popular for surface feeders and middle feeders.
  • Crisps are denser flakes.
  • Pellets are versatile and can float, sink slowly, or sink quickly to accommodate all your fish.
  • Stick-on Tablets are fun because you can stick them to the side of your tank and watch the fish eat.
  • Wafers are large and sink to the bottom to be picked apart.
  • You can also get freeze-dried or frozen food, even a vacation block that will slowly release food over time when you’re away.

You have all these convenient choices clogging the shelves of your local pet store, but don’t you wonder what you’re feeding your pet fish?

Types of Fish Food

  • Dry food
  • Freeze-dried
  • Live foods
  • Frozen fish food

How Do They Make Fish Food?

We’re discussing dried fish food in this article because it’s the most popular and available product on the market.

It doesn’t matter which of the several popular forms it takes – flakes, chips, pellets, wafers, etc. -, all that changes substantially is the size, shape, and density of the finished product.

Let’s talk about flakes and sticks.


What Are Fish Flakes?

Fish flakes are very thin pieces of fish food ingredients that have been mashed, rolled, and baked to create a very nutritious flake of food.

What Are Fish Flakes Made Of?

Fish flakes are made up of a mixture of dried ingredients like fish meal, shrimp meal, spirulina, and a few vitamins and minerals.

How Are Fish Flakes Made?

  • The first step in the manufacturing process is to mix them in large tanks and introduce additives to create a slurry or mash.
  • The mash is poured onto a series of rolling drums. The drums are heated to cook the mash.
  • The material is then placed on a sheet to dry.
  • Next, the dried sheet of fish food is cut into pieces.
  • The pieces are tumbled to mix them and also break them into smaller pieces.
  • Conveyors carry the pieces onto screens of various sizes that separate them into small, medium, and large flakes.
  • The flakes are then packaged.

My Favorite Flakes Optimum Fish Food

Pellets & Sticks

You’ve probably fed your tiny fish rods of food. These are called sticks and are a very popular form of fish food.

What Are Fish Pellets?

Fish pellets are tiny balls or sticks formed by mixing dried ingredients, baking them, and cutting them into various sizes. Pellets can float or sink depending on the type you buy.

What Are Fish Pellets Made Of?

Fish pellets are made up of a mixture of dried ingredients like fish meal, shrimp meal, spirulina, and a few vitamins and minerals.

How Are Fish Pellets Made?

The manufacturing process for stick food is similar to how flakes are made.

  • They mix the ingredients to create a mash.
  • The mash is pressed into spaghetti-like strips.
  • The strips are cut into manageable, bite-sized pellets, rods, or sticks.
  • The sticks move on to be packaged.

My Favorite Pellets Northfin fish food

Feed Your Fish A Variety

Fish can be like people – they can have taste and appearance preferences and different nutritional needs.

The technical term for your fish tank is the water column. You can think of it as the top layer of water, the middle layer of water, and the lower water level.

Different fish feed at different levels of the water column.

Consequently, the weight of the food may determine which fish will eat it.

You should also consider if your fish are meat-eaters (insects and other fish), plant-eaters, or will eat just about anything or anyone.

Dried fish food selection is extensive, so you won’t have any problem finding what’s suitable for your fish.

Size matters, too, because you can’t feed large food to small fish.

Further Reading: How Often Do You Feed Fish

Video: How Is Fish Food Made

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Fish Food Made Of Fish?

Yes, some fish food is made of fish. One of the most common ingredients in fish food is fish meal. Fish meal contains the bones and leftovers from commercial fisheries.

What’s Fish Food Made Of – Final Thoughts

Your pet store features dozens of fish food types and brands. They are manufactured to provide the nutrition, vitamins, and minerals necessary to keep the fish in your fish tank happy and healthy, regardless of the kind or size of fish you own.

If you are one of the more than seven million people with a fish tank in your home, you know that feeding time is one of the best times every day.

It’s fun and rewarding to watch your slippery little friends dart around while frantically nipping at the flakes and sticks of fish food.

Jack Dempsey
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