What Do Angelfish Eat?

Angelfish are omnivores, but they prefer a high protein diet, such as shrimp, larvae, worms, or whatever meat they find, along with a small number of algae and plants to balance their diet.

If you have freshwater angelfish in your home aquarium, it is crucial to ensure they get the ideal amount of protein to keep them healthy. As they are omnivores in the wild, they will be predators and eat their fair share of meat, so you need to make sure you match their diet as closely as possible to keep them healthy and thriving.

Angelfish And Their Eating Habits

Angelfish are fish with huge appetites and will almost always be in the mood for a meal or snack. If you’re a beginner fishkeeper or it’s your first time having angelfish, you may think they’re always hungry, don’t let them fool you!

Angelfish will gnaw at almost everything, including freshwater aquarium plants and the fins or tails of their other tank mates.

By knowing what types of food they prefer in the wild and captivity, you’ll better understand these beautiful fish and what you can feed them.

Angelfish with Plants

What Do Angelfish Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, angelfish will mainly compete with other sponge-eating fish species in a reef ecosystem.

Young Angelfish Will Clean Bigger Fish

Although this competition is slight, juvenile and young angelfish will occasionally spend most of their early lives acting as cleaner fish, mainly due to their small size, putting them at risk of getting eaten in this reef environment.

These angelfish that operate as cleaners will stick closely around bigger fish, cleaning off organic material and parasites.

They will usually be protected due to the size of the fish they’re cleaning. This behavior won’t last when they are mature, as it is simply a way for them to live until adulthood.

There are many different types of angelfish species, and their diets will mainly depend on their size and location, with their size being the most important factor between the two.

Small Angelfish Will Prey On Smaller Fish

The smallest species of angelfish will usually stick to smaller prey, mostly consisting of plankton and algae. Since there are millions of these prey sources, an angelfish’s diet will consist of mostly these. As angelfish become larger, they can diversify their diets.

Many Angelfish Will Only Feed On Sponges

Sponges are usually the biggest food source for angelfish; some exclusively eat sponges.

For example, the holocanthus angelfish is a species of angelfish that will only feed on sponges, even if they are kept in aquariums.

Angelfish Will Consume Other Suitable-Sized Animals

Angelfish will only prey on other animals if they can handle them, so shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans are popular food sources for them. Medium and large-sized angelfish are well known to feed on bryozoa, jellyfish, tunicates, or any smaller creatures.

What Do Angelfish Eat In Captivity?

Because angelfish have such a high protein diet, it’s important for aquarists to try to match their diet in their natural habitat as much as possible to keep them at their peak health.

The most important thing to be aware of is that every angelfish will have different tank and dietary needs. However, it would be a good start to have lots of algae growing on coral and rocks since algae are the main food source for most angelfish.

Aquarium Angelfish Will Feed On Usual Fish Flakes

For some carnivorous species of angelfish, fish flakes with color and vitamin enrichment would be beneficial, and they will stimulate a natural feeding environment.

Angelfish Need Protein To Balance Their Diet

You can also purchase brine shrimp and chopped and frozen crustaceans, such as a full-sized crab or shrimp.

Live food such as guppies, shrimp, and many types of worms, including bloodworms and mealworms, would be the best choice. Live food will also help to induce spawning.

However, if you decide to feed your angelfish live food, it is up to you to ensure they are free of parasites and bacteria, as these things could poison your angelfish.

If parasites and bacteria are a concern for you, you can buy all of these frozen and thawed foods, which means they are ready to be fed to your angelfish.

This minimizes the risk of parasites and is also a good option if your angelfish are placed in a community tank.

For the best results, you should rotate your angelfish’s diet every day and feed them only what they can consume comfortably in roughly two to three minutes, either once or twice daily.

Angelfish Needs Plant-Based Foods

Take note that angelfish will enjoy different plant-based foods to balance their diet.

You can add some beneficial plants to your aquarium that your angelfish may snack on, or you can also provide them with some freshly prepared vegetables. Small amounts of lettuce or cucumber would suffice.

Striped Angelfish in Planted Tank

How Often Should Angelfish Be Given Food?

If your angelfish are fairly young and have not reached maturity, they will need to eat between three and four times daily.

Younger angelfish will also require much more live food than older angelfish. Make sure that all live food is a suitable size compared to the angelfish so they can consume them comfortably.

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure the live food is as fresh as possible to avoid parasites and bacteria, as it could harm a younger angelfish significantly.

If your angelfish are older and have reached maturity, a good rule to follow would be to feed them twice a day. Freeze-dried and pellets will be ideal, but for a treat, angelfish will also enjoy live food, as they are predators, after all.

Keep in mind that older angelfish have a tendency to become overweight quickly, especially as they become older, so keeping them on a strict feeding schedule would be best for their health.


Angelfish are beautiful fish, and although you may have fun watching them, it’s crucial to know their dietary needs, as they are complex fish, especially if you’re a beginner aquarist.

However, after reading all this information, you will ensure your angelfish lives their best and healthiest lives.