What Can You Feed Your Fish if You Run Out of Fish Food

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

What Can You Feed Your Fish When You Have No Fish Food

Updated, 7th September, 2022.

If you live up North, you know the weather can get quite bipolar, especially during winter and summer. So it’s not uncommon for fish keepers to run out of fish food, and can’t rush to the store to stock up.

So what can you feed your fish instead of fish food in such instances?

Your fish can eat blanched vegetables, such as zuchinni, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, and kale besides fish food if they accept plant based meals. If you have fish that only accept meaty food, you can feed them small pieces of seafood,like shrimp or white fish fillet (tilapia, cod, coley) when you run out of food.

Feed your goldfish vegetables like peas, spinach, kale, and fruits, such as orange, watermelon, and banana when out of fish food. Goldfish will also eat meaty foods like shrimp, insects, and worms, if you run out of fish food.

Besides, goldfish can survive without food a week, even 10 days wehn you have no fish food. So do not panic if you run out of food. As long as you can replenish the supply within the week, your goldfish should be fine.

Goldfish can also eat human food, such as vegetables (zuchinni, kale, cucumber), shrimp, white fish fillet, and even fruits, so if you you think your goldfish won’t survive without food, you can try these options.

Peas are an alternative as well, but make sure you pull the cover off before feeding them to your fish, and only give your fish one, maybe two peas through the week because too many peas can cause digestive issues in tropical fish.

Some aquarium fish like goldfish will also accept orange slices, but citrus fruits are quite sugary and acidic and can easily mess up your water quality.

In case your fish only accepts meaty foods, offer them small pieces of seafood like fish and shrimp. White-fish-fillet, especially from tilapia, cod, and coley, is good, but avoid oily fish as that tends to be a bit too messy.

One other alternative, albeit not being a food alternative, is to fast your fish until you can go out for supplies as most tropical fish species can go a week without food.

I’ve shared more insight below, please read on!

What Can You Feed Fish When You Have No Fish Food

Feed your tropical fish per-boiled, cooked, or steamed green vegetables when you have no fish food. You can also feed your omnivorous and carnivorous fish low fat meat pieces, such as chicken liver, beefheart, and white fish fillet or hard boiled egg instead of fish food. However, avoid spicy, seasoned and food with strong tastes.

Your fish can also eat a home recipe made from a bunch of human foods when you do not have fish food. Prepare vegetables, such as spinach, brocolli or cauliflower, add some shelled, mashed peas (good for fish digestion), and include carrots, beans, and zuchinni if you have them. For protein, add ground whole shrimp, krill (if available) or bloodworms (if available), for goldfish and other ominivorous fish, and cut white tilapia for cichlids and other fish that prefers a meaty, protein-rich diet.

You can also prepare a mix of cut and grated carrot, added to cut and finely sliced broccoli, and sprayed in an egg beat with some water, then steamed to a solid consistency,and feed it to your instead of fish food.

What to Feed Goldfish When Out of Fish Food

You can feed you goldfish a mix of cut, grated, and chopped vegetable, mixed with a protein source, like egg or ground whole shrimp, steamed together when out of fish food. Goldfish are mostly herbivorous scavengers and will eat green human vegetable when well prepared.

Below is a list of pre cooked foods you can feed your goldfish when out of fish food.

What Human Food Can Fish Eat

Essentially, most alternatives I’ve mentioned above are largely human food you can feed your fish.

Fish can (and will) eat human food, ranging from vegetables, like zucchini and kale, and seafood like shrimp and white fish fillet. You can even give fish, like goldfish, cooked rice, perboiled peas or oatmeal. Beefheart, other low fat meats, and hard boiled egg york are also human food that can be shredded and fed to fish.

However, human food is not nutritionally balanced for fish and can create a mess. Some are indegistable and cause bloating and most have to be boiled or chopped into small pieces before feeding them to fish.

Fish will eat human food that your fish will accept is vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, and lettuce, and seafood like white fish and shrimp, but not what you’d normally have on your dinner plate.

That said…

You can feed your fish freeze-dried food or frozen human food, but avoid canned foods, including vegetables since they contain preservatives, salt, and other chemicals that can harm your fish.

Also, avoid any meaty-foods that are not fat-free because they contain fats that can cause problems for tropical fish. Howbeit, beef heart is widely accepted by most carnivorous and omnivorous aquarium fish species when shredded.

Remember to remove uneaten human food from your fish tank after 30 minute to an hours to keep your tank clean and the water pristine.

Type Foods Fish Can EatFood Names
VegatablesBlanched lettuce, kale (with stem removed). sliced cucumber, sliced courgette, peas (per-boiled and skinned), carrot (pre-cooked), sliced zucchini, Spinach(with stem removed), beans (cooked), cauliflower (cooked), Pumpkin or squash (cooked), broccoli
MeatsWhite fish fillet (tilapia, cod, coley), beef heart, chicken liver, shrimp, prawn, krill
Fruitspeeled orange pieces, banana (pieces), watermelon (chunked), apple (pealed pieces), pears (pealed pieces), pealed grapes
Pre-Cooked FoodsPasta, non-spicy noddles, pre-cooked rice, beans, cooked corn meal, hard-boiled egg york, cooked oatmeal

What Human Food Can Catfish Eat

Catfish will eat homemade fresh vegetable-rich human food, supplemented with meaty sea foods, like ground whole shrimp. Most catfish will also eat cooked oatmeal, corn meal, and hard boiled egg yolk. Cougette, zuchinni, cucumber and blanced veggies, such as lettuce, spinach, and kale are all ideal for catfish if you run out of fish food.

Other food your catfsih will eat, including ground, pre-cooked beans and peas, carrot, pumpkin, and cauliflower recipes, but catfish will not eat bread, or at least you should not feed your bread.

Can Fish Eat Bread

No, aquarium fish should not be fed bread. As for accepting, your fish will probably not be able to tell the difference between small pieces of bread and fish food and will ingest it as it would any other equally sized treats.

Bread is made from wheat and contains yeast and preservatives all of which will cause bloating, constipation, and all sorts of digestive issues, which when not resolved will kill your fish.

Be that as it may, a pinch of bread will tide over the most resilient aquarium fish until you get to the store for more fish food. Some species will even happily accept the other half of a bread and egg breakfast.

Hard boiled egg yolk will keep your fish from starving while you wait to get more fish food. Its a particularly priced option for fry, juveniles, and small aquarium fish.

However, please note that if you put too much in the tank, the york will very easily turn your water cloudy.

Can You Feed Your Fish Dog Food

This is by far the wildest wondering I’ve come across regarding fish keeping and fish food. Why anyone would want to feed his/her fish dog food beats me, but odd as it is, the question is pretty common; more than it should of course.

So, is it Ok to feed fish dog food?

Most definitely NO!

You cannot feed dogfood to fish because it is formulated for a dog’s digestion system and nutritional requirements and not fish. The food especially lacks the extra minerals and vitamins required by fish.

That said, I do not have an experience of any aquarist daring enough to put this theory to test. But when the streets start talking and rumor mill run overtime, there is a need for a little research, and that I did.

As it turns out, some hobbyists have success feeding their fish dog food.

Even so, many of the fishes tend to grow big and look impressive from the outside, but internally the dog food causes health problems, including increased belly fat and an overall weight problem.

That said, which aquarists feed their tropical fish dog food you ask?

Well, fish keepers with cichlids in their tank are particularly likely to feed their fish dog food as treats.

A word of caution though, in case you are one to take that risk (keeping cichlids); It’s only best to give your fish dog food as seldom treats and not a staple for everyday feeding because of the cons I’ve stated above.

Lastly, will your fish will accept dog food!

I’m convinced that like bread, your fish cannot tell the difference between tiny chunks of dog food and fish food.

This means that whatever your reason is for offering your fish dog food, the fish will most likely devour the food to its own detriment.

What Can You Feed Goldfish if You Have No Fish Food

Goldfish species are arguably the most popular pet fish in the world, thus what to feed them is a common concern of many fish keepers. That said, goldfish food is readily available in pet stores.

But what do you offer your goldies if you can’t get to the store soon enough?

Let me say you goldfish will appreciate almost as they would any other food if you place fresh food in the aquarium, which includes most vegetables that other tropical fish enjoy like zucchini, cucumber, spinach, and peas.

As I mentioned before, remember to remove the peas cover before feeding them to your goldfish.

You may also need to soften the peas, as well as other vegetables, before offering them to your fish. First, put the veggies in boiling water for a minute or two and then cold water right after making sure they are sufficiently tender for your fish to consume.

I recommend removing any seeds in the greens as well.

Most times, goldfish also accept a few fruits in small quantities. Fruits that are safe for goldies include raspberries, orange, and strawberries. A piece of fruit once or twice a week is sufficient to make sure you do not overfeed your fish, which could result in intestinal problems.

Please know that fruits will mess with your water quality including the ph level if fed in large amounts.

On a final note, white-fish-fillet is one other food option that is safe for goldfish as long as the meat is not too fatty. As with other meaty fish foods, a fillet treat is perfect when looking for an emergency meal that is rich in proteins.

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