What Fruits & Vegetables Can Cichlids Eat?

Estimated read time 5 min read

What Do Cichlids Normally Eat

Most cichlids are omnivores and will eat any plant or animal matter. That said, some species are considered herbivorous and carnivorous.

In your aquarium at home, a good staple food for your cichlid would be a complete sinking pellet or flake food.

Depending on which species of cichlid you are keeping, you can mix in some leafy greens, fruits, or even some frozen brine shrimp.

However, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, you may be wondering which ones your cichlids can eat and which are safe and which are not.

We’ll answer these questions below.

Note: There is some information out there that indicates feeding vegetables and fruits that contain seeds, small pits, or even nutrients and vitamins they aren’t used to can have fatal consequences. Always do your own research before feeding anything new to your fish.


Great Cichlid Food Choices

What Vegetables Can Cichlids Eat?

Many species of Cichlids can be herbivorous, feeding on algae and plants, and will eat and enjoy vegetables from your fridge.

It can be a fun way to introduce a healthy treat.

However, keep in mind that most vegetables are a dense meal and too not overfeed your cichlids as this could cause bloating.

Here are a few vegetables your cichlids can eat;


Cichlids love to eat cucumbers. Cut them into thin slices and stick them right to the glass. Or, you can hold them down with an elastic band and rock. Eventually, they will float back up to the surface.


Just like cucumbers, cichlids will devour zucchini. Keep them thinly sliced or tied to a rock to prevent it from floating.

Boiled Carrots

Cichlids can eat carrots. However, it’s best to soften them up by boiling them for a few minutes. Raw carrots are hard enough for people to eat! Imagine your fish trying to eat them raw.

Lettuce & Spinach

Cichlids will eat lettuce and spinach. THEY LOVE IT! Just take a few leaves off, rinse them really well and if you have a spare suction cup, use the suction cup to stick it to the glass.


Cichlids will eat peas willingly. You can use frozen peas and boil them for about 10 minutes to soften them up. It’s recommended to peel them and feed the inner flesh, but I’ve used the whole pea without issue.

Tips For Feeding Vegetables To Cichlids

Most vegetables can be fed raw or boiled. But just like your kids, sometimes your fish might need a little convincing. Here are a few tips to make their veggies more appealing.

  • Boil your vegetables – This softens them up and makes them easier to eat. Also, warm vegetables will give off more scent than raw vegetables.
  • Add a little garlic powder – Garlic is a very appealing scent to fish, and adding this to their veggies may make it irresistible. Garlic is a popular additive to fish food to encourage eating.
  • Always remove any uneaten bits. Vegetables will start to dissolve and can impact your water quality or cause clouding very quickly.

Vegetables That You Shouldn’t Feed To Cichlids

Most vegetables can be fed to your fish. However, I haven’t heard of anyone who’s tried feeding radishes, onion, celery, beets to their cichlids; maybe there’s a reason.

What Fruit Can Cichlids Eat?

As mentioned, many cichlids are herbivores and omnivores, which means they will occasionally both plant and animal matter. The black belt cichlid, for example, will eat seeds and fruit.

Here are a few fruit options you can feed to your cichlid;


Some cichlids will enjoy a nice ripe strawberry, and some won’t. It’s really dependant on your fish. Strawberries don’t require a lot of preparation as they are pretty soft raw, cut them into smaller chunks, and toss them in.


Cichlids have been known to eat almost anything, and that includes blueberries. That said, many fish won’t eat the skin of the blueberry. Similar to the pea, peel the skin back and feed the inside to your fish.


Just like peas and blueberries, Cichlids will eat grapes as long as you remove the peels. In my opinion, this is a lot of effort for a treat when there are more readily available options.


Over To You

In the end, whether you feed them Carrots, Peas, Grapes, or even Oranges, if your fish are interested, they give it a try; if not, they won’t.

Don’t be afraid to try out different things from your fridge to see what happens.

Most things we eat shouldn’t harm your cichlids or have too much impact on your water chemistry.

Take care.

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