best food for mbuna cichlids

Best Food For Mbuna Cichlids


If you have a Mbuna cichlid, you might be wondering how often they should be fed and what they eat. It’s important not to overfeed your fish, as this can cause problems in the tank and dirty the water, but obviously you want to make sure they get enough to eat. Let’s find out about the best food for Mbuna cichlids and how to feed them.

There is some debate about the best food for Mbuna cichlids, but they mostly eat aquatic plants, algae, and biofilm in the tank. Mbuna cichlids are grazers that tend to eat all day, and you will see them picking at the plants and sides of the tank. You can supplement the tank food with a vegetable flake or pellet food.

Let’s look in more detail at what Mbuna cichlids generally eat and how you should go about feeding them for the best possible results.

How Often Should You Feed Mbuna Cichlids?

How often you should feed Mbuna cichlids is a subject of hot debate, and you will find all sorts of different answers online, with very varied timeframes offered. Some people advise that you only feed cichlids once per day, others suggest that you feed them multiple times per day, and others say you should fast them so that they are only eating every few days.

It can be difficult to work out what to do when faced with the conflicting advice, so the best solution is probably to try to mimic the way that Mbuna cichlids would eat in the wild. These fish feed almost constantly, and when they are hungry, they get very aggressive. However, you need to be careful with regular feeding.

Because the fish generally eat very low value foods, they need to eat more constantly than fish that eat high value foods. If you feed your Mbuna cichlids on a diet that is highly nutritious and feed them constantly, they will start to suffer from over-eating, and this could make them sick fast.

You should therefore base your feeding schedule on what kinds of food you are giving to your fish. Most people agree that cichlids are best fed in small, short bursts, several times per day, as this allows their digestive tracts to be active.

It is also thought that allowing the fish to fast for a few days helps to clear out the tract and reduce any risk of issues. However, be aware that your fish will be noticeably more aggressive when they are hungry, and may attack each other as a result.

In short, feed your Mbuna cichlids using a method that you find suits you, but make sure they aren’t actively feeding for more than a few minutes in a day. This should reduce the risk of them getting overfed and suffering from health complications as a result.

Are Flakes Or Pellets Better For Mbuna Cichlids?

Both pellets and flakes can be suitable for feeding your fish, but both have pros and cons. Flakes are more likely to swell up when they hit the water, and may also break down much more quickly in the water, potentially leaving your fish hungry.

Pellets are often slightly more nutritionally valuable than flakes, although this does depend on the kind of pellet that you buy and how high the quality is. Pellets are also likely to hold their vitamin content better than flakes, as flakes will lose their vitamins pretty quickly after hitting the water.

Pellets will generally keep your tank cleaner and tidier, because they don’t break up in the water to the same degree. They may make it easier to control feeding times because they don’t disperse too much, so you can add just the right amount.

If you use flakes and they spread through the water, it may provide difficult to keep the feeding times under control, so be aware of this downside.

However, some pellets expand after feeding and this can cause discomfort for your fish when they consume them. You should therefore try both and see which you prefer. Some owners like to provide their fish with a mixture of pellets and flakes so that they can enjoy both.

What’s The Most Popular Mbuna Cichlid Food?

There are lots of options and you should test out a few to see which ones your fish seem to like the best and stay healthiest on – but you might want to try Repashy Super Green, which is perfect for herbivorous fish.

This unusual food comes as a powder, and this needs to be mixed with boiling water. The result will be a material that looks rather like Jello, and you may be surprised to learn that most Mbuna cichlids love this food. It is also high quality and will provide your fish with pretty much everything they need.

One of the great things about this food is that it is made using all plant resources, so it’s ideal for herbivores to eat. Since Mbuna cichlids are predominantly herbivores, they should do well on this diet.

Furthermore, Super Green will enhance the colors of your fish; it contains extracts of things like paprika, marigold, spirulina, and hibiscus. This will help to make their hues brighter, enhancing the display they provide in the tank.

The disadvantage of this kind of food is that you have to mix it before you can feed your fish. This only takes a few moments, but it’s slightly more involved than simply taking the lid off a container and sprinkling some of the contents into the tank.

Overall, however, it’s a nutritious and convenient food to give to your Mbuna cichlids, and most of them will love it!


The best food for Mbuna cichlids will vary depending on who you ask, and these fish can be tricky to feed, as they are constant grazes that are used to low value foods. You need to make sure you aren’t giving them too much to eat, but avoid starving them, as this will make them aggressive and difficult to keep.