What do cichlids eat?


Quick Answer

Cichlids eat crickets, shrimp, small frogs, fish eggs and worms. They also eat plant material and other fish. Cichlids kept in captivity also benefit from the added nutrients found in commercial cichlid fish-food pellets. It is best to use sinking pellets when feeding captive cichlids.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

The motion of the sinking pellet stimulates the cichlid's natural, predatory hunting behavior. Any purchased commercial cichlid fish food should not include beef heart as an ingredient; it is a fatty meat that could cause degeneration of the cichlid's liver. Live food can be fed to cichlids in captivity; however, different species of cichlids eat different types of food, so experimenting with dead food first is advisable. Most cichlids also eat algae located in the substrate of their environment.

A cichlid's mouth contains a unique feature called a "moveable pharyngeal jaw apparatus," which helps the fish to chew its food. Cichlids are predatory fish that sometimes attack and eat prey that is too big to swallow whole, and the apparatus located in the back of the fish's throat is an evolutionary feature that allows the fish to trap live prey in its mouth and then slowly grind it up. This decreases the chances of the prey escaping while the cichlid is chewing on it.

Learn more about Fish

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What do wild fish eat?

    A: Fish eat a variety of food including plant life and other organisms such as macroinvertabrates, flies, worms, other fish and anything that may live in the ... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do rockfish eat?

    A: Adult rockfish feed on shrimp, small fish, jellyfish, squid, crab, crab eggs, octopus, sea snails and worms. Rockfish belong to the Sabistidae family of ma... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do fish lay eggs?

    A: Some fish species are oviparous, meaning that the fish fry (babies) are born from eggs that are excreted from the female fish's body prior to hatching. Fis... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do bony fish reproduce?

    A: Bony fish have a variety of reproductive strategies, but in most species two separate sexes release sperm and eggs into the water, and fertilization occurs... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: