Last Updated : May 10, 2022

What do aquarium catfish eat [Detailed Answer]

As their name implies, catfish have whiskers almost the same as the cats and they come from a category of fishes that are highly adaptable to changes. Catfish have mouths at the bottom of their body, this is the reason why they dwell at the bottom.

They are omnivores and have the ability to withstand extreme weather conditions as they can easily withstand the 100 Fahrenheit temperature. They are usually found in stagnant rivers, streams, or brackish water but you can also see them in most aquariums as well.

What do aquarium catfish eat

Catfish of different sizes can live in a tank of about 5 to 30 gallons and they usually grow up to 4 inches in the aquarium. Some things should be considered while keeping them in the aquarium such as the aquarium should not have access to direct sunlight and it is recommended not to put a lot of catfishes in a single aquarium, three will be an ideal number.

There should be some rocks, plants, stones, gravel, or something that can trap the food because catfish love to work and hunt their food. When it comes to catfish food, below is the section that will give you a detailed answer to what to feed catfish.

What to feed catfish?

As you know what you need to keep a catfish in an aquarium, let us discuss some of their most favorite foods. The list includes the following:

  • Frozen Food
  • Small Crustaceous
  • Small Live Worms
  • Typical Aquarium Food
  • Guppy Feeders
  • Small Snails
  • Sardine Fish
  • Rotten Cheese

Frozen Food

Catfish do like and enjoy eating frozen dried food such as blood worms and shrimps. You can break the frozen food into small pieces and throw it into the water. The food is rich in nutrients and experts claim that feeding such types of food to your aquarium catfish can result in rapid growth and they can grow up to 1 inch a month. You should wear safety gloves because some of the worms may cause allergies to you. 

Small Crustaceous

Small crustaceous can be used in aquariums as food for catfish but make sure that you use soft small crustaceous because their mature counterparts can be hard to eat for the catfish. These types of worms can easily sink to the bottom and you have the options to feed them live or can be frozen as well. You only have to drop them in the aquarium, they live at the bottom which will make it easy for the catfish to hunt them down and get food in their favorite way.

Small Live Worms

Small live worms or fishing worms can also be used for catfish in aquariums. You can get them from feed stores or bait shops and you have nothing to do extra with it, just drop them in the water and catfish will handle the further things.

Typical Aquarium Food

The usual aquarium food such as pellets or other types of feed that are specially produced for catfish could be an option but experts usually suggest moving towards some other options because flakes and pellets may take time to float down.

The food is too soft and best suitable for catfish but only if it is placed in the bottom. Otherwise, the food may break down in the middle of the aquarium that may result in affecting the water quality as well.

Guppy Feeders

As mentioned earlier that catfish are omnivores in nature, they can be fed by the feeder guppies in the aquariums. This idea is appreciated by many keepers, some keepers also claim that feeding guppy feeders as catfish food can bring some major benefits as well. You only have to buy them from any fair or pet shop and simply drop them in the aquarium.

Small Snails

Snails can be used as catfish food and one of the best things is that they can be found in the aquarium as well. This is not only a great thing that catfish will get their food but it will also provide ease for the keepers as they will get rid of the snails without any effort. Catfish easily hunt and eat snails as they live at the bottom of the aquarium.

Sardine Fish

This is one of the foods that are widely used to catch fish while fishing. Small catfish may not like to eat sardines as food but large catfish usually love to eat them. You can easily buy them from any bait shop but it is recommended not to use them as food for small catfish. This is only suitable for large catfish that usually live in large size areas like pool aquariums.

Rotten Cheese

You may feel that this is a bit weird but the truth is that catfish do eat rotten cheese or anything stuck in the rocks or stones as debris. You can check this out by putting a small piece of rotten smelly cheese in the aquarium and the truth will come out.

How to take good care of your catfish in the aquarium?

Catfish are one of the best fish species to be kept in aquariums because of their calm nature. There are some things that should be kept in mind while deciding on food and aquariums for your catfish to provide them with better living.

Only Buy Food that Sinks

Catfish are not able to eat like all other fishes because of their mouth’s position. You should only buy food that can sink in the water and reach the bottom. Otherwise, you will only waste the food and the catfish will remain unfed.

You should ensure that the food is soft because catfish cannot chew hard or solid food easily and may not even eat that at all.

Aquarium Plants

You should have aquarium plants because they will not only add charm to your aquarium but will also provide shelter and places to hide and hunt their food. Some of the best aquarium plant options include Anubis, java ferns, bogwood, etc.

Energetic Fellows

Catfish love to live in the company of chill and energetic fellows in the aquarium. Some of the best species in this regard include Striped Raphael Catfish, Giant Danios, and Opaline Gourami.

Rocks and Stones

Including a sandy part in your aquarium and pacing some small rocks and stones would also be a great idea for your aquarium especially for your catfish. It will allow the catfish to get a hiding place and they can protect themselves from sunlight as well.

You may also want to learn the following fish guildes