Human Foods For Aquarium Fish

What can I feed my fish if I run out of food?

In the wild, fish won’t find flakes or pellets we usually buy in pet stores. They will eat anything they can find, from vegetable scraps to insects and small water animals like shrimps.

If you run out of fish food for your Bettas, don’t worry. You can feed them many different veggies like cucumbers, fruits, and lettuce.

Fish have a hard time digesting animal fat. You can give them pure protein treats like chopped liver, beef heart, or egg yolks, which are great for fish like the betta.

Vegetables are a great source of needed vitamins. At the same time, liver or egg yolks provide extra protein that enables your tank fish to grow beautifully and develop healthy colors.

Read on to see what homemade foods you can feed your tank fish.

Can tank fish eat human food?

They can eat some human food, like veggies, some fruits, and seafood (small octopus, shrimp, clams, etc.).

Avoid any kind of processed foods you usually eat, like cooked meat, fast food, or sausages, especially those containing spices (even salt). They will do more harm than good, both to your fish and your water’s quality. At the same time, uneaten food will spoil the water.

DIY foods for your aquarium

Many DIY fish food recipes mix vegetables with fresh uncooked fish, liver, or seafood (in the case of carnivorous fish).
Many aquarists love to experiment and blend various ingredients, then freeze the mix into small cubes for later use.

A great thing about homemade fish food is that you don’t need special equipment.

Starchy foods

Although fish do not usually eat carbs, a little starch won’t harm your fish. In the wild, fish will only get starch from aquatic plants. Your fish will tolerate a starchy treat, just don’t make it a daily habit.

Bettas are predatory fish with a short digestive tract, so they won’t be able to process carbs. A small, occasional oat or cracker treat will be enough if they absolutely love it. If not, it’s better not to push it.

Can you feed fish bread?

Bread will soak up a lot of water and expand before and even after your fish eat it, so it may be dangerous to them. In addition, it can lead to constipation. Finally, it contains salt and other harmful or at least non-helpful ingredients.

Bread is not suitable for your aquarium fish. If you really have nothing to feed your fish, you may provide them bread in minimal amounts, but make sure you soak it in water to enable it to expand first.

There is also the risk of falling apart and spoiling the water quality in your tank.

Can you feed fish rice?

Rice is a great staple food for humans, especially those with a sensitive stomach, and is also super easy to find. This is why you may be tempted to feed your fish some rice from time to time.

However, it is harder for a fish to digest it. Rice may cause bloating and gut problems, while uneaten bits may spoil your water,

Use rice when you have absolutely nothing else you can feed your fish. Not to mention that Bettas have such small mouths, it would be really hard for them to take a bite out of the rice.

Can you feed fish crackers?

Crackers are also full of starch and salt, so it’s not a good idea to feed your fish crackers. Fish are not able to break down complex carbs like pasta, bread, or crackers.
You may, however, feed small bits of digestive, low-salt crackers to your tank fish, but only as a treat.

Can you feed fish oats?

Oats are high in fiber and highly nutritious but are also starchy. Offering them to your fish as a treat and in minimal amounts is all right, but avoid feeding them oats too often to prevent bloating or constipation.

Can you feed fish meat and eggs?

Meat, organs, and eggs are excellent protein sources that boost fish growth, especially in young fish.

Carnivorous fish like the Bettas will go crazy over them, and omnivorous ones will clearly appreciate them as well. Make sure you don’t feed them to herbivorous fish. A little egg yolk fed to your fry will be OK, but adults don’t need it.

Can fish eat chicken eggs?

Chicken eggs are full of protein and iron, making them a great homemade food for your Bettas. Betta fry especially will benefit from egg yolk DIY foods as it will help them grow faster and develop beautiful colors. However, avoid using it as a main dish for too long. It is great to feed your fish egg yolks to boost their growth, but only shake a bit of it in your tank from time to time. Otherwise, it may result in an excessive protein intake.

Egg whites are less nutritious and not necessary in a fish tank. Better to keep egg whites for something else.
Also, be careful as eggs may release sulfur into your tank. Only feed your fish as much as they can eat so that no egg would remain on the substrate and spoil the water.

Can fish eat chicken?

Very little lean meat or chicken liver could be OK, but be very careful about the ammonia levels. Meat can elevate ammonia, which is bad for your tank.

Small bits of chicken heart or liver is a good choice since they are high in protein and have no fat. Remember that any uneaten leftovers will significantly affect the water quality, so remove them as soon as the fish stop eating and consider doing a 20% water change.
Most chickens are fed hormones for faster growth, so be careful not to provide your fish with too much chicken.

Can fish eat frozen shrimps?

Bettas and other carnivorous fish will attack and feed on live shrimps in their tank. Some aquarists even keep separate brine shrimp tanks to feed their fish or give them out as treats. Frozen shrimps are just as nutritious and easier to find than live ones.

As with meta, make sure it gets eaten immediately. Only leave your treat in the tank for an hour. If you leave it in the tank for longer than that, it can seriously affect the water quality.


Fish need vitamins, and most vegetables are great vitamin sources. Feeding raw, blanched, or boiled vegetables to your Bettas will make an extraordinary addition to a healthy diet.

They can help improve your fish’s immune system, develop brighter colors, and make excellent additions to homemade fish food recipes. Blanching or boiling helps sterilize the food.

Veggies, you can feed your fish

Many tropical fish love cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, and any leftover veggies from the kitchen. Some also go crazy over edamame or nori (seaweed sheets used for wrapping sushi).

Other great and delicious choices are courgette, spinach, peas, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, and peppers.
Some aquarists have noticed that broccoli has helped bring out colors in their fish.

How do you get the veggies to sink?

The easiest way is to strap them to a rock or other decoration with a rubber band, a fork, or a zip tie.
Boiling them helps absorb water and sink easier while at the same time making them a little mushy so that they are easier to eat. However, most fish seem to have no problem eating raw veggies.


Can fish eat apples?

Yes, they can. It is a matter of taste, as some fish absolutely love them, while others will totally ignore them. Be careful, though, as they may dissolve in water and spoil it if left uneaten. Cut them into small pieces to make them easier to eat.

Can fish eat bananas?

Bananas are highly nutritious, and some fish love them. You can safely feed bananas to most tank fish.
Bettas will enjoy bananas; however, since they are not part of their natural diet, use them only as an occasional treat. Keep in mind that bananas are high in sugar, which is another reason for concern. One or two small pieces a week will be just enough.

Can fish eat watermelon?

Many aquarists have successfully fed their fish watermelon, but make sure you remove the seeds first. Seeds can not be eaten, and there is a chance they will germinate and grow watermelon plants in your tank.

Can fish eat mushrooms?

Yes, they are light and great for most of them. Just make sure they come from a controlled source and are not poisonous. Although mushrooms are good for fish, they tend to break apart and create a mess in your tank.


Tank fish can eat many homemade foods. Carnivorous fish like betta will eat meaty foods like liver or shrimp. Some fruits and veggies are welcome, while starchy foods should only be fed in extreme cases when nothing else is at hand and only in minimal quantities. Try and see what your fish love most.

If you want to learn more about Betta’s behavior, advice, and tips, please visit our collection of Betta Tips Articles.

About the author

Hi, I am Laura. I love fish and pets in general.
I have researched aquariums extensively. I have worked in pet stores, helping customers do the right choices. I am also the owner of two cats.

You can find the articles I wrote here

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