What Is The Best Food For Guppies (Expert Breeders Opinion!)

I have spent the last 30 years keeping, breeding, and showing guppies in competitions. For a number of years now I have been a guest speaker at fish clubs around the country, often preaching the joy of guppy keeping and breeding. One question I get at almost every talk I give is What is the best food to feed my guppies?

There is no one answer to that question. There are too many variables to be able to say buy this food or buy that food! In this article, I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss some of my favorite guppy foods and look at the wonderful array of foods available on the market today.

The Quick Answer

If you are looking for a quick answer to what I believe is the best food for your guppies, I have given you three of my favorites below. For a more in-depth guide, please read on.

Best Flake Food

TetraMin Tropical Formula was the first flake food I ever bought and it has been a staple in my fish room ever since.

TetraMin is made from good quality ingredients and Tetra has a long history of making fish foods.

This food is now made with shrimp, making it more attractive to fish, and it has the Tetra clear water promise that it won’t cloud your water.

Best Pellet Food

Vibrabites are unique in that they have been designed to look just like bloodworms. Guppys love eating bloodworms, and mine certainly love eating Vibrabites.

Vibrabites are made from high-quality ingredients which the manufacturers claim enhances the fish’s colors.

Every fish in my fish room loves to eat Vibrabites. If you have never tried it, you should.

Best Color Enhancing Food

Fluval’s Color Enhancing Bug Bites flakes, like other foods in the Bug Bites range, are based on Black Soldier Fly larvae. They are a high protein food which fish just love.

I have used these flakes for a while now, and they really do seem to bring the color out in the fish, especially the red coloration.

I can not recommend these flakes enough. Try them and your guppies will go crackers for them!



What do guppies like to eat?

Guppys are omnivores. As such, they want a diet that is based on both meat and vegetable matter. Truth be told, guppies are often considered the garbage cans of the tropical fish-keeping world. There isn’t much they won’t eat.

There are many different types of food on the market today. To name a few, there are;

  • Floating pellets
  • Sinking pellets
  • Flakes
  • Live foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Freeze-dried foods
  • Gel foods

I have fed my guppies all of the above over the years, and even today I feed a mixture of at least four different types of food on a regular basis.

In my opinion, flakes are probably a guppies favorite type of food as they tend to float on the surface for a few minutes before sinking, and guppies really do like to eat from the surface.

Mini floating pellets are often very popular with my guppies too. I have had good luck feeding both Bug Bites, which are made by Fluval, and Fancy Guppy Pellets from Hikari.

Guppies are considered opportunistic feeders. They swim around just below the surface of the water, constantly on the hunt for food. As soon as you drop a pinch of flakes into their aquarium, every guppy in the tank will be trying to grab some food.

Variety is key when it comes to feeding guppies. Making sure they get a mixture of foods and food types is the best way to ensure your guppies grow strong, colorful, and breed well.

What do guppies eat in the wild?

In the wild, guppies are opportunistic and will eat just about anything that comes their way. Guppies in the wild will eat algae and small pieces of plants, insects that land on the surface of the water as well as waterborne crustaceans including daphnia (water fleas) and mosquito larvae.

Although the guppies we keep in our home aquariums are many, many generations away from their wild cousins, they still need a varied diet to remain healthy.

Feeding guppies a varied diet that closely mimics their diet in the wild also helps reduce the chance of them becoming constipated or bloated.

There is no doubt that guppies living in the wild would also eat a lot of baby fish, including baby guppies. Female guppies are well known for eating their own babies.

The food guppies eat in the wild would also vary depending on what time of year it is, and where the guppies live. Studies have shown that guppies living in the Aripo River have a different natural diet than guppies living in the Tacarigua River.

What to look out for when choosing guppy food?

There are so many different foods and different types of food on the market today, it is important to know what to look for when selecting a food for your guppies. Drawing on my years of guppy-keeping experience, I consider each of the following when choosing a new food for my guppies.

Does the food contain high-quality ingredients?

For me, fish food that is made of high-quality ingredients is really important. Often, to keep the cost of fish foods down, manufactures will add ‘fillers’ to fish foods. Fillers are anything that is cheap and bulks the food out. Unfortunately, fillers offer no nutritional value to our guppies.

I like to feed my guppies foods that have a high concentration of krill or krill meal (essentially the same thing). Krill is an important ingredient to help enhance fish colors, especially red colors.

Insect larvae are another ingredient that features in some of the higher quality foods. Fish or fish meal is generally considered a good quality ingredient as are spirulina and algae meal.

When looking at a packet of fish food, bear in mind, the high the concentration of a given ingredient, the high up the list of ingredients it will be.

How good is the food for omnivores?

As mention above, guppies are omnivores. They need variety in their diets. If we feed our guppies a food that has been developed for predator fish, it will be very high in protein. If we feed our guppies a food that has been developed primarily for algae eaters, needless to say, it will be very high in algae.

Many fish food packets include images of fish on the front of the packet. Look for one which has a guppy, it is a good sign the food will be suitable for them.

Whilst guppies can be occasionally fed a food high in protein or one high in algae, they should only be fed as part of a balanced diet.

How easy is the food to feed to your guppies?

We all lead busy lives. Feeding food that is quick and easy to feed to your guppies is often important.

I like feeding my guppies either flakes or pellets because it is so easy to grab the tub, drop some into the tank, and be done. Feeding guppies live foods or frozen foods can be a bit more of a hassle.

Another important factor for me is the food shouldn’t smell too much. I keep some of my guppy tanks in the house, and my wife complains when the house smells of fish food.

Does the food affect water quality?

If you have ever fed a fish food that instantly disintegrates the minute it hits the water, you will know how frustrating it can be. Uneaten fish food is probably the number one cause of poor water quality.

I have tried food in the past that literally turned to mush within a few seconds of the food dropping into the tank. Because of this, finding out how a fish food performs in the water is really important when choosing a new food.

If you want to try a new fish food, ask your local fish store if they feed it to their fish. If they do, ask them to show you how it performs when fed to the fish.

How much does the food cost?

It always surprises people when the cost of the food is so far down my list of considerations when choosing fish food.

To me, the cost is irrelevant, not because I can afford any food I want, but rather, an expensive food which is made with really high-quality ingredients is enjoyed by the fish, and makes my aquarium better all-round, really isn’t an expensive food.

Equally, cheap food that offers my fish no nutritional value, spoils my water quality and makes my house smell when I feed it, is poor value for money!

Do the fish actually want to eat it?

Surely, whether or not the fish eat the food should be the single most important factor when it comes to choosing food.

It doesn’t matter how good the ingredients are, if the fish won’t eat it food, it is a waste of time and money!

How to feed guppies?

When it comes to feeding guppies, feeding little and often is the key to success. Feeding a large quantity of food in a single feeding will result in uneaten food that sinks to the bottom of the tank or lands behind decorations, or between rocks where it will start to rot, creating ammonia.

Uneaten fish food is probably the number one cause of ammonia spikes in our aquariums, and the smaller the aquarium, the greater the risk of an ammonia spike.

When I feed the guppies in my fish room, I try to feed them 3 or 4 times every day.

  • In the morning I give them a staple food such as TetraMin Tropical Flake. Flakes foods offer guppies a wide range of vitamins and minerals and form the backbone of a good quality diet.
  • In the evening I will usually feed either a mini pellet or, if I have some Repashy Community Blend in the fridge I will feed them that.

Take care when feeding guppies. These little fish are ALWAYS hungry and you can easily overfeed them. It is often said that you should only feed your guppies as much food as they will consume in 30 to 60 seconds. I would say that is true, providing you are feeding them multiple times a day


https://youtu.be/NvNX_BdaYFs

How often to feed guppies?

As mentioned above, when it comes to feeding guppies, I strongly recommend feeding little and often. In my experience, it is much better to feed your guppies a small meal several times a day than one large meal a day.

Guppies also need to be fed every day. Although they can go a day or two without eating and they won’t suffer any ill effects, it is much better to feed them 7 days a week.

There are people who will advocate having fast days when they don’t feed any of their fish. Personally, I don’t see the benefit to the fish. In the wild guppies are opportunistic feeders and they will eat little and often every single day of the year.

How much should guppies be fed?

It is always hard to say how much guppies should be fed as there are so many variables. Essentially, guppies should be fed as much as they will easily consume in 1 to 2 minutes and they should be fed that amount two or three times a day.

If too much food is added to the guppies tank there is a chance that the guppies will gorge themselves and become bloated or that uneaten food will sink to the bottom of the tank where it might atrat to rot, causing an ammonia spike.

It is better to feed your guppies little and often rather than all in one go.

What different types of food are available for guppies?

Guppies will eat just about any food you offer them, so the range of foods available for guppy is almost endless.

Below I look at some of the most popular types of foods and consider their pro and cons,

Type of FoodProsCons
Flake FoodThere is a wide selection of flakes on the market, ranging from just a few dollars a tub to over $20 a tub. Flakes come in a tropical formula, coldwater formula, and a color-enhancing blend.Flakes tend to deteriorate in quality quickly after hitting the water. It is said the majority of the nutrients in flake food leaches into the water within about 20 seconds of the flakes getting wet.
Pellet FoodIn recent years pellet food has improved vastly and some brands are now made of very high-quality ingredients including Black Soldier Fly LarvePellets usually come in either floating or sinking variety. The problem can be that the sinking pellets sink too fast for those fish that want to feed mid-water, and floating pellets don’t work for bottom feeders. You might need more than one type of pellet for your aquarium
Freeze-dried FoodFreeze-dried foods like freeze-dried bloodworms or brine shrimp are an excellent way of delivering nutrients to your guppies but in an easy-to-store way. Freeze-dried foods last for a long timeFreeze-dried foods need to be rehydrated before feeding them to your guppies otherwise your guppies may become bloated.
Live FoodLive foods are probably the highest quality foods you can offer your guppies and they closely mimic some of the foods guppies would eat in the wild.Live foods can be hard to get hold of, they do not store for very long, and there is always a possibility of introducing pests or diseases into the aquarium from the live foods.
Frozen FoodFrozen foods offer many of the benefits of live foods, without the hassle of having to keep live foods alive. Frozen foods come in a wide variety of types making feeding a varied diet much easier.Needless to say, frozen foods have to be kept frozen. If they defrost you will need to feed them to your guppies before they spoil.
Gel FoodGel food, like Repashy Community Blend, is made from high-quality ingredients, is easy to mix when required, and remains stable in the water for many hours after being added to the aquarium. Gel foods are relatively expensive and you have to make up a batch and then store it either in the fridge (for a few days) or the freezer (for a few weeks)
Homemade FoodHomemade foods can be tailored exactly to meet your guppies needs and you can adjust the ingredients depending on whether you want to enhance color, encourage breeding or put weight on your fishHomemade food is a lot of hassle to make and, as it often lacks any binding ingredients, often falls apart quickly in the tank, creating a mess in your water.


What are the best flake foods for guppies?

I believe every fish keeper should have some good quality flake food in their fish room. Flake foods are where most of us start when we get our first aquarium.

I have tried and had success using all of the flakes listed below, and at the time of writing, I have most of them in my fish food cupboard.

TetraMin Flakes

TetraMin Tropical Formula was the first flake food I ever bought and it has been a staple in my fish room ever since.

TetraMin is made from good quality ingredients and Tetra has a long history of making fish foods.

This food is now made with shrimp, making it more attractive to fish, and it has the Tetra clear water promise that it won’t cloud your water.

New Life Spectrum Optimum Flakes

New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes are a fairly new addition to my fish room, but I have to say, almost every fish I own will happily eat these flakes.

The Naturox Optimum flake contains added garlic, which according to the manufacturer, makes it more palatable to fish, and can even attract reluctant feeders to eat it.

This food has some really good quality ingredients including Krill, Herring, Squid, and Mussel protein.

Xtreme Aquatic Community Crave Flake

At the time of writing, Xtreme Aquatic Community Flake is taking the market by storm and is becoming more and more popular with hobbyists and breeders.

I have to say, my fish seem to relish this food and the guppies especially go crackers for it. Xtreme Aquatic Community Flake is made with Krill and Spirulina and is made in the USA.

This food doesn’t contain any hormones and was developed by a fish farm to help increase the size and quality of their breeding stock.

Xtreme Aquatic Krill Flakes

Xtreme Aquatic Krill Flakes is the second flake food from Xtreme to make my list of best flake foods for guppies.

As the name suggests, Xtreme Krill Flakes are made of krill, which gives them their distinctive red coloration. I have found my guppies love this food, as do the shrimp they share a tank with.

One word of caution, this food turns the tank water a slightly pink color, but it is worth it because my guppies just love it.

Fluval Bug Bites Spirulina Flakes

Whilst you wouldn’t want to feed your guppies Fluval Bug Bites Spirulina Flakes exclusively, I have found they make an excellent addition to my guppies diet.

This flake food brings a range of vitamins and minerals to your guppy’s diet which they might not otherwise get.

Fluval Bug Bites is known for its high-quality ingredients and it will be quickly eaten by many fish, including guppies. I recently wrote an article titled Is Fluval Bug Bites Good For Fish?


What are the best pellets for guppies?

Much like flakes, pellets come in a wide range of qualities with an equally wide range of ingredients. Pellets also come in either floating or sinking, meaning it is easier to target feed specific fish.

For guppies, I tend to prefer using a pellet that floats, or at least one that has been designed to sink slowly.

Pellets tend to have 1 major advantage over flakes, and that is that they hold up longer in water than flakes. Flakes tend to disintegrate after just a few seconds, whereas pellets can last for many minutes.

The tropical fish food market is definitely moving more towards pellets than flakes.

Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Formula

If I had to feed my guppies just one food forever, it would be Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Formula. The main ingredient in Bug Bites is Black Soldier Fly Larvae which are high in protein.

This food also contains salmon, fish protein concentrate, green peas, and potatoes.

In my experience, these pellets float for a while, then sink slowly, giving the guppies ample time to eat them.

Hikari Micro Pellets

Hikari has a long history of making fish foods, and they are well-known for the quality of their products.

Hikari Micro Pellets are a primarily floating fish food, meaning the pellets stay on the surface, right where the guppies want to eat them.

Hikari Micro Pellets have a unique micro coating that prevents the nutrients from leaching out into the aquarium water before the guppies have a chance to eat them.

Hikari Micro Wafers

These micro wafers are the second food from Hikari that makes my list of best pellet foods for guppies.

Hikari Micro Wafers are made from some really good ingredients including fish meal, krill meal, and cuttlefish meal. These wafers are slightly more prone to sinking than the mico pellets, but my guppies don’t seem to mind.

Vibrabites

Vibrabites are unique in that they have been designed to look just like bloodworms. Guppys love testing bloodworms, and mine certainly love eating Vibrabites.

Vibrabites are made from high-quality ingredients which the manufacturers claim enhances the fish’s colors.

Every fish in my fish room love to eat Vibrabites. If you have never tried it, you should.


What are the best live foods for guppies?

As the name would suggest, live foods are foods that are alive! Live foods are the closest things we can get to mimicking a guppies’ natural diet. However, for most of us, live foods are only fed as a treat to complement a guppies commercial food diet.

If I could, I would only ever feed my guppies live foods!

Typically, live foods are full of nutrients and minerals that our fish won’t normally get from their flake or pellets foods, and as they are live creatures they contain no fillers or artificial ingredients.

Bloodworms

Most people have fed their fish live bloodworms at some point. These little red creatures, which aren’t actually worms at all, but rather the larvae of the non-biting midge, wriggle as they travel through the water.

This constantly wriggling, along with their bright red coloration, makes them irresistible to fish.

Bloodworms are often used to entice fish that are reluctant to feed as well as those fish that are a little skinny and need to bulk up.

Daphnia

Daphnia, which is also known as water fleas, is another food that many of us have fed to our fish at some point. Daphnia darts through the water in a jerky movement, which is where their common name derives from.

Daphnia is found in almost every natural waterway in the world, and as such would almost certainly be part of a guppies’ diet in the wild. Daphnia feeds on microscopic algae, which in turn becomes part of the guppies’ diet when the guppies eat the daphnia.



Mosquito Larvae

I love feeding my guppies mosquito larvae. 1, they seem to go crackers for it whenever I add it to their tank, and 2, I can culture my own mosquito larvae at home just by putting a bucket of old tank water out in my backyard and waiting for the mosquitos to lay their eggs in it.

Mosquito larvae have to regularly visit the surface of the water to breathe, which puts them exactly where the guppies want to eat them.


What are the best frozen foods for guppies?

Frozen foods, much like live foods, help us mimic a guppies’ natural diet. The advantage of frozen foods is that they are much easier to store than live food and there is a far wider variety available on the market.

To name but a few, I regularly feed my guppies frozen foods including;

  • Bloodworms
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito Larvae
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Mysis Shrmip
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Cyclops

Typically, we buy frozen fish foods in blister packs which are easy to pop into the aquarium one or two at a time, depending on how many guppies you are feeding.

I like to purchase the selection pack of frozen food. That way I get 4 or 5 different varieties of food in a single pack, which helps provide my guppies with a varied diet.



What are the best freeze-dried foods for guppies?

Freeze-dried fish foods offer us all the goodness of live or frozen foods but in the convenience of a freeze-dried form. Freeze-dried foods last for months and can be added to your guppy’s normal diet either as a treat, or a way to bring in additional nutrients and minerals.

One word of caution, freeze-dried foods need to be rehydrated before being fed to your guppies.

Tetra Freeze-dried Bloodworms

Tetra Freeze-dried Bloodworms are labeled as ‘good for Bettas and Fancy Guppies’ and in my experience, both fish really enjoy them.

These freeze-dried bloodworms are good as an addition to the guppies’ normal diet or can be used as a treat food.

Providing you soak them before feeding them to your guppies, you will find them a really useful addition to your feeding regime.

Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms

Tubifex worms are a great source of protein for guppies. However, when we feed live tubifex worms, there is a high chance we will introduce disease to our guppy tanks.

By feeding your guppies Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms the risk of introducing diseases is greatly reduced.

I have fed these Tubifex Worms to my guppies for years, they relish them.


What is the best food for guppy growth?

There are many occasions we want our guppies to grow quicker or stronger, or maybe put on weight because they are skinner than we would like or they have been unwell.

When it comes to guppy growth, protein is the key. Feeding your guppies foods that have a higher protein content will help promote healthy guppy growth.

In an ideal world, for optimum guppy growth, we would only feed our guppies live or frozen foods, especially bloodworms or brine shrimp as they are both really high in protein. In reality, feeding a pellet or flake food with a high protein content is a more realistic prospect.

Fluval Bug Bites Tropical Fish Food

As mentioned previously, I am a huge fan of the entire Bug Bites range. The Bug Bites Tropical Formula is especially ideal for guppies due to its small size granules and its ability to float for a long while before sinking.

Bug Bites Tropical Formula holds together well in the water and doesn’t leach its nutrients into the water before the fish have a chance to eat it.

Hikari Fancy Guppy Food

Hikari is well known for making high-quality foods, and their Fancy Guppy Food is no exception. This food has been developed especially with fancy guppies in mind.

Fancy Guppy Food is high in linolenic acid which helps promote growth and stimulate the guppies’ desire to breed.

This is another food that floats for a while, then sinks slowly, making it an ideal food for guppies


Can I feed guppys food designed for other fish?

Essentially, the answer is yes. Most fish foods are suitable for most fish. There is no reason you couldn’t feed your guppies food that has been designed for Angelfish or Tetras or even goldfish.

With that said, some foods are designed primarily for predators, and these foods are usually exceptionally high in protein. Whilst protein is good for guppy growth, too much protein can lead to bloating and constipation in guppies.


What foods should guppies NOT eat?

There are many foods that guppies can eat, but there are many more that should be avoided.

One classic food that should be avoided is bread. Guppies should never be fed bread. It contains no nutrients that guppies can use and it will quickly bloat them.

Guppies should not be fed meat from animals or any processed foods that are meant for human consumption. These foods offer little to no useful nutrients for your guppies and their presence in the water will only foul the water and could possibly kill your guppies.


How long can guppies go without eating?

Healthy adult guppies are extremely hardy and can survive for 2 weeks or more without eating. Recently I wrote an article on this very subject titled How Long Can Guppies Live Without Food?

Younger guppies can usually go for around a week without being fed, whereas fry might only last a couple of days without food.

Essentially, the bigger and healthier a guppy is, the longer it can go with being fed.

When I go on vacation for a week or less, I don’t even worry about getting someone in to feed my fish. If I go away for more than a week, I arrange for my fish to be fed every 3 or 4 days.

Should I use an auto feeder?

Auto feeders are a great way to feed your fish when you are on vacation. They can be set up to deliver food to your guppies 1, 2, or 3 times a day for up to 2 weeks.

In my experience, auto feeders work best with mini pellets, but they can also be used with flakes and freeze-dried foods.

I have had great success with the Noodoky Automatic Fish Feeder which I ordered from Amazon for less than $20. It is easy to program and has so far proved reliable.


What is the best food for guppy fry?

When it comes to feeding guppy fry, regular feeding is imperative to their growth and development.

When I have guppy fry in my fish room, I try to feed them 5 or 6 times a day. As with the adults, feeding little and often is key, and feeding them a food which is small enough for them to be able to eat is crucial.

I have had good success with both the foods listed below

Hikari First Bites

Hikari First Bites is probably the food most often recommended by professional breeders. It has been developed specifically for the purpose of raising healthy baby fish.

I have been using this food in my fish room for my guppy fry for as long as I can remember. I find my baby guppies eat it quickly and they grow well.

Northfin Fry Starter

I only discovered Northfin Fry Starter food recently and I have to say, it seems like really good food. My guppy fry all eat it and they grow really quickly on it.

This food has been developed from high-quality ingredients and is completely free of fillers, hormones, and artificial pigments.

In Conclusion

Whether you keep guppies for fun, to breed or to show in competitions, selecting the right food is the key to success.

Whilst guppies will eat just about anything, if they are to grow strong, remain healthy and breed frequently, they will need to be fed a varied diet that consists of high quality ingredients.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
Editor

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