Do Cichlids Eat Plants: What Plants Can They Eat and What to Avoid?

Cichlids are omnivorous, eating a diverse array of food, including plants. In some cases, they may even eat small invertebrates. While it’s not known whether or not cichlids consume plant matter, it’s generally accepted that they do and that this is an integral part of their diet. Additionally, many cichlids exhibit an identified preference for the consumption of certain food items.

What Do Cichlids Normally Eat?

Cichlids are a type of fish, and they commonly eat insects and other small creatures. Some cichlids can also consume crustaceans and other fish. In addition, some cichlids will eat algae and other vegetation. It is unclear their regular intake of food items, but it’s generally accepted that they consume a relatively small amount of plants.

What Plants/Vegetables Can Cichlids Eat?

Cichlid fish are omnivorous and can consume a range of vegetables and fruits. Cichlids do not have sharp teeth like other predatory fish, so they cannot eat hard or crunchy vegetables. Some good examples of vegetables that cichlids can consume include boiled carrots, zucchini, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, and spinach.


Cucumber is a vegetable that many cichlids can eat. Some of the more common cichlids that can eat cucumbers are the Dwarf Cichlid, African Cichlid, and the Lamprologus species. Additionally, when feeding cucumbers to your cichlids, give them small pieces as they will not be able to digest large amounts. Also, make sure that the cucumbers are fresh, as cucumbers sitting in a fridge will not be as tasty to your fish.


Zucchini is a vegetable that cichlids can eat. As a general rule, cichlids do not eat vegetables, but they will eat zucchini if it is small enough. Zucchini is a good source of fiber and water for cichlids, and it also has some nutrients that cichlids need. Many zucchini varieties are suitable for your fish, too, as these vegetables have similar nutritional values to other vegetables.

Boiled Carrots

Yes, some cichlids will eat boiled carrots. Some people recommend boiling the carrots first to soften them, but this is unnecessary. Some cichlids will prefer cooked carrots over other types of vegetables. In addition, some cichlids will even attempt to eat the peeler when you go through peeling. When giving your fish boiled carrots, make sure that they are not frozen but rather fresh vegetables cut into similar pieces. This recipe can be scaled down fairly easily if necessary; It is excellent for adding an extra high-quality protein to your diets like salmon or decaying vegetable matter (mainly algae).

Lettuce & Spinach

Yes, cichlids will eat lettuce and spinach. The best way to introduce these plants into your cichlid’s diet is to serve them as a part of their regular diet. Experiment with different ratios of the plant to fish to see what works best for your particular cichlid. Additionally, it is best to attempt to give your cichlid lettuce and spinach leaves rather than the entire leaf, as this can lead to some serious choking hazards.


There are a few species of cichlids that can eat peas. Some examples are the Mbuna cichlid, the Apistogramma cichlid, and the Tropheus cichlid. Peas are a good source of digestible carbohydrates for these fish, and they will nibble on them from time to time. However, peas are not a primary food source for cichlids, and they are not essential for their diet.

How to Feed Plants/Vegetables to Cichlids?

  • Make sure that the vegetables you are feeding your cichlids are fresh.
  • Be sure to give them small pieces of vegetables to digest them properly.
  • If you add vegetables to your cichlid’s diet, experiment with different ratios until you find a combination that works best for your fishy friends. add vegetables to your cichlid’s diet, and experiment with different ratios until you find the best combination.
  • Be sure to water the vegetables well after feeding them to your cichlids to get plenty of hydration.
  • Some cichlids can be picky at best, and it is essential to ensure that your fish aren’t allergic to these new foods.

What Plants/Vegetables Can’t Cichlids Eat?

There are many vegetables that you should not feed to cichlids, as they can be harmful to their health. Some of the vegetables that you should avoid feeding your cichlid include:


Potatoes are a high-carbohydrate food and can be harmful to the health of your cichlid. They can also cause intestinal blockages and intestinal parasites in your cichlid.

In addition, potatoes will cause your cichlid to have an upset stomach, which can be fatal. They can also lead to skin problems in the fish and mucus build-up around their eyes.


Tomatoes are high in water content and can be very dangerous to the health of your cichlid. They contain a lot of sugar which can cause problems such as obesity, tooth decay, and swim bladder problems in your fish.

What Are Other Great Food Choices for Cichlids?

You can use various excellent cichlid food choices to provide your fish with a healthy and varied diet. Some of the most common options include frozen/canned mollusks, vegetable matter (algae or spinach), blood worms, and small pellets. However, not all cichlids will enjoy every type of food, so it is essential to experiment with different kinds until you find a diet that your fish love.