Best* Bottom Feeder Fish Food of 2022

Bottom feeders like catfish, plecos, gobies and loaches are an important part of your aquarium ecosystem. They’re also generally low-maintenance and hardy, making them popular with beginner fish parents. This list of best-sellers has many options for you to feed your fish the best bottom-feeder fish food.

 
 

Best Bottom-Feeder Fish Foods

Reach for the best food to feed your fish living at the bottom of the tank. These are our best-selling foods for bottom feeder fish most popular with Petco’s pet parent customers.


Compare All
Best Food for Large Aquariums
Best Catfish Food
Best Food for Herbivores
Best Food for Color
Best Quality Ingredients / Best Food for Snails
Best Food for Growth
Best for Community Aquariums
Best Customer Reviews
Best Food for Picky Eaters
Best Food for Carnivores
Best Food for Loaches
Best Pleco Food

Fish Food Species Shape First Ingredient Sizes Available Specialty Avg. Review*
Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers Herbivores Wafer Fish meal 8.8 oz  Best for Large Aquariums  4.4/5 
Sera Guppy Gran Nature Food Catfish, loaches Wafer Fish meal 3.88 oz, 0.88 oz  Best for Catfish  4.6/5 
New Life Spectrum Optimum Flakes Tropical Fish Food Algae eaters Wafer Whole fish meal 3 oz  Best for Herbivores  4.5/5 
Aqueon Shrimp Pellets Tropical fish, loaches, goldfish, catfish Pellet Shrimp meal 6.5 oz, 3.25 oz  Best for Color  4.4/5 
Omega One Shrimp Sinking Pellets All bottom feeders Pellet Salmon 4.5 oz, 2.15 oz  Best Quality Ingredients  4.4/5 
Fluval Bug Bites Sticks Large insect-eating fish Pellet Dried black soldier fly larvae 4.59 oz  Best for Growth  4.9/5 
Fluval Bug Bites Granules Small insect-eating fish Granule Dried black soldier fly larvae 1.59 oz  Best for Community Aquariums  4.8/5 
Fluval Bug Bites Algae Crisps All bottom feeders Water Wheat flour 3.52 oz, 1.41 oz  Best Customer Reviews  5.0/5 
Aqueon Bottom Feeder Tablets All bottom feeders Water Whole fish meal 3 oz  Best for Picky Eaters  4.7/5 
Hikari Tropical Sinking Carnivore Pellets Carnivores Pellet Fish meal 2.61 oz  Best for Carnivores  4.7/5 
Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers Catfish, loaches Water Fish meal 3.88 oz, 0.88 oz  Best for Loaches  4.6/5
Tetra Tropical PlecoWafers Herbivores Water Wheat germ meal 3.03 oz  Best for Plecos  4.6/5

* Reviews as of May 10, 2022


Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers for Bottom Feeding Herbivorous Fish

Best Food for Large Aquariums


Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers for Bottom Feeding Herbivorous Fish


As one of the most budget-friendly options on our list and also one of the largest-size packages, this is one of the best bottom-feeder fish foods if you have a lot of fish or multiple aquariums. Formulated with mostly vegetables, this food is good for algae eaters, bristlenose plecos, certain types of catfish and even mollies and platies.


  • 8.8 oz. package
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are fish meal, wheat flour, wheat germ meal and cassava starch
  • Crude protein (min.) 33%, crude fat (min.) 4.0%, crude fiber (max.) 3.0%
review speaker

“My pleco is 18 years old now and I have always fed her Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers and she is thriving. These wafers are her staple food. They are balanced with vitamins and nutrients that are important for her good health.” - Wazo


Pros


  • Large, 8.8 oz. package
  • Budget-friendly price per ounce

Cons


  • Wafers may expand too much for small fish
  • Contains fillers like wheat flour

Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers for Catfish, Loaches and Bottom Feeders

Best Catfish Food


Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers for Catfish, Loaches and Bottom Feeders


These wafers are a complete diet for catfish, loaches and other bottom feeders, but there are several reasons they’re ideal for catfish. Catfish are slow eaters, and these insoluble wafers give them time to eat, plus they are designed for their small, downward-facing mouths.


  • Available in 3.88 oz. or 0.88 oz.
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are fish meal, wheat germ meal, soybean meal and wheat flour
  • Crude protein (min.) 33%, crude fat (min.) 4.0%, crude fiber (max.) 3.0%
review speaker

“Great for bottom feeders. I've been feeding these wafers as a staple food for my corys and khuli loaches for years. They love them and they sink to the bottom even in my tall tank. I highly recommend for anyone with bottom feeders.” – AlissaKP


Pros


  • Novel ingredients like silkworm provide variety
  • Contains astaxanthin for color
  • Good reviews from catfish owners

Cons


  • Contains fillers like wheat germ meal

Aqueon Algae Rounds Algae Eater Fish Food

Best Food for Herbivores


Aqueon Algae Rounds Algae Eater Fish Food


Many bottom feeders are omnivores, but require more vegetables in their diets, including plecos and some types of catfish, while others are purely herbivores. With spirulina and kelp, these wafers mimic the natural diets of these fish, while proteins like krill, salmon and herring balance out the nutrients and help promote vibrant colors.


  • 3 oz. package
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are whole fish meal, whole wheat flour, dehydrated alfalfa meal and spirulina
  • Crude protein (min.) 35.0%, crude fat (min.) 5.0%, crude fiber (max.) 5.0%
review speaker

“Bought these pleco tablets for my clown pleco! He eats them overnight and seems to enjoy them!” - SPhotography


Pros


  • Contains spirulina and kelp for herbivores
  • Made in the USA
  • Budget-friendly price per ounce

Cons


  • Contains fillers like wheat flour

Aqueon Shrimp Pellets Fish Food

Best Food for Color


Aqueon Shrimp Pellets Fish Food


The first ingredients in this food are shrimp, salmon and herring, which are all natural sources of carotenoids that help create beautiful colors in your fish. It’s high in fiber to support digestion, and the pellets sink quickly and are easy to eat. You can even give this food to goldfish and saltwater fish.


  • Available in 6.5 oz. and 3.25 oz.
  • Pellet shape
  • First ingredients are shrimp meal, whole fish meal, whole wheat flour and fish oil
  • Crude protein (min.) 36%, crude fat (min.) 6%, crude fiber (max.) 8%
review speaker

“I have larger fish such as parrotfish, catfish and plecostomus. They all love this food.” -Catladyofendor


Pros


  • Contains shrimp, salmon and herring for color
  • High in fiber for digestion
  • Made in the USA
  • Budget-friendly price per ounce

Cons


  • Contains fillers like wheat flour

Omega One Shrimp Sinking Pellets

Best Quality Ingredients / Best Food for Snails


Omega One Shrimp Sinking Pellets


These pellets are made with fresh, 100% food-grade shrimp, purchased directly from Alaska. Other wholesome ingredients like salmon, herring and kelp provide a balanced diet for many types of bottom feeders. It’s rich in omega-3s and natural fats and low in ash and starch to reduce waste and help keep water clear.


  • Available in 4.5 oz. and 2.15 oz.
  • Pellet shape
  • First ingredients are salmon, whole herring, wheat germ and whole shrimp
  • Crude protein (min.) 38%, crude fat (min.) 10%, crude fiber (max) 2%
review speaker

“I actually bought these to feed my loaches and cory cats but my other fish fight them for it. They all love it! Will definitely buy again.” -Ep7575


Pros


  • Made with whole, fresh shrimp
  • Free of meals, hydrolysates, and digests
  • Budget-friendly price per ounce

Cons


  • Contains some fillers
  • Low in fiber

Fluval Bug Bites Sticks for Medium-Large Plecos

Best Food for Growth


Fluval Bug Bites Sticks for Medium-Large Plecos


Encouraging growth is top of mind for many fish keepers—and that requires protein. Made from sustainably cultivated black soldier fly larvae, these pellets are not only high in protein, but many fish find the flavor irresistible. They’re also rich in vegetables and fiber to mimic the natural diet of omnivore bottom feeders.


  • 4.59 oz. package
  • Pellet shape
  • First ingredients are dried black soldier fly larvae, salmon, wheat and green peas
  • Contains up to 40% protein-rich black soldier fly larvae
review speaker

“I really wanted a high-quality food for my plecos and they absolutely love this stuff! Will always use this brand!” - swilson1628


Pros


  • High in protein to help promote growth
  • Unique insect-based formula
  • Made through a sustainable cultivation process

Cons


  • More expensive than other bottom feeder fish food

Fluval Bug Bites Granules for Small-Medium Bottom Feeders

Best for Community Aquariums


Fluval Bug Bites Granules for Small-Medium Bottom Feeders


Granules are typically the smallest shape available for bottom feeders, and are convenient for other fish in your tank who may like forage around in the substrate. They’re also an ideal corydoras food as this species has a smaller mouth than other bottom feeders. That could be why this food got high marks for a variety of fish and for community tanks.


  • 1.59 oz. package
  • Granule shape
  • First ingredients are black soldier fly larvae, salmon, wheat and green peas
  • High in multiple proteins and rich in fatty acids
review speaker

“This food is awesome for a variety of fish. I feed it primarily to a colony of bushy nose plecos. Works great for the juvenile and adult fish. The dither fish like it as well. Great ingredients, doesn’t cloud water.”- Andrew76 


Pros


  • Size and shape are ideal for many types of fish
  • Unique insect-based formula
  • Made through a sustainable cultivation process

Cons


  • More expensive than other bottom feeder fish food
  • Only a small size package is available

Fluval Bug Bites Algae Crisps

Best Customer Reviews


Fluval Bug Bites Algae Crisps


As of writing, these wafers had a stellar 5.0 rating, making this the best bottom-feeder fish food on our list based on customer reviews. With a well-rounded profile of protein and vegetable sources plus novel ingredients like mealworms, this food is ideal for all algae eaters and bottom feeders. It’s also high in protein to help promote growth.


  • Available in 3.52 oz. and 1.41 oz.
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are wheat flour, mealworm meal, wheat germ meal and dried black soldier fly larvae
  • Crude protein (min.) 43.5%, crude fat (min.) 4%, crude fiber (max.) 3%
review speaker

“Recommended by online fish owners. My catfish go wild when a sinking tab is broken in two and a few dropped in as a snack.” - R Charles


Pros


  • The best bottom-feeder fish food on our list based on reviews
  • Novel ingredients like mealworms and spinach for variety
  • High in protein

Cons


  • First ingredient is a filler, wheat flour
  • More expensive than other bottom feeder fish food
  • Low in fiber

Aqueon Bottom Feeder Tablets

Best Food for Picky Eaters


Aqueon Bottom Feeder Tablets


These wafers get excellent ratings as an all-around aquarium bottom feeder food for many different species from catfish to plecos. The wafers sink quickly and dissolve slowly, giving all types of fish time to eat. Plus they’re formulated to reduce fish waste and won’t cloud water when used as directed, so they can be a good choice for aquariums with a lot of fish.


  • 3 oz. package
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are whole fish meal, whole wheat flour, dehydrated alfalfa meal and shrimp meal
  • Crude protein (min.) 35%, crude fat (min.) 5%, crude fiber (max) 5%
review speaker

“I have a remarkably picky clown pleco. Out of six foods I've tried, this is the one it eats. I've fed this food for years.”- cooncat


Pros


  • Customers give good reviews for picky eaters
  • Wafers sink quickly and dissolve slowly
  • Made in the USA

Cons


  • Contains fillers like whole wheat flour

Hikari Tropical Sinking Carnivore Pellets

Best Food for Carnivores


Hikari Tropical Sinking Carnivore Pellets


Looking for goby food, shovelnose catfish food or crayfish food? These carnivores (or in the case of the crayfish, omnivores who frequently hunt live prey) may need a high-protein, low-fat diet, like this option from Hikari. You can even feed it to axolotls, those adorable aquatic salamanders, or use it as a treat for omnivores.


  • 2.61 oz. package
  • Pellet shape
  • First ingredients are fish meal, krill meal, brewers dried yeast and cassava starch
  • Crude protein (min.) 47%, crude fat (min.) 5%, crude fiber (max.) 3%
review speaker

“I have three catfish, two crayfish and plecos and they all love them. They get so excited when I drop a couple into the tank. Great little treat for them everyday.” - Hailey G


Pros


  • High in protein and low in fat for the carnivorous eater
  • Contains a variety of protein and plant ingredients
  • Sinks quickly but dissolves slowly

Cons


  • More expensive than other bottom feeder fish food

Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers for Catfish, Loaches & Bottom Feeders

Best Food for Loaches


Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers for Catfish, Loaches and Bottom Feeders


Fish keepers in search of clown loach food or kuhli loach food often want color-promoting properties to help keep their gorgeous colors vibrant. This food contains krill and astaxanthin for carotenoids, plus silkworm and spirulina to round out the omnivore diet. It provided a balanced diet for many types of bottom feeders, but earns high marks from loach owners in particular.


  • Available in 3.88 oz. and 0.88 oz.
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are fish meal, wheat germ meal, soybean meal, wheat flour and whole crushed silkworm pupae
  • Crude protein (min.) 32%, crude fat (min.) 5%, crude fiber (max.) 3%
review speaker

“The loaches love it! They come out and just eat it up. Next to live daphnia this is best food I got for them.” - Grant Yata


Pros


  • Krill and astaxanthin help promote beautiful loach coloring
  • Contains novel ingredients like silkworm and spirulina for variety
  • Budget-friendly price per ounce

Cons


  • Contains fillers like wheat flour

Tetra Tropical Pleco Wafers

Best Pleco Food


Tetra Tropical Pleco Wafers


What’s different about pleco food? In the wild, these fish actually feed on driftwood as part of their diet. This recipe contains zucchini and algae meal to mimic driftwood, which makes it high in fiber, a carbohydrate that’s essential for plecos. You can also feed this bottom-feeder fish food as a supplement for other veggie-loving species.


  • 3.03 oz. package
  • Wafer shape
  • First ingredients are wheat germ meal, feeding oat meal, cornstarch and dehulled soybean meal
  • Crude protein (min.) 28.0%, crude fat (min.) 7.0%, crude fiber (max) 6.0%
review speaker

“I bought this for my clown pleco and albino cory catfish. They love them, in fact, all the fish like to swim down and take a few bites!”- Lyon77


Pros


  • Zucchini and algae meal mimic driftwood, part of the natural pleco diet
  • High in fiber like the natural pleco diet

Cons


  • Low in protein
  • May not be a complete diet for certain bottom feeders

*Based on petco.com sales data.

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Learn More About the Best Bottom-Feeder Fish Food  

Yes, bottom feeder fish generally do need food that is made specifically for them. Bottom feeders that primarily eat algae may be able to survive without additional food, or by also eating leftover flakes that float to the bottom. But in the wild, many bottom feeders also hunt live food, sift through the substrate for tiny worms or shellfish and eat live and decaying plant matter. Feeding a quality bottom-feeder fish food can help ensure they get the nutrients needed for good digestion, strong immune systems and longer lives. Check out Petco’s selection of freshwater fish food or browse some of our best-selling bottom-feeder fish food above.

For more guidance on how to best care for your fish, check out our Goby Care Sheet, Catfish Care Sheet and Pleco Care Sheet.

Many healthy fish can live for several days without food, including bottom feeders. It also depends on their species. Algae eaters and bottom feeders in well-established, live-planted aquariums may be able to go for longer, as their food source is more sustainable. Cold water fish may also be able to survive longer, while tropical species need to be fed more frequently. Talk to an expert if you’re thinking about taking a vacation longer than a few days.