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Malawi cichlids diet

Malawi cichlids diet is very important and if we are talking about them, we cannot mention how to feed them to have happy fish. about Malawi cichlids, we cannot mention how to feed them to have happy fish.

Before we start on a specific diet, we need to look at how Malawi cichlids feed in nature

In nature, generally we have:

  • Herbivores = plant eaters
  • Limnivori = algo-eaters
  • Omnivores = eating everything

As we said, this is a general division, although, in Lake Malawi itself we can indeed find much more fish with some specific diet.

Since we have seen the division, we can now state that we divide these cichlids into two large groups that we can call: herbivores and carnivores.

In addition to water, food is an essential factor in the health of cichlids, so you should pay close attention to what kind of food you buy. You have several brands on the market that produce food for Malawi cichlids. In addition to artificial nutrition for cichlids, giving frozen food, especially live food, is occasionally good. Both types of food should primarily serve as a one-week supplement and not as a practice every day.

As with humans, dietary diversity is significant. It may not seem so important, but fish with fish, a varied diet will help them live a long and happy life.

Malawi cichlids diet

In their diet, it is best to pay attention to proteins, and food should consist of approximately:

  • Herbivores – 12-30% proteins
  • Limnivori – 30-40% proteins
  • Omnivores – 32-40 % proteins

Protein-rich foods are not recommended for most African cichlids because their long intestines will make it difficult to break them down. In addition, cichlids should have vitamins, which are necessary for cichlids and other fish. Soak their food before giving cichlids, just like cichlids, especially for granules and food in the sticks.

Feed adult cichlids once a day, and to keep them fit, you should give them less food than usual once a week, or even not give them food at all. It doesn’t hurt them. Cichlids that are fat will not spawn, and of course, too much food and inadequate food causes cichlids to bloat. For example, when we feed herbivores cichlids with food for herbivores …

What foods are best for your Malawi cichlids?

Pellets or flakes

this is the leading food for most aquarium fish. Numerous brands offer great formulas that cichlids love. Some are specially designed for these fish, even to highlight their best colors. And what is especially good is to look for those foods that do not have a lot of protein (which you have to watch out for with Mbun).

You also need to decide if you prefer pellet or flake food. Cichlids like flakes, while pellets sink to the bottom. The best option for you will depend on the type of fish in the aquarium and easier for you. You may even decide to use pellets and flakes.


Plant-based food, which replaces algae, which would be their natural source of vegetables. Please don’t give them a lot of this; it is associated with causing black spots on fish. It is nothing that will affect the health of the fish, but it can change the look of these colorful fish. We recommend feeding them with spirulina once or twice a week.

Homemade food

Lettuce, broccoli, peas, cucumber etc. All these green vegetables are great for Mbuna and their health, again taking the place of algae in their artificial environment. There are many ways you can feed them with this kind of food. Finely chopped and washed, or mixed and frozen into cubes. Garlic is also another great food. Make sure it is finely chopped, and maybe put it with something else. It is excellent for the health and immune system of Malawi cichlids. These foods can be combined and blended, arranged in ice cube trays and frozen, and given to your fish.


Use meat with caution. If you have Haplochromis Malawi cichlids (abbreviated – Haps), they like a little variety. Foods such as shrimp and shrimp are an excellent addition to their varied diet. You should only feed them this protein-rich meat food twice a week to prevent digestive diseases. Mbuna will also enjoy the occasional treat of shrimp, but be careful. If you include it in their regular diet, they may get sick and even die.

Malawi cichlid yellow cichlid labidochromis caeruleus

What foods to avoid?

Meat (again)

The things mentioned above, like shrimp, are moderately good. Other things are not worth the risk. As we have already said, the digestive tract of African cichlids does not tolerate meat, so beef heart, chicken, or any other meat food like this is forbidden.

Over time, you will see that moderation is most important, so you will be sure that your fish will not swell.

African cichlids are voracious and will eat almost anything you give them. Every time you pass by the tank, you will notice that they are rising to the top hoping that you will feed them. 

That doesn’t mean they need to be fed or that it’s good for them. Stick to the recommended foods to avoid the digestive problems that these fish are so prone to.

Finally, remove all uneaten food from the tank as this can cause ammonia spikes and filtration problems.

6 thoughts on “Malawi cichlids diet”

  1. Thank you for your advice , please I need your advice . For small African cichlids Malawi only 5 – 7 cm can I feed them 2 times per day ? Or that is too much .. better one time only as adults ?

    What about this 2 kind of food ( Hakari and Akari ) it a good for for Malawi cichlid?
    P.s Akari is a Thailand food company which help fish to have a full colour .

    Thank you again for your advice and help .

    1. First thing is , u need to feed your cichlids 2 times a day irrespective of whether it is small or big ones, give them food for as much as they can consume in like 2 mins 2 times a day …. And I strongly suggest hikari as it provides very good product(food) especially for cichlids.

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