Is your fish an Omnivore, Carnivore, or Herbivore?

Is your fish an Omnivore, Carnivore, or Herbivore?

Sep 20, 2021
8 min

Fishes are a brilliant choice for a pet. It is no wonder so many people keep fishes at home in fish tanks. However, not realizing whether your cichlid is herbivorous or carnivorous is a huge mistake. More often than not, amateur aquarium owners combine all three of these species in their fish tanks. It can be highly catastrophic if you combine omnivorous, carnivorous, and herbivorous fish. As such, one needs to pay good attention to the diet structure of their pet fish. In order to provide them a healthy environment, what you feed them and how much you feed them is very important.

Like most other organisms, fish are made up of a mouth, teeth, and a digestive tract. Although it is designed for certain specific foods, one needs to be aware of these and its quantity. Additionally, you must browse the fish food section thoroughly in order to provide the best food for your fish. Keep in mind that just simply sprinkling some flakes twice a day won’t be enough for them.


An omnivorous fish will eat a variety of meat and vegetables. Their digestive tracts are designed to consume either of the two, and hence, it is straightforward to feed them as they will consume anything from flake foods to live foods and everything in between. However, it is important to note that there are some types of grains and plants. Moreover, their teeth would be a combination of herbivores and carnivores. In fact, even their digestive tracts possess features of herbivorous and carnivorous fish.

Due to all these characteristics that omnivorous fish possess, they are straightforward to feed. In fact, most fish owners admit that omnivorous fish are an ideal choice for a community tank. Additionally, their eating habits are easy to manage, and have a rather consistent diet. This means less time spent at the fish food section. Some normal flake foods paired with some meat as well as vegetables would suffice.


Herbivores thrive on the diet of plants, algae, and fruits. If you own herbivorous fish, you do not need to purchase any meat-based foods or even live foods. Since they also have a simple diet, it is easy to feed them. However, a herbivorous fish can be very problematic if paired with the other types of fish. Moreover, they do not have a true digestive tract or a stomach. Instead, they possess a specialized intestine that can break down only plant matter. Thus, one must be very careful while feeding them. Another notable aspect of their appearance is that they have flat teeth. This means that they grind the food well before swallowing it. Giving them meat would be very harmful for them as they would not even be able to chew it.

Since they don’t have a stomach that can hold large volumes of food, herbivores need to eat constantly. In fact, you must feed them plants, fruits, or flake foods several times a day. Hence, most of your time would be spent feeding them, which isn’t an ideal situation for a busy person. These are some of the main reasons why herbivorous fish aren’t an excellent choice for a community tank.


Carnivores are meat-eaters and constantly require live food to satisfy their hunger daily. One can identify a carnivorous fish by its large mouth and sharp, pointed teeth. They generally use their razor-sharp teeth to capture their prey and to rip their flesh apart. Furthermore, these fish do not even chew the meat that they consume and simply swallow the meat as a whole. Hence, carnivores have a short intestinal tract paired with a stomach large enough to fit one whole fish.

Although they are able to eat plant matter, the inability to digest vegetables means that they wouldn’t be able to derive any nutrients from consuming plants. Their aggressive nature and tendency to chase after other fish in the aquarium also imply that they are not a good choice for a community tank.