In their natural habitat, Jack Dempsey fish eat a carnivorous diet consisting of small fish, insects, larvae, worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. In aquariums, you must provide them with a similar diet. A well-balanced diet will improve the health of your Jack Dempsey fish and stimulate faster growth.
Let’s understand what you should feed your Jack Dempsey fish in more detail.
What Should You Feed Jack Dempsey Fish?
The most critical part of feeding any fish is understanding its nutrition requirements.
Jack Dempsey cichlids are carnivores and require a protein-rich diet for faster and optimal growth.
Given below are the different food options for feeding your Jack Dempsey fish at home.
1. Fish Flakes
Fish flakes are an excellent food option and apt for Jack Dempsey fish. Flakes are fish food pieces crushed into a thin layer.
Flakes are also an excellent option for surface feeders as they dissolve mid-water.
2. Fish Pellets
Fish pellets have more nutritional content than fish flakes.
Pellets are small capsules with a mixture of ingredients to satiate the nutritional requirement of a fish.
Floating pellets are the best option for Jack Dempsey fish.
They’re best suited for top feeders and don’t sink to the tank’s bottom.
3. Fish Tablets
Fish tablets have high nutritional value and are made using ingredients that offer essential vitamins and minerals to improve fish health.
Jack Dempsey fish occupy the middle level of the aquarium.
You can attach these stick-on tablets to the aquarium wall so that they’re within reach of your fish.
4. Frozen Food
Frozen food items include worms, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, larvae, etc.
They’re a good protein source and often supplemented with vitamins to achieve good health.
Remember not to refreeze these food items and keep them at room temperature before serving them.
5. Live Food
Jack Dempsey fish are carnivores and will happily devour live food.
These food items are also protein-rich and will benefit the Jack Dempsey fish.
Live food can be expensive, and finding the correct type of food can be challenging.
However, many hobbyists breed live fish food such as worms, bloodworms, brine shrimp, larvae, etc.
Although cultivating live food will take a lot of effort, it can help to reduce the fish food cost drastically.
What Do Jack Dempsey Fish Eat In The Wild?
With so many different species of fish and invertebrates in their native waters, Jack Dempsey fish have an almost unlimited supply of food at their disposal.
These fish will eat anything that fits in their mouths.
They can quickly devour prey like small fish, frogs, insects, worms, mollusks, and crustaceans.
These carnivorous meat-loving fish can also eat plants found in their natural habitat.
However, they have a preference for a meat-based diet.
As Jack Dempsey fish aren’t very fussy about food, you can offer them similar food options in captivity.
What Should You Avoid Feeding Jack Dempsey Fish?
Tropical fish food can provide the nutrients required by the Jack Dempsey fish.
However, it also contains high levels of carbohydrates.
Jack Dempsey fish don’t need too many carbs as they can’t digest the carbs efficiently.
Carbohydrates are used in food items like pellets, flakes, and others to bind them together.
So feeding carbohydrate-rich food can cause bloating or gastrointestinal problems to Jack Dempsey fish.
Tropical fish food also includes grains as binders.
Although Jack Dempsey can synthesize lipids and protein, their high levels can get stored as fat which can cause obesity.
They will also increase the excretion of undigested food by the fish, which can deteriorate the water quality.
This will also lead to a spike in ammonia levels which can adversely affect the health of your fish.
It’s essential to feed Jack Dempsey fish a well-balanced diet.
A proper diet will enhance their colors, make them active, and improve their overall health and well-being.
How Often Should You Feed Jack Dempsey Fish?
Like other cichlids, feed your Jack Dempsey fish little but often.
Feed them a small quantity of food twice a day that they can eat within two minutes.
Feeding a few meals a day provides every Jack Dempsey fish a chance to eat because they’re usually aggressive during feeding hours and fight for food.
In their natural habitat, these fish compete very hard with other species over the available food resources.
So they’re used to displaying aggression during feeding time.
In contrast, if your Jack Dempsey fish show no interest during the feeding hours or swim past the food inside the tank, it’s an indication to reduce the feeding frequency.
Don’t forget to remove the leftover fish food after feeding your fish to avoid any health issues caused by the increasing ammonia levels in the water.
Do Jack Dempsey Fish Eat Snails?
Jack Dempsey fish are carnivores that will eat snails because they’re part of their natural diet.
These fish aren’t fussy eaters and enjoy eating snails in captivity too.
Snails are also rich in protein and have lower fat content.
They’re also a good source of vitamin A, calcium, iron, and other minerals that can benefit Jack Dempsey fish.
Do Jack Dempsey Fish Eat Shrimp?
Jack Dempsey fish are freshwater carnivores that will devour shrimp. They enjoy eating frozen or live shrimp in their meal.
Brine shrimp are also protein-rich but low in calories, carbs, and fats.
Moreover, they provide essential nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, and choline that are beneficial to Jack Dempsey fish.