How to Feed Lettuce to Cichlids

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African cichlids require vegetables for a happy, healthy life.
African cichlids require vegetables for a happy, healthy life. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

African cichlids are among the most beautiful freshwater fish you can purchase. There are four classifications of cichlid: carnivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous and micro-predators. Feeding your cichlids romaine lettuce as part of their diet will provide important nutrients, however, it should not be their primary food. These nutrients will help the fish keep their color because of the beta-carotene, canthaxanthin and other vitamins they contain. The high fiber content in greens helps reduce the incidence of intestinal blockages. Some of the safest foods for cichlids are vegetable and plant-based, such as romaine lettuce.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish vegetable clip
  • Rock
  • Rubber band

Freeze a leaf of romaine lettuce. If you freeze the lettuce for a half-hour prior to feeding, the lettuce will sink to the bottom and become soft and palatable for your cichlids.

Boil the romaine leaf for a few seconds, as an alternative method. Do not over boil or you will remove the natural vitamins in the lettuce. Only soften it enough so it sinks to the bottom of the tank.

Purchase a lettuce clip from a fish store. These clips have a suction cup on their side. You can then attach a romaine leaf and stick the clip to the side of the tank.

Attach the lettuce to a rock by wrapping a rubber band around the rock and lettuce. This method will allow the lettuce to sink with the rock to the bottom of the tank.

Remove any food remaining in the tank after five minutes. Keeping food in the tank for extended periods of time can cause bacteria to grow.

Tips & Warnings

  • African cichlids are an aggressive species of fish. Try to feed them in different areas of the tank using all the methods listed. By doing that you can keep the fish separated while they feed so they don't attack each other. Feed your fish other vegetables in addition to romaine lettuce. That can include vegetable-based foods such as peas, zucchini, carrots and spinach. Only feed your fish what they can consume in five minutes or less.

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