Skip to Content

Does All Fish Food Float?

As the number of people within the fish keeping hobby continues to sky rocket, we have noticed more and more people look for quick and easy ways to help maintain their aquariums water parameters with as little time and effort being required as possible.

One thing that we constantly see people asking about is if all fish food floats as the theory is that floating fish food is easier to remove to help prevent it from fowling your water.

Not all fish food floats and both floating and sinking fish food have their place in the market depending on the type of fish that you plan to keep in your aquarium.

Some fish will not come to the surface for food even if they are hungry meaning that you may be forced to use a sinking fish food depending on the exact species of fish you plan to keep.

We know that sinking fish food products have received some flack recently but this is largely due to people misunderstanding that the problems from fish food with water parameters is almost always due to overfeeding your fish.

If you feed your fish correctly then all of the fish food should be eaten before it can go bad and any leftover fish food can be quickly cleaned using a cheap gravel vacuum anyway.

Does All Fish Food Float?

Not all fish food floats and many of the floating fish food products on the market will eventually sink if they are left in your aquarium for long enough.

This is why it is so important to avoid overfeeding your fish as you can pay extra for a floating fish food only for it not to be eaten by your fish and end up sinking and potentially causing problems with water parameters anyway.

We would also like to stress that depending on species of fish that you keep, they may not even eat a “floating fish food” fast enough for the additional price to be worth it depending on how frequently you feed your fish.

This is why it may be worth watching how quickly your fish actually eat the food that you have added to their tank as a regular, cheaper fish food may end up being a better option.

The majority of flake based fish foods will often float for at least a couple of minutes before they start to sink so taking this more budget friendly option may get you very similar results with the changes to your water parameters anyway.

You also have to factor in that many people actually feed their fish an incorrect fish food that their fish will usually not eat quickly.

For example, we constantly see people trying to feed their betta fish a fish food for omnivorous fish when they need a carnivorous, ideally insectavore based fish food that they will usually eat quickly.

The Disadvantages Of Floating Fish Food!

The main disadvantage of floating fish food is that some species of fish, usually bottom dwellers will usually not come to the surface to eat the food.

The argument can also be made that the dehydration process that gets the floating pellets to float for so long also reduces their nutritional value by a surprisingly large amount too.

Depending on the species of fish you keep, this may not be an issue as many people keep omnivorous fish that will happily supplement their diet with algae and small parasites such as diatoms in your aquarium.

The potential reduction in the nutritional value of floating fish foods can become more of a problem for carnivorous species though as a standard fish tank may not have enough live food for them to supplement their diet as require.

Another disadvantage of floating fish food that we have already touched on above is the price as the floating products that have been designed to float for as long as possible tend to be more expensive than the normal fish food products.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, this can actually be a waste of money as some fish will not even eat the floating fish food before it ends up sinking in their aquarium anyway.

How To Stop Fish Food From Floating!

You can stop a floating fish food that has been specifically dehydrated to float for as long as possible by letting it sit in warm water to rehydrate prior to putting it into your fish tank.

You can stop regular fish food flakes by floating by pushing them below the surface of your fish tank for a couple of seconds to force them to hydrate and get them to sink.

These little tricks can actually be helpful if you have accidentally purchased a fish food that has been designed to float for as long as possible but all of the fish species that you keep in your tank tend to feed from the substrate and bottom level of the tank.

It allows you to still use your food to feed your wish without wasting your money and having to just buy a new product right away.

We have seen some people much their floating fish food up into much smaller pieces to break the air pockets in the food that cause it to float on the surface of their tank.

Although this can definitely work as a quick and easy way to get a floating fish food to sink, it can end up making the fish food particles too small for the larger fish species to strike at an eat so you have to factor this in too.

Will Floating Fish Food Eventually Sink?

All floating fish food products will eventually sink if they are left in water for long enough. It doesn’t matter if it is floating due to a pellet coating technology or a dehydration process, eventually, both will secumb to the water and sink.

The coated pellets do usually last longer than the dehydrated pellets when it comes to their floating times but both will sink.

Some of the cheaper floating fish food products with a pellet coating technology can leave a residue on the surface of your aquarium water when their coating is worn down by the aquarium water.

Although this can be unsightly at times and some people don’t like the look of the residue on the surface of their tanks water, it is not harmful to your fish and will often fade within a couple of hours.

This is not a risk with dehydrated floating fish food as it doesn’t have a coating on the pellet so it should be fine.

When a dehydrated fish food pellet starts to sink, it is normal for it to expand in size and product bubbles, this does not mean that there is a problem with your aquarium water and is just the molecules in the fish food rehydrating and is totally normal to see.

Are Floating Pellets And Flakes Worth The Money?

The majority of people in the fish keeping hobby usually don’t need a floating fish food, especially one that will float for a long period of time.

Due to the higher price tags of floating fish food, it is often a waste of money as most regular fish flakes and some regular fish pellets will still float for a short period of time anyway.

This is why we usually recommend against paying extra for floating fish food products unless you know for a fact the species of fish that you keep in your aquariums will require them.

Even then, this is much rarer than most people who are new to the fish keeping hobby initially realize and if you feed your fish at the correct time intervals with the correct amount of food, you usually won’t need to pay more for a floating fish food product as the regular products will be eaten prior to sinking anyway.


That brings our article going over if fish food floats or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible better understand that there are plenty of fish food products on the market that serve a similar purpose to a floating fish food that don’t have the higher price tag. One common thing that we see people misunderstand is that all floating fish food products will eventually sink if left in water long enough too so we hope that we have been able to help clear that up too.