Can fish eat plant roots?

In this brief guide, We will address the query, “can fish eat plant roots?” We will also discuss what kind of fish eat plant roots and whether fish can survive if plant roots are unhealthy. Additionally, we will discuss some of the best plant roots for feeding fish.

Can fish eat plant roots?

Yes, fish that feed on the bottom levels of the sea prefer to consume plant roots.The fish go to great depths to find food like shrimp, prawns, worms, and other animals that live in the deeper sea levels. 

Surface feeders usually prefer to live near the vegetation, but they do not like to eat the plant’s roots.

Carnivorous fish such as betta fish, sharks, and many others will never eat plants or their roots. They might like to hang around the plant’s roots, but they will not eat them.

The plant’s root system contains many essential nutrients, which are beneficial to fish that rely on them as a food source.

What kind of fish will eat plant roots?

It is not always the case that all fish enjoy eating plant roots, and only a few herbivorous fish will be inclined to do so. Here are some fish that are known to eat plant roots:

Tilapia is a freshwater cichlid, and they prefer to eat mostly plants, including roots, in their natural and artificial habitats. If kept in aquariums, owners should place the same plants they eat in their natural habitat to get the same feel and nutrition.

Goldfish are fish that eat both plant roots and meat. They enjoy eating the roots of plants, so if you have a goldfish in your aquarium, you’ll need to provide them with their favorite edible plants. 

Feeding kale and peas roots to goldfish can be beneficial because they love eating these plants.

Here is a list of fish that eat plant roots:

  • Various carps
  • Tilapia 
  • Goldfish 
  • Herbivore fish
  • Few Omnivore fish

Some aggressive and notorious fish are known to quickly pull up all the plants in an aquarium if they are hungry or angry. Avoid adding such fish to planted tanks or vice-versa.

Can fish survive if their plant roots are not healthy?

Every fish has its preferred type of plant in its aquarium. Adding a plant to the tank is a great way to keep the environment fresh and clean, make sure to check that the plant’s roots are healthy and haven’t taken over the entire tank.

If the plant roots are unhealthy, the whole plant can become diseased and alter the water chemistry as the plant root is at high risk for fungal infections. It is always important to check the health of the plant regularly.

Some plants grow very fast, and their roots and leaves cover the entire tank, which can suffocate fish. It is vital to monitor the plants every day by regularly pruning and removing infected plants.

If the roots of an infected plant are in the water, it can increase the concentration of organic pollutants like ammonia in the tank, which is very harmful to fish.

You may need to adjust the placement of the fish tank to ensure that your plant gets the sunlight it needs. Some plants need sunlight for part of the day to grow.

In the wild, you don’t have to worry about maintaining plant roots by giving them the same water conditions and sunlight they need to grow. 

In a closed system like a fish tank, if you don’t replicate the same preferences for both fish and plant roots, it would be difficult for both of them to survive.

Which plant root is best for feeding fish?

Different fish have different plant root preferences, and it is best to keep fish with the same plant preference together, as it is difficult for beginners to maintain plants for each fish. 

For a beginner, growing potato roots in an aquarium is an easy way to provide food and shelter for fish. However, it is vital to check for mold and fungus, as they may grow on the roots. If you see any fungus, remove the plant and change the water.

Watercress is another aquatic plant that is often added to tanks so that fish that prefer to eat plant roots can do so. This plant grows fast and is a good choice for herbivore fish.

Do not add aquatic plants that are too strong or sharp to your fish tank, as they can harm the fish’s fins and other body parts.

Other FAQs about Fish that you may be interested in.

Can fish eat plums?

Can fish eat poop?

Can fish eat popcorn?


In this brief guide, We addressed the query, “Can fish eat plant roots?” We also discussed what kind of fish eat plant roots and whether fish can survive if plant roots are unhealthy. Additionally, we discussed some of the best plant roots for feeding fish.

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