Does All Fish Food Float?

Have you started feeding your fish and found that all of the food seems to float at the surface, hanging around instead of sinking down to your fish in the lower parts of the tank? This can be annoying and you might be wondering what you can do to resolve the problem if you are constantly encountering it. You might be looking for a different brand that is more likely to sink, especially if you have fish that spend most of their time in the bottom of the tank and rarely come to the surface – so does all fish food float?

Not all kinds of fish food float, and it depends heavily on the foods that you choose, as some compressed pellets contain little air and will sink readily when they hit the water. Other pellets and flakes may have been whipped and then only pressed loosely during manufacture, ensuring that they stay fluffy and therefore float near the surface of the tank. The pellets often have different appearances and textures that reflect the ways in which they were made.

You should be able to get both sinking and floating pellets, although which you need will depend on your setup and the preferences of your fish. You might want to use a mixture of pellets, or you might find that one or the other suits your fish much better.

Does All Fish Food Float?

Not all fish food floats, no, although many brands do float, and a lot will float when they first hit the water, because the air in them makes them buoyant and keeps them up. There are some advantages to this; your fish will have to come to the surface to feed, which may let you see them better, and your fish will also have a better chance of eating all the food, rather than it getting mixed into the tank and lost.

However, some people want fish food that will sink so that fish that rarely surface can get their share of the feed. If you are feeding your fish pellets, you tend to have three options, and you can choose between floating pellets (which stay on the surface for a long time and are great for surface-feeders such as bettas), slow sinking pellets (which sink gradually and are great for mid-feeding fish that will not readily come to the surface) and fast sinking pellets (which drop straight to the bottom of the aquarium and will feed bottom dwellers like plecos).

It is important to choose your food option with care to ensure you are getting the right food for the right kind of fish, and that you aren’t providing too much or too little. Fast sinking pellets are often more nutrient dense, as this helps them to sink, so you may find that you don’t need to offer as many of these as you would flakes.

How To Stop Fish Food From Floating!

The best way to prevent fish food from floating is to purchase one of the dense varieties that has minimal oil and air in it (as these both float). This kind of food will sink much more quickly because there is nothing to keep it buoyant in the water. Either slow sinking or fast sinking pellets should work well.

However, if you have already purchased your fish food and it floats for too long, you could consider crushing it up. Smaller pieces of food will absorb water much more quickly, and this will encourage them to sink through the aquarium to the bottom of the tank. This should work with pellets, crisps, and flakes, although your success levels may vary depending on the food type.

You can also soak pellets in water before you put them in the tank; once they are saturated, they will sink immediately. There may not be any other great ways to make fish food sink; some kinds are naturally buoyant by design and will stay on the surface in spite of your best efforts. If this happens, make sure you choose a different brand next time, and get something suitable for your bottom dwellers in the interim.

Will Floating Fish Food Eventually Sink?

Floating fish food will eventually soak up enough water that it sinks, yes; the oxygen and oil in it will not keep it buoyant forever, and many people find that uneaten food gradually slips down through the water to rest on the bottom. This can be helpful if you are trying to feed mid or bottom dwelling fish with floating pellets, but it does cause problems, too. For starters, only food that has been left by the other fish will get a chance to sink, which may mean your bottom dwellers don’t get much.

Secondly, it can cause the tank to become muddy and cloudy, because the pellets will break into smaller and smaller pieces as they sink, and some bits will inevitably drift off into the water instead of being eaten. This can cause algal blooms and other problems within the tank, and it’s highly frustrating for the owners, who then have to clean the tanks.

Overall, it is better to buy sinking pellets if you need the food to slip down through the water, because these will hit the bottom more quickly, and there will not be as much time for them to disintegrate. Make sure you are feeding your fish the correct amount, because these denser pellets may be richer in nutrients, and your fish will therefore need fewer of them overall.


Not all fish food floats, no; some varieties sink almost as soon as you put them in the water, which may be ideal for some of your tank dwellers. However, you should check the packaging and find out if this is the case before opting for one kind of food over another, because most fish food is designed to float, and will linger near the surface until it starts to break up – which may mean your tank gets dirty faster or your bottom dwelling fish do not get enough to eat.