Sea Life

What Do Wild Fish Eat?

What Do Wild Fish Eat

Are you thinking if there is a distinction between the diet of wild and pet fish? So yeah, there is a distinction! In the wild, these amazing and colorful fish exist in a natural habitat and environment. Whereas pet fish live in a manmade environment, so there is gonna be some difference in their food as well. Wild fish eat what they want whereas a pet fish eats what you give them. 

But what happens when you keep a wild fish as a pet? What to give them? Knowing what wild fish eat in their natural habitat will be helpful in giving them the food they consume as per their likeness. Let’s delve into the habitat of wild fish and what foods they eat. 

Wild Fish

Wild fish can be categorized as freshwater fish and saltwater fish. 

Wild freshwater fish are found in lakes, ponds, and rivers. These fish mostly eat small freshwater species like algae, worms, leeches, insects, and crustaceans. 

Wild saltwater fish are present in seas and oceans. They eat the same food as freshwater fish, but in addition, they can also feed on squids and corals. 

What Do Wild Fish Eat?

All the fish do not eat the same foods because of the difference in habitat and nutritional requirements. Wild fish are found in freshwater, oceans, and lakes.

There are 3 different categories of fish that eat different things. The carnivore fish feeds on meat, the herbivore fish eats plants and algae whereas the omnivore fish eat a combination of meat and plants

The diet of a wild fish can vary, but the common foods that it feeds on are:

1: Algae

Algae is a common plant present in great amounts all over the water bodies. The herbivore and omnivore fish feed on algae for food. Fish like mollies, hillstream, catfish, goldfish, and carp eat algae. 

2: Duckweed

Duckweed is also a plant diet for herbivore fish. It grows in low-flow waters and is eaten by goldfish, koi, grass carp, mollies, etc. 

3: Water Lilies

These are floating plants with large round leaves. Different herbivore wild fish present in rivers feed on water lilies like goldfish, koi, grass carp, etc. 

4: Mollusks

Mollusks are soft invertebrates with an unsegmented body enclosed in a shell. It includes oysters, mussels, clams, squid, cockles, and scallops. They are eaten by wild fish like puffer fish.

5: Worms and Leeches

Worms and leeches are soft invertebrates that are found in rivers and lakes and are easily consumed by wild fish. Trout and bass are common fish to eat worms and leeches. 

6: Sponges

Sponges are present at the bottom of the rivers where the population is low. The wild herbivore fish feeds on sponges for food like angelfish, wrasses, boxfish, pufferfish, and leather jacket fish. 

7: Crustaceans

Crustaceans make a significant part of the wild carnivore and omnivore fish diet. Crustaceans are small invertebrate organisms with shells and include prawns, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, barnacles, etc. They are consumed by almost every fish, especially freshwater eels, triggerfish, carp, and puffer fish.  

8: Jellyfish

Jellyfish are marine, free-swimming invertebrate fish without eyes that are consumed as food by wild carnivores and omnivore fish. They are unique as they are boneless with no heart and brain. 


Wild fish eat a variety of foods depending on their habitat, size, and nutritional needs. Carnivore fish eats meat, herbivore fish eat plants and algae and omnivore fish eats both plants and meat. The common foods of wild fish are algae, duckweed, water lilies, mollusks, worms, leeches, sponges, crustaceans, and jellyfish. 

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