How Big Do Feeder Fish Get | Aquascape Addiction

How Big Do Feeder Fish Get

Questions with feeder fish? this article will help. We cover the main types of feeder fish and how big each of them get.

How Big Do Feeder Fish Get

If you are a big fan of big fish, ones that like to eat other fish, you are going to want to stick around for this. While some people only feed their larger fish pellets, flakes, and other smaller live foods, fish are hunters for the most part. This means that they like to eat other fish, as they do naturally in the wild.

Big fish eat smaller fish, and those fish eat smaller ones yet, and so on and so forth. If you have a fairly big fish that eats other fish in the wild, we would recommend feeding them feeder fish for their benefit.

You can simply buy some feeder fish from a store and give them to your fish on a daily basis, or you can even keep and breed them to make things a little cheaper for you. Either way, you probably want to know some things. For instance, how big do feeder fish get?

What Are Feeder Fish?

First and foremost, it is probably good if we clarify what exactly a feeder fish is. Well, in simplest terms, they are fish that are commonly used for feeding other fish, usually always larger fish. The reason for this is because fish hunt naturally in the wild, so giving your pet fish some feeder fish on occasion will help them feel more at home, plus they are packed full of nutrients too.

Generally speaking, the feeder fish used are chosen because they grow fast, are hardy and resilient to water conditions, and are not expensive either. In other words, you would not feed some $200 tropical fish to your piranhas just because.

Feeder fish are just what they sound like, fish used for feeding other fish. Some people say that using feeder fish is cruel, but we personally think that there is nothing more natural.

What Fish Are Used As Feeder Fish?

Like we said before, there are a few different factors which are used to determine what kinds of fish are used as feeder fish. For one, the cost of the fish is a big deal. Only cheap fish are used as feeder fish. You and your pet store probably don’t want to throw away hundreds and thousands of dollars by using expensive fish for the purposes of giving your big pet fish a snack.

Next, people will usually focus on types of fish that are fast to grow and mature. It makes a lot of sense to breed feeder fish at home due to a decreased cost as opposed to buying them. However, this means that feeder fish breeders have to wait until the breeding is done and the fish have grown up.

Therefore, people focus on fish that are prolific breeders, breed a lot, have short gestation periods, and produce fry that mature into full grown fish really fast. Finally, people tend to use slow and peaceful fish as feeder fish, for the most part anyway.

This makes it easier and safer for the bigger fish to eat them without having to fight or chase too much. There are a few fish commonly used as feeder fish.

These include the following:

  • Bluegill.
  • Small tilapia.
  • Female Betta fish.
  • All kinds of cichlid fry.
  • All kinds of unused or defective fish fry.
  • Minnows.
  • Goldfish.
  • Platies.
  • Guppies.
  • Mosquito fish.

How Big Do Feeder Fish Get?

Based on what we just said about the different types of feeder fish used, this question of how big they get is not very easy to answer. It is a multifaceted question that does not have one clear answer. In the case of all kinds of fish fry and small tilapia, they grow as big as you let them grow before using them as feeder fish.

They are still fish babies, usually no more than 0.5 inches or 1 inch in length at the most, and since they are fed to other fish before they reach full size, how big they might grow is completely irrelevant.

However, we can talk about the average size of some of the other common feeder fish that are usually used. Generally speaking, you won’t let a feeder fish grow past 2 or 3 inches in length, but it does also depend on the size of the fish they are being fed to.

  • Bluegill – 12 inches (usually used as feeder fish before it grows to full size).
  • Goldfish – 4 inches long.
  • Guppies – 1.4 inches long.
  • Platies – 2.5 inches long.
  • Mosquito Fish – 2.8 inches.
  • Minnows – 2.5 inches.


As you can see, feeder fish don’t get too big. This is because only smaller fish are usually used as feeder fish, and if larger fish are used, on the occasions they are used, they are not allowed to grow to full size. If you want to use feeder fish as a primary food source for your pet fish, we would recommend looking into breeding them for yourself. It is much cheaper than always having to buy them.