Let me start by saying that not all fish food is the same, not even by a long shot. Actually let me go a step further and say, not all cichlid food is the same. In fact most cichlid food may cause harm to your Mbuna. African cichlids and South American cichlids require two totally different and distinct diets.

Most, but not all cichlid foods are made for South American cichlids. Some even have a picture of a South American cichlid such as an Oscar, right on the package! These food may cause serious health problems, such as the dreaded "Malawi Bloat" if you feed them to your Mbuna.

Hikari makes the best cichlid food available. Hikari is second to none, no one even comes close. Hikari makes floating cichlid pellets in five different sizes. You choose the size pellet you need based on the size fish you have. They make cichlid food for both South American and African cichlids. Below are descriptions of the food for African cichlids

Hikari Cichlid Excel - Hikari Cichlid Excel is specially formulated for herbivorous (plant eating) fish. This formula combines wheat-germ, spirulina and vitamins and minerals to provide a diet that is extremely nutritious, easy to digest, provides powerful color enhancement and promotes outstanding growth characteristics. Recommended Size: 2 Oz Mini Pellet (#14211).

Hikari Cichlid Complete - Hikari Tropical Cichlid Complete was specially developed to help reduce stress which leads to territorial domination. High in salmon milt and wheat-germ this revolutionary food is the ultimate diet for African cichlids. If you want to feed your Africans the best, choose Cichlid Complete! Recommended Size: 3.88 Oz Miniature Wafer (#23121).

Hikari Algae Wafers - Hikari Algae Wafers were specifically developed for the hard to feed plecostomus and other algae eating bottom feeders. Hikari was the originator of this diet, now copied by many. Accept no substitutes, request the first and finest, Algae Wafers. Recommended Sizes: 1.41 Oz (#21307), 2.89 Oz (#21316).

I usually feed my Mbuna a little of each in the order mentioned (Cichlid Excel, Cichlid Complete, Algae Wafers). I feed them these foods in the morning before I leave for work and again when I get home from work. Each time some floating pellets (Hikari Cichlid Excel), then some sinking pellets (Hikari Cichlid Complete), and then I drop in an algae wafer (Hikari Algae Wafers) for them to play with.

Hikari also packages various frozen foods which I also use. You might not think that their couldn't be much of a difference in frozen foods because nature makes it and the company only packages it. I stick to Hikari because of just that, the way Hikari packages their frozen food. All companies package their food in the convenient cubes, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about sterilization techniques, Hikari is simply the safest frozen food available. Below are descriptions of Hikari frozen foods that I highly recommend.

Hikari Bio-Pure Krill - Excellent Supplemental Diet - Good For Larger Freshwater or Marine Fishes - Excellent Color Enhancing Diet. Recommended Size: 3.5 Oz Cubes (#30720).
Hikari Bio-Pure Mysis Shrimp - All The Advantages Of Brine Shrimp & Chitosan To Promote Resistance To Disease. Recommended Size: 3.5 Oz Cubes (#30920).
Hikari Bio-Pure Spirulina Brine Shrimp - An Excellent Diet For Most Marine Fish & Freshwater Fish Who Are Lacking Colors. Recommended Size: 3.5 Oz Cube Pack (#32520).

In the evening I give them some frozen food as a treat (for desert). I usually add one cube of each (Hikari Bio-Pure Krill, Hikari Bio-Pure Mysis Shrimp, Hikari Bio-Pure Spirulina Brine Shrimp) to a double shot glass and fill it with warm water to melt the cubes apart before adding it to the aquarium (after turning off my filters). I have found that this method keeps some of my Mbuna from consuming large undisolved portions of frozen food which may cause them to become ill.

If for some reason you are not able to get the Hikari, a very good alternative is San Francisco Bay Brand. San Francisco Bay Brand (SFBB), offers a wide variety of frozen foods which are suitable for your Mbuna (and other African Cichlids). Below are descriptions of SFBB frozen foods that I highly recommend.

San Francisco Bay Brand Spirulina Brine Shrimp - These brine shrimp are fed a bio-enriched diet that includes Spirulina. Spirulina algae are rich in vitamins, carotenoids and minerals. Recommended Size: 3.5 Oz Cubes (#65225).
San Francisco Bay Brand Emerald Entrée - Fish that rely on micro-algae and vegetable matter as a main nutrition source will benefit from Emerald Entrée’s complete nutritional package. Recommended Size: 3.5 Oz Cubes (#88035).
San Francisco Bay Brand Mysis Shrimp - A small saltwater shrimp excellent for finicky eaters. The Mysis shrimp naturally attract fish. High HUFA levels maintains a great protein analysis. Recommended Size: 3.5 Oz Cube Pack (#88099).

Whatever you do, do not feed your Mbuna food made for South American cichlids, such as: Hikari Bio-Gold (White Package), Hikari Gold (Red Package), Hikari Staple (Green Package), or any other food made for South American cichlids.

As for the frozen foods...the dry food should be the staple of their diet with some frozen food only as a treat. Stick to the frozen food mentioned: Brine Shrimp, Mysis Shrimp, and Krill. Do not ever feed your Mbuna: Beef Heart, Blood Worms, Daphnia, Glass Worms, or Tubifex Worms.

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