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What Happens When You Eat Fish Food? Everything You Need to Know

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

fish food flakes for tropical fish

So, your kid just ate a bunch of fish food and now you are worried that something terrible is to follow. Heck, who knows, maybe you just thought that eating some fish food might satisfy some odd craving you had. The point is that somebody has consumed some fish food.

What happens when you eat fish food? Well, the short answer and good news here is that nothing is going to happen. It is food that your fish eat, so it is definitely non-toxic. Fish food, for the most part, is made with natural ingredients, and it definitely is not arsenic.

Let’s talk a bit more about fish food and why it should be perfectly fine to eat most of the time (though we do not recommend it). In case any of you are wondering, no, eating fish food will not turn you into Aquaman. Unfortunately, the laws of comic book universes do not apply in real life.

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Can A Human Eat Fish Food?

So, if your question has to do with whether or not humans can eat fish food, you can rest assured that the answer is yes, humans can eat fish food.

Now, what we mean here is that humans can eat fish food in the sense that it will not, or should not do you any harm. Fish food is usually made with some proteins, some algae, vitamins, and plant matter.

Does Fish Food Contain Poison / Chemicals?

It does not contain any poisonous or harmful chemicals which react negatively to human beings.

If you or your kids happen to munch down on your fish’s food, don’t worry, they will be just fine.

fish food pellets with scoop
Image: USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Flickr, licensed under CC 2.0

Microbial / Bacterial Agents

Now, some fish food does contain microbial and bacterial agents, sometimes parasites that can harm fish.

These parasites can also harm human beings. However, the point here is that if the fish food is safe for your fish to eat, it is safe for you to eat as well.

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried fish food does not contain bacteria or parasites due to the freeze-drying process, and is safe to eat for you just like it is for fish. Yes, some parasites may cause health issues, but these can also occur for fish.

The bottom line is that if you have freeze-dried fish food that is safe for fish to eat, then it is safe for you to eat as well.

No, it is not going to taste good, nor can it be considered a part of a well-balanced diet, but it definitely won’t harm you.

Can Fish Food Make You Sick?

mealworms as fish food
Image Credit: Ivabalk, Pixabay

Generally speaking, no fish food will not make you sick. Sure, some people might have fragile constitutions, and if fish food is consumed, you might get an upset stomach and some good old diarrhea, but that is about it.

If your child has packed down some fish food, they should be just fine. However, you might want to give them a cup of juice to wash down that nasty flavor.

Parasites: A Rare Occasion

As mentioned before, there are rare instances of fish food, usually, foods that have been live at some point, which contain parasites, usually gut parasites that can harm fish, little worms, and microbial animals in other words.

These can be harmful to fish and cause digestive issues, and yes, this can make you feel sick. Both tapeworms and roundworms are parasites that live in fish, can be contained in some fish foods, and yes, if humans eat them, this can make you sick.

An Important Note On Tapeworms

Tapeworms are pretty serious problems that can have long-term health effects and need to be dealt with immediately.

Now, these will only be present in some frozen fish foods, low-quality ones that have not been treated right. With that being said, these will make your fish ill too, not just you.

Image Credit: Rattiya Thongdumhyu, Shutterstock

So, If You Have Eaten Fish Food

The main takeaway here is that normal flake or pellet fish food will not make you feel sick, and this goes for freeze-dried foods too. However, simple frozen fish food may contain parasites like tapeworms which can result in illness.

When To Consult A Physician

Therefore, if you or somebody you know has eaten frozen fish food, such as frozen daphnia, worms, or Mysis shrimp, you will want to consult a physician to test for parasites such as tapeworms.

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Final Thoughts

If you or your kids ate some fish food, while you might feel a little ashamed and have a bad taste in your mouth, it’s really nothing to lose sleep over, well, unless someone recorded it and put it on social media for the whole world to see. No, you won’t grow gills or be able to talk to fish after eating a handful of fish flakes, but at least it won’t hurt you either.

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Featured Image Credit: Roger Utting, Shutterstock

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