Insect-Based Fish Food: Enhancing Health and Sustainability

Introduction to Insect-Based Fish Food: Enhancing Health and Sustainability

Fish farming, or aquaculture, is a crucial industry that plays a vital role in meeting the demand for high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, the reliance on processed fishmeal as a primary feed ingredient raises concerns about the sustainability of aquaculture.

In recent years, the search for alternative and sustainable sources of feed has led to a growing interest in insect-based superfoods for fish. Insects offer a rich nutritional profile, are environmentally friendly to produce, and have shown promising results in improving fish growth and health. This article will delve into the benefits of insect-based superfoods for fish and explore their potential to revolutionise the aquaculture industry.

The Rise of Insects as a Sustainable Feed Source

The Environmental Impact of Fishmeal

Fishmeal, traditionally derived from wild-caught fish, has long been a staple ingredient in commercial fish feeds. However, the overexploitation of marine resources and concerns about the impact on marine ecosystems have prompted the search for alternative protein sources. The aquaculture industry must find sustainable solutions to reduce its dependence on fishmeal and preserve the delicate balance of marine ecosystems.

Insects as a Nutritional Powerhouse

Insects, such as mealworms and black soldier fly larvae, have emerged as a promising alternative to fishmeal. These tiny creatures are packed with essential nutrients, including protein, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, insects often surpass conventional protein sources in terms of nutritional value, making them an ideal superfood for fish.

Sustainable Insect Farming

One of the key advantages of an insect-based superfood for fish is its sustainability. Insects can be reared using organic waste materials, reducing the need for land and water resources. Additionally, insects reproduce quickly, allowing for large-scale production in a short period. This method of insect farming has a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to traditional fishmeal production, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

The Health Benefits of Insect-Based Fish Food

Enhanced Growth and Development

Studies have shown that fish fed with insect-based superfoods exhibit improved growth rates and development compared to those fed with traditional fishmeal-based diets. Insects provide a balanced nutritional profile, including essential amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins, which are crucial for optimal fish growth and development. The high digestibility of insect protein also ensures efficient nutrient utilisation, leading to better overall performance.

Immune System Boost

Insect-based superfood has been found to enhance the immune system of fish, making them more resistant to diseases and pathogens. The unique composition of insect protein and bioactive compounds stimulates the production of immune cells and enhances the fish’s ability to fight off infections. This immune-boosting effect reduces the need for antibiotics in aquaculture, promoting a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach.

Improved Nutrient Absorption

Fish fed with insect-based superfoods have shown improved nutrient absorption and utilisation. The high-quality protein and balanced nutrient profile of insects ensure that fish receive all the essential elements they need for optimal health and growth. This efficient nutrient absorption also results in reduced waste production, minimising the environmental impact of aquaculture operations.

Insect-Based Fish Food in Aquaculture

Acuisost Research Program

The Acuisost research program, initiated by the Acuiplus cluster, aims to promote the sustainability of aquaculture through innovative nutritional strategies. One of their key focuses is the use of insect-based superfoods in fish feed. Studies conducted on rainbow trout and sea bream have demonstrated the positive effects of insect meal on fish growth, stress reduction, and disease resistance. The results highlight the potential of insect-based superfoods to revolutionise the aquaculture industry and ensure its long-term sustainability.

Other Success Stories

Numerous other studies have shown the positive impact of insect-based superfoods on various fish species. In experiments with sea bass, the inclusion of mealworm protein in the diet resulted in significant anti-inflammatory effects and increased immune response. Similarly, black soldier fly larvae meal has been proven to improve the growth and feed conversion of Pacific white shrimp while also enhancing their immune system. These success stories emphasise the immense potential of insect-based superfoods in promoting the health and sustainability of fish farming.

The Future of Aquaculture: Embracing Insect-Based Fish Food

The aquaculture industry is at a critical juncture, facing the challenge of meeting the increasing global demand for seafood while reducing its environmental impact. Insect-based superfood for fish offers a compelling solution to these challenges. By replacing traditional fishmeal with sustainable and nutrient-rich insect-based feeds, aquaculture can become more sustainable, profitable, and environmentally friendly.

The future of aquaculture lies in embracing innovative solutions and adopting sustainable practices. Insect-based superfood has the potential to revolutionise the industry, ensuring the health and well-being of farmed fish while preserving marine ecosystems. As research continues and technology advances, the widespread adoption of insect-based superfoods in aquaculture holds great promise for a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Products we offer:

Bug Bites by Fluval

Bug Bites are designed to cater to the inherent insect-eating tendencies of fish, enriched with proteins, vitamins, and minerals for wholesome daily nutrition. HIGHLIGHTS:

• Comprises as much as 40% Black Soldier Fly larvae protein, obtained sustainably.

• Loaded with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote vibrant skin, scales, fins, and hues.

• Infused with a potent blend of vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients.

Tropical Flakes by Fluval: The Essential Bite

The Tropical Flakes from Fluval are crafted to echo the innate insect-eating behaviour of fish. Enriched with vital vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, they guarantee fish health and vigour. Its primary ingredients are top-grade proteins that induce a keen appetite in fish and supply them with crucial amino acids for growth and well-being.

For feeding, offer an amount the fish can consume in two minutes, doing so two to three times daily. Consistent water quality checks are advised to prevent issues stemming from excessive feeding. Once the pack is opened, keep it in a dry, cool location.


• Boasts a robust 46% crude protein from diverse premium sources.

• Packed with Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, beneficial for fish skin, scales, fins, and colour.

• Comprises a robust blend of vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients, ensuring a balanced daily feed.

• The easy-to-digest flake design results in minimal waste in the tank.

• Exceptionally delectable, satisfying fish’s natural preference.

• Crafted in limited runs to ensure supreme quality.

• Free from synthetic fillers or additives.

Ingredients: Black Soldier Fly Larvae (35%), Herring Meal, Potato, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Flour, Fish Protein Hydrolyzed, Salmon Oil (2%), Kelp, Pea, Brewer’s Yeast.

Fluval Bug Bites Algae Wafers:

Fluval’s Algae Crisps Bug Bites Edition
Fluval Bug Bites Algae Wafers 100g

Fluval’s Bug Bites Crisps are designed in tune with the inherent insect-oriented dietary patterns of fish, supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients crucial for their well-being and vigour. Perfect for all bottom-feeding fish varieties (like plecos, ancistrus, loaches, corydoras cats, and more). This mix is enhanced with nutrition-dense spirulina and kelp, paired with superior insect protein, ensuring better absorption and fostering fish’s health, growth, and vibrant shades. Its robust food structure allows the bottom feeders to graze at their own pace.

Offer an amount they can finish in two minutes, typically two to three times a day. Consistently monitor water quality to prevent any issues related to excessive feeding.

Fluval’s Goldfish Flakes: Bug Bites Edition

Fluval’s Goldfish Flakes, a part of the Bug Bites collection, are tailor-made keeping in mind the insect-oriented diet preferences of fish, supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and other essential micro-nutrients vital for their health and zest. This formula, rich in fibre, is specially crafted to cater to the dietary necessities of cold-water species, promoting a healthier digestive system for their overall wellness. It also contains marigold extract to enhance the radiant shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Serve an amount the fish can consume in two minutes, preferably two to three times a day. For optimal aquatic health, regularly check the water quality to avoid complications from potential overfeeding. Upon breaking the seal, store in a cool and dry location. The expiration date can be found at the base of the container.


Insect-based superfood for fish represents a significant breakthrough in the quest for sustainable, nutritious, and environmentally friendly aquaculture feeds. With their exceptional nutritional profile and low environmental footprint, insects offer a viable alternative to traditional fishmeal. The numerous health benefits of insect-based superfoods, including enhanced growth, improved immune response, and efficient nutrient utilisation, make it an ideal choice for promoting the health and sustainability of farmed fish.

As the aquaculture industry continues to evolve, embracing insect-based superfood will be crucial in meeting the increasing global demand for seafood while minimising the ecological impact. With ongoing research and innovation, insect-based superfood has the potential to transform aquaculture into a more sustainable and profitable industry, ensuring a healthier future for both fish and the environment.

Frequently asked questions about insect based fish food:

What is insect-based fish food?

Insect-based fish food is a type of fish feed that uses insects as the primary source of protein, rather than traditional sources like fishmeal or plant-based proteins. This type of fish food is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to conventional fish feeds for several reasons:

1. Sustainability: Insects have a lower environmental footprint compared to other protein sources. They require less water, land, and feed to produce the same amount of protein. Moreover, they can be raised on waste materials, reducing the need for additional resources.

2. Nutrition: Insects are a natural part of many fish diets in the wild, so using them as a primary protein source in fish food can be a more natural and nutritious option. Insects are rich in protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients that are beneficial for fish growth and health.

3. Digestibility: Insects are highly digestible for many fish species, making them an efficient source of nutrients.

4. Reduced Pressure on Ocean Resources: Using insect-based fish feed can help reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks, which are often used to produce conventional fishmeal. This is especially important for aquaculture operations aiming to reduce their reliance on marine resources.

5. Waste Reduction: Insects can be raised on organic waste materials, such as food waste, agricultural byproducts, and manure, which helps to reduce waste and create a circular economy.

Insect-based fish food can be made from a variety of insect species, including black soldier flies, mealworms, crickets, and others. These insects are typically raised in controlled environments, processed into a protein-rich meal, and then incorporated into fish feed formulations.

As of now, insect-based fish food is mainly used in aquaculture, where fish are raised in controlled environments for human consumption. However, it can also be used in home aquariums and for ornamental fish, as well as for fish raised in ponds or other natural habitats.

What is the natural food for aquarium fish?

The natural food for aquarium fish depends on their species and their natural habitats. Different fish have different dietary needs based on whether they’re herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores. Here’s a general overview of the natural diets for different types of fish:

1. Herbivorous Fish: These fish mainly feed on plant material. In the wild, they eat algae, aquatic plants, and vegetable matter. In an aquarium, you can offer them:

o Algae wafers or pellets

o Fresh vegetables (e.g., lettuce, spinach, cucumber)

o Spirulina flakes or pellets

1. Carnivorous Fish: Carnivorous fish primarily consume animal-based foods. In their natural habitats, they eat smaller fish, crustaceans, insects, and other invertebrates. In an aquarium, you can provide:

o Live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, or mysis shrimp

o High-protein pellets or flakes

o Live insects (from reputable sources)

o Chopped seafood (like fish, shrimp, or squid)

1. Omnivorous Fish: Omnivores have a varied diet, including both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they eat small fish, insects, crustaceans, algae, and aquatic plants. In an aquarium, you can offer them:

o A mix of high-quality flakes or pellets

o Live or frozen foods (e.g., bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia)

o Fresh vegetables (e.g., lettuce, spinach, cucumber)

When feeding your aquarium fish, it’s essential to provide a balanced and varied diet that mimics their natural food sources. Research your specific fish species’ dietary needs and adjust their diet accordingly. Remember to avoid overfeeding, as it can lead to health issues and water quality problems.

What is insect meal?

Insect meal is a protein-rich powder made by processing and grinding dried insects. It is used as an alternative protein source in animal feed, including fish feed, poultry feed, and pet food. Insect meal is considered a sustainable and nutritious alternative to traditional protein sources like fishmeal or soybean meal.

The production of insect meal typically involves the following steps:

1. Rearing: Insects are raised in controlled environments, often using organic waste materials as a substrate for feeding. Commonly used insects include black soldier flies, mealworms, crickets, and silkworms.

2. Harvesting: Once the insects reach the desired life stage, they are harvested, often by separating them from the substrate using sieves or other methods.

3. Processing: The harvested insects are then cleaned, boiled, or blanched to kill any pathogens and improve digestibility.

4. Drying: The processed insects are dried to reduce moisture content, which helps prevent spoilage and extends shelf life.

5. Grinding: The dried insects are ground into a fine powder, which can be easily incorporated into animal feed formulations.

Insect meal has several advantages over traditional protein sources:

1. Sustainability: Insects have a lower environmental footprint, requiring less water, land, and feed to produce the same amount of protein as other protein sources. They can also be raised on organic waste materials, helping to reduce waste and create a circular economy.

2. Nutrition: Insect meal is rich in high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients, making it a nutritious option for animal feed.

3. Digestibility: Insect protein is highly digestible for many animals, including fish and poultry, making it an efficient source of nutrients.

4. Reduced Pressure on Ocean Resources: Using insect meal in aquaculture feed can help reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks, which are often used to produce fishmeal.

5. Waste Management: Insect farming can help manage organic waste, as insects can be raised on food waste, agricultural byproducts, and manure.

As the demand for sustainable and alternative protein sources increases, insect meal is becoming a more popular option for animal feed, especially in aquaculture and poultry industries.

What are Fluval Bug Bites?

Fluval Bug Bites are a brand of fish food that uses insect meal as the primary protein source. Specifically, they are made with black soldier fly larvae, which are rich in protein, essential fatty acids, and other vital nutrients. Fluval Bug Bites are produced by Fluval, a brand known for its high-quality aquarium products.

The Bug Bites line includes a variety of formulations tailored to different fish species and life stages, such as tropical fish, goldfish, cichlids, and bottom feeders. These formulations come in various shapes and sizes to suit the feeding preferences and mouth sizes of different fish.

Fluval Bug Bites offer several benefits:

1. High Protein Content: Black soldier fly larvae are naturally high in protein, making them an excellent primary ingredient for fish food.

2. Sustainability: Insect-based fish food is more sustainable than traditional fishmeal, as insects have a lower environmental footprint and can be raised on organic waste materials.

3. Natural Ingredients: Fluval Bug Bites are made with natural ingredients, including whole salmon, which is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

4. Digestibility: Insect protein is highly digestible for many fish species, making it an efficient source of nutrients.

5. Taste: Many fish find insect-based food more palatable, as insects are a natural part of their diet in the wild.

When feeding Fluval Bug Bites to your fish, it’s essential to consider their specific dietary needs, the size of the food pellets, and the feeding recommendations on the product packaging. As with any fish food, it’s crucial to avoid overfeeding and to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of food sources.

What is a plant based alternative to fish meal?

There are several plant-based alternatives to fish meal used in animal feed, including fish feed. These alternatives can help reduce the reliance on wild-caught fish for fish meal production, promoting sustainability in aquaculture and other animal husbandry practices. Some common plant-based alternatives include:

1. Soybean Meal: Soybean meal is one of the most widely used plant-based alternatives to fish meal. It’s high in protein and provides essential amino acids. However, some concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of soy farming and the potential for soy allergies in certain fish species.

2. Algae: Algae, particularly microalgae, can be a sustainable and nutritious alternative to fish meal. They are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. Algae can be grown in controlled environments, reducing the impact on natural ecosystems.

3. Rapeseed (Canola) Meal: Rapeseed meal, also known as canola meal, is another high-protein alternative to fish meal. It contains essential amino acids and can be used as a partial replacement for fish meal in fish feed formulations.

4. Sunflower Meal: Sunflower meal is a by-product of sunflower oil extraction and is a good source of protein and amino acids. It can be used as a supplementary protein source in fish feed.

5. Pea Protein: Pea protein is a high-quality plant-based protein source that can be used as an alternative to fish meal. It provides essential amino acids and is highly digestible for many fish species.

6. Lentil and Chickpea Protein: These legumes are rich in protein and can be processed into protein-rich meals suitable for use in fish feed.

7. Corn Gluten Meal: Corn gluten meal is a by-product of corn processing and is a high-protein alternative to fish meal. It contains essential amino acids but may need to be supplemented with other protein sources for a balanced diet.

8. Rice Protein Concentrate: Rice protein concentrate is a high-quality protein source derived from rice bran. It’s highly digestible and provides essential amino acids.

It’s important to note that while plant-based alternatives can help reduce the reliance on fish meal, they may not provide all the necessary nutrients for optimal fish growth and health. Therefore, fish feed formulations often include a mix of plant-based and animal-based protein sources to achieve a balanced diet.

Can you feed fish dried mealworms?

Yes, you can feed fish dried mealworms, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

1. Fish Species: Not all fish species will readily eat mealworms, and some may have dietary requirements that are not met by mealworms alone. Research the natural diet of your specific fish species to ensure that mealworms are a suitable addition.

2. Nutritional Balance: While mealworms are high in protein and fat, they shouldn’t be the sole food source for your fish. Offer them as an occasional treat or supplement, and ensure that your fish receive a balanced diet that includes commercial fish food, vegetables, and other protein sources.

3. Size: Dried mealworms may be too large for smaller fish. In this case, you can break or crush the mealworms into smaller pieces before offering them to your fish.

4. Preparation: Before feeding dried mealworms, you can rehydrate them by soaking them in water for a few minutes. This will make them softer and easier for your fish to eat.

5. Quality: Ensure you’re offering high-quality mealworms from a reputable source. Dried mealworms should be free of mould, contaminants, or additives.

6. Frequency: Dried mealworms should be offered as an occasional treat or supplement rather than a primary food source. Feeding them once or twice a week should be sufficient for most fish species.

Feeding dried mealworms can provide enrichment for your fish and encourage natural hunting behaviours. However, it’s essential to ensure that you’re offering appropriate food and maintaining a balanced and varied diet for your fish.