What Do Minnows Eat in the Wild { Find Out Here }

How much do you know about your minnows?

What do you know about their life in the wild?

Do you know what they eat or how they live in the wild? This article will provide you with every detail about your minnows and what they eat in the wild.

What Do Minnows Eat in the Wild

Minnows feed on a variety of food in the wild. They have a large appetite making them eat various foods ranging from plants to animals. Here are some of the common foods minnows eat in the wild;

  • Insects:Insects make up a good portion of food minnows eat. In the wild, they don’t have the luxury of having food on a platter, so they make use of the opportunities they get. The opportunity includes eating both aquatic and terrestrial insects that wander their way.
  • Small crustaceans:Minnows are small in size, so when they feed, they go for prey of their size. Minnows will eat crustaceans, but they are small ones like crawfish, brine shrimp, etc. If they go for larger ones, the table might turn, and the hunter becomes the hunted.
  • Smaller fish:Minnows will not hesitate to take down smaller fish to suit their appetite. They have body designs that make them skillful hunters of smaller fish. In the wild, most minnows will hunt and eat smaller fish that come their way.
  • Plants:Not only humans know the essence of plants, especially when there are no other means of feeding. Minnows also know the importance of plants and gladly feed on them. They will eat water plants but will mostly do that when there are limited options.
  • Planktons: Minnows are not the only fish that sees planktons as a delicacy. Much other fish feed on planktons to satisfy their cravings. In the wild, minnows will eat zooplanktons and phytoplanktons when the need arises.
  • Algae: Algae are also one of the feeding options of minnows in the wild. Minnows will gladly eat algae when they see one. It is not like there is plenty of food in the wild, so that algae can be saving food for the day.

Minnows can also feed on dead decaying matters like dead plants, fish, animals, etc. Minnows have a large variety of food they eat in the wild, making their life in captivity easy and smooth.

Where in the World Do Minnows Live in the Wild

Minnows are the most prominent fishes (Cyprinidae) found in North America. They also have their largest number in the SouthEast region of Asia. They are present in all continents but Australia, South America, and Antarctica.

You can find them in diverse waters, including swamps, headwater bogs, ponds, rivers, springs, and lakes. They live in only two types of habitat; the freshwater and the brackish water habitat. Most of the minnows species live in freshwater habitats, while few live in the brackish water habitat.

The freshwater habitat is a habitat of water bodies formed mainly from inland waters. They contain very low levels or the lowest salinity level of all habitats. Examples of freshwater habitats include ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, and springs.

The brackish water habitat occurs when the freshwater habitat meets the saltwater habitats. The most common and largest brackish water is the estuaries, where the river meets the sea—the brackish water habitat for minnows in the river estuaries, headwater bogs, etc.

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What Do You Feed Minnows?

Feeding your minnows is not a big deal as they are not much of a picky eater. Like in the wild, they will feed on varieties of food they come across. Here are some of the foods you can feed your minnows;

  • Flakes: Flakes are among the most common food to feed your minnows. They will feed on tropical flake foods and even feed on goldfish flake food. Some minnows might require you to feed them dried blood worms alongside the flakes to boost their appetite.
  • Algae and planktons: Most aquarists allow algae to grow in their pond on purpose to serve as food for the minnows. Planktons and algae are also some of the few foods you can feed to your minnows. Minnows will gladly eat them as it is not a strange food.
  • Grains and pellets: You can also feed your minnows with grains and pellets. You can help them crush the pellets to make it easier for them to eat. Grains and pellets will help you feed your minnows and keep them away from hunger for a long while.
  • Brine shrimps:Brine shrimps will make a good meal for your minnows. You can also include freeze-dried blood worms for the minnows. They will also provide nutritional value to your minnows.
  • Plants and insects: Other foods you can feed to your minnows are plants and insects. You can add plants to the tank or pond of your minnows. You can also get edible insects for them if you want them to have a taste of a fresh meal.

How Long Can Minnows Go Without Food?

Minnows are hardy fish and can go for two to three days without being fed. However, you have to make preparations for your minnows if you will leave them without food. You have to ensure you provide adequate water and tank conditions for the fish to ensure their good health.

Will Minnows Eat Each Other?

Minnows tend to eat each other, especially if the victim is smaller than the predator. They also tend to eat their young ones. Minnows are quite cannibalistic and will eat younger or smaller ones when they get the chance.


Minnows will eat a wide variety of food in the wild. They will also feed on a large range of food in captivity. They have a large appetite that ranges from eating plants to insects and other small aquatic animals.

John Brandon

John has kept fish all his life (since he was about 5). He started with keeping guppies and fell in love with fish keeping almost straight away. That was 40 odd years ago. These days John still keeps fish and currently has two large tanks where he keeps many different types of fish such as Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Goldfish, Guppies and many more.