Can You Eat Aquarium Fish? All You Need to Know!

Can You Eat Aquarium Fish

Does it ever cross your mind that the fish in your aquarium could make for a great evening meal someday?

Do you think about taking them out of the tank and serving them for your next family dinner?

If you felt like answering in the positive for any of these, then yes, you can eat your aquarium fish.

But wait, there are a few things you need to know before you start devouring your aquarium fishes.

The questions that then arise are, which ones are okay to eat and what are the dangers of doing so?

What Are Tankbusters?

Tankbusters are those fish that are unfit to be a part of an aquarium environment.

They are too large and too strong to be kept safely in a tank because their muscled bodies give them the ability to crack a tank.

One example of a tankbuster is the Pangasius catfish. These fish have long lives and can grow up to more than 3 feet.

Because of how large they are and how long their lives can be, which is up to 30 years, these fish don’t usually belong in a tank.

They should be kept in places that can provide for them and give them the space they need, like a public zoo or aquarium.

Eating the fish in your tank that grows too big for the aquarium could potentially be a great solution, giving meaning to the end of your fish’s life, as opposed to just disposing of it.

Eating the fish you’ve been caring for with your own hands isn’t easy, but you’d be surprised to know that people are okay with digging into the troublemaking fish in their tanks.

Which Aquarium Fish Can You Eat?

Of course, if you’re going to go ahead and eat those tank-dwellers, you need to know which ones are safe to eat and what to take care of before you take one out of the aquarium.

If you prefer meals that are widely available, easy to make, and are reliable, you’re probably not one of the people that has any experience of eating exotic foods.

You are likely to stick to your regular routine, with the only kinds of fish in your diet being tuna, sardines, salmon, or cod, with the addition of a few others.

However, all you need to do is a little looking around and you’ll see that there is actually a variety of aquarium fish that you can potentially eat.

Fish that you’d never dream of consuming are being turned into dishes that are considered a delicacy.

So how do you know what fish to make a dish of?

Elephant Nose Mormyrids

These are great for making stews, believe it or not.

Once upon a time, the famous food expert Keith Floyd baked a huge mormyrid, and everyone that he made it for thought it was great.

As exotic as they sound, they taste just as good.


If you want a fish that will add a little extra something to your relationship, the head of a Piranha made into a soup is sure to work.

They say this combination has aphrodisiac characteristics, so if you’ve got your eyes on a piranha, you can test this theory out.


Plec eggs are used to make caviar. For a different kind of dish, you can also put the entire fish into a pot on the stove.

The hard, outer coat of the fish is like a pressure cooker.

Also read: Can Plecos Live with Bettas?


This is a fish that you’ll see people have recently started eating a lot.

This is because their population has spiked to troublesome proportions.

One way that the relevant authorities thought they could handle this population boost was to start telling citizens the different ways in which lionfish can be cooked.


As unappealing as goldfish seem, if you have made up your mind to eat them, then you can.

They probably won’t taste very good, but they’re edible.

Iridescent Sharks

Although you probably wouldn’t want to eat these beautiful animals, it’s not unheard of to see them at the store.

Some of these fishes were initially a form of food before they became household pets.

This is why some countries won’t find it as weird to eat them like you.


Tilapia is a relatively easy fish to cook that people enjoy eating.

They’re not that expensive, so you’ll find that they’re consumed quite often.

They’re kept as aquarium fish because they’re easy to maintain and can survive in different tank environments.


Yes, you can eat snakehead fish too. They’re very popular in South East Asia.

They do not have a bad taste – and have a slight flavor.

They are actually in demand in a lot of Indian cuisine places, although they will cost you a bit of money.

They look a bit scary, but if you have them as pets, you’ll know they aren’t dangerous.

You can… But SHOULD You Eat Aquarium Fish?

Even though you can eat the fish out of your aquarium if you really need to, it doesn’t make much sense.

Buying a fish from the store, that has been farmed and caught for eating purposes and sold in the market is not only a cheaper alternative, you’re also not eating something that you’ve put in your time and energy in trying to keep alive.

Why would you eat a fish that you’ve grown in your own fish tank when you can buy one that was made to be eaten?

Most of the fish we keep in our aquariums are beautiful and exotic and can be costly as well.

Not only this but looking after their wellbeing takes money and investment.

If the problem of tankbusters pushes you to eat the fish that don’t fit in your tank’s environment, stop buying fish that are not genetically adaptable to fit in that space.

As a responsible pet owner, you need to do your homework before deciding what fish you can take care of, given the resources available to you.

Health Concerns

Just because there are fish you can eat from the depths of your own aquarium, doesn’t mean you should.

Not only do aquarium fish harbor a bunch of diseases, but they are also fed fish pellets that you are guaranteed to be disgusted by.

Just try a few fish food pellets if you plan on eating your fish and you’ll know exactly what your poor fish is going to taste like if you pop it in the oven and eat it.

Zoonotic transmission is the danger of getting a disease from a fish in the aquarium. Since aquarium fish are not meant to be eaten, they’re not regulated and checked the same way that a fish made for consumption would be.

They are given food and live in environments that are extremely harmful to human health, should they consume that fish.

They are carriers of illnesses like worms, protozoans, bacteria, and fungi that will enter your body after you eat that fish.

Another problem with these fish is that they’re living in tanks that are likely to be a little moldy (don’t deny it—you know you wouldn’t drink your aquarium water, right?).

Even though these fish do have health regulations that they go through as well, a lot of dangerous chemicals that are forbidden to be used on food are allowed to be used on these fish.

That is because they’re not meant to be eaten, so they make it past the radar.

Malachite green is an aquarium treatment that is banned for use in aquaculture but is still used in aquariums.

It causes cancer and is extremely dangerous if it enters the human body.

Chances are, if you’re eating a fish that grew up living as a tank fish and was intended to be bought as a pet, you’re ingesting that aquarium treatment too.

There is a rule which lets small animals be exempted from much health-endangering medicine ban.

If you have an animal that does not produce food and is not made to be eaten, there are certain medicines you can use on them.

If they were producing food or were made to be eaten, these medicines would not be permitted to be used on them.

If you’ve bought your fish from a pet store, they’re likely to have been exposed to these medicines, which are essential in keeping the tank and fish healthy, but only when it’s not for edible fish.

Ethical Reasons

Lastly, although no one can stop you from eating your pet fish, there comes a question of why you would want to go through with that.

Pets are made to be our friends, to add to the ambiance of our homes and make the space around us more aesthetically pleasing.

Fish are usually kept because they’re colorful and attractive to look at. They brighten up your room and add to the décor.

They’re also much more entertaining than they are given credit for.

Using your aquarium fish as a snack is a weird alternative to just giving them away to another potential pet owner.

Final Words

Whether or not you decide to eat your aquarium fish, the decision is up to you.

However, before you proceed, make sure you aren’t endangering the lives of those around you, or yourself, by accidentally ingesting something dangerous.

Although it isn’t illegal to eat your pet fish, it is better to give them away if you don’t want them anymore.

But if you have a fish that you think would be better off as food, then there’s no one that can stop you.

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