How to Teach a Fish to Eat From Your Hand

Finger feeding is a pretty fun trick to teach your fish. Bigger fish, or fish that tend to lip at things instead of biting, are best for this trick. If your fish has a pinching bite when they take food or if they have teeth, you may want to skip this trick.

Goldfish and guppies are great for finger feeding as they are naturally very gentle nibblers. Cichlids and bettas can learn to take food from your hand nicely, but some may be a bit more nippy than others.

How to Teach a Fish to Eat From Your Hand (Video Tutorial)

For this trick, you will need…

  • Your fish
  • Food that sinks easily (pre-soaked pellets or flakes work well.) In the video, I am using crushed peas for my goldfish.

Training Your Fish to Eat From Your Fingers – Step by Step

Step 1

Hold some food in your hand and slowly let it fall from your fingers into the tank (regardless of whether the fish responds or not.)

Do this at least two or three times before moving on to the next step (or longer if your fish is more cautious.)

Step 2

Wait until the fish starts to swim in the direction of your hand before releasing some food (they don’t have to touch your hand yet, though.)

Repeat this step until the fish swims confidently up to your hand as soon as they see it in the water.

Step 3

Wait until the fish actually touches your hand before releasing the food.

With more practice and repetition, the fish will become more confident eating from your hand and will learn to happily swim up to it as soon as they see it touch the water.

Additional Tips For Teaching This Trick

  • This trick works best for bigger, more confident fish that tend to nibble gently rather than bite at their food. If your fish is biting your fingers too hard, you may want to skip this trick.
  • Try not to move your hand when the fish nibbles your fingers. Moving too much can startle your fish and make them wary of your hand.