Unlocking the Truth: Is Garlic Good for Fish?

Love it or hate it garlic is a popular ingredient in many dishes, but did you know that it may also be beneficial for fish? For years, garlic has been used in the aquarium hobby as a natural remedy for various health issues.
Is Garlic Good For Fish?

One of the main benefits of feeding garlic to fish is its ability to stimulate appetite. Many fish can be picky eaters, especially when first introduced to a new environment. 

It can also be used to entice fish to eat medication that they may otherwise refuse.

In this article, I will explore the benefits and potential drawbacks of using garlic in fish tanks.

Benefits of Garlic for Fish

Garlic is a popular supplement among fish keepers, here are some of the benefits of using garlic in your fish tank:

Appetite Booster

Garlic is known to boost the appetite of fish, when garlic is mixed in with their food it makes it irresistible to even the pickiest of eaters.

Boosting Immunity

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Adding garlic to your fish’s diet may help keep them healthy and reduce the risk of infections.

Many commercial fish foods contain garlic.

Deterring Parasites

Garlic is a natural parasite deterrent, it contains compounds that may help prevent and treat parasitic infections in fish.

If you don’t like using chemicals to treat fish or they aren’t available in your country, garlic can be a natural alternative.


Getting medication into your fish can be tricky, as they usually avoid it like the plague! This is where garlic can help.

See below for a couple of ideas on how to get medication into your fish without any problems.

How Do You Use Garlic To Treat Fish?

Garlic Supplements

Seachem Garlic Guard

Garlic supplements are a popular way to provide the benefits of garlic to fish. They are easy to use and avoid your hands smelling of garlic for days! 

I always have a bottle of Seachem Garlic Guard on stock, I use it to feed picky eaters and to get medicated food into sick fish quickly.

It is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully to avoid overdosing.

Garlic-Infused Food

Repashy Community Gel Food

Another way to feed garlic to your fish is by infusing their food with it. 

This can be done by mincing a fresh garlic clove and mixing a small amount with the fish food, it can be tricky knowing the correct amount of garlic to add though.

Alternatively, chop or mince a garlic clove and cover it with a small amount of water and leave it to infuse the water.

You can then add some of the infused garlic water to their food, this works particularly well with Repashy Gel food. I have found that even the pickiest eaters can’t resist this when it has the garlic water added.

You can also soak your regular fish food, blanched veggies, brine shrimp, medication etc. in the garlic water infusion for a few minutes before feeding it to your fish.

It is important not to use too much garlic to avoid overpowering your fish’s senses, this is why I prefer to use Seachem Garlic Guard as it gives you the correct dosage.

Using Garlic To Treat Ich

Hikari Ich-X

There is a lot of debate online as to whether garlic is an effective treatment for ick, some say it works for freshwater ich, but not saltwater ich…..

I cannot find anything online that proves garlic can treat ich, I prefer to use Ich-X as I know it works.

My feeling is that garlic may help prevent ich due to its health benefits, but I wouldn’t use it to treat an ick outbreak in a tank.

I’ve done a much more in-depth article on Ich which covers how to prevent and treat ich successfully.

How Often To Feed Garlic To Fish?

I feed garlic or garlic supplements to my fish when needed, rather than on a daily basis. This is my preference and what works for me, I’ve seen some people feed small amounts daily.

Because I use garlic as an appetite stimulant for picky eaters and to help get medication into my fish if they’re sick, I think that if I fed garlic to them on a daily basis it wouldn’t be as effective.

Precautions and Potential Risks

While garlic may offer many benefits to fish, there are some precautions and potential risks to consider before adding it to their diet.

It’s important to note that there are no large-scale scientific studies that prove all of these amazing health benefits of feeding garlic to fish.


One of the biggest risks of feeding garlic to fish is overfeeding. 

Garlic is a strong appetite stimulant, and fish may eat more than they need if garlic is added to their diet too frequently. 

Overfeeding can lead to obesity, digestive issues, and other health problems.

Parasites and Bacteria

While garlic may help prevent some parasites and bacteria, it is not a cure-all. If your fish is already infected with parasites or bacteria, garlic alone may not be enough to treat the problem. 

It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

Water Quality

Garlic can leave a strong odor in the water, which can be unpleasant and stink your house out.

So….Is Garlic Good For Fish?

In my opinion, garlic isn’t the miracle ingredient that many people claim and any such claims should be taken with a grain of salt, I’ve found it effective to increase the appetite of fish and that’s the only time I use it.

It is important to note that garlic should not be used as a substitute for proper nutrition and care. Nothing beats a clean tank and a high-quality balanced diet to have healthy, happy fish!

Check out the aquarium health section for guides and tips to keep your aquarium in tip-top shape.

Picture of Paul


Hey, fellow fish enthusiast 👋! I'm Paul and I've been an aquarium addict since I won my first goldfish at the fair many years ago. Let me share with you the knowledge that I've gained along the way (and avoid the mistakes I've made!), so you too can create an underwater paradise for your aquatic friends.