Are you feeding your fish correctly?  

Are you feeding your fish correctly?  

Are you feeding your fish correctly?  

Oftentimes, the first questions aquarists have after setting up their tanks have to do with feeding. What do I feed my fish, how much should I feed them, and how often? In nature, what fish eat depends on whether they’re herbivores (plant eaters), carnivores (meat eaters) or omnivores (both). How often and how much they eat depends on their dietary preferences, their appetite and availability of food.

Most aquarists keep a variety of species in their aquariums, so offering a combination of different foods is best. For example, livebearers are largely herbivores, while tetras are more carnivorous. If you keep both types of fish in your aquarium, as many aquarists do, alternate feedings of meat protein and plant-based foods to keep everyone happy and healthy. Variety is important regardless of what types of fish you keep, as even carnivores benefit from some plant matter in their diet, and vice versa.

How to avoid water fouling?

Fishes like to be in a clean environment and fouling of water would make you clean the aquarium daily. This will not only be time-consuming and inconvenient for you but also for the fishes. Thus, the best option of fish food to choose is pellets or flake food because they slowly dissolve in the water.

How much should you feed your fish?

A fish's stomach is approximately the size of its eyeball. With that said A general rule of thumb is to feed only what your fish can consume in 2 to 3 minutes. It’s always best to underfeed, especially in new aquariums, as uneaten food can cloud your water and cause ammonia and nitrite levels to rise. When in doubt, start with a tiny quantity and observe how fast your fish consumes it. If it is completely consumed in less than 2 minutes, give them a little more. It won’t take long to figure out how much food to give them at each feeding. Remove any food that remains after five minutes with a siphon hose or net.

How often should you feed your fish?

Feeding your fish depends entirely on your tanks water temperature, as it helps in regulating fishes’ metabolism and influences how much and how often they should be fed. If the temperature is hotter they digest their food faster and can be fed twice a day, whereas in colder temperature, fish tend to not eat and don't need to be fed more than once, if at all. A few people even fast their fishes for a day to clear their digestive systems. Larger fishes have a longer wait time between two meals. Small active fish like danios and newly hatched fry have higher metabolic rates and should be fed frequently, especially when kept at warmer temperatures. Herbivore fishes can be fed more than twice a day but in small quantities only. Newly hatched and small active fishes have higher metabolism and thus need to be fed often.

What can I feed my fish if I don’t have fish food?

If you don’t have fish food, you can feed them tiny pieces of green leafy vegetables, peas, rice, pasta, hard boiled egg yolk and small pieces of seafood like shrimps. Seafood can be a good option but it carries the chances of transferring the infection to aquarium fish.

What is the right size fish food?  

The size of the food you feed should be slightly smaller than your fishes’ mouths. Ideally, what you should be feeding your fish is what it would eat in a couple bites, as it would be easier to digest, similar to what you would with a big burger. In other words, large predatory fish will usually show no interest in small flake crumbles, and small fish like Neon Tetras can’t fit large pellets into their mouths. Uneaten food will quickly pollute your aquarium so its best to feed them pellets that are more appropriately sized.

Where do Fish Feed? 

Fish eating

Another consideration is what part of the water column your fish feed in.  Some species feed at the surface, some feed in mid-water and others are bottom feeders.  Most fish will learn to take food wherever it’s available, but shy fish may wait until food drifts into their “safe zone”. These fish may need to be target fed, meaning directing food right to them. Flakes and some pellet foods typically linger at the surface for a minute or two before beginning a slow descent to the bottom, making them good choices for surface and mid-water feeders. Soaking dried foods or “swishing” them at the surface will help them drop faster for mid-water feeders. Most catfish, loaches and other bottom feeders do best on sinking tablets, wafers and pellet foods. When feeding frozen foods, dispense food a little at a time using a turkey baster or large syringe to make sure everyone gets some. Drop a little food at the surface for top feeders and gently squirt some lower into the water column for mid-water and bottom feeders.

When to feed your fish? 

In nature, most fish feed in the early morning and at dusk. Exceptions are herbivores and omnivores that forage throughout the day, and nocturnal species. Although aquarium fish can be fed at any time of day, morning and evening feedings are best. They quickly learn when “feeding time” is, eagerly swimming back and forth at the surface or emerging from hiding places in anticipation of their next meal.

Make sure the aquarium light has been on for at least 30 minutes before the morning feeding and leave it on for at least 30 minutes after the evening feeding. Nocturnal species such as knife fish, catfish and certain Plecostomus can be fed sinking foods shortly after the aquarium light is turned off at night.

How to properly store fish food?

Choose fish food that can be stored for a long time. Dried food like pellets and flakes can be stored in a clean and dry place while freeze-dried fish food can be stored in airtight containers or refrigerated.

These foods can last long which means you can buy them in bulk and not have to purchase them every now and then. Live or fresh food needs to be refrigerated and cannot be stored for a long time. Choose the type of food that suits your needs the most.

What are the signs of Overfeeding Fish? 

The term “overfeeding” means feeding more food than your fish need or want to eat in one feeding. Even hobbyists who only feed once a day or every other day can be guilty of overfeeding if the food is not completely consumed in less than 2 or 3 minutes. Here are some tell-tale signs of overfeeding:

  1. Uneaten food remains in the aquarium after 5 minutes, but the fish show no interest in it. In extreme cases, a fuzzy or cottony white fungus may begin to grow on the bottom or on decorations and plants after a day or two.
  2. Aquarium water is cloudy or hazy and has a foul odor to it. Foam or froth may be present on the surface.
  3. Filter media becomes clogged in a matter of days after cleaning.
  4. Excessive algae growth. Even with proper filtration and water changes, nitrate and phosphate accumulation from heavy feeding can contribute to EXCESSIVE ALGAE GROWTH.
  5. Ammonia or nitrite levels are elevated.
  6. Chronically high nitrates or low PH.
  7. Providing your fish with the right diet and feeding schedule will ensure growth, disease resistance, vibrant colors, and long, healthy lives.

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