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Care and Feeding

Some Suggestions When Feeding Your Fish

filed under: Care and Feeding

One of the joys of fish keeping is watching fish eat during feeding time. This is the time of day when the owner gets to interact with the aquatic pet, and the pet seems to welcome this participation; in fact, many aquatic pets eagerly await feeding time.

Most fish food come in flake or pellet form.

The small schooling colorful ones dart toward the surface to grab a bite. They are usually the first to strike.

Then, in a split second, the angelfish joins the party, greedily gobbling up as much pellets as they can fill in their little mouths and it is unbelievable how much they can eat despite their small mouths.

Lastly, the occasional impatient bottom feeder will sometimes rise to the surface to grab its share of food.

It is amazing how fish suddenly become alive as the seemingly magical green and red pellets touch the water's surface. And then there is the mesmerizing, amazing beauty in how fish interacts with and reacts with other fish during feeding time.

To ensure that our fish remain healthy, it is good to have some guidelines to follow regarding feeding our aquatic captives. Here are my suggestions, some of them you can integrate into your routine,  regarding feeding time:

It is good to feed fish a variety of foods

Other than having several sources of nutrition, there is a secondary benefit in feeding your pets a variety of foods: captive fish are prone to the bad habit of being so used to one kind of fish food that they would refuse anything unfamiliar. These fish are often labeled by their keepers as the so called, "picky eaters"; fish that will only eat one brand of fish food or one species of live food.

The simple way prevent your fish to turn into the dreaded picky eater is to simply feed them a wider variety of food!

If you feed your fish commercial food, have a few brands in your shelf. Do not stick to one brand of fish food for too long, because your fish might! Also, consider adding home made foods in the menu.

If you are feeding your fish exclusively home made foods, then make sure to use various ingredients from  batch to batch. Mix up the recipe from time to time.

Your can even create a schedule that looks like this:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Fridays = brand A fish food
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays = brand B fish food
  • Saturdays = live foods / home made food
  • Sundays = fasting

Feed the appropriate food

if you have a community tank, be sure to feed the tank with foods suitable to every inhabitant - the omnivores as well as the herbivores!

Don't forget your herbivores!


Stick to a time of day when feeding

If you have ever gone fishing, then you know that in nature, fish bites before the sun rises. This feeding pattern not only suggests that some fish eats early in the morning but also creatures of habit (or subject to a biological clock). Because of this, some people would suggest feeding fish at a set time each day.

I guess that ideally, you should feed fish before sunrise, but since a very few people wake before the rooster crows, the second best thing is to stick to a regular time of day to feed the fish, ideally in the morning. Or you can always purchase an automatic food dispenser but you will miss all the action in doing so.

However, some people would argue that freshwater tropical fish eats a little bit of food through out the day, and hence the next guideline:

Feed small but frequent servings through out the day

In nature fish constantly eat, all day long. And although you may have more success fishing in the morning, it does not mean that fish aren't eating constantly thought out the day. In fact, fish do eat through out the day.

Feeding your fish a small bit at a time at intervals may be more natural to them than feeding them one or two big meals a day.

feed small meals through out the day

But feeding pet fish small amounts of food constantly, all day long long is impractical for most people. A solution is to install an automatic food dispenser that you can program to feed your fish during the hours of the day when you are at work or in school.

Feed fish a pinch at a time

It does not matter if you feed your fish one big meal of a bunch of smaller ones through the day, when you feed your fish you should feed them a pinch at a time so that all the food is consumed in a couple seconds. Add another pinch, let them eat it all up, and add another and so on until the desired amount is consumed or until the fish refuses to eat more.

You know you are doing it right  when you leave the tank without a single piece of visible pellet on the tank.

Read the ingredients

Not all fish food are made of the same thing, believe it or not. Quality varies from one product to another, one manufacturer from another. The safest way to know if a certain commercial fish product is by looking at the ingredients and, if some are unfamiliar, doing some research on what these ingredients mean to your fish's health.

One thing to note is that the ingredients printed on the back label of any pet food are ordered by their quantity - that is, the higher an ingredient is on the list, the more of it there is in the overall product.

What we are looking for are ingredients made of krill, shrimp, and fish placed high (ideally first) on the ingredients list. Things such as  spirulina should be considered as an added bonus.