How much and how often a freshwater fish should be fed is one of the first questions asked by a new owner. Overfeeding causes toxins (such as ammonia and nitrites) to build up in the tank, and the food itself clogs the filter. Fish can also become overweight and pass away due to over eating. Like most wild animals, fish are opportunistic feeders. When they come across food, they eat as much as they can, as they do not know when their next meal will come. A good rule of thumb is to feed your fish as much as they can consume in 3 minutes, twice a day. The number and size of fish in your tank will determine the amount of food you should feed them.
So, what should you feed your fish? First, lets look at different ingredients.
One of the ingredients your likely to see is wheat germ meal. Wheat germ has bran and germs of the wheat berry, which is highly nutritious and digests easily.
Another common ingredient is whole fish or fish meal, which is used for carnivorous fish. This is a natural source of nutrition and is a rich source of protein and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Biotin is a B-complex vitamin and is often used in fish foods because it helps bolster a fish’s metabolism.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae perfect for herbivores. It has protein, amino acids, vitamin B12, and carotene, which helps improve coloration.
Garlic is becoming a very popular ingredient and has been shown to repel ich and parasites in fish. It is an antibacterial and anti-fungal supplement and helps to stimulate the appetite of fish.
Now that you know some common ingredients, what form should you feed your freshwater fish?
Flake food is the most common and is great because it is easy to use, easy to store, and readily available. Make sure, though, that you read the ingredients, as not all flake foods are created equal.
Pellets are great for the same reasons as flake food, but they also sink. This is great for fish that do not normally come to the top of the tank for food.
Wafers and other herbivore diets are perfect for corydora catfish, plecostomus (sucker fish), and other herbivorous fish. Try wafers with your live bearers, such as guppys – they go crazy for wafers!
Frozen fish foods are great, as they are flash frozen to keep all the nutritional properties. They come in a wide variety of types; bloodworms, brine shrimp, formulas 1 & 2, etc. Frozen food must stay frozen until you want to use it. To defrost the food and reduce the loss of nutrition, put some in a cup and let it defrost slowly in the fridge.
Feeding your freshwater fish at least 3 types of food will create healthier and happier fish. Feeding your fish and choosing the right foods is very important for the health and well-being of your fish.