Tank fishes feed is the most important condition of successful fish keeping. Your pets’ health, their immunity, appearance and proper growth of their juveniles depend on quality, nutrient density and feed diversity as well as on the portion of feed the fish gets at a time. However, some fish species, which are rather demanding in care, they need special feed made especially for this species. Of course, fishes can do with dreary diet, but their health will be in danger.
To create proper diet for your pets it’s necessary to see into feed content and nutrient density, to know how much feed they need at a time.
This type of feed is the most multiuse and diversified, so one can pick a suitable feed type for adult fish and juveniles, predators and herbivorous fish. The feed is easy in storage and it’s possible to keep a big stock of dry feed at home. Modern technologies allow to make such feed highly-nutritious, rich in vitamins and at that it will keep the tank water clean.
Dry feed for tank fishes is produced by lots of companies and for quite a variety of fish species (ground fish, those ones that inhabit in a middle water layer and surficial areas).
Dry feed is divided into basic one, which makes the largest part of fish diet and supplementary one – that allows to enrich the fish diet with different kinds of vitamins and dietary fibres for those fishes which get less food due to their nutritional habits (for example, ground fishes).
Basic dry feed
- Flakes – are the most multiuse type of feed which can be fed to all kinds of tank fish and it’s good for the day time. Some part of flakes stays on water surface and some of them get to the tank bottom, so the feed is accessible to all tank inhabitants in all water layers. Nowadays there are dozens of flake types.
- Granules– they have different diameter to become suitable to all sizes of fish – from large ones to juveniles. This type of feed slowly gets to the bottom and therefore it’s good for all fish species including ground ones. If you have some very demanding fish or those which are recovering from some disease, you’ll have to wet flakes out, because when the fish swallows dry and dense granules fast it may hurt the injured fish stomach. You can feed your pets with granules every day.
- Crisps – they are obtained by means of low-temperature treatment which makes them the most nutritious of all, at that they have the highest content of vitamins and nutrients. Crisps are good for all types of ornamental fish and they keep the tank water clean. This type of feed is also good for daily use.
- Sticks – is a dense, nutritious feed recommended for large sized fish which need more nourishing food. Active and large fish such as cichlids and barbuses prefer this feed. Sometimes you’ll have to water sticks out to prevent fish from stomach injuries if the fish is hungry and eats fast. Sticks have gained a reputation of good supplementary feed, however they are highly not recommend as feed for fish juveniles.
- Wafers and Pellets – feed shaped like this is heavy and dense; they get to the tank bottom rather fast, that’s why it’s perfect feed for ground fish. Also there are vegetable pellets or wafers, which are good to feed especially timid fish or those, who can’t get enough of food because of more aggressive tank mates. This kind of feed may also be used together with flakes or crisps.
- Feed aimed to intensify the fish coloring is good for the fish appearance improving. Usualy the results can be seen in 10-15 days after you start using such feed. It contains a special agent – carotinoid – which affects the coloring brightness favorably (especially it works for red, yellow and orange colors).
- Feed for herbivorous fish has rather intense vegetable components (usually, some algae). Vegetable fiber is an important part of many fish diet. Especially such feed is necessary if there is lack of algae and plants in your tank.
- Feed for different fish species – since betta, discus and some cichlid species require special diet. So there are special feed kinds manufactured considering size and needs of these fishes. You may find feed for cichlid species produced by Tetra in pet shops – Cichlid Sticks (made as sticks) and Sera Granuar, for betta — Sera Bettagran, Тетра Goldfish Food – for gold fish.
- Blood worm is the most popular and healthy live feed, it suits all types of ornamental fish and all of them like it. Blood warm is also good for ground fish. Live blood worm looks like some kind of bright-red stirring mass. It is obtained from country ponds with slow water flow. It’s important that the water where the blood worms lived isn’t polluted with chemicals, otherwise it’ll inevitably affect the fish.
- Tubifex – looks like some brown clots that consist of long thin worms. Tubifex may live for quite a long time – for several weeks. But this is fat food and it’s important not to overfeed the fish with it. It’s also good for ground fish.
- Entomostracan (small crustacean) – daphnia, cyclopus, brine shrimp. It’s perfect feed – small and nutritious, it’s irreplaceable for fish juveniles diet, it’s good for daily feeding, makes ornamental fish coloring brighter, but it’s not suitable for all ground fish. Live crustaceans are obtained during warm time of the year and they are sold in containers with water. They should also be stored the same way (in some volume with water) – at that the concentration of live feed in such a container shouldn’t be very high. If crustacean doesn’t have enough space, it dies fast. Wash crustaceans in a thick hoop net before giving them to the fish.
Supplementary dry feed
Feed of this type as a rule isn’t used as basic one – this is a delicacy or some extra nutrition for fish, or this way one enriches fish diet with some additional nutrients. How often and how much of this feed you need depends on goals you want to achieve.
This type of feed is meant for some specific fish species, it may have some special aims (to intensify fish coloring, proper growth of fish juveniles, to manage spawning period etc.) or the feed is to be used in some different/not ordinary conditions (for example, while the fish owner is absent for several days).
For betta fish
There are also such feed kinds created to provide fish with balanced diet while their owner is away without overfeeding the fish. This feed may be of different shape (for example sticks made by Tetra Weekend), but usually they are hard and dense, they soak with water for a very long time, they also have low fat content. That’s why it’s not necessary to make any special calculations to define a portion of the feed.
Natural feed – live and frozen
Tank fish can do quite well with artificial feed. However, no matter how good and balanced all types of artificial feed are, still live natural components are crucially important in fish diet, especially if they are predators. As for the live feed nutrient value – no other food can substitute it. Also natural feed is more right and proper for fish. It is an ideal diet for predators, recovering or spawning fish.
However, despite all its advantages live feed has several significant drawbacks. First, it has rather troublesome and not long-term storage period, which means that you have to buy food often and in small portions. Second, you may not always have the possibility to buy such food. That’s why if you are making calculations of how much live food to buy, consider the number of fish you have and their appetite.
But what is the most important – live or frozen feed is always a risk of getting infection into the tank. So, live feed should be bought only from trustworthy sellers and it should be washed well before giving it to the fish. That’s why manufactures produce such feed frozen or dried, since by doing this they kill 99% of disease-producing factors.
While dealing with live feed keep in mind several important rules:
- If you store the feed in a frozen state, it’s better to get the necessary amount of it unfrozen before feeding the fish, otherwise they may get stomach injuries.
- If blood worm or tubifex is to large for your fish (you have some small fish or juveniles) it can be cut with a razor, but before you put them into the tank you should wash away their blood, otherwise it’ll provoke a bacteriological explosion in the tank.
Of course, it would be healthy to feed fish, especially juveniles with live feed every day, but not all aquarists can afford to do it very often. Besides, it’s very hard to accustom to artificial feed for the pets which have got used to natural one.
How to feed tank fish?
It’s up to you what kind of feed to choose for your pets, but as well as any other living creature they should have diversified diet and it should meet the fish needs. It’s important not to overfeed the fish, the main rule of aquarist is “hungry fish is healthy fish”, but surely there shouldn’t be any extremes. It’s right to feed the fish two or three times a day with small portions of feed (except large and demanding fish).
How much feed to give at a time – it depends on the fish. The most acceptable amount of feed is the one that the fish can eat in 3-5 minutes.