What you feed your fish and how often you do it is one of the most important factors in keeping your underwater friends healthy and thriving.
Many people make the mistake of overfeeding their fish, or not providing them with the right nutrients. This can be very harmful to your fish in a number of ways and can lead to their premature death.
To help you avoid this, we’ve made this list of everything you need to know about feeding your fish the right way and keeping them alive as long as possible.
Different breeds have different needs
Fish can be carnivores (meat eaters), herbivores (plant eaters) and omnivores (both meat and plant eaters). It’s important that you know what category your fish fit into and feed them accordingly.
This will also impact their eating habits and appetite. For example, carnivorous fish usually eat less when out in nature due to the limited food supply, so their feeding schedule should be in line with this. On the other hand, omnivorous fish are used to eating more and tend to eat as long as there’s food in front of them.
Take all this into consideration and make sure you’re respecting the natural habits of your fish. If you’re shopping for aquarium supplies online, you should have no problems finding the appropriate food types for all breeds of fish.
The importance of variety
If you’re keeping a variety of different fish breeds in your tank, chances are they’re all going to have different dietary requirements. In this case, you should provide a combination of foods, to make sure every fish has its needs met.
It’s also important to note that fish can benefit from all types of food, so even if you only have carnivorous fish you should still provide them with herbivorous food at times too.
How long it should take them to eat
It generally should take around 2-3 minutes for your fish to complete a healthy amount of food, with 5 minutes the absolute maximum amount of time it should take.
If your fish are finishing their food too quickly or too slowly, you’ll need to reconsider how much you’re feeding them. The best way to go about this is to start with small quantities and slowly work your way up until it’s taken 2-3 minutes in total for them to complete all their food.
How often to feed them
Generally, feeding your fish once or twice a day should be plenty. Although this will depend on the breed, as some of the more slow-paced fish may need to feed less than those bursting with energy.
Young fish will also need to be fed more often, up to 3 or 4 times a day. As usual, you need to be wary of overfeeding so make sure the food is being consumed quickly and completely.
Some people also mistakenly think that the size of their fish tank will dictate how much to feed their fish. Fish in small tanks need just as much food as fish in larger ones, so keep this in mind when you’re looking for fish tanks.
The signs of overfeeding
The most obvious sign of overfeeding your fish is an excess of food remaining in the tank long after they have been fed. This food can cause the water to turn cloudy and emit a bad smell, as well as causing fungus to grow on the bottom of the tank or the plants.
This can lead to an increase in nitrate, ammonia and nitrite levels in the water, which can affect the health of your fish. Make sure you’re in the habit of tracking these compounds so that you’re aware of when they’re rising to a dangerous level. Testing equipment is available from aquarium shops and is one of the first things you should buy as a new fish owner.
The leftover food can also clog up the filter in your aquarium, so if you find yourself constantly having to clean it out, that’s another sign that you’re overfeeding your fish. Here are few tips for aquarium maintenance.
Luckily, these warning signs are all easy to spot as long as you’re giving your fish the attention they need. If you discover them in time, you should be in an excellent position to reverse the damage before it gets too serious and keep your fish happy and healthy.