Fish Food Options and Feeding Tips
by Ruby Bayan
Many different types of food are available for your fish. Here's a list of prepared and live foods to help you make intelligent choices. Plus: Feeding Tips!
- Fish Flakes - The most common commercially available food comes in the form of flakes. The advantage of using flakes is that they float for a while (which helps the surface feeders) and then sink slowly as they get soft and saturated (which benefits the mid-water feeders). Eventually, flakes sink to where they can be eaten by the bottom feeders. Fish flakes are being manufactured in various compositions that address different fish requirements. Some flakes actually enhance the color of the fish while others flakes promote breeding. Still other types are designed to provide special nutrients to juvenile fish. You can even buy flakes that are made to help ailing fish. Flakes will probably always be the best food form for small fish and picky eaters.
Feeding Tip: Drop a pinch or two of fish flakes and observe the consumption rate of the feeders. You can then add a little more if it appears necessary. You may even need to reduce the amount in the next feeding if too much is left uneaten.
- Pellets - Much like fish flakes, pellets are geared more towards surface feeders because they remain afloat longer than flakes.
Feeding Tip: Remember not to overfeed. Scoop up pellets that have sunk and remained uneaten.
- Tablets - Most tablet preparations can be stuck to the wall of the aquarium at any desired level. This makes it possible for you to address the special needs of all of the various fish in the aquarium.
Feeding Tip: Be sure all of the fish are able to reach the feeding station level you choose. Some varieties of fish may only be able to eat food that appears to ride the various streams of water flow in the aquarium. You may need to combine tablets with other forms of food.
- Granular Food – This type is best used for bottom dwellers because it sinks quickly.
Feeding Tip: Use granular food only when bottom feeders are not getting enough sunken flakes or other types of food. Granular foods are also ideal for nocturnal bottom dwellers since they need to be fed separately.
- Frozen and Freeze-dried Fish Food – It is obviously much more convenient and safer to use this type of food than live food. Frozen or freeze-dried tubifex worms, brine shrimp, bloodworms (midge larvae), mosquito larvae, and water fleas (daphnia) are nutritious (they have the same nutrients as their live counterparts) and disease-free.
Feeding Tip: Fish do not always enjoy eating freeze-dried foods as much as live, frozen or natural foods. Give your fish time to get used to them. Be sure to use a weighted container when feeding bottom dwellers.
- Live Food – Most fish like to eat live food that’s been harvested from ponds or homegrown in cultures. In fact, your fish will enjoy pursuing these natural, wriggling, elusive prey that are so similar to what they would hunt if living in more natural or wild habitats. Live food is also the most nutritious kind available. Starter kits can be purchased if you desire to breed your own whiteworms and grindal worms. Brine shrimp eggs are also available for hatching and feeding young fish.
Feeding Tip: When gathering live food from ponds and streams, be sure to rinse them free of dirt, predators, and dead specimens. Always be sure to scoop out uneaten live food before they die and contaminate the water.
- Vegetables - Herbivores and omnivores will appreciate hand-chopped fresh vegetables. They prefer potatoes, peas, spinach, lettuce, chard, and zucchini.
Feeding Tip: Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Remove uneaten pieces promptly. During meal time, try planting lettuce leaves as a special feast for your herbivores.
- Food Scraps - Human food scraps - such as bits of crumbled cheese, oat flakes, fish roe, wheat germ, raw (lean) meat, cow liver, cooked chicken breast, and hard-boiled egg - can be nutritious additions to the diet of your fish.
Feeding Tip: Remember to feed conservatively. Feeding kitchen scraps to your fish is just a novel way of adding variety to your fish community's feeding requirements.
See also: Feeding Basics and Specific Fish Diets