While feeding your fish seems like a pretty straightforward task, there are some important details that could make the difference in helping keep your fish healthy and happy for a long time to come.
It’s important to understand the feeding requirements of the species you are keeping. Are they predominantly herbivores, carnivores or omnivores? Knowing the special needs of your fish will help you provide them with the right nutrition.
Fish are normally fed at the beginning and end of the day. That being the case, always ensure your fish are fully active before feeding time. The lights should be on for a minimum of 30 minutes at the beginning of the day and for at least 30 minutes after feeding at the end of the day.
In general, feed active fish the amount they will consume in two minutes at a maximum frequency of two to three times a day. Fish that are slower to find their food, such as many bottom feeders, can be allowed a couple of extra minutes to feed.
When feeding dry foods to your fish, use the bottle cap to measure and pour an adequate amount of food into your aquarium. Never use your fingers to grind up larger flakes and never put your fingers in the container.
Make sure to feed a variety of foods to offer your fish a complete, balanced diet. Frozen foods contain a lot of water and the nutrition content is typically lower than a complete dry food mixture, but they still provide fish with a natural organism to feed on. Live foods are great, so where possible make sure to incorporate them into their diet.
Finicky species of fish usually gravitate to live or frozen foods, however, even the pickiest fish could be tempted to feed on dry foods when they’re mixed into their favourite live or frozen meals. Your fish will not only benefit from a truly balanced diet that meets all their nutritional requirements, it will also make feeding that much easier if you expect to be away for an extended period of time.
Keeping compatible fish species together is also important. Fish that have very different feeding behaviours or activity levels will often impede other fish from feeding properly, so make sure the fish you keep truly belong together. Ask your local aquatic retailer for advice or consult the many great online resources that can help you determine fish compatibility.
Fish acclimate to the temperature of their environment and any changes could affect their metabolic process, which in turn, could disrupt their feeding pattern. This is especially true when aquarium temperatures are kept too cold. The importance of daily temperature checks cannot be understated to ensure you avoid changes in water temperature.
Consider adding sinking pellets to your bottom feeder’s diet rather than focusing on traditional tablets only. A mix of pellets also provides better distribution throughout the tank, making it easier for fish to find and consume the food.
Observe your fish when they are feeding because healthy fish are hungry fish. While they are visibly feeding, it will be easier to spot any incompatibility issues, diseases or other issues that you may need to be addressing.
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