Food. Every animal in the animal kingdom needs food. Some eat meat and some eat greens. It solely depends on the digestive system. All this is true for fish, and also the fish in your fish tank.
The fish in your fish tank needs a variation in their diet and make sure the food you give them contains good ingredients such as shrimp and spirulina.
You don’t eat the same thing every day, so why would your fish do it? There are different kinds of food that you could give your fish. the different variations are dry food, frozen food, live food, and even vegetables from your own kitchen.
When having your friends over for dinner, some might be vegetarians and when you cook you make sure the meat-eaters and vegetarians meal preferences are fulfilled by maybe making different food options.
The same goes for your fish. Not all are even able to eat one kind of food and you have to make sure the fish eats the type of food it needs. Some need plant-based food, called herbivores. Some need meat-based food called carnivores. And for some, it doesn’t really matter and those are called omnivores.
The fish should be fed food that mimics their food in the wild while it is rich in nutrients for you to have the healthiest and longest-living fish possible.
If the fish is living on other smaller fish in the wild, you should give food containing fish protein to your fish.
It is therefore important that you don’t mix fish with different diet needs too much. If you have surface-eating fish and they are a mix of herbivores and carnivores they will get the wrong type of food while feeding on the surface. Now, most herbivores are near the bottom since they eat mostly plants that grow from the bottom, but you get the point.
We will go through different kinds of foods and how to choose the best one soon but I will just remind you of feeding your fish small amounts at a time. It doesn’t matter if you have the best food in the world for your fish. They should still be fed smaller amounts but more times during the day. They should be eating the food within 2 minutes.
The dry food is the most popular food. It’s because it’s inexpensive, easy to store and are easy to obtain since you can get it from basically every store selling some type of pet equipment.
It consists of flakes, pellets, and wafers. These types have different purposes.
Flakes are the fish food looking like flakes and when you put it in the fish tank it will float at the beginning. After a short time, the flake will sink to the bottom. This is good if you have fish feeding from the top, middle and bottom of the tank since the flakes make sure the food will get to all parts of the fish tank.
The pellets are much like the flakes but they will not float making them more suitable for fish tanks will not as many fish feeding on the surface.
The third type is the wafers and the wafers could be different within the same category. There are wafers that you stick to the glass of the fish tank and there are wafers that sink to the bottom.
The ones sticking to the glass are often a mix between meat and plant wafers. It’s for the fish feeding in the middle of the tank. These you could drop to the bottom for your bottom feeder. It’s better if you put in a sinking wafer for your bottom feeder since they will almost always contain plant-based nutrients.
A problem with the dry food is that it’s easy to overfeed your fish. It’s fun to see the fish eat and when they have eaten up you might feel sorry for them not having any more food and you might put in more food for them.
This is a bad idea! The fish will eat the extra food. It’s in their genes to alway search and eat food, you never know (gene-wise) when you will find food next. The dry food is very rich in nutrients and that will make the fish poop more and that is risking the water quality of your tank.
Even when you get all these things right you should be watching out for another thing!
Dry food contains bad ingredients a lot of the time. A wafer that says it’s for herbivores could contain shrimp as a protein source for example. Shrimp are not very plant-based, right?
Look at all the ingredients for the food you give your fish. It contains some kind of protein. That protein should come from natural ingredients such as shrimp, spirulina algae, etc. It should come from a source the food is marketed as.
For example, a food marketed for herbivores should contain algae as their protein source and not shrimp.
The food for the carnivores should not contain beef or another kind of meat like that. It should contain shrimps and other small fishes ground up. That’s because a cow is not in a fish natural diet. It’s more common for it to eat small shrimps and smaller fishes.
Dry foods contain some sort of filler too. It’s to make it the kind of food it is. Watch out for the food containing wheat as a filler. Instead, go for the food wit peas as a filler. The wheat will pollute the water very fast and will clog your filter making the water quality bad.
The dry fish food has a best-before date and when opened it will go stale. It’s, therefore, a good idea to get the right size of the container so the amount will be eaten up within a couple of months at least.
What will happen is that as soon as you open the container the oils in the food will dry out and that makes important nutrition go to waste and your fish will get insufficient nutrition from the stale food when fed.
Frozen food is another type of food you could give your fish. It’s small animals like cyclops, bloodworms etcetera in a frozen state.
This kind of food is most of the time very popular in a fish tank. You could put them in as they are and letting them thaw in the water, releasing the goodness for you fish. Or you could, preferably, thaw them before putting it in.
This kind of food does not contain any filler. be aware though that the frozen food is mainly water and it doesn’t contain as many nutrients as other types of food.
That makes it more important to feed a larger amount with this kind of food to provide the right amount of nutrients for your fish.
You keep this kind of food in a freezer. Preferably in a separate freezer from your food that you eat to prevent contamination between the fish food and your food.
Since it’s frozen it will not be bad for a long time and you can keep it in the freezer virtually forever.
The risk is when transporting it from the store and home. It’s running the risk of thawing on the way home and if it’s thawed it needs to go into the fish tank or be thrown away. When buying this kind of food, be sure to bring a freezing bag with you to prevent this kind of mishaps.
Food that has been thawed should not be re-frozen for the same reason you should not re-freeze the food that you are eating.
Be aware of power-outage if you are keeping frozen food. The freezer could be out of power for a couple of hours making the contained food thaw. if the power goes on again and the food re-freeze it could be bad if you were not aware of the power outage.
You probably will be aware since your power provider will probably inform you of the power outage. But it’s something important to keep in mind when having frozen food.
Another food source is living food. It’s almost like in nature where the fish is hunting for living food all the time.
What you say are living food is all food that moves. For example living shrimps, worms, and cyclops to name a few.
This doesn’t mean you go out to your yard and start digging after worms to give your fish. This could bring in diseases and other nasty things from outside into your fish tank. That’s no good!
Instead, go to your closest pet store and buy the living food. That food is farmed to be fish food. That way you know you should not bring any bad things with your food to your fish tank. There’s still the risk of bringing diseases but you are very safe if you buy from a well-known store.,
Some people are bringing larvae from a nearby pond or lake to their fish tank. That’s possible to do and make you save a bit of money. You will often get a lot of larvae if you are doing it at the right time of the year and depending on where you live.
I would still not recommend it, especially for the beginner, since you still run the risk of bringing diseases and other stuff home to your fish.
Vegetables are something you probably have at home (or at least should, you are eating your veggies right?) and are a food source for your fish too.
Examples of vegetables that a lot of fish like are zucchini, cucumber, carrot, and peas.
Every now and then I suggest you put in some vegetables for the fish to munch on. Be sure to have vegetables without pesticides since it could be lethal to your fish tank lives.
Cucumber is probably the safest vegetable you can give your fish since it contains mostly water.
The vegetables could be lightly cooked to soften up a little making it easier for the fish to consume it. This is especially important if the vegetables are frozen. You will not eat frozen vegetables and neither will your fish.
Be sure to peel all of your vegetables to be sure there are no chemicals or contamination on the vegetable you put in the tank. A tip to peel peas is to peel them by lightly press on the while they are warm after the light cook.
The cost of fish food
The cost of fish food really depends on what type of food you use. It’s worth it, for your fish, to pay a little more to get better ingredients. That’s especially true for the dry food which is generally cheap. Then you could pay a little bit more to still get cheap food but with a lot better ingredients.
Vegetables could be expensive if out of season. My tip is to buy the vegetables in season to both eat yourself and to give your fish. That way you will save a lot of money.
It’s also worth paying a little bit more at a fish store to get tips from the workers if you are uncertain of which food is the best. It generally cheaper on the internet but you have less control of what you are getting if you haven’t had that food before.
If giving bad food
If giving the fish food of bad quality you risk several things. You risk the water quality to be worse and that brings an increased risk of diseases.
If having food with a lot of wheat fillers you will get cloudy water from the food when feeding. That cloudiness is going into the filter and putting more pressure on the filter. The filter will be clogged quicker and me more inefficient which lead to risking your bacteria in the end.
It will also make you have to clean the filter more often which is more tedious for you.
If the nutrition is unsufficient your fish will not be as active and colorful as they could. They will also run a higher risk of catching a disease.
To give proper and variated food is important for your fish! Having the right type of food will make your fish look better, be healthier, giving you less work because not needing to clean the filter as much and don’t risk the hassle of a diseased fish tank as much.