Food For Fish

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Food For Fish is a global seafood blog on sustainable fisheries, conservation, and ocean stewardship. We cover the most critical issues facing our oceans today, such as overfishing and illegal fishing. We also share exciting stories about fisheries and cultures around the world.

Food For Fish

Having a dog or cat as a pet is quite common these days. People who have dogs or cats as their pets usually know how to take care of them and what to feed them. But if you have fish as a pet, we know you will want to know everything you can to take the best care of them. Fish are usually content with fresh and clean water, a big tank with water plants in it to swim freely, and store-bought fish food. Still, some people who adore their fish like to go the extra mile and make food for fish at home. If you want to give homemade food to your fish, we have some recipes that you can try.

Advantages of Making Fish Food at Home

You can always give store-bought food to your fish, but making food for your fish at home has some advantages to it –

  • The dry flakes that you buy for your fish from shops undergo many treatments, which is why they turn flaky and last long. This means that there are always chemical preservatives present in the food. But when you make food for your fish at home, you know it will be fresh and healthy.
  • By making food for your fish at home, you can save a lot of money. Most of the food that we usually throw away can be eaten by fish. So make a habit of saving it – you can use it for making food for your fish.
  • When you make food for your fish at home, you have the freedom to get your fish the best ingredients.
  • You can control the number of nutrients to include in their diets and even cater to their specific needs.

Types of Foods That You Can Give to Your Fish

Fish enjoy a variety of foods. Some fish are herbivores, some omnivores, and others are carnivores. Depending on the type of fish you have, you will need to prepare the food. Most fish are omnivorous and can thrive on a diet containing veggies and seafood. Here are different types of food that can be used to make your fish food:

  • Fresh seafood
  • Organs and meat (with no fats)
  • Spinach and lettuce
  • Root vegetables, broccoli, and carrots
  • Small quantities of fruits
  • Flour and corn
  • Raw eggs
  • Spirulina

Feeding Your Aquarium Fish the Right Type of Food

Koi Fish eating in an aquarium

The fish food section at the pet store can be overwhelming to a novice owner. First, learn more about your fish species, starting with whether the species are meat-eaters (carnivores) or vegetation eaters (herbivores). From there, options to choose from include:

  • Dry Food: When you think of fish food, you think of flakes. That’s the most common option for feeding a tankful of fish, but dry fish food also comes in granules and pellets, sinking, and floating varieties, as well as options for specific species. Dry fish food can be lower in fiber, but adding vegetable foods to the diet will help reduce the risk of swim bladder disorders and bloating for vegetarian species. Pet stores may also sell sheets of dried spirulina or nori algae, which are great for herbivorous fish to nibble on.
  • Frozen Food: Some fish will enjoy frozen food, such as shrimp, bloodworms, plankton, prawn, krill, or mussels. Pet stores often also sell frozen spirulina cubes for feeding herbivores.
  • Freeze Dried: Tubifex worms and Mysis shrimp or other foods can be found as freeze-dried cubes. These are very nutritious and great for carnivorous fish.
  • Live Food: Options include live brine or ghost shrimp, feeder fish (for larger carnivorous fish), crickets, and worms.
  • Greens: If your fish are the type to munch on aquarium plants, such as anacharis, give them greens as well. Options include lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and spinach. Clip the greens to the side of the tank or fasten them in place near the substrate, but remove or replace the uneaten vegetables within 24 hours. Fish such as plecostomus love to eat fresh greens.

The biology of different fish means they often need different food. Therefore, if you have a variety of fish in your aquarium, use a combination of food—such as floating foods, slow-sinking foods, and rapidly sinking foods—to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need.

How Much to Feed

Fish owners are more likely to overfeed their fish than underfeed them, which increases the amount of waste in the tank.1 This is not only the waste left when the fish do not eat all the food but also the waste is excreted from the fish because they’re eating more than necessary. If you find that ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate levels are going up and the tank seems polluted, you’re probably overfeeding the fish.2

Adult fish can be fed once a day, around the same time, though you can feed them multiple times a day if you’re giving them a smaller amount each feeding. Young fish may need three or four feedings a day. Herbivores typically don’t have large stomachs to hold a lot of food, as in nature they would nibble on algae and plants throughout the day. They can be fed more frequently than carnivores, or given live greens that they can snack on throughout the day. Follow the rule of thumb that you should feed the fish only what they will eat in five minutes. If there is food left after that time (except for the fresh greens), you are feeding too much. One exception is for fish that are nocturnal (night time) feeders, where you should put the food in the aquarium in the evening before turning off the lights, and let the fish eat overnight.

Don’t take the size of the aquarium as an indication of how much food is needed. Five fish in a large aquarium need the same amount of food as five fish in a smaller aquarium—just spread it out across the aquarium so everyone can get to it easily.

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