Nutrition is a vital key for maintaining fish health. Poor nutrition will not only affect the appearance of a fish but also its immune system. A weak immune system can lead to disease and then fatalities. It helps to keep fish immunity high as tank parameters will fluctuate on occasion.
Fish need a range of nutritional ingredients that include Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins and Minerals. Each one is dependent upon the other for maintaining health and vitality of your fish. Proteins are used for growth and reproduction. Fats help in supplying essential fatty acids to the body. Carbohydrates help synthesize proteins and fats. Minerals assist bones, teeth and scales. And vitamins maintain good growth and the health of your fish.
When feeding your fish they require only so much food as they can consume within 2 – 3 minutes. This ensures minimal uneaten food left in the aquarium and helps avoid a cloudy tank.
Overfeeding is probably one of the biggest mistakes aquarium owners initially make. Not only is the food wasted but left over uneaten food will lower the dissolved oxygen in the water and place a bigger demand on the bacteria in your filter. It can also lead to excess algae growth. A quick way to throw your tank out of balance. Snails will also love this extra food, which can quickly lead to an outbreak.
Different fish require different feeding times. Feeding fish twice a day works well to accommodate both fish types – nocturnal & diurnal. Most automatic feeders have a setting for feeding to occur every 12 hours. This keeps it consistent for your fish and makes it a lot easier for you. Smaller fish when growing have a higher energy intake and require more feeding throughout the day on a regular basis to fulfill this need. So simply feed the right amount of the right quality food at the right times consistently.
An increase in water temperature will speed up the metabolism of a fish and its food requirements. Your fish will require more food as their energy levels increase to accommodate for the warmer temperature. Conversely the opposite can be said for when fish deal with lowering temperatures.
Fish types include Carnivorous – meat eaters, Herbivorous – plant eaters & Omnivorous – meat and plant eaters. All feeding on the 3 levels of an aquarium – surface, middle and bottom. There are plenty of foods out there that cater to theses different needs. Fish will keep eating to fulfill their hunger requirements so it is essential to provide them with enough of the right fuel for their bodies.
Following are the different types of foods for the aquarium.
Flakes, Pellets, Sticks, Granules & Wafers are the preferred choice for most aquarium users because of price and ease. They will be easily digested by most fish and will accommodate fish feeding on all levels of the aquarium. It is better to have a few different types of these foods to mix it up for your fish and give them some variety.
Freeze dried foods;
These foods are extremely high in protein and are a great way to add variety to your feeding regime. These foods are completely safe for your fish because of the processing that kills any potential bacteria. The freeze dried process locks in freshness and is high in nutrition. Freeze dried foods include – Worms, Shrimp, Krill & Plankton.
High in protein and an excellent food for the growth and health of your fish. These foods are sterilized and contain no bacteria or parasites. Once thawed out, frozen foods should not be refrozen as the food is now susceptible to bacteria and disease. Frozen foods include, Worms, plankton, beef hearts, daphnia, krill, Brine Shrimp & Vegetables.
Give your fish a natural way to eat. These foods are packed with proteins, vitamins and nutrients that have not been altered by any processing. Being a natural food it will not affect the quality of your water. Care should be taken when introducing live foods into the aquarium. If not knowing the origin of the live food, it can be easy to introduce and infection to your tank. Live foods include, Worms, daphnia, larvae, brine shrimp, krill, feeder fish (eg. Guppies and Goldfish)
All fish require some plant material in their diet to satisfy their nutrient uptake. Plant eating fish will graze on any algae which is usually in abundance in the aquarium. They will also feed off certain types of plants that may be living in your aquarium. Vegetables will help add vitamins, minerals and fiber in an easily digested, highly absorbed form. Raw or cooked depending on the type of fish. Some vegetables include lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, broccoli and peas.
When storing food, place it out of direct sunlight in a cool dry place. Heat will remove a lot of the goodness from the vitamins, proteins and fats. Over time, food looses it nutritional value so throw out any out of date food or any opened for longer than a couple of months. Although this food can still be fed to your fish, you cannot ensure your fish are receiving the best possible nutrients. The way fish food is processed packed and stored makes a dramatic effect on how much nutrition it holds.
So to have a healthy aquarium its best to feed your fish a variety of high quality foods to maximize their colour, health and longevity. Do not overfeed and always remove uneaten food scraps. When in the growth stage, feed more often and include protein rich foods. A balanced diet means your fish can instinctively go for the nutrients they need in order to thrive. If the rest of your aquarium environment supports it, well nourished fish will be drawn to reproduce. A growing tank you can be proud of.