Feeding fish is an important part of fish care. Not all fish will eat the flakes, some require a little more thought into their dietary needs.

When you choose a fish, investigate what it needs to eat. You don’t want to discover that your fish is starving or suffering from malnutrition even though you have been putting food in the tank.

Fish fall into four basic groups of eaters; herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and limnivores.

Herbivores are fish that only eat plants while carnivores eat meat. Omnivores like a balance of both plants and meat. Limnivores or mud eaters are fish that live at the bottom and eat algae and detritus.

Detritus is the debris on the bottom of the tank, i.e. food particles, parts of plants, or fish – yes they will eat their friends if they sink low enough!

Fish not only have dietary needs, they have their own eating habits. Some fish rush to the top to eat while others stay at the bottom of the tank. Fish also have certain times when they like to eat. Some fish are nocturnal and don’t eat during the day.

Watching your fish eat gives you the chance to see if everyone is eating well.

Fish foods

Live foods: some fish prefer live foods. This might include smaller fish, such as gold fish and guppies, worms or brine shrimp. Beware when choosing to feed live fish because diseases and infections are often a problem.

Freeze dried: most freeze dried foods include only one ingredient. You can purchase brine shrimp, mosquito larvae or worms in this form. It is not a complete diet for any fish, but is a supplement.

Frozen food: take the time to find out exactly what is in the food to ensure that it is suitable for your fishes needs. Make sure it is of good quality and also find out if you need to buy any other kinds of food to supplement the frozen food. Remember frozen food should be kept frozen until you are ready to feed your fish and it should be thawed before adding it to the tank.

Pellets: pellets can be purchased for a variety of different species of fish. You can get goldfish pellets, betta pellets and ones designed for bottom feeders. Pellets are great way to make sure that any bottom feeders in the tank are getting an adequate food supply.

How much and how often?

Food should be given to your fish once or twice a day. They should never be fed more food than what they can consume in about two minutes. Any more than that it will simply fall to the bottom where it will build up and can cause disease.

You are better off feeding your fish a pinch of flakes and watch them eat. If they eat it all very quickly, give them a little more. Watch to make sure that all the fish in the tank are getting food. If you have a lot of fast fish, some of the slower fish may not be getting the chance to eat. If this is the case, adjust your feeding to accommodate the slower fish. Try wetting the flakes so that they sink faster when they go into the tank.

Don’t over feed your fish. Fish can get overweight, and this is not healthy. If you forget to feed your fish don’t panic. Fish can easily go a day or two without food, but try to feed them every day. And do not give them extra food if you are going away overnight, just give them their regular meal.