The Key to Healthy, Happy Fish: Finding the Right Fish Food
Date Posted:24 June 2022
What Do Fish Eat?
Can't decide what fish food to feed your underwater friends? Like us, fish eat a wide assortment of things. However, their particular diet depends on their natural habitat. Generally, they fall into three categories: carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.
What Food Should You Feed Your Fish?
If you’re new to keeping fish, you may feel overwhelmed selecting the best food to feed your fish. But don't worry; we'll help you learn about the various fish food categories and how to figure out what to feed your pet fish. The first step is identifying whether your fish eats meat, plants or both.
Carnivore fish are meat-eaters; they require a high-protein diet comprising plenty of dead or live meat. This also means these species can't digest high quantities of carbohydrates in their diet. So, even when they eat plants, there's no way they'll be able to derive nutrients from them. In addition, predatory fish tend to be aggressive, as most chase down their prey. That's why they're typically not suitable for a community tank. The best food for these fish include insects, bloodworms, brine shrimp, smaller fish, other live foods and dried foods.
Some examples of carnivores include:
- Angel fish
- Freshwater stingrays
- American cichlids like oscars, green terrors and green severums
Herbivores only eat plant matter. In their natural habitat, herbivorous fish graze on plants, algae and other plant matter. Their diet consists of high amounts of fibre, which is difficult to digest; thus, they have a longer digestive tract than carnivores. What's surprising is that they don't have a true stomach; instead, they have special intestines to digest their food. There are actually a minimal number of true herbivorous fish, as most fish require at least a small amount of meat protein in their diet. Recommended foods include plants and algae; vegetables like lettuce, peas, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli or carrots; and dried fish foods with higher spirulina and algae content.
Some examples of herbivores include:
- Catfish such as Bristlenose catfish or Farlowella whiptail catfish.
- Surgeonfish like Naso tangs, Yellow tangs and Blue tangs
- Mbuna cichlids like Electric yellow, Cobalt blue zebra, Saulosi and Demasoni
- Silver dollars
- Molly fish
Omnivores get the best of both worlds. Because they share some digestive traits of both carnivorous and herbivorous fish, they can eat both meat and plants. Omnivores are the easiest fish to feed. They will love fish flakes, pellet food, live foods and everything in between. Therefore, they make the best choice for a community tank.
Some examples of omnivores include:
- Livebearers such as Guppies, Platies and Swordtails
- Tetra species such Neon tetras, Congo tetras and Rummy nose tetras
- Corydoras catfish such as Panda cory, Sterbai cory and Jullii
- Silver sharks
Benefits of Different Types of Fish Food
1. Fish Pellets
Fish pellets make excellent pond fish food for koi, as well as aquarium fish food for all sorts of species. Some fish pellets are designed to float in water, and others to sink to cater for top-feeding and bottom-dwelling fish. Moreover, fish pellets disintegrate slower in water than other fish food. This way, it's easier for the fish to finish their meal before the food deteriorates entirely and pollutes the water. Pellet foods generally also have a longer shelf-life than other fish foods, so they’re a popular option for many aquarium owners looking for betta fish food or tropical fish food.
2. Fish Flakes
Fish flakes are another popular aquarium fish food. Fish flakes float for a period of time and then slowly sink to the bottom, giving a chance for all fish types in the aquarium to feed. As a result, fish flakes are generally the preferred choice for community fish tanks where diverse species of fish coexist. You'll find a wide variety of fish flakes to suit various kinds of fish.
3. Sinking Wafers
Sinking wafers or tablets are designed to sink slowly to the bottom of the aquarium as the food softens and breaks down over time. This provides a great food source for catfish and plecos, as well as other bottom-feeding fish, who love to feast on the bottom of your tank.
4. Powdered Food
Powdered fish food is excellent for baby fry or juvenile fish since the powder is tiny enough for their little mouths. You can sprinkle it straight into the tank or mix it with water before feeding it to your baby fish.
5. Freeze-Dried Fish Food
Freeze-dried foods are natural, meaning they are not heavily processed. They have a high-protein content, so they are great for carnivores and omnivores. Additionally, because it’s freeze-dried, most of the live animal’s nutritional value is still preserved. So, it's an excellent way to provide for your fish's protein needs. Freeze-dried food typically includes brine shrimp, blood worms, krill, plankton and other invertebrates.
6. Frozen Fish Food
Frozen fish foods are typically blood worms, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill or daphnia. These foods tend to have a more consistent quality and are even more nutritious than live foods, making them the best food for omnivores and carnivores. Plus, they are convenient as you can store them in the freezer.
7. Live Fish Food
There are some fish species that will naturally only feed on live fish, live crickets or mealworms. So, until you train them to feed on dried fish food or frozen live food, you must get them live fish food. Luckily, most local fish and pet stores typically supply sustainably farmed live foods, so you don't have to worry about infectious diseases or poor-quality fish food.
How Much Should You Feed Your Fish?
If there's one thing you should know, it's better to underfeed your fish than overfeed them. Feeding them too often can lead to a string of problems, starting with polluted water. This can lead to lower oxygen levels and clogged filters, resulting in sick fish. A general rule of thumb is to give them fish food they can consume in about two to three minutes. Start with small quantities and observe how fast your fish can finish their meal. If the food is completely gone in less than two minutes, add a bit more. Before you know it, you've figured out how much food to feed them. Removing any remaining food with a syphon hose or net is also essential after five minutes.
Feed Them Right With Aquarium Kingdom
You can keep your fish in optimum health by buying the right food for them. But of course, quality is just as important. Luckily, Aquarium Kingdom features Australia's most-trusted fish food brands and a huge range of fish foods to boot. So, get your fish food here for healthier, happier fish!