For all animal lovers out there, owning a pet comes with some serious responsibilities. Knowing what to feed, when to feed and how much to feed can turn out to be a daunting task. Animals such as fish are soft subtle creatures that are kept as a popular underwater pet choice for many people. They are harmless creatures of over hundreds of different species to choose from. For your fish to stay healthy and live a long life, looking after their diet is a crucial element for the maintenance of their well being. Keeping the fact that fish eat specific foods aside, you may be surprised to learn that fish require some of the same nutritional content such as minerals, vitamins and proteins that we humans do. Various factors are dependent on what sort of diet and nutrition your fish requires for their healthy growth. With so many different brands out there, promoting to provide the best quality of feed for your fish, it can be a tough decision to make when choosing which food is the right option for your fish. Let’s take an in depth look at information regarding what exactly fish food is and how you can end up choosing the right type of food for your fish.
What is fish food?
Believe it or not, there are many people who don’t actually understand what fish food really is and what it’s made of! Fish food is usually misinterpreted as being the typically pellets found commonly at your local grocery and pet store. But that’s just one kind of food that fish feed on. Fish food comes in several different forms, not only pellets. Feeding fish pellets every single day is equivalent to having cereal for breakfast lunch and dinner and that would be boring.
What do fish actually eat?
Just like normal human beings are either vegetarians or meat eaters or both, fish are similar in this aspect. Some fish eat meat while others prefer to feed on plants and some feed on both. With all of that being said, feeding fish beef or red meat should be avoided as red meat is relatively difficult to digest for most fish out there. The staple diet of fish includes mainly flaked fish food of the highest quality. Fish flakes are typically made up of a number of ingredients. These ingredients are enough to complete the nutritional requirements of most fish. This includes squid meal, earthworms, fishmeal, shrimp meal, and a mixture of vitamins and proteins. In order to avoid making your pet fish obese, foods rich in fat content must be minimized as much as possible. This also includes avoiding to over feed your fish as this can do more harm than any good. Excess fat affects a fish’s liver function and at the same time can kill your fish too. Therefore, reading the label of fish flakes carefully before purchasing and using the best quality of flaked fish food is essential before feeding your fish.
The Basic Types of Fish Food
The answer to this question is yes. Fish are known to feed on a number of different foods available. Foods present in the market today even come breed or species specific so as to bring maximum convenience to pet owners. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular variety of foods you can feed your fish.
Food that is dried can come in a number of different forms. This includes sticks and pellets and of course your normal flaked fish food. The best thing about these fish foods is that you can store them for a while without worrying about them going bad. It is advised however to buy dried food in small quantities so as to avoid loss of nutritive value. It should also be remembered that flaked fish food and pellets are relatively low in fiber content. This can lead to constipation, causing disorders such as swim bladder and bloating. Either this situation can be tackled through the use of adding vegetables for greater fiber gain or through ensuring that the food you buy has high fiber content.
Freeze Dried Food
Freeze dried food is the name given to foods that have been frozen and then air dried so to maintain their preservation. It’s commonly used for heat sensitive substances such as blood worms and other creatures that crawl. These foods are considered an absolute treat for those fish that are carnivorous in nature.
Frozen fish food is a mode of convenience for pet owners. All that is required for you to do is defrost the packet of food and then feed your fish. It’s made of the simplest ingredients that are high in quality.
Fish may vary in terms of what food they prefer and can consume. Some fish can feed on fresh shrimps and vegetables such as zucchini. It all depends on the species involved. Some fish can digest partially cooked vegetables better that have been cooled down at room temperature.
Certain fish species can munch on live food and prefer live food as their staple diet. Before practicing this experiment, you need to consult with experts at your local aquarium shop who possess the knowledge of doing so. After all, all fish breeds are different in nature and so are their feeding habits.
1.Tetra Cichlid Flakes –Great staple foods for fish of the Cichlid variety.
2.Tetra topical Flakes Plus –Tropical fish can thoroughly enjoy this type of feed.
3.Tetra Goldfish Flakes –Ideal flaked fish food for goldfish species.
4.Hikari Bio –Pure Dried Bloodworms- Fish of almost all kinds enjoys blood worm treats so this is a great option.
5.Tetra Freeze Dried Jumbo Krill –Krill as mentioned above is a great source of nutrition for fish. This version of freeze dried jumbo Krill is not only jumbo in size but long lasting as well.
6.Tetra Tetramin Tropical Flakes –Great staple food for all tropical fish.
7.Tetra Freeze Dried Bloodworms –Small and medium tropical fish as well as marine variety of fish can enjoy this type of feed.
8.New Life Spectrum Pellets –Highly recommended fish food for all Marine life fish species.
9.Zoo Med LRG Dried Shrimp –Popular food choice for large aquatic turtles as well as large freshwater fish or Marine aquarium fish.
10.San Fran Bay Brine Shrimp Eggs –This is an ideal choice for fish that are small in size and age. These include small baby freshwater fish and small saltwater fish species too.
How to feed your underwater pet?
Quantity of food sufficient for your fish
Getting the quantity right when it comes to feeding your fish can sometimes be a little confusing for some people. You may commonly have heard the statement that a hungry fish is a healthy fish. Overfeeding fish is a norm practiced commonly out there. But it may do more good than harm as previously mentioned. The quantity of food sufficient for your fish is based on several factors. This includes the size of your fish, its breed and the type of fish. Feeding your fish too little as compared to too much is the best rule to follow. Start off by sprinkling few drops of food into your fish’s aquarium and see your fish’s response. The adequate quantity can be evaluated by witnessing your fish finish their feed within 5 minutes.
Number of times your fish should be fed daily
Fish should be fed according to the breed they belong to and their size. With that being said however, most studies have shown and proven that feeding your fish once a day is sufficient. The exact number of times should always be consulted with your local aquarium shop’s experts or the nearby veterinarian. An important key point to remember is that a fish will always eat, even when its stomach is full.
How to store fish food
Fish food should be stored in the freezer and removed only when needed. This is done so as to maintain its preserved goodness and vitamin content. Fish food stocks should be bought in such a way that your stocks are finished within a month. Stocks that last greater than a month are bound to lose their nutritive content and vitality. These are essential elements looked upon as ways to keep your fish healthy and active.
What Nutritional Breakdowns Should Be Checked For When Buying Fish Food?
Just like humans require a certain amount of nutritional value in order to grow and maintain a healthy life. Fish are no exception, whatsoever. Fish require certain nutrients that act as building blocks of their wellbeing. Depriving your fish of certain nutrients can affect their lives, leading to outcomes such as weakness or stunted growth. All fish foods should be checked for their nutritional breakdown. This helps to analyze how good that food really is.
Fats although being the primary source of energy due their high calorie possession, should be consumed in smaller amounts. For example, it’s recommended to feed carnivores no more than 8% and herbivores no more than 3%.
Proteins are essential for the health, maintenance and growth of fish. They include amino acids that serve as building blocks. No fish diet is complete without the incorporation of proteins. It’s recommended to have around 45% proteins for carnivores while herbivores should consume around 15 to 30%.
Fiber helps to regulate digestive health of fish. This is essential for the process of digestion. Ranges of fiber levels to be incorporated include about4% in carnivores and 5 to 10% in herbivores.
Fish, unlike humans, doesn’t require carbohydrates to function properly. Carbohydrates are usually consumed by fish in the form of binding starches that act as processing agents or fillers for fish food. However, whole wheat may be added as a source of fiber to improve the process of digestion. Pet owners are advised to avoid carbohydrates as much as possible for fish food as high levels can drastically affect a fish’s health. Hence, the lower the carbohydrates –the better!
Phosphorous is a mineral that many fish require. However, being a micronutrient, phosphorous is only needed in levels ranging from less than 0.9%. Phosphorous aids in proper growth and function of fish. It must be remembered that phosphorus is also an essential element for most algae as they use it for growth. Hence, the levels of phosphorous must be monitored carefully to avoid the growth of algae in the aquarium.
Many commercial preparations of fish food available on the market supply traces of calcium. Calcium aids in promoting growth of bones and teeth in fish. Hence its value cannot be denied, despite being required in minute amounts.
Hearing about vitamin deficiencies in humans is just as common as it is in fish. Deficiencies of vitamins can lead to serious problems. Crucial vitamins required by fish include vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Vitamin H. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to diminished growth and start of deformities. Breeding health is maintained by the consumption of both Vitamins A and E. For proper development of blood cells and blood clotting mechanisms, fish require vitamins K and H. For correct functioning and formation of nails and bone, fish need Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also known to help in the process of digestion. Vitamin B also promotes digestion and proper growth. Although most commercially available food preparations contain these vitamins, the amount and diversity of vitamins that are required for fish may necessitate the need to but additional vitamin supplements. Other than that, fish food, especially the dry food variety, contain vitamins that deplete over time. For this reason, many pet owners should consult their local aquarium experts for the purchase of vitamin rich additives.
Testosterone is the name given to a male hormone that may sometimes be included in fish food. Testosterone is usually added in fish food for color enhancement. But it must be remembered that testosterone is known to produce unwanted behavioral and physical characteristics in fish. Hence it must be avoided as much as possible when buying fish food.
Spirulina, Krill and Carotenoids
Spirulina and Krill are both added in fish food as agents that naturally enhance the color of fish food. But again, like testosterone, they can have negative effects on fish and should be avoided when buying fish food. Carotenoids such as beta carotene can also be included artificially but have not seem to produce any negative effect on fish.
The Fundamental Guide To Choosing The Right Fish Food
With so many different kinds of fish available, choosing what food is suitable for your particular species of fish requires careful thought, planning and knowledge. Here is a guide that can lead to correct understanding of what food you should be buying for your little underwater creature.
Fish food today comes in an array of different sorts and formulas. The type of food chosen depends on your fish’s dietary habits as well as the type of fish involved. As mentioned earlier, certain fish are herbivores, others are carnivores and some may be omnivores. This categorization is not based on preference but on nature as the in built digestive system of all fish is intricately designed to digest certain types of food. Being a carnivore, a fish should be given a protein based food diet, obtained through sources of aquatic animals. Herbivores on the other hand are fed proteins obtained from plant sources like soy bean and no meats.
Choosing the correct food size depends on the size of your fish. Larger fish would require larger food particles. This includes sticks or larger granules. At the same time, smaller fish require smaller food particles so you can always crush larger foods and make them smaller.
Choosing the right type or format of food for your fish totally depends on where your fish comes from. Fish such as Betta prefer to eat from the water surface. Catfish on the hand feed along the ground. Other fish that lie somewhere in between prefer to eat at the middle. Small angelfish prefer to have tiny mouths that feed in crevices along rocks or sponge.
Flaked fish food are usually found floating at the water level. They are ideal for those fish that prefer to feed at the top. The reason for their popularity is their low cost, ease of availability and easy convenience. They are balanced in nutrition and can even be found with ease at online pet stores.
Pellets or sticks
Pellets or sticks are commonly found either floating or sinking to the bottom surface. They are an ideal choice for those fish that wish to feed mid water and are also a good choice for fish feeding at the top, which do not prefer to eat flaked fish food. Pellets come in an array of sizes, depending on the size of your fish’s mouth.
Fish food in granule form is again found either floating or sinking to the bottom surface. Sinking granules make up great feed for those fish that are great at feeding at mid water levels. Floating granules on the other hand are great for those fish that again feed at top levels but don’t prefer to eat flaked fish food.
Foods available in gel form are usually found slow sinking into the bottom of the tank. They are good options for fish who feed at mid-level areas. Foods in gel form are great and popular amongst goldfish owners. This is because gold fish prefer to eat foods in a mixture of varieties and this can easily be incorporated into gel form preparations. It also provides a balanced diet for gold fish and at the same time is easy way for a gold fish to digest food.
This is the name given to a type of food containing high content of algae. It’s a great option for fish that are on a vegetarian diet. They are made so they can sink slowly to the bottom surface of the tank. Fish who belong to the species of Corydoras and Placos consume algae wafers as they require more vegetable based foods in their diets.
Freeze dried foods
Freeze dried foods as mentioned above undergo a process of preservation to make them long lasting. These types of foods are a great source of nutrition and are highly recommended for fresh water fish. This is because they are able to retain the goodness similar to that of live foods.
Live or frozen- Fresh foods, be it live or frozen can be found as a number of different sources. Examples include insects such as fruit flies or crickets, egg yolk, insect larvae including meal worms and blood worms, water fleas, brine shrimps and feeder fish. Other fresh food examples include micro foods, which are basically foods that can only be seen through a microscope. Many fish love fresh foods and although they may provide great nutrition, fresh foods come with a huge drawback. This includes the disadvantage that fresh fish foods may contain some harmful substances such as toxins, bacteria or parasites. These are known to cause overall contamination in the entire aquarium. To avoid such possibilities, combine fresh fish foods with dried foods to maintain a healthy balance.
Having a pet fish comes with great responsibility. Proper health, nutrition, growth and well being of a fish are highly dependent on the type of food source with which it is being fed. Food must be given in appropriate quantities, formats, specifications and timings so as to maintain a standard. After all, only then can you expect your fish to live a long and healthy life, right by your side.