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A General Approach to Feeding Tropical Fishes

Jan 20, 2008
There is more to feeding fishes than just putting food into the aquarium. Not only will you find it enjoyable, but it will also give you an insight into each fish's normal behaviour pattern. In time to come you will be able to spot any differences in behaviour, which could indicate a possible health or aquarium problem.

Your fishes should be interested in the foods that you offer them, and should not hesitate in consuming it readily. Indeed, all of my fishes come to the surface as soon as they see me approach the tanks with their food. The most important point to be made is not to over feed. The more food the fishes eat the more waste they will produce, this may sound obvious, but when this is combined with any uneaten food that is undoubtedly left over from feeding too much, it causes a problem.

All of this waste will fall to the aquarium floor, and start to decompose, in turn this will produce pollutants that fishes can't tolerate, and could ultimately lead to fatalities. In simple terms, the easiest way to aquarium mismanagement is through overfeeding. Another important factor is diet; it is a fact that a poor balanced diet will be responsible for a fish's inability to fight off diseases. If a fish is to live a healthy life it must have a well balanced diet.

There was a time when dry foods were only used out of necessity, because its grade could not always be assured. Even now modern flake foods are all too often ignored or dismissed as being less than a complete diet. It's also surprising that many fishkeeping books seem to take a sceptical view of dry foods.

There's no need for this negative attitude. Nowadays it's not too difficult to provide good quality flake food, most flake foods now are of unquestionable origin, they are scientifically developed, and are without a doubt a complete diet.

Commercial foods have progressed to the point now were most species can live a lifetime on a varied diet of high quality dry foods. Indeed, if it weren't for the readily available range of staple flake foods, today's fishkeepers would find it a great problem to feed their fishes.

There are also great advantages with dry foods, they are always available, they can be easily stored; which saves on regular trips to buy them, although it should be noted that the vitamin content does have a limited shelf-life, vitamin content is usually guaranteed until the best before date, this will be on the container.

On the other hand, minerals and trace elements, do have a long shelf-life, and are not adversely affected by prolonged storage. The risk of disease or parasites being introduced into the aquarium with food is completely eliminated with dry foods.

It should however be remembered that not all fishes will thrive if fed on the same diet. For example, you wouldn't think of feeding a cat with lettuce, or a rabbit with beefsteak, it's much the same with fishes. Some species of fish require a vegetable diet, while some need live food, on the other hand there are species that do well when fed on both.

Meat-eaters are referred to as Carnivores

Vegetable-eaters are referred to as Herbivores

Fishes that eat a general diet, i.e. a little of both, are referred to as Omnivores

Mud-eaters are referred to as Limnivores

There are many different types of dry foods, such as: tablets, sticks, granules, wafers, and of course flakes, as well as others. All of these dried foods can be bought in various compositions, depending on the type of fishes you want to feed.

For example, I use sinking algae wafers, or plant chips, for my Plecostomus (mainly Herbivore, although they will eat various worms etc.), and the surface feeders such as my Gouramis, are fed on a high quality flake food, whilst at the same time, my Green Terror (Cichlid, usually Carnivore) likes to feed on the algae wafers and the flake, as well as live food.

So, there is a vast choice of foods available for your fishes, make the most of them and keep your fishes healthy, colourful and happy.
About the Author
For more information about freshwater tropical fishkeeping please visit my site at www.freshwatertropicalfishkeeping.com for 30 years or more of fishkeeping experience.
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