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Feeding Tropical Fishes on Dried Foods and Flake

Jan 20, 2008
A fish needs to have all the right ingredients in its diet to live a healthy life. These ingredients include amongst others: vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, as well as fats, fibre, protein, and carbohydrate. Calcium and Phosphorous can be found in fishmeal, which is a major ingredient in fish flakes; these two components are particularly important for the development of a fish's bony skeleton.

Not all foods are designed as a staple diet, some foods such as: dried daphnia, bloodworms, or tubifex worms, as well as live and frozen foods do not necessarily contain all the vitamins and trace elements.

They are fine to supplement a staple diet, but should not be the only food you feed to your fishes; otherwise you will be faced with dietary problems developing through deficiencies of these components. These problems can be corrected by regular feeding with a high quality flake food.

The major manufacturers of dry fish foods will have formulated their flakes from natural ingredients, which will include vegetable matter; therefore there will be sufficient quantities of all the important trace elements.

Most manufacturers display a list of ingredients as well as a typical analysis on their packaging; you should look for this label when buying food for your fishes. It's the foods that are labelled as complete balanced diets that you need to look for.

The typical analysis of a good quality flake food for a general diet, i.e. fishes that like a mixed diet (Omnivore), should read something like:

Protein 35 per cent
Fat 2 - 5 per cent
Fibre 3 - 8 per cent

The typical analysis of a good quality flake food for Carnivorous fishes, i.e. meat eaters, should read something like:

Protein over 45 per cent
Fat 3 - 6 per cent
Fibre 2 - 4 per cent

The typical analysis of a good quality flake food, or a tablet or wafer type food for Herbivore fishes, i.e. vegetarians, should read something like:

Protein 15 per cent
Fat 1 - 3 per cent
Fibre 5 - 10 per cent

However you will be hard pushed to find flake food with such a low fat content as these guide figures. So you will have to compromise between flakes that are as low as possible in fat content, find flakes that your fishes will take readily, and decide on a product that you are happy with.

As with all animals, fat is very unhealthy, even more so for fishes. I'm sure that you are aware of what happens to fat when it gets cold, it turns into a solid. Do you see my point? Fishes are cold-blooded animals! Therefore, the fat that is consumed by the fish will coagulate more readily and lead to fatty deposits in the tissues, which in turn will cause degeneration of internal organs such as the liver. I would not be overly concerned by feeding my fishes with flakes of a reputable well known manufacturer.

As with most foods, either animal or human, there is little to indicate how rich the food is in vitamins. There is usually a list of vitamins on the label, but this, as a rule, doesn't mean very much to a normal person reading it.

Having said that, I've been using dried and flake foods for about twenty-five years, and my fishes have always been lively, colourful, and healthy. My experience shows, with confidence, that you can provide your fishes with dried, and flake foods which have an adequate quantity of all the vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, as well as all the other necessary ingredients that are needed for a staple diet.
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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