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Feeding Tropical Fishes - Live, Vegetable, and Other Types of Food

Jan 20, 2008
Most species of fish will thrive on live foods, most of which can be purchased from your local aquatic store. Live food that is fed to your fishes should be bought, or cultured if you know how too. Live food that has been caught from the wild, for example, a garden pond, could introduce diseases into the aquarium.

Daphnia are small crustaceans, and are sometimes referred to as water fleas, although they are not really fleas at all. They can be found in ponds during spring and summer, and are often sold in aquatic shops. They don't have a great food value, but fishes love them, and your fishes will certainly keep fit chasing around catching them.

Bloodworm are the larvae of midges and are very nutritious, they can be found at the bottom of ponds or even small puddles. You may have seen them as small wriggling red worm-like creatures about half an inch (1.3cms) in length, almost anywhere that holds any amount of water.

Tubifex worms live in the muddiest and dirtiest of conditions, so it may seem surprising that they are recommended as food at all. Nonetheless it is a popular choice when it comes to fish treats, although fish should not be fed too much or too often with tubifex because of the high albumen (protein) content.

Earthworms provide an excellent food, and are full of albumen, making them suitable for the larger fishes, such as large Cichlids. One reason why they are not used as often as one might think, is the fact that they have to be chopped up, before giving them to the fish.

You could try your local fishing tackle shop for these; otherwise, if you obtain your own, make sure you thoroughly clean them in fresh water. Before they can be fed to your fishes you must place them in a box and allow enough time for them to clear out their intestinal tract of sand, keep them moist.

There are many fishes whose main or only diet consists of vegetable foods. Many Catfishes belong in this category, along with some Livebearing species, and some Carps and Minnows. You usually find that these types of fishes are particularly fond of algae, and some Catfishes especially, can often be seen rasping on objects in the aquarium, and even on the aquarium glass itself where algae has grown.

As long as this algae is not out of control it can be safely left in the aquarium for these fishes to feed on. However, the fact that it is not out of control, therefore not in great abundance, means that you will need to offer your fishes extra vegetable matter to supplement their diet.

There are a great variety of vegetable foods that are suitable to feed to your fishes, some possibilities include lettuce and spinach leaves, which must be blanched (briefly boiled) prior to feeding to your fishes, slices of cucumber, peas, and of course there are a number of excellent dried foods available, which include all the right ingredients for vegetarian fishes.

There are some foods that may not have been considered by newcomers to the hobby, which don't come under the category of normal or commercial fare for pet fishes, for example, meat, other fishes, and crustaceans. These foods could be considered as solid foods, and some fish, in particular large Cichlids, do like to have solid food.

Feeding your fish on high quality flake and live food etc is still recommended, but occasionally you could try small pieces of beef heart (no fat), pieces of mussel or prawn, and pieces of fish, if you're having some fish yourself for a meal, before you cook it, cut a small piece off for your fishes, they'll love it.

If you are a fisherman, it is not wise to feed your fishes with fish that you have caught from natural bodies of freshwater; this carries the risk of introducing diseases into your aquarium. A simple little rule is that you should; feed freshwater fishes with salt water fish, and feed salt water fishes with freshwater fish. If you follow this rule you will prevent any disease from cross contaminating. One thing that you must not feed to your fishes is bread; this will swell up in their stomach and could cause problems.
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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