The right diet is essential to ensure the health and general wellbeing of pets of all shapes and sizes, including pet fish. Our scaly, finned friends need to be given a range of essential nutrients to ward off health problems and give them the best possible chance of living long and happy lives.
But do you understand the dietary needs of your fish? Working out what to feed your aquatic companions, not to mention how much to feed them and when, can be quite a tricky task for first-time fish owners. So to help make it easier to give your fish the right diet, we’ve put together these five handy fish food and diet tips.
Fish food: Five top tips
- Choosing a fish food. Choosing the right food for your fish can be quite an overwhelming task. There’s a huge range of products to choose from, and dietary requirements can vary based on the type and size of the fish. For example, goldfish can benefit from a good-quality flake food while cichlids typically do better with pellet foods. Some breeds prefer fish food that floats, others like their dinner to sink to the bottom of the tank. Make sure that the fish food you choose to form the main component of your pet’s diet is a high-quality product that has been specially formulated for that type of fish. It also needs to be the appropriate size and must be fresh, not stale.
- What else do fish eat? Just like humans, aquarium fish need to eat a varied diet to ensure that all their nutritional requirements are met. Although the prepared fish foods you can buy are high in quality and provide the nutrition your fish needs, supplementing them with frozen or freeze-fried fish food a few times a week. An occasional serve of live food, for example brine shrimp, may also add some extra variety, while some species will also like snacking on vegetables such as raw zucchini or cooked pumpkin. Even some finely chopped seafood will also set tummies rumbling among certain species.
- How often should I feed my fish? When feeding your fish, one of the best pieces of advice to remember is to try to stick to a feeding schedule whenever possible. Some first-time owners will feed their fish first thing in the morning, then come back a few hours later and give their pets another sizable snack because ‘they looked really hungry’. However, most fish species will do fine being fed once a day, although some owners do prefer to split this up into two smaller feeds each day.
- How much should I feed? Unfortunately, many first-time owners struggle to work out exactly how much is the right amount to feed their pet fish. As a result, they often end up feeding far more than their fish needs and as a result, run the risk of killing their new companion with kindness. Remember that your pet fish is actually quite a small creature and doesn’t have all that much room in his stomach. Overfeeding your fish can lead to water and oxygen problems in their tank, as well as lead to conditions such as fin rot, fatty liver and digestion problems. A general rule of thumb is to watch your fish when feeding and only give them as much as they are able to eat in roughly five minutes.
- Ask an aquarium expert. While it’s often quite simple to look after the dietary needs of some fish species, other species can have far more complex requirements when it comes to food. With this in mind, don’t hesitate to seek specialist advice from an aquarium expert for your particular fish. Your local aquarium specialist can take you through all the ins and outs of the right diet for your fish species, ensuring that you know exactly what to feed your pet fish, how much to give him and how often.
These five simple tips should help you understand the basics of feeding and nutrition for your pet fish. However, remember that dietary requirements can vary depending on the type, size and species of fish you own, so check with a trusted aquarium expert to make sure you’re giving your fish all the nutrients he needs.