food 150x150 Choosing Foods for Your Fish‏A varied diet is best for your fish? I bet you did already know that, but do you know why it’s best? There are more reasons than you’d think.

The first reason, the reason that enters everyone’s mind, is nutrition! The more variety of foods your fish consume the healthier they will be and the better they will look. It is known that spirulina brings out colors in fish. But did you know that the shells that are on krill also enhance color? Did you know foods with higher fat contents will produce more eggs when spawning fish? Also, foods with lots of veggies and high in fiber are recommended for fancy goldfish and other fish with long digestional tracts. Most people have a variety of fish in their aquarium, and it’s hard to make sure everyone eats well! A variety can help.

Second, different foods act differently. Most people have fed their fish freeze dried blood worms. They know that they float on the top of the water. If you were to feed frozen blood worms instead, they will have more nutrients in them, but also they will go all throughout the aquarium. Once they’re thawed they are heavier and will sink. This can be better, if you have catfish and other feeders on the bottom of your tank, who will not feed from the top.

Flake food remains on top of the water for a long period as well. This can work out nicely for top dwelling fish like danios, guppies, tetras and the like. The challenge is that some vitamins leech out of the flake food quickly. Vitamin C is reported to dilute into the water, after 15 seconds. So those loaches or corydoras or other catfish at the bottom will never see any Vitamin C and assorted other vitamins by the time this food hits the bottom. Often this is the culprit for people saying “I can’t keep bottom dwellers alive, they always die after a few months.”

Pelleted food, which has become the most popular type of food, has almost got it right. They hold their nutrients longer and come in the varieties of floating, sinking, and slowly sinking. It still isn’t a nutritional variety though. Not every fish likes a pellet or a flake, or a worm or a piece of algae. It gives a false sense of security. Just likeif a human were to eat a salad every day of their life, eventually they would develop deficiencies. Much like the pelleted food, while extremely healthy, it’s still limited to the ingredients that went in to making it. Fats are hard to get enough of into a pellet due to fat being the thing that promotes mold and lowers the shelf life of the product.

Next, you have fish with different feeding requirements. In our experience, angelfish tend to be a lot more aggressive if they don’t have enough protein in their diet. At feeding time, their long fins can often hinder them when competing with other faster swimmers in the tank. Feeding say, a cube of frozen blood worms and some small floating pellets at the top will allow the faster swimmers to feed at the top and the angelfish to get blood worms and feed from the top.

There are other exotic fish that have a very strong preference towards live and frozen foods. Most can be taught to eat pellets if they’re fed the combination. Of course, it’s nice to have other fish in the aquarium to eat the pellets while the exotic fish is eating the frozen food. However, many times they will convert almost by accident and grab a pellet instead.

Feeding a combination of floating and sinking food can often help get food to tank mates who are shy or being bullied. If 30 pellets are on top of the water, the biggest and most active will swarm up there.  It becomes the perfect time to have a couple sinking pellets drift down to the baby or shy fish hiding in the rocks.

Of course, feeding your fish slightly blanched vegetables is essential for many species to thrive but that is a large topic of its own to be dealt with in a upcoming post.

A big factor people miss when buying food for a fish is to buy the appropriate amount. Fish food has has a shelf life of roughly 3 months from the day you open it. Make sure to keep the container closed when you’re not feeding. The more air or light that gets to the food, the faster vitamins lose their strength. As you’ll notice, most packaging of fish food only has a small viewing window. So that light doesn’t take its toll on the food.

The end result of all this varied fresh diet is a healthy aquarium. Your fish will have brighter colors, be more mild mannered, and have stronger immune systems. Also with the correct diet, fish will use more of the food taken in for energy, and as a result, less will end up as waste in your gravel. So a little more consideration of what food you are serving will drastically help every other aspect of your tank.

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