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Freshwater Aquarium Fish Diet Tips - What And When To Feed

A balanced diet plays a huge role in the overall health of your freshwater aquarium fish. Many aquarists make the false assumption that feeding only one type of food is okay. In this article you'll learn how to give your fish the proper diet they deserve.


eating puffer xs 7396601Diet plays a key role in keeping freshwater aquarium fish healthy. Many novice aquarium hobbyists fall prey to the misconception that commercial flake foods are adequate to provide all the nutrients aquarium fish need. While some commercial foods do provide valuable vitamins and minerals, these foods cannot compare to the nutritional value of live and frozen foods. In order to keep your fish healthy, you need to feed them a balanced diet composed of a variety of foods. Though it is important to know what to feed your fish, it is also essential that you know when to feed them. The frequency with which you feed your fish can impact their health as well as the health of your tank in general. If you hope to keep your fish healthy and happy, learn the basics of aquarium fish nutrition to ensure that you offer the right foods at the right time.

Formulating a Diet for Freshwater Aquarium Fish

In order to thrive, freshwater aquarium fish require a number of basic nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins and minerals. There is not a single commercial food in existence that can provide all of the necessary nutrients, so you must supplement the diets of your fish to keep them healthy. Commercial foods formulated for the particular group or species of fish you own can be used as a staple diet, but additional foods will be necessary to fill in nutritional gaps. A staple diet is simply the type of food that makes up the majority of your fish’s diet - the foods that you offer your fish on a daily basis.

daphnia frozen-cubes hikariIn order to ensure that your fish receive the nutrients their staple diet may be lacking, you should also formulate a supplemental diet. This diet should include a variety of live, frozen and freeze-dried foods such as bloodworms, white worms, brine shrimp, daphnia and whatever else you can find at your local pet store. In addition to the supplemental diet, you should also provide your fish with vitamin and mineral supplements once in a while to maintain their health. Many supplements come in liquid form which makes them easy to administer, though some supplements come in dissolving block form as well.

Recommended Types of Fish Food

food shrimp-freeze-dried OmegaOneCommercial fish foods are widely available in a variety of forms including flakes, pellets, granules and wafers. Not only are these foods easy to come by, but they also tend to be fairly cheap. When selecting a commercial food for the staple diet of your fish, don't simply pick the cheapest option – look for a reputable brand name and a type of food that has been specially formulated for the particular type of fish you have in your tank. Commercial foods are often formulated for certain types of fish such as tropical fish, marine fish and Cichlids. Your fish may also benefit from a vitamin-enhanced or mineral-enhanced commercial food. These foods are particularly helpful in maintaining healthy coloration in tropical aquarium fish.

When it comes to creating a supplemental diet for aquarium fish you also have a large number of options to choose from. Some of the most popular live foods include bloodworms, tubifex worms, white worms and brine shrimp. All of these foods are rich in protein and may contain a number of essential amino acids as well. These foods, as well as others, can also be found in frozen and freeze-dried form. While freeze-dried foods can be more nutritious than commercial foods, a large portion of their nutritional value is lost during processing. This being the case, it is wise to limit the amount of freeze-dried foods you offer your fish in favor of more nutritious live and frozen foods. Try to vary the supplemental diet you offer your aquarium fish to ensure that their diet is well-balanced.

When to Feed Your Fish

gourami xs 23228964Because there are a number of hazards associated with overfeeding your fish, it is wise to establish a feeding routine. If you plan to feed your fish at certain times throughout the day you will be unlikely to forget whether you have already fed them and end up giving them too much food. Most aquarium hobbyists recommend feeding freshwater aquarium fish small amounts of food twice a day. Only offer your fish as much as they can consume in 3 to 5 minutes and remove any uneaten portions of sinking pellets and wafers after an hour, before they completely dissolve. By following these guidelines you can avoid issues with water quality which may arise due to an excess of uneaten fish food building up along the bottom of your tank.

Whatever food you have chosen as a staple diet is what you should feed your fish most often – at least once a day. To ensure that your fish receive adequate nutrition, feed your fish their supplemental diet one to three times per week. When using the supplemental diet, remember not to give your fish too much food at a time. It is usually not necessary to administer vitamin and mineral supplements quite so frequently. One of the main benefits of these supplements is that they help to fight stress, so it is wise to use them when your fish show signs of stress or as a precaution prior to a potentially stressful occurrence. For example, adding new fish to the tank can be stressful for both the new fish and the current tank inhabitants – in this situation adding a vitamin or mineral supplement to the tank can be very beneficial. If you are able to strike a balance among the staple diet, supplemental diet and additional supplements you offer your aquarium fish they are more likely to remain healthy and to thrive happily in your home aquarium.

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