Adding garlic to the diet of your aquarium fish does have benefits. However, there's a myth floating around the internet as to what garlic can actually do. In this article you'll learn the truth about garlic and how to have healthier aquarium fish with this one simple additive.
While walking down the fish aisle in your local pet store you may be overwhelmed by the large selection of supplements available. Looking closer, you probably will not be surprised to find a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements along with other specialty products. However, there is one item on the shelf that you may be surprised to see – garlic supplements. In recent years, garlic has become very popular among aquarium hobbyists as a remedy for fish disease and for use as an appetite stimulant. Because there are so many rumors flying around about the relationship between garlic and aquarium fish it is wise to learn the facts before you use it in your own tank at home.
Garlic in Nutritional Supplements
Because your fish may not get all the nutrients they need from a staple diet of commercial fish food, it is recommended that you occasionally provide them with supplements. Garlic supplements can be very beneficial for fish and, in liquid form, they are very easy to administer. Many garlic supplements are completely organic and contain a variety of other vitamins and minerals in addition to the garlic itself. These supplements can help to boost the immune systems of your fish, and may also enhance their appetites, which can be particularly helpful if you have finicky fish that do not readily accept prepared foods. The dosage for garlic supplements may vary, but most solutions recommend a dosage around 1 teaspoon per 100 gallons tank capacity. If you have a small or even moderately sized aquarium, you may need to calculate the proper dosage using this proportion.
Treating Fish Disease with Garlic
There are a number of rumors floating around in the aquarium hobby about the ability of garlic to treat a variety of fish diseases in both freshwater and saltwater fish. Few scientific studies have been conducted, however, and many experienced hobbyists agree that while giving fish garlic may help to treat some diseases and to promote recovery from certain conditions, garlic does not actually cure disease. In a study conducted by renowned Discus fish breeder Jack Wattley, Discus fish infected with parasites were given food soaked in garlic oil for a period of six weeks. After this time, it was found that fewer parasites were present in the bodies of the infected Discus fish and that the fish regained some of their appetite, consuming the garlic-soaked food eagerly. Though garlic has been rumored to help treat other diseases such as Ich, there is little evidence to support this claim.
Homemade Fish Foods
Because most commercial foods on the market do not provide complete nutrition for aquarium fish, many aquarium hobbyists opt to make their own fish foods. Making your own fish food can be quite easy and it is a great opportunity to add nutritional supplements like garlic. Some of the most popular ingredients in homemade fish food include prawns, whole fish, spirulina , beef heart and fresh vegetables such as zucchini, peas and lettuce. Adding garlic to the mixture can make your homemade food more appetizing to fish and it can also provide a valuable source of nutrition. To add garlic to your homemade fish food, simply toss in a few cloves of chopped or diced garlic or drizzle a teaspoon of garlic oil. Once you have mixed all the ingredients, blend the mixture and then use gelatin as a binder to hold the food together. Freeze the food in small cubes to make feeding easy.
Tips for Feeding Fish Garlic
There are several ways to go about preparing garlic for aquarium fish and the method you use may depend on the intended purpose. If you are using garlic as a means of stimulating the appetite of your aquarium fish, it is best to use the oil from garlic to coat fish food rather than offering pieces of garlic itself. To do this, chop cloves of garlic then use the flat side of a knife to smash the pieces, squeezing the juice out. You may also be able to find organic garlic oil at the grocery store instead of doing the work yourself. To add garlic to live, frozen or homemade fish foods, simply mince the garlic and mix it in with the food just before feeding it to your aquarium fish.
As is true of any supplement, it is wise to avoid dosing the tank with too much at a time. If you are using a commercial garlic supplement, such as Garlic Boost, it is wise to follow the dosing instructions carefully. Keep in mind that garlic is not likely to cure any diseases but, in combination with medications and other treatments it can help to keep your fish healthy. Though it may not be a cure-all for disease, garlic and garlic supplements can certainly be a beneficial addition to a well-balanced diet in freshwater aquarium fish.