Feeding Your Tropical Feeder Fish

Care of tropical fish requires special consideration when providing them food.

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Different species of aquarium fish capture food differently — surface feeders like guppies use upturned mouths to consume flakes on the water surface, while bottom-dwellers such as kuhli loaches search through substrate for any leftover scraps that might remain.


Feeding Schedule

Feeder fish require regular and consistent feeding schedules. While their feeding habits don’t need to be exact, as a general guideline they should receive as much food in five minutes before any leftover food becomes waste in the water and begins decomposing.

Some species thrive with just one daily meal while others need multiple feedings a day; this decision largely comes down to personal choice and type of food being offered. Be wary not to overfeed your tank, however; uneaten food may lead to dangerous increases in ammonia and nitrite levels in their environment.

Feeder fish typically feed on flake or pellet foods, however it is also popular to offer other forms of live food, such as frozen brine shrimp or even fresh worms for variety. Furthermore, some species prefer grazing rather than eating solid foods; such fish would benefit from being offered small amounts of seaweed or herbivorous food to satisfy this preference.

Water Temperature

Water temperature plays an integral part in balancing ecosystem functioning both directly through physiological effects on organisms and indirectly by impacting habitat availability1. Most aquatic organisms such as fish, invertebrates, benthic plants, zooplankton phytoplankton and microbes can only thrive within a narrow temperature tolerance range and will face lethal stress if water temperatures go beyond or below their natural range of tolerance.

An adequate tank, equipped with heater and thermometer, will offer tropical fish an ideal habitat. Furthermore, this will also keep their water clean and safe for consumption.

As temperatures shift and their metabolism decreases, fish need less frequent feedings. A wheat germ-based diet will help them maintain body fat to ensure they can withstand winter’s chillier climate and protect their wellbeing. Make sure their food does not contain high levels of thiaminase which breaks down thiamine and causes deficiency issues among feeder fish.

Feeding Method

Tropic fish require special feeding methods that mimic what would occur naturally in their environment, rather than simply tossing some flakes on the water’s surface. Instead, they must be provided with what would be in their native environment as food sources.

Foods designed specifically for different species such as guppies and goldfish may come in various forms and flavors; others aim at helping bring out their vibrant hues.

Daily feedings of appropriate food should mimic their natural foraging habits in nature and keep your tank free of nitrate and ammonia build-up.

Frozen foods provide another great option and include frozen organisms like brine shrimp and mysis, or chopped frozen clams and squid. Some brands of frozen food products even come specifically tailored for predatory fish such as sharks and discus; other varieties may even dissolve slowly over time, making them great vacation feeders.

Feeding Time

Fish are natural omnivores that require a varied diet in order to remain healthy and vibrant. Since their digestive systems can accommodate an assortment of food sources, feeding your tropical fish an assortment of flakes, pellets, frozen and live foods is key for meeting their specific nutritional requirements.

Feed your aquarium fish small portions several times daily to prevent overfeeding and maintain clean tank water conditions. Doing this can also prevent overdischarge.

Wolf cichlids, for example, are carnivores and need to be fed five times per day in order to replicate their natural feeding habits. Mollies on the other hand are herbivores and thrive with one to two smaller feedings per day.

If you’re going away for several days, try TetraWeekend Tropical Slow Release Fish Feeder Blocks to keep your tropical fish fed without overfeeding or clouding up the tank. Made with top-grade ingredients and plaster-free construction, these blocks will ensure they remain happy and healthy while you’re away!