Feeding your fish right.
Good filtration, tick. Right amount of fish, tick. Nutrition – ah yes, the third fishkateer in your home aquarium adventure. Once you have your scaly sidekicks’ menu and feeding schedule sorted, you’ll actually reduce the amount of maintenance needed on your tank, and your fish will be wide-eyed happy and healthy. (OK, so their expressions won’t look any less caffeinated, but they will have a bit of spring in their swim.)
So, what makes nutrition a can of worms worth opening?
- The health of your aquarium fish depends on good nutrition.
- What you feed your fish and how often will have a reel impact on the ecosystem of your aquarium.
Now that we’ve got you hooked, let’s talk through the nutrients your fish should be eating; how to go about feeding them; and ways to avoid stuffing your Silver Angelfish.
Omega-3 fatty acids.
Aquarium fish need nutrients to stay healthy – just as much as your dogs, cats and other animal friends. And fishmeal is the Catch of the Day for any underwater diet. It’s your fish’s best source of the mega-important amino acids. Fishmeal also provides a good helping of fatty acids, including omega-3s, which play a major role in aquarium fish development. Omega-3s are poly-unsaturated, fatty acids found primarily in fishmeal and fish oil.
You’ll want to make sure your favourite Fantail Goldfish has his fill of Omega-3 fatty acids. Always keep your eyes open (of course, Goldie would prefer you didn’t blink) for signs he may not be getting enough Omega-3s. These may include:
- Slower growth rate and feeding.
- Less resistance to bacterial infections.
- Fish distress, well beyond those bugging eyes.
Vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins and minerals should be on Costeau’s menu, and just how much will depend on his breed and needs. Vitamins are top-of-the-line for growth, better metabolism and an immune system as strong as a seahorse.
Minerals play an important role in cellular membranes, soft tissue components, blood, and all the structural stuff associated with bones, fins and scales. Your favourite Flowerhorn, will also be absorbing dissolved minerals from the water through his gills, fins and oral epithelia.
Proteins and carbohydrates.
Mum always popped a little green on your plate, right? Same goes for your fish: Plant extracts, such as proteins and grain byproducts, play a big part in Ariel’s health, and should be fed to her on a regular basis. Wheat contains reel essential nutrients, and with proper thermal processing helping digestion, these goodies become a great source of energy. Glide. Zip. Zing!
Keeping your fish floating, not bloating.
The problem with overfeeding our fish is that it’s so easy to do. We walk past the tank and swear our first mates have their eyeballs pressed against the glass, mouthing, I’m so so so so hungry – gloop, gloop! Unfortunately, fish that eat more than they need produce more fishy-poo as well, which builds up in the aquarium, causing water quality issues that can affect their wide-eyed wellbeing. And that’s not even the whole can of sardines.
Other problems with stuffing your Scooter Blenney:
- Cloudy water – your aquarium will be tanking in the looks department.
- More fish waste, whether the food is eaten or not, which means more maintenance for you.
- Algae growth – and last we checked, ‘slimy’ wasn’t in the ‘best aquarium looks’ department.
- Fish become stressed – and you hate to see your beloved Butterfly Tail clam up.
- Potential disease – that’s right, one poor, sicky fishy.
So, what’s the best way to feed our fish without the frenzy?
Start by feeding Bubbles a small portion, first. Allow 30 seconds to go by, and then see what’s left. By all means, give him a little more if needed. Repeat this process three or four times, at the most. You’ll know you haven’t fed too much when, one minute after the last feed, no food can be seen. The whole mealtime in total should take just a few minutes.
Or, cast your eyes this way for more on fish health ».