Having healthy aquarium fish starts with healthy fish food. If you do not give your fish all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive, they are far more likely to become stressed or to fall ill. Once this happens it is only a matter of time before these conditions spread to the other fish in your tank and you may find yourself with an empty aquarium. The key to keeping your fish healthy and happy is to give them a well-balanced, varied diet composed of different kinds of fish foods. Because there are so many different types of fish food available it is actually relatively easy to create a varied diet for aquarium fish.
Dietary Needs of Aquarium Fish
Like all living things, aquarium fish have certain nutritional needs that must be met if they are going to thrive and grow. The basic needs of all aquarium fish include protein, lipids (fats), carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Though all fish have these basic needs, certain kinds of fish require different amounts of certain nutrients. Carnivorous species of fish, for example, may require high-protein diets while herbivorous fish need more vegetables. It is important to keep in mind that you should feed your fish about 3% of their body weight once or twice a day. Because most species of fish are relatively small, this does not add up to a large amount of food. It becomes especially important, then, to feed your fish the right foods if they are to receive all the nutrients they require.
Types of Fish Food
While the most popular type of aquarium fish food - and also the most readily available – is flake food, this type is not necessarily the most nutritious. Generally, processed foods like flakes, pellets and granules lose a high percentage of their nutrients during processing and are thus not recommended as the staple foods in an aquarium fish diet. To keep your fish healthy, supplement a diet of processed foods with live, freeze-dried and frozen foods. Bloodworms, white worms, brine shrimp and daphnia are some of the most popular types of live foods and many of these foods are also available in frozen and freeze-dried forms. If you do choose to feed your fish flake foods, try to choose one that is specially formulated for the type of fish you have or at least select a vitamin- or mineral-enriched formula. Once you have accumulated a variety of fish foods, create a dietary routine – try to give your fish a different type of food each day of the week.
Tips for Healthy Fish
The amount you feed your fish is almost as important as the type of food you give them. If you overfeed your fish they may become obese and large quantities of uneaten fish food will build up along the bottom of your tank. This build-up of uneaten fish food will result in high levels of ammonia in your tank which could put your fish at risk for ammonia poisoning. Limit the amount of food you give your fish to a quantity they can consume in three to five minutes. This will keep your fish from overindulging and it will also reduce the amount of waste build-up in your substrate.
While controlling the amount of food you give your fish is a good way to reduce waste build-up, you cannot eliminate it completely. In order to keep up with your fish and to break down ammonia as it is produced, consider adding an EcoBio-Stone to your tank. These stones are made of porous volcanic sand and are infused with unique nitrifying bacteria. After these bacteria have been introduced into your tank they will multiply and grow, working to convert harmful ammonia into less harmful nitrates. In combination with routine water changes and controlled feedings, EcoBio-Stones are an easy way to keep your fish healthy while also keeping your tank clean and clear.