What To Feed Aquarium Fish | All Options For Fish Keepers

Choosing Your Fish Food

Fish are popular and fun pets that are great to have in any home. If you plan on getting a fish from a store, you want to make sure you have everything you need. A proper tank, a good filter, and plants are essential when creating the best home for your fish! 

Still, if you want to ensure your fish’s health, one other important item must be purchased. Fish food is a crucial part of your fish’s health and well-being. So make certain you get the right food for your pet fish. 

Some fish are known to be picky when eating. Other pets only eat certain types of food so your choice in pet food is essential. In this article, we will get into more details about the type of fish food that will be right for your pet. However, you might need to do some research on your own fish to fully understand their needs. 

An Overview on Fish Food

There are many types of fish foods available to you. It can be hard knowing which food is right for your fish. You don’t want to buy the wrong food or lower quality food. In addition, you should make sure you are feeding your pet properly. 

Overfeeding your fish can cause dire health consequences for your pet. We will get into this later on in this post. But it is important to learn more about your fish and the food they eat. This way you buy them the food they need. In this article, we will introduce you to the basic fish food types, as well as, general feeding information. But know that each fish has special feeding requirements. 

Still, we will provide you with many useful tips, so you make the most out of your food purchase. Again though, do a little bit of digging on your own pet. Knowing what types of food are out there are the first steps to success. But you should also know what types of foods your pet likes. This way, you can find a quality product for your pet to consume.

What Can Your Fish Eat

There is an assortment of food options when it comes to a pet fish. Fish food comes in several forms. They also have different nutritional benefits, but this depends on the type of food. Some fish have a big appetite and will eat anything you put in a tank. Other fish won’t eat some of the food you put in your tank. 

As we mentioned, do a little bit of research on your pet to see which foods suit them best.

In pet stores, fish food is also labeled for specific fish species. So be on the lookout for those as well. 

Fish Flakes

Aquarium fish food flakes isolated on white background

Fish flakes are available anywhere pet food is sold. They are also well-liked by fish and pet owners. Fish flakes are inexpensive and easy to get access to. This makes them a great food choice for new fish owners. Flakes have the basic nutrition your fish needs. Some flakes are also tailored for specific breeds. 

However, know that they are less nutrient-rich than other fish foods. Live foods or freshly made food will give your fish more benefits. For most species, you won’t want to use flakes at every feeding. Try looking at some other food options for your fish.

Pellets

Algae wafer for aquarium fish over white background

Pellets better encompass the nutritional needs of your fish. They will give a fish the most nutrition in a small-sized pellet. You can use pellets to feed your fish every day. This type of fish food is priced around the same as flakes. So consider giving them a try. We recommend this product the most for people new to fish. Pellets are among the best food for fish!

Bettas, goldfish, carp, and many other fish like this type of food. And different pellets are made for different types of fish. We recommend going with a pellet product that is made especially for your pet.

Vegetables

Many fish like to munch on aquarium plants in your tank. If you have a fish that likes greens, try giving them some vegetables. This will provide some extra nutrition in their diet. There are plenty of options in this category. Lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, carrots and other vegetables can be a great snack for your pet. If you have pet shrimp or snails, they will love some veggies to munch on as well.

Whatever you choose to put in your tank, make sure it is okay for your pet and cut at the appropriate size. All kinds of fish like vegetables and will eat some if they are put in your tank. Just take any leftover greens out of your tank after 24 hours. You don’t want them to rot and pollute the water.

To make sure the vegetables sink to the bottom of the aquarium, blanch them by cooking them for a couple of minutes. This works especially well with lettuce. Other ways include weighing the vegetables down with things like a fork, but I invite you to get creative here!

Freeze-Dried Food

Frozen bloodworm close up. Food for aquarium fish. Freeze bloodworms fish food for aquarium.

Another nutritious food you can purchase for fish is freeze-dried fish food. With this option, you get many of the benefits of fresh food, but the moisture is taken out. You can find freeze-dried food in the same section as live food. This type is not nearly as nutritious as live food. Your fish will get more value out of it in comparison to flakes or pellet based food. Overall, freeze-dried food is pretty cheap and can be used on an everyday basis for many fish.

It can also be stored for way longer compared to live food.

Live Food

The last and most nutritious food we will introduce to you is live foods. Live food is harder to get ahold of and can be a little pricier than other foods. Still, the benefits of live food are undeniable. Your fish will live a longer and healthier life with this kind of food. 

Overall though we don’t necessarily recommend this food for beginners. Some fish might not be suited for this type of food either. Most small fish do better with pellets and other small foods. 

In the past, live food was the only way aquarists could feed their fish. Nowadays, pellets and flakes fulfill most of the nutritional needs of your fish. They are perfectly formulated for your pet. It is true that live food provides nutrients not found in formulated fish foods, but as we said, it can be harder to find and even keep live food.

The upkeep for live food might be unappealing for people just getting into fish keeping. But if you are willing to do a little research you can reap the benefits of this substance. It just takes some effort.

Water flea (Daphnia magna) is a small planktonic crustacean under microscope view for education.

Fish like Betta and Goldfish typically like small worms or insects as live food. But you might have to chop up these foods. Cut up worms are the easiest and cheapest method of live feeding for small fish. For bigger fish, you can feed them whole shrimp, crickets and other critters.

If you want to keep things simple for yourself, then try getting frozen live food. They are a little less nutritious but you won’t have to worry about contaminated specimens and disease transfer. Upkeep is also very easy, you just keep the food in a freezer. Some fish require more protein an meat in their diet so live food or frozen live food could be a necessity. Again, it depends on your fish.

Nutrient Additives

Feeding your fish a mix of different foods can offer the best nutritional results. If you want some added benefits, you can even add nutritional additives to your tank. These liquid foods are good for younger fish, corals, filter feeders, and other tank inhabitants.  If you want to boost your tank a little, try these products out. They are cheap, give your tank vitamins and other missing nutrients. You might not be able to give your tank community a ton of variety, these additives help fill in the gaps.

Snacks

Finally, there is a category I would describe as snacks. From this category I would not recommend feeding too often, as it can make your fish fat or it does not include all the necessary nutrients. It’s really important to feed a complete diet, but treating your fish once in a while is no problem.

Examples of popular snacks are tubifex or dried bloodworms.

The Importance of Properly Feeding A Fish

Feeding a fish is not that difficult. But, you don’t want to drop pellets or other food in your tank without knowing what you are doing. To keep your fish thriving in its tank, food should be measured and given at regular intervals. Keep your pet on a schedule. If you plan on feeding your fish twice a day, feed them once in the morning and once at night. If you plan on feeding them a third time, fit this in during the afternoon.

Amount of Fish Food

When it comes to the amount of food, not every fish eats the same. A fish will need a certain amount of fish food depending on their size and species. Keep this in mind when you feed your pet fish. For instance, most Betta fish eat two to three pellets per meal. If a Betta is larger, it can be fed up to three pellets in a day. Other fish might need more or less pellets. This will, of course, depend on the fish type and the size of the food. 

The label on your product should give you feeding instructions as well. But if you are still unsure, look online to see how much food your specific fish needs. Each fish species varies in food intake. But as a rule, you can give your fish an amount that can be eaten with three to five minutes.

Sometimes, you might be giving your fish to much food. In this case, check the water. Leftover food floating in the water means you have given your fish too much food. If you see this try reducing the number of pellets you put in your fish tank.

How Often to Feed a Fish

When it comes to feeding times, most fish should be fed once or twice in a day. Older fish can survive on less food in a day. So a once a day feeding can be sufficient for your pet. Younger fish are different though. They will need three to four meals per day to supplement their growth. 

On the whole, though, you don’t want to overfeed your fish. Your fish’s stomach will expand uncomfortably, and your fish can get constipated. Constipation can lead to a loss of hunger in your pet. They can also get a bloated stomach accompanied with stringy white substances from their belly.

Why You Don’t Want to Overfeed Your Fish

You want to avoid this at all costs. When your fish is constipated for a long time, this can lead to further complications to your fish’s health. Swimmers bladder is one issue your pet could develop. This health issue stops a fish’s swim bladder from working right. This organ helps your fish navigate in the water and helps them swim upwards and downwards.

 If you notice your fish is not swimming around like usual, they might have this disorder. If your fish has Swim Bladder, the best thing to do is to stop feeding your fish.

How to Deal With The Effects of Overeating

Fish can survive with very minimal amounts of food for varying amounts of time. For instance, Betta fish can live fourteen days without food. So, with this particular species and others, it is better to skip a feeding and let constipation disappear on its own. 

No one wants to starve their fish, but it is better than creating more problems with more feedings. With any species of fish, a small fast should not cause any harm. It can even fix swim bladder and other intestinal issues.

If this does not heal your fish, try soaking your fish food in water before putting it in the tank. The water will soften up the food for your fish’s digestive system. This will make it easier for their food to pass through their body.

Conclusion

Fish food offers a wide range of options for your pets and tank. Each fish has its own requirements, but with the basic information we have provided, you should be well on your way to finding a food that could suit your fish. Fish need nutrients and vitamins just the same as any other pet, so make sure you are getting the best quality food for your pet!

Bart Sprenkels

I have been keeping multiple aquariums since I was 18 years old. Just like many of you, I started with two goldfish but quickly learned they were not suitable for aquariums. Later, I switched to a tropical community tank and I also have two pet musk-turtles in a bigger aquarium. You can read more about me here.

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