How Often Do You Feed Fish (and How Much)?
If you’re new to aquariums, figuring out how to feed your pet fish can be a little confusing. Do they always ask for food? Continue reading to find out how to feed fish and what you can give them.
What Do Fish Eat?
You will see that not all fish are the same when you examine the variety of fish foods available at your local pet store. There can be a huge difference in the ingredients of betta fish food and goldfish food. If the fish’s image isn’t included on the label, how can you determine what food to feed them? You need to research your fish and make some observations.
Is it carnivores or herbivores? Do they prefer to eat prepared foods, frozen foods or live food? – What size food best fits in their mouths? – Do they need floating or sinking foods? (Some fish eat from the top, middle, or bottom of the aquarium.) Are the fish able to eat the food quickly and is it tasty?
Quality of ingredients and the cost of the food are other factors to consider. If you’re curious about our 5 favorite high-quality fish foods, read the full article here.
Fish foods are often thought of as flakes, pellets and wafers. However, you can feed your fish frozen, freeze-dried or gel foods to increase their nutritional diversity.
Some frequently asked questions we get about the diets of specific aquarium fish include:
What can goldfish eat? This hungry omnivore eats almost everything – meat, vegetables and even aquarium debris. To ensure that they receive all the vitamins and nutrients they require, provide them with varied and well-balanced meals. Check out this selection of goldfish food for more information. What diet do betta fish eat. Bettas eat a carnivorous diet high in protein. You can also enjoy floating foods such as betta pellets and freeze-dried foods. However, they will also readily eat frozen and live foods. Check out our selection of betta foods to see examples of what we feed them.
How often do you feed fish?
Most fish are fine with being fed once a day, but you can also choose to feed them two smaller meals a day for more enjoyment. Growing babies and slow grazers often need access to constant food, so you may need to feed them three to five tiny meals each day or a long-lasting food like Repashy gel food that doesn’t break down as quickly in water.
When is it best to feed fish? The majority of fish are awake during daylight hours, so make sure to pick a time for your fish feeding that is not more than 10 to 15 minutes after you turn on the aquarium light. So everyone is alert and awake when the aquarium lights turn on. If you have nocturnal species such as plecos or kuhli loaches, be sure to feed them once the aquarium lights are turned off. The other fish will be less active at night, so it is important to feed them more often at night.
Nocturnal creatures like kuhli loaches may be too shy to come out and eat in the daytime, so make sure to provide some extra food when the lights are off.
Does fasting work for fish? It all depends on the fish. Some people choose to skip one or two days of feeding to ensure that overfeeding doesn’t become an issue and cause health issues. Large predatory fish only require to eat once a week. Nano fish and baby fry, on the other hand, have smaller stomachs and generally need to eat more frequently.
How Much Fish Should You Feed?
While you may hear the general rule, “Feed your fish as much as they can eat within 5 minutes,” others insist that fish only need 30 seconds to finish their meals. Because some animals are fast-eaters and others slow eaters, opinions can vary greatly. Even individuals of the same species can have different feeding behaviors. My betta fish would gobble up every piece of food until he was full, while my nephew’s fish was more picky. He would only eat food that was less than 4mm from his mouth.
The best way to determine the correct size of your fish’s portion is to observe their bellies from both the side and top. You may have seen a chart at your vet showing how obese dogs and cats are based upon the widths of their bodies. In the same way, you should aim to feed your fish until they have a slightly rotund abdomen. This is difficult to do with some naturally round animals like balloon mollies and goldfish, so make sure to look online for pictures of healthy fish.
How do you know if you’re overfeeding fish
If your fish has a swollen belly, is producing a lot of poop, or is not very interested in eating during mealtimes, they may be consuming too much food. Other signs can include piles of uneaten food at the bottom of the tank (which may grow fuzzy fungus over time), algae growth, or a population explosion in snails and worms. You may notice water cloudiness, foam, high levels of ammonia or nitrite or other nitrates in the water.
Betta fish can overeat, so give them enough food to maintain a round abdomen and not too much bulging.
Overfeeding your fish can cause problems like constipation, fatty liver disease, and bacterial and fungal infection due to poor water quality. The solution to this problem is quite simple. Feed less food, eliminate any food left over after 10 minutes, and set aside a week for fasting. You should also ensure that your fish are not fed by other relatives or roommates throughout the day.
How Do You Know If You Are Underfeeding Fish?
You might consider increasing the size of your fish’s portions if they have a thin body or sunken belly, are showing paler colors, or are gradually dying down. These symptoms can be very similar to those of an internal parasite or worm infestation. So if you are feeding your fish plenty of food but they cannot seem to gain weight, they may need some antiparasitic or deworming medication to rid them of any unwanted hitchhikers.
How long can fish go without food?
There are no worries if you’re planning to travel out of town, or go on vacation. Adult fish can often go one week without any food, depending on their size, metabolism, and the water temperature. However, if you have a tankful of newborn fry that require constant feedings, it may be best to set up an automatic fish food feeder or find a pet sitter who can take care of their needs.
Why Are My Fish Always Hungry?
Fish in the wild are not always able find food. If they do find food, they eat it all. Therefore, these opportunistic eaters constantly act as though they are starving, even if you just fed them 15 minutes ago.
Don’t let your fish’s excitement fool you into feeding them more than they need. Split their daily meal into three or four portions to make it more enjoyable for them.
Can fish stop eating after they feel full? In general, yes. When their stomachs can no longer expand, it is physically not possible to fit in more food until some digestion has occurred. Obesity and other health issues can develop if people eat until they feel full.
To learn more about how to feed a variety of high-quality food, see our top 5 favorite list.