There’s no reason not to feed your fish the best! From flake to frozen to specialty foods, there’s a quick fix for every aquarium setup to make your tank top notch.
Did you know that fish have their own unique personalities? The best way to discover them is at feeding time. You’ll see that some fish are bold and have no trouble getting a full belly. Other fish will be shy and timid, possibly not getting enough in the recommended 2-3 minute feeding window.
If timidity is the case, spreading out the feeding area and targeting some of your shy fish will help keep everyone happy and healthy.
Monitoring your fish during feeding time is the ideal way to see that everyone is eating well, as well as observing any behavior that could signal something is wrong with your fish.
Types of Food
Everyone is familiar with the classic flake fish food when it comes to feeding. However, flake food is not always the best choice for your entire aquarium.
There are lots of options to choose from, depending on your aquarium residents.
- Flake food
- Frozen food (carnivore and herbivore)
- Freeze-dried krill
- Dried Seaweed
- Species-specific pellets
- Liquid food
Some marine fish like wrasse, triggers, groupers and other carnivorous fish with larger mouths prefer frozen food, freeze-dried krill and other larger pieces of food.
Puffers are a special kind of fish, besides their ability to puff up, because they have a beak that never stops growing. A diet rich with clams, snails and other hard-shelled foods to keep their beaks ground down is highly recommended.
You may also see some larger puffers have irregular wear on one side of their beak. This is because some puffers will swim back and forth while rubbing their face against the acrylic or glass side of the tank. Unfortunately this behavior also scratches the inside of the tank.
Some marine fish with smaller mouths like butterflyfish, angels, tangs, foxface rabbitfish and other fish prefer a mixture of high-quality flake food and will graze on algae and seaweed. A suction-cup clip with seaweed or fresh greens is the recommended way to provide grazing in well-kept aquariums.
Don’t forget your reef!
Invertebrates like snails, hermit crabs and sand-sifting stars can be forgotten because they’re usually called in as the clean-up crew. While it’s true that they will pick up most leftover food that makes it to the bottom of the tank, many sea stars and snails also appreciate dried seaweed. So don’t be surprised when you see more than just fish grazing on the seaweed you provide.
Soft and hard corals as well as invertebrates like feather dusters will actively filter-feed from the current in the tank, so providing a diet of liquid food like Reef Roids is a great way to make sure that everyone is receiving proper nutrition.
Occasionally you may see a marine fish that is missing color and possibly scales from their face that may extend down the side of the fish, parallel to the spine. This is a very common disease in aquarium-kept marine fish called Lateral Line Disease. This is caused by a lack of vitamins and minerals that they would otherwise consume naturally in the ocean.
It’s highly recommended to soak frozen or pellet food in liquid vitamin supplements before feeding to help combat Lateral Line Disease. Liquid vitamins can also be added to the aquarium on a regular basis to help with the natural intake of vitamins, especially for the grazing fish or fish that are regularly fed flake food.
Taking it easy
While it can be time-consuming to keep up with the proper feeding techniques, there are some short-cuts that can make it easier.
Install an automatic feeder
We regularly install and recommend automatic feeders that dispense a set amount of food and are easily programmable. These are ideal for tanks with smaller fish that are mainly herbivores and office tanks that won’t have anyone available on weekends to feed them.
Flake food, pellet food and small freeze-dried mysis shrimp are ideal for automatic feeders.
Quick and easy frozen food
There are lots of frozen food options to choose from. While you can get flat-packs of frozen krill, bloodworms, silversides, or herbivore/carnivore gel, they can be a real pain. We offer easy-to-use cubes of frozen food that are a mixture of herbivore and carnivore diets to meet the dietary needs of all tank residents.
Simply plop as many cubes as will be consumed in a 2-3 minute period into a small cup of water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. You can do the same with clams. After 5 minutes the food will be thawed and you can simply pour it into the tank. No need to get messy hands or have smelly food sitting around.
Feeding fish is just one of the many ways to interact with your aquarium, and these tips will keep you happy with your tank and your fish for years to come.