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Feeding your aquarium fish - Types of foods, nutriments, videos and forum

Frozen daphnia fish food, image 1, resized Frozen daphnia fish food, image 2, resized Frozen white mosquito larvae fish food, image 1, resized Frozen white mosquito larvae fish food, image 2, resized

Brief Description

This page describes how to feed aquarium fish properly; With focus on nutriments and types of foods. The article points at video links too. You're welcome to share your experiences or ask questions at the bottom of this page!

Fish, like other animals, need balanced food which consists of proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Most aquarium fish are fed onindustrial food, which has the form of flakes or granules. But you shouldfeed them with natural food also.

Unbalanced food can cause health problems in the tank. But carefully customized food can play a main role in resistance against infections and illness. The general rule is to feed small amounts frequently. Usually it is an amount which is swallowed in two or three minutes two or three times a day. After few weeks there should be a day, when you don’t feed your fish. It’s always better leave fish a little bit hungry, because some part of the food, which is given to the fish until it is full, crosses the alimentary tract unconsumed and then on egestion raises the cloudiness of the water.

The biggest part of natural food is usually water. The dry part consists of components of balanced food. The producers of food for fish prepare dry meals in which the hard parts are like their natural food. The producer is calculating on the fish only eating a certain amount of Joules. This means that they are determining their one diet. Most needs of fish are the same, so in most cases they will be ok.


All animal food consists a large part of proteins, so for normal growing a constant amount is needed. As you can expect, young fish need more proteinsthan the old ones.


Too many carbohydrates in the food can cause an accumulation in the liverand block it’s normal function. Carbohydrates should not be more then 15% of fish food. More than a quarter can be harmful. But the truth is, that plant eaters usually handle carbohydrates better than meat eaters.


The fish body consists of more unsaturated fat than a mammalian body. Series fat omega three, which is, according to scientists important for prevention of heart defects in humans, seems to be important for fish too. They get the most fat from plankton and the fat from these sources is usually unsaturated. The part of fat in fish food should be about 10%. If there is more fatty acids in the food, it can cause problems.


Vitamins are added to manufactured foods more than it is really needed. It partly replaces losses, which come when you pour the food into the water.The food is the only source of vitamins for fish, because there is no evidence that adding vitamins into the water is really useful. Contrariwise they can cause unwelcome bacteria to grow in the water. The best vitamins for fish are vitamins A and E, which support the immune system, and vitamin C, which is very important for stress management.


Minerals are added to fish food. To a certain extent they can be taken from the water, even if in tanks with soft water they are in smaller concentration. One of the less obvious advantages of frequent changes of water is that the level of these minerals is renewed.


Pigments or dyes are in some natural food, but they are added into the manufactured food too. They are not nutritious, but they are important for developing skin colour. Dyes are in fish eggs, where by their appearance have an influence on the hatching.

Fish according to their anatomy and habits are divided into 3 types:

  • Fish who collect the food from the surface have their upper mouth adapted for catching insects or other prey swimming on the surface;
  • Fish that feed in the water, like angel fish, which collect the food after it falls down into the water, or eat seaweeds, or other mid-water food;
  • Fish that collect food from the bottom of the tank have mouths adapted for such styles of eating.

Fish may be divided into wide groups according to their food into meat eaters, plant eaters, omnivores and carcass eaters. But this division does not alter variations of eating habits of the fish. In Lake Victoria there are more than 200 kinds of cichlids. The eating habits of these cichlids have wide variations; from eating seaweed from rocks to eating snails and other fish. There are fish like Apolemichthys bermudensis, which is basically a plant eater in winter and spring months, but is a meat eater in summer and autumn, when there is enough live food. The name carcass eaters is often misused. Usually they are included in fish which collect their food from the bottom. But most food collecting fish in any part of the water column will at least peck a dead fish on the bottom. They should be not considered a water vacuum cleaner. These fish are simply omnivorous. They do not choose what they eat.

An aquarist should pay attention to whether the fish suits the environs in their aquarium. Many cichlids will consider an aquarium full of plants as a salad bar. You should not put aggressive fish with little fish into one tank, or fish which are on the menu of other fish, because the other fish will soon be dinner for the aggressive fish.

Industrial food:

Industrial food can be found in forms like granules, pills, flakes and grains. They can behave differently in water, so they can be useful for fish in different parts of the water column. Flakes are suitable for all types because at first they float on the surface but when they absorb water, they slowly sink to the bottom.

Natural food:

There are many variants of natural food. It covers plants, protozoa, gnathostoma, coelenterata, flies, coelenterates ect. Fish love to hunt livefood in an aquarium. In nature you can find many of them, but remember, when you are going to give to fish live food you always have to be sure that the food is healthy so it will not bring disease into your tank. In food search for things that do not belong in the food and can harm to your fish like dragonfly larva, leeches or things like this. After feeding with natural food you should immediately remove uneaten food, because dead animals start to rot and cloud the water.

Homemade food:

For homemade food very suitable for fish like cichlids and discus fish you need beef heart (it makes 4/5 of the meal). The heart has to be as fresh aspossible. Remove all the fat from it, cut it into cubes, mix it with cornsprout, vegetables (like spinach) and flake food. Size of the mix should depend on the age of the fish. Then add vitamins A, C, E, and groups of B. Putthe mix into freezing bags and cut it with a toothed knife. This food is safe, unlike live food which can bring disease in your tank.

Source: Peter W. Scott – Aquarium


Feel free to download our video here (approximately 38 MB, 640x480px). Another video shows fish fed blood-worms (approximately 110 MB). Our another video shows how Angelfish are fed frozen food - Angelfish feeding video download (approximately 54 MB), and we also have a video that shows Bristlenose catfish eating frozen food - Bristlenose catfish feeding video download (approximately 58 MB).

Feel free to visit Feeding Your Fish at too!

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