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Health Central

How To Find the Right Fish Food

There’s nothing like refueling after a long, satisfying workout. For your fish friends exploring the tank all day, it’s no different. But just like us, different fish have different diets. Many fish owners have several different species in the tank, and in the wild they’d all be hunting down their own distinct chow of choice. That’s no reason to feel overwhelmed, though. There’s a wide variety of fish food out there, and with this handy guide, your fish will be swimming the day away with full bellies in no time.

  1. First things first: Make sure you know whether your fish is an herbivore, a carnivore, or an omnivore. With the exception of unprocessed food like worms or plants, most types of fish food come in varieties that can suit any fish diet—but it’s important to make sure you know what ingredients you’re looking for before you buy.
  2. Flakes are a good place to start for any fish owner new to the game. Straightforward and convenient, they’re easy and quick to sprinkle into a tank. They can feed many fish; some feed a wide variety of tropical fish, while others are meant for a specific species, like goldfish flakes. Flakes are especially good for those species of fish that tend to hang around the top of the tank.
  3. If you’ve got some bigger fish that frequent the bottom of your tank, give pellets a try. These sink to the bottom and ensure that the bottom-feeders don’t have to compete with the spry little guys at the top. Like flakes, pellets come in species-specific varieties, too—great for a koi pond.
  4. Another option for bigger groups of fish is freeze-dried food, like bloodworms. Unlike flakes or pellets, you’re generally dealing here with whole, unprocessed worms. Since they’re freeze-dried, they’re much easier to handle than live or unfrozen worms—and they make for a quite hearty fish dinner indeed. Many fish owners use bloodworms occasionally, but not as the primary food for their fish. Bloodworms make a tasty treat for most any species, and are especially appetizing for large fish like catfish and eels.
  5. Once you’ve got the best kind of fish food for your tank or pond nailed down, you can develop a feeding schedule that works for you and keeps your fish healthy. When it comes to feeding your fish, it’s a balancing act: you’ll want to make sure that you feed your fish enough to keep them plump and prevent them from getting antsy, but if too much of the food goes uneaten it can decompose and develop some nasty excesses of bacteria, ammonia, and other substances that aren’t so great for your swimmers. As a result, it’s good to pay attention to the amount you’re feeding them, and adjust accordingly if you start to notice large amounts remaining.
  6. Finally, no fish likes to be forgotten. It’s important to make sure that your fish get fed even when you’re not around. If you’re going out of town, a feeder can do the work for you. These blocks, which you simply drop in the tank before heading out, release food gradually, ensuring that your fish get all the nutrition they need for a week or two without gorging themselves on the first day.