Providing fish a nutritionally balanced diet is essential to growing a healthy stock of fish. In terms of fish farming, the variety of fish feed must be carefully considered because feed represents 50% of the production cost.
There are many different types of freshwater fish feed readily available today. One can provide a variety of food for their fish depending on their individual feeding requirements. While some aquarium fish may be able to survive on a limited variety of food, this does not necessarily mean that they are living up to their full potential. A wide variety of quality food within the species’ feeding parameter is beneficial for the long term health of the fish.
Today, due to advancements in aquaculture feed, farmers and hobby fishkeepers both are able to enjoy a greater variety and a better quality of commercially processed fish feed than ever before. Processed feeds are formulated to meet the basic nutritional requirements of fish. Quality fish feeds are supplemented with proper vitamins and minerals as well. This makes processed feed a convenient source of staple food for most farm-raised and aquarium fish. The processed dry feed includes flake, tablet, pellet, and crumb form. All of these feed come in many different sizes to incorporate all types of fish. Some dry feeds are designed to float, while others are designed to sink in order to incorporate bottom feeders. In fact, some pellets are even designed to stick to the surface of the aquarium glass in order to feed fish at mid-level. Premium fish feeds and medicated fish feeds are also commercially available for feeding fish with specialized needs.
Live Fish Food
Live fish food is an exceptionally good source of fish food. Since live food is not readily available to fish in an enclosed man-made environment, it can be beneficial to actively incorporate live food as part of their diet. Feeding live food is necessary for fish with specialized needs such as much carnivorous fish, wild specimens, and fry. Not only does live food mimic the feeding habit of fish in their natural environment, but live food can also provide many benefits that commercial feeds have not been able to replicate to this day. Many species of fry that have been grown with a supplement of live food have proved to have exceptionally better survival rates and grow to become one of the most robust specimens. Live organisms that are suitable for fish include bloodworms, mealworms, blackworms, tubifex, glass worms, daphnia, grindal worms, white worms, and redworms among many others. Incorporating live fish food at least twice a week is recommended for most fish.
Fresh foods are foods that are not processed prior to feeding. This category of fish food includes fresh vegetables and fresh meat. Fish with specialized dietary needs can greatly benefit from fresh food. For example, when attempting to condition fish for breeding, a high protein diet of fresh food is beneficial. There are many different types of fresh food that can be fed to fish.
Vegetable matters are readily accepted by herbivorous fish. While the vegetable matter is low in fat and protein, they consist of much-needed carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins. Prior to feeding, the vegetable can be blanched in order to break down the tough membranes. Vegetables that are commonly fed to a variety of aquarium fish include romaine lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, watercress, zucchini, green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, beet tops, and strawberries.
Various types of meat can be fed to carnivorous fish. Depending on the type of meat being fed, it is advisable to cook the meat prior to feeding in order to prevent introducing infectious disease to your fish. Meat containing high amounts of fat should be avoided or fed very sparingly in order to prevent digestive problems. Since meat generally contains less water and carbohydrates than other sources of food, it is a great source of protein for your fish. Meats that are commonly fed to a variety of aquarium fish include beef liver, beef heart, pork spleen, chicken, shrimp, herring, anchovy, smelt, mackerel, tuna, clam, mussel, scallop, oyster, crabs, and squid.
Frozen and Freeze-dried Food
Many types of frozen and freeze-dried foods specifically marketed for aquarium fish are readily available today. As the majority of the nutritional value is preserved in the frozen and freeze-dried form, it can be a valuable and convenient source of food for fish. Blood worms, Brine shrimp, plankton, krill, and many other invertebrates are available in frozen form. Some frozen food marketed for aquarium fish is conveniently packaged for individual feedings. Many smaller invertebrates mentioned above are available in freeze-dried form as well. While the nutritional value is not equivalent to a live form, freeze-dried food is another great supplemental fish food for aquarium fish.