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. You may find them reaching for the glass to ask for food. But does this mean that you should feed them? Keep reading to learn more about fish feeding habits, how often they should be fed, what to feed them and how long they can live without food while on vacation.
What are the Best Fish Foods?
When looking at rows and rows of fish foods at the pet store, it becomes clear that not all fish eat the same thing. The ingredients in betta fish food versus goldfish food can be quite different. So how do you know what to feed your fish if their picture isn’t on the jar label? It’s time to do some research on your fish and find out:
– Are they carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores? Do they prefer to eat prepared foods, frozen foods or live food? What size food is most suitable for their taste buds? Are they able to eat floating or sinking food? (Some fish prefer to eat at the top, middle, and bottom of the aquarium. – Is the food tasty to your fish, and does it get eaten quickly?
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.
Most people think of fish foods as flakes, pellets, and wafers, but you can also feed frozen, freeze-dried, gel, or live foods to provide more nutritional variety for your fish.
Some frequently asked questions we get about the diets of specific aquarium fish include:
– What do goldfish eat? These hungry omnivores eat almost anything – meat, vegetables, algae, and even debris found in the aquarium. Provide them well-balanced and varied meals with both protein and fiber to ensure they get all the nutrients and vitamins they need. See this collection of goldfish foods for our recommendations. What does a betta fish like to eat? Bettas are more carnivorous and eat high amounts of protein. Their upturned mouths make them well-suited to eating frozen foods or floating food like betta pellets. However, they will also readily eat frozen and live foods. For examples of what we feed our Bettas, see our collection of betta food.
How Many Fish Do You Feed?
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.
What is the best time for fish to be fed? Fish are most awake in the daytime so choose a time when fish can be fed that is between 10 and 15 minutes after the aquarium lights turn on. This will ensure that everyone is awake and alert so they can eat. However, if you have nocturnal species like kuhli loaches or plecos, make sure to feed them after the aquarium lights have turned off for the day. Since the other fish are less active in the dark, this extra nighttime feeding gives them a better chance of getting enough food.
Nocturnal animals like kuhli loaches might be too shy for them to eat outside during the day, so ensure you have enough food to eat when they are awake.
Does fasting work for fish? It all depends on the fish. In order to avoid health problems and overfeeding, some people opt to skip feeding for a few days. In fact, large predatory fish may only need to eat a few times a week. Baby fry and nanofish, on the contrary, have smaller stomachs so they need to eat more often.
How Much Should You Feed Fish?
There are many general guidelines that you hear, such as “Feed your fish as fast as they can eat in five minutes.” Others insist that their fish should eat their food within 30 seconds. The reason that opinions vary so greatly is because some animals are fast eaters and others are very slow. Different feeding patterns can exist even between members of the same species. 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.
A better way to judge the appropriate portion size for your fish is by observing the roundness of their bellies from both the top and side views. 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. Of course, this may be difficult to determine with naturally round animals, like certain goldfish and balloon mollies, so look online to find pictures of healthy fish as a reference point.
How can you tell if you are 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 can ultimately cause health issues such as fatty liver disease, constipation, or bacterial and fungal infections from the poor water quality. The solution is simple: feed your fish less, take out any unfinished food after 10 minutes and introduce a weekly fasting day. This will allow your fish to have some rest. 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 signs can also be indicative of internal parasites. 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 survive without food?
There are no worries if you’re planning to travel out of town, or go on vacation. You may be able to feed adult fish for as long as a week, depending on how big they are, their metabolism and the water temperature. If you have many fish that need constant food, an automatic feeder may be necessary.
Why is my fish always hungry?
Fish aren’t always able to find food in the wild. They will eat as much as they can to make sure they have enough the next day. These opportunistic fish eat whatever you give them, acting as if they’re starving.
Don’t let your fish’s excitement fool or feed them too much. Instead, you can divide their daily meal into two or three portions so that you can enjoy feeding them multiple times a day.
Will fish stop eating when they are full? Generally speaking, yes. If their stomachs cannot expand enough, it’s physically impossible to take in more food. Obesity and other health issues can develop if people eat until they feel full.
If you’re interested in feeding a wide variety of high-quality foods, check out our top 5 favorites list to learn more: