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. It’s not uncommon for fish to come to your aquarium and ask for food. However, does that mean they should be allowed to eat it? Continue reading to find out how to feed fish and what you can give them.
What Do Fish Eat?
It becomes apparent that not all fish like the same foods when you look at the fish foods in the pet shop. There can be a huge difference in the ingredients of betta fish food and goldfish food. If the fish’s image isn’t included on the label, how can you determine what food to feed them? Now is the time to research your fish.
Are they herbivores, carnivores, or both? Do they prefer dry, prepared, frozen, or live food? What size food will they eat? – Do they need floating or sinking foods? (Some fish eat from either the top or middle of the aquarium. Are the fish able to eat the food quickly and is it tasty?
Other considerations also include the price of the food and quality of ingredients. You can read the entire article to find out our 5 top-quality fish dishes.
People think of fish food as flakes and pellets. But you can also feed live, frozen, freeze dried, gel or live foods to give your fish more variety.
Here are some of the most common questions we receive about aquarium fish diets:
What are goldfish good at eating? They eat meat, fish, vegetables, and any debris in their aquarium. To ensure that they receive all the vitamins and nutrients they require, provide them with varied and well-balanced meals. Check out this selection of goldfish food for more information. What does betta fish eat? Bettas eat a more carnivorous diet high in 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. Check out our selection of betta foods to see examples of what we feed them.
How often do you feed fish?
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 eaters require constant food. For this reason, you might need to feed them three to five small meals daily or Repashy gel foods that don’t break down as quickly in the water.
When’s the best time to feed fish. Most fish will be awake during the day, so try to choose a feeding time that is 10 to 15 minutes after your aquarium lights turn on. That way everyone is awake, alert, and ready to eat. If you have nocturnal species such as plecos or kuhli loaches, be sure to feed them once the aquarium lights are turned off. The other fish will be less active at night, so it is important to feed them more often at night.
Nocturnal species like kuhli loches may not be able to venture out during daylight hours, so make sure you provide extra food for them when it is dark.
How fasting is good for fish? This depends on the fish. Some people choose to skip one or two days of feeding to ensure that overfeeding doesn’t become an issue and cause health issues. 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 than large predatory fish and need to eat less often.
How much fish should you be feeding?
While you may hear the general rule, “Feed your fish as much as they can eat within 5 minutes,” others insist that fish only need 30 seconds to finish their meals. 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 eat every bit of food, and then gorge to the point that he was full. However, my nephew’s bettafish was very picky and would only eat food placed at 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. A chart that shows the obesity levels of dogs and cats is available at the vet’s offices based on their body widths may be something you have seen. The same principle applies to fish. You should feed them until they are slightly rotund. This is difficult to do with some naturally round animals like balloon mollies and goldfish, so make sure to look online for pictures of healthy fish.
How can you tell whether you are feeding too many fish?
A swollen stomach, excessive poop production, or a lack of interest in eating at mealtimes could indicate that your fish is consuming too many calories. Another sign is a lot of food left in the tank that has not been eaten (which can cause fuzzy fungus to form over time), or an increase in the number of snails and other worms. You may notice water cloudiness, foam, high levels of ammonia or nitrite or other nitrates in the water.
Bettafish are susceptible to overeating. Give them enough food to keep a slightly round abdomen, but not excessive 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. Make sure your roommates and family members aren’t feeding your fish during the day without you knowing.
How Do You Know If You Are Underfeeding Fish?
Your fish might be losing weight, have sunken bellies or have paler skin colors. You should also keep in mind that these symptoms are very similar to signs of parasites and worms. 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 live without food?
It is possible to travel outside of your home or to vacation destinations without worrying. A lot of adult fish can survive for several weeks without any food depending on their size and metabolism as well as the water temperature. You may need to feed your fish regularly if they are young.
Why are my fish always hungry?
Fish in the wild are not always able find food. If they do find food, they eat it all. These opportunistic eaters act as if they are hungry, even though they were only fed 15 minutes ago.
Don’t let your fish’s excitement fool or feed them too much. You can instead divide your fish’s daily meals into multiple portions, so they can be enjoyed multiple times per day.
Does fish stop eating when they’re full? Most likely. When their stomachs can no longer expand, it is physically not possible to fit in more food until some digestion has occurred. But, if they eat to the point of exhaustion every day, obesity and other health issues may develop.
To learn more about how to feed a variety of high-quality food, see our top 5 favorite list.