Fish food: from purchase to home production for all fish species

Fish food is the most important food source for fish in the aquarium and garden pond. However, fish cannot eat everything.

Which fish food is suitable for which fish species, what you should look for when buying fish food and how you can easily make your own fish food, you will learn in the following guidebook.

Which fish food is suitable for which fish species?

Like all animals, fish need a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to exist. These nutrients provide fish with the energy they need to live.

However, not every fish species eats and tolerates every fish food. This is due to the fact that there are different types of diet in different fish species. These are divided into

  • Herbivores: plant and algae eaters
  • Omnivores: omnivores
  • Carnivore: carnivores
  • Limnivores: omnivorous fishes

The digestive system of the fish is adapted to the respective nutritional form. For example, algae eaters can only utilize fish food enriched with animal protein for carnivorous fish to a limited extent.

This means that you must adjust the fish food to the nutritional habits of your aquarium and pond fish, so that the animals can survive and stay healthy for a long time.

Fish food for carnivorous fish

The so-called carnivores include, for example, various species of perch and the fighting fish popular in aquariums. Protein-rich fish food, which is adapted to their respective size, is important for these fish species.

Carnivorous fish species are optimally fed with live or frozen food, water fleas, mosquito larvae, various insects, crustaceans and smaller fish.

Depending on the fish population in your aquarium or garden pond, slow sinking flake food is well suited as well as granulated fish food, which mainly consists of dried and crushed crustaceans or fish.

Sometimes fish have to get used to this fish food first. However, after a certain period of habituation it is well accepted. Also suitable are food tablets that stick to the inside of the aquarium glass panes.

Fish food for herbivores

Herbivorous fish species love to eat algae, which they graze from the aquarium glass, aquarium plants or objects and stones in the aquarium.

They are therefore considered very useful aquarium inhabitants, as they rid the aquarium of excessive algae growth. Fish food for herbivorous fish consists mainly of vegetable proteins.

For example, dry and tablet foods that are purely plant-based. Some catfish species prefer food tablets that sink to the bottom of the aquarium.

You can also buy seaweed and special types of algae in pet stores or aquarium stores, which you can also feed to herbivorous fish species.

A small piece of cucumber from time to time is also usually accepted with pleasure. However, if there are any leftovers, you should remove them from the aquarium the next day at the latest.

Fish food for omnivores

Omnivorous fish species form by far the largest group among ornamental and pond fishes. Their diet is generally very uncomplicated.

For omnivorous fish such as goldfish, swordtails or gourami, a combination of fish foods for algae- and carnivorous fish is suitable.

Goldfish, for example, are relatively frugal and can be fed with a general fish food all year round. Alternatively, you can buy a fish food that is made specifically for goldfish.

Fish food for growth eaters

The so-called auuchsfresser such as gobies or witch catfish feed in a very unique way. They eat the growth of stones, plant roots and aquarium decorations that are under water in the aquarium.

This fouling is also called growth. This is where the name for these fish comes from. The smallest animals and bacteria live in the algae and other growth, which are an important part of the food for growth eaters.

They are therefore not pure herbivores, but are in principle omnivores. They can be fed with algae from the pet store and some high-protein fish food once or twice a week if you see that the growth in the aquarium is low.

Buying fish food – what to look for?

If you want to buy fish food for the pond or aquarium, you should always make sure that the fish food is adapted to the particular fish species or species in your aquarium or garden pond.

Furthermore, there are differences in how fast the fish food sinks in the water. Sticks or pellets are suitable for fish that mainly live close to the water surface. This fish food can float on the water for a long time.

For small fish and fish that spend a lot of time in the deep areas of the aquarium or pond, flake fish food is suitable, which sinks quickly and can be eaten easily, especially by small fish.

What is frozen food for fish?

Frozen food is frozen fish food made from microorganisms such as mosquito larvae or amphipods. Frozen fish food is an easy and uncomplicated way to add variety to the diet of aquarium fish.

Frozen food is also indispensable for various fish species in order to feed them in a species-appropriate manner. Many carnivorous fish do not get enough fiber, which is important for their nutrition, from conventional and very protein-rich fish food.

In addition to these fibers, most microorganisms offered as frozen food for fish contain all the important vitamins, nutrients and vital substances. In addition, frozen food stimulates the appetite of the aquarium fish and encourages them to hunt. This automatically gives them more exercise and keeps them fit longer.

Frozen food for fish is available in pure varieties or as a food mix. Varietally pure frozen food contains, for example:

  • Red mosquito larvae
  • Saltwater crayfish
  • Water fleas
  • Freshwater shrimps
  • Bosmids
  • Red rotifers

In addition, there are special frozen food mixes for individual fish species. For example, frozen food for discus fish, so-called Malawi or Tanganyika mixes as well as special food mixes for tropical ornamental fish.

How is frozen food fed?

Frozen food must never be frozen when added to the aquarium. The fish food must first be defrosted in portions. The best way to do this is in a sieve, so that the water can drip off.

After thawing, you should rinse the fish food once again with some aquarium water or pure tap water. Only when the fish food has the same temperature as the aquarium water, you can feed it to the fish.

Frozen food is suitable as a complete food for fish?

Frozen food is not suitable for most fish as a complete food. Only a few carnivores can be fed exclusively with frozen food. All other ornamental fish need additional plant nutrients to stay healthy and fit.

Can you make your own fish food?

Many aquarists swear by making their own fish food for their charges. If you want to make your own fish food, you have to make sure that you feed your fish in the aquarium or in the garden pond in a balanced way, just like with purchased fish food.

Very popular and simple is the production of frozen food. It is easy to make your own frozen food from fish fillets, mussels or liver. Many also use chicken egg as a source of protein and add vitamins, minerals and some linseed oil to the fish food.

You can combine the ingredients so that you get a balanced ratio of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals for the optimal nutrition of your fish.

All ingredients are finely chopped and mixed together in a blender.. By adding a vegetable-based gelling agent such as agartine or animal gelatin, you can prevent the fish food from disintegrating quickly in the water.

The fish food produced in this way is frozen in portions. You can of course also make your own fish food from mosquito larvae, water fleas, plankton and other small creatures and freeze them.

It is not difficult to make your own fish food and it is usually much cheaper than buying fish food. Even if you have to buy special ingredients for the fish food in the specialized trade.

Breeding live food for fish yourself

A second way to make fish food yourself is to breed live food. You can easily breed brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, water fleas, slipper lizards or even guppies and make fresh fish food yourself.

However, you should never catch your own live food. It is usually forbidden to fish for example mosquito larvae or water fleas from a body of water in order to use them at home for the production of fish food or to feed them directly as fish food in the pond.

How often to feed fish?

Basically, all fish love a regular feeding with their favorite fish food at a specific time and several times a day. Experienced fish breeders and aquarium owners recommend feeding the fish two to three times a day.

In any case, it is important that the fish food is always eaten completely. If fish food is left over, you have fed too much and can reduce the amount next time. A good aquarium filter can filter the remains of fish food from the water. Leftover fish food rots in the water and deprives the water of oxygen.

This also applies to too much fish food in the pond, If there are too many nutrients and fish food in the pond, a suitable filter system should be used for water treatment to prevent excessive algae growth,

Various fish species can tolerate one day of fasting per week. This corresponds in principle to their natural way of life, because in the wild they do not find food all the time.

However, you should avoid fasting days for young fish. They need their fish food regularly and at shorter intervals than adult fish do.

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