Aquarium food guide: all about fish food

The distinction between plant food and animal or organic food is. organic food is explained here as well.

Which different feed forms are there?

Let’s start with the basic differentiation of the food types. These can be subdivided then naturally still further. Basically, however, the following distinction is made in aquarium food:

  1. Dry food
  2. Frozen food
  3. Live food
  4. Natural food / fresh food / raw food

To 1.Dry food

With dry food the shelf life is the main concern. The aim of the manufacturers is to make food durable and at the same time to lose as few nutrients and vitamins as possible. This is not always successful, so that no ornamental fish can be fed a balanced and vitamin-rich diet with dry food alone. Therefore other food possibilities must be found.

With the dry fodder one can make however further divisions. These are as follows:

  • Flake food large
  • Flake food fine
  • Mixed flake food
  • Dust food
  • Pellets
  • food tablets in all forms
  • Sticks
  • Granulated food
  • Chips

As you can see here, there are a lot of food forms from different manufacturers. In the following articles we will go into more detail about the different types of live food. Each food form, be it granules or sticks and food tablets have a specific purpose. Mostly this is also due to the sinking behavior. Exemplarily one can enumerate here: TetraMin Granules, TetraMin staple food, Tetra Tabelts, JBL NovoFil, Tetra Pro Color, Sera Vipan Grobflocken, JBL NovoGranoMix, Tetra Guppy, JBL Novobel, Sera Wels Chips, JBL Gala… and many more. To enumerate all here would surely go beyond the scope and year for year many come in addition. Be it special food for some specific fish species, or but also special vitamin preparations.

Dry food

To 2.: Frozen food

Now we come to the group of the frost food. Also here there is a huge selection. Especially certain cichlids like the discus love Frozen food and should be less with dry food be fed. As a frozen food there are many varieties such as all types of mosquito larvae, but also Artemia, Naupia and Cyclops are available as frozen food. Not only discus, but also guppies, catfish and Co love the frozen food blisters. These are usually packed in small cubes, so that you also have a good portioning and dosage. Frozen food must of course be stored accordingly and usually keeps quite long. But we will come later to the exact storage of aquarium food.

To 3.: Live food

As the name implies, the aim here is to keep the live food for ornamental fish to rich. Not only because of the particularly protein-containing nutrition, but also to promote the original drive. Fish like to hunt and this is exactly what they can do with the presentation of Live food also make. In addition, when live food is presented, there is also no loss due to drying or even frost. Alone the nutrients are here substantially higher. Of course, live food also has its disadvantages, especially when it comes to procurement and shelf life. You can buy live food everywhere, but you should always feed it relatively fresh. Live food spoils quite fast. Of course you can also breed live food yourself. For this purpose especially the Artemia crayfish is suitable.

With the feeding of living food should be considered however some, then here it can come above all to high water loads up to unwanted living beings such as Hydras or also planars. We also advise against catching live food yourself. Most of the time the waters are polluted and therefore you should rather go to a specialist shop or raise the animals yourself.

Mosquito larvae

Re 4.: Natural food / fresh food / raw food

Another possibility, which also should not be missing on the menu of the fish is the presentation of various natural products. This can be in addition to vegetables such as cucumber, tomato or carrot, but also the addition of foliage and other natural substances. Of course, this always depends on which fish you keep. This is also true for crayfish and also for shrimp. Here there are different requirements on which we come however in individual articles to the different fish kinds, shrimps, crayfish and also snails.

Of course there are also some things to consider when collecting fish meal. Whether it is to avoid the burden of the environment such as a bordering road or previous appropriate washing and pre-treatment.

What should be the essential ingredients of good food?

As already described above, there are substantial differences with the most diverse fish fodder sorts. Thus, the ingredients are also quite different. Especially with dry food, which is unfortunately fed too much by aquarists, one should pay attention to the composition.

In the following we would like to take a closer look at different ingredients.


Vitamins must not be missing in any feed. However, the exact composition can usually not really be traced, because with some manufacturers you can not find these ingredients. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to the vitamin composition. Mostly, however, you can find the proportion of calcium, sodium, phosphate, magnesium. Vitamins are rather Wenger individual specified. Except for special vitamin preparations.

Proteins and fats

Every fish needs protein and also fat, because these components give it energy, which it needs for swimming or also for breeding and reproduction. But the mixture of proteins and fat is important, because if the ratio is not right, problems can occur. The protein content should not be too high, or in other words, the fat content should be higher than the protein content. Unfortunately, in many products this is the other way around, so that you have to compensate this with frozen or live food.

But why is that actually so? If fish have too little fat, then they get their energy from protein combustion and ammonium is formed, which can then become toxic ammonia in the aquarium and thus increase in the nitrite / nitrate or better said the nitrogen cycle. This can have even far-reaching consequences for all other inhabitants.

Very often it is difficult to distinguish between proteins and fats. One reads only the crude ash and also the crude fats in a certain percentage on the respective feeds. But good feed manufacturers also specify the raw proteins.

Therefore, one should also pay attention to the fat and protein composition. In this context, one must also address the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, because these should also be in an appropriate ratio. The best here is a higher number of omega 3 fats.

Dry food aquarium

Fish meal

In almost every fish food also the so-called fish meal is contained. One should pay attention to the fact that this portion is as small as possible. This has on the one hand the reduction of phosphate to the cause and on the other hand are thus also the raw ash portions in the fodder smaller.

Raw fibers and connective tissue

Also included in all fish feeds are the so-called crude fiber proportions. These ensure that the food is better digested. But you should make sure that this proportion is not too large, because otherwise much is excreted again and is thus deposited in the nitrogen cycle again. Whether the nitrobacter can then still sufficiently convert the nitrite into nitrite is questionable. Therefore, one should also always make sure that one does not feed too much. But more about that later.

Basically all ingredients can be listed in the following Break down components:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Trace elements
  • Vitamin
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Protein

The compositions can usually be taken either directly from the packaging or in a leaflet of the respective food. If nothing is to be found in addition, one should inquire with the respective manufacturer.

Shelf life and storage of ornamental fish food?

We come to another important point, because again and again you can read that you can feed fish food for quite a long time. Even if the best-before date has long since passed. With dry food this may be the case, but we recommend to spend a little more money. After all, the fish are the most important good in an aquarium and they themselves would not eat yogurt that has been expired for 2 months. Or?

Especially in the area of live food and frozen food, one should pay attention to it. Quickly the food can be spoiled and the animals can even become seriously ill. This should be prevented. Therefore live food is to be consumed always immediately. Most manufacturers have appropriate portion bags in their portfolio, so that you can always give an appropriate portion.

Buy ornamental fish food but where?

If you have read through the above possibilities, then you should also use different possibilities when buying the ornamental fish food. Some you can even collect yourself. Like for example the leaves or also alder cones for the shrimps or crabs. Aquarium fish can also eat cucumbers, which can even be taken from your own garden, if you have planted here. Dry food comes mostly from the specialized trade. Here are different online stores or but also specialized dealers and pet stores on site to choose from. We advise in any case with large containers also times to go directly to a manufacturer. Especially if you are a breeder, it can be worthwhile.

In addition, of course, there is also the possibility to make fish food and aquarium food itself. In addition however later and in a separate article more.

Now we come to two factors, which should be considered with the aquarium feeding. Here one should distinguish between the quantity and frequency distinguish.

Dry food

How much you should feed your ornamental fish?

Aquarium food guide: All about fish food

Also this question is extremely important in connection with the feeding, because unfortunately above all with the frequency, much is done wrongly. As a rule, too much and too often is fed. For adult fish it is enough to feed once a day. This can be done in small portions, so that no food can spoil on the floor. You should always make sure that the fish eat the food as quickly as possible and as little as possible gets to the bottom. Although catfish or armored catfish can enjoy the food there, but usually some spoils here, which in turn pollutes the water values accordingly. Therefore this should be avoided. Again nitrite and possibly ammonia and ammonium come into play.

The question about the right amount could also be answered in the way that you should always feed only as much as the fish can eat in the shortest time. We advise here to proceed in portions.

With young fish or in the breeding there are naturally deviating regulations. Here it can also happen that you have to give a little more. Basically, it is also true that ornamental fish, especially when they are fully grown, can withstand a few days without food. Fasting days usually do not harm, but promote health.

It would be wrong to specify the exact amount here in grams or milligrams, since it depends of course very much on the respective stocking. The more fish you have in your aquarium, the more food you will need.

How often should you feed your ornamental fish??

Another frequently asked question is how often you should feed the fish. Above it was mainly about the right amount and now it depends on the frequency.

Young fish and rearing, can need up to 5 times a day food. For adult fish feeding once a day is often sufficient. Of course, you can also feed twice a day, provided that you then divide the portions and reduce them accordingly.

In any case, it should be noted that aquarium food can strongly pollute the water with various substances. Therefore, it must always be handled very dosed. You also have the possibility to have a complete fasting day every now and then. Many aquarists swear by it.

Aquarium food

So there is also the possibility to go on vacation for a few days without feeding the fishes. Of course, there are also automatic feeders, but because of a weekend trip, these are not needed. In a dark cure, for example, fish are not fed for up to 7 days. This serves however for the fight of the algae, which is not here the topic.

Which manufacturers of aquarium food are there?

As already described above, there is a wide range in the area of the manufacturers. Be it food from Sera, JBL or also Tetra. In addition, there are also many smaller manufacturers, which have specialized in aquarium food. To list them all here would go beyond the scope of this article.

We also do not want to answer the question of which of the manufacturers is the best. This is not easy to answer, because it always depends on the appropriate varieties and compositions.

What do aquarium feeds cost?

Also the question about the costs, can not be answered all-inclusively. So there are varieties, which are quite expensive and also very good Ingredients and in contrast there are also many varieties where you can buy rather cheap food. Very often this depends also on the container size. The bigger the Container, the lower the price per kilogram will be.

In any case you should not try to save money on the feed. The fish thank you by a long life and also by corresponding colorfulness.

Make your own aquarium food

Basically, you can also make aquarium food yourself, provided you buy the appropriate ingredients and know the manufacturing process. For the fewest aquarists, however, this will make sense. Large breeders, however, usually compose their own food from the various ingredients. Here it needs however some knowledge and KnowHow. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce especially frozen food from shrimp and Co itself. We have also found a nice video, which shows how you can make your own fish food.

Much better, however, and also for all aquarists to create so, is the search and collection of food in nature. Be it foliage for shrimp or crayfish or but also alder cones. In addition, we have already mentioned above that there is also some fish food available from the home garden. Also this possibility should be considered more closely.

Good aquarium food pays off

If you ask yourself, why do we make the whole thing so complex and put special emphasis on the food, you should know that this is probably the most important factor, next to the housing conditions, to strengthen the well-being of the aquarium fish. Unfortunately, here very often common mistakes are made and the food is assigned only a very low importance. Please do not make this mistake.

Especially if you want to raise young fish, it always turns out which breeder uses high quality food. The fish are much more lively and also more colorful. One can influence the coloration of the fish by many nutrients and one should do this also.

Aquarium Food Crayfish

Fish food comparison

We will always compare fish feeds against each other. This involves factors such as the price, the opinion of customers and, of course, special tests if they are available. We will also compare and contrast ingredients.

Note the requirements of the individual fish

There is a corresponding profile for each fish. This profile says on the one hand where the respective species comes from and how the living conditions are there. Based on this information you can already draw a first clue on its nutrition. The requirements here can be quite different. It can happen that there are fishes which absolutely need snails on their menu, for example the group of puffer fishes. Loaches also need snails. Other species, in turn, require not only food, but also, for example, roots. Here certain pieces are rasped off.

Also pure natural food is on the menu of some fishes. For example, certain crayfish will eat other fish and should be fed with those as well. This is the only way to talk about species-appropriate husbandry.

With the well-known Betta Splendens, for example, you will not get far with pure flake food as used with most livebearers. On the other hand they love food like mosquito larvae, artemia, water fleas (daphnia) or tubifex (brook tubeworms). This is available not only in the dried variety such as those from Tetra Delica (krill, daphnia, brine shrimp and red mosquito larvae) but also in the frozen and also in the live form.

These should be only some examples and show that it is necessary to know what can be on the menu of fishes. Therefore it is important to study its type carefully.

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