How to Feed a Fish

Feeding fish is simple once you know how. Just make sure that the dry food you are using is well suited to the fish species, as described below. Once you have found a food that works well and are feeding the fish the right amount, begin supplementing their diet with insects, vegetables, or other nutritious foods depending on the type of fish.

Choosing a Dry Fish Food
Research your fish species. People at the store where you purchased your fish should be able to help you pick out a fish food if you cannot find information specific to your species online. Find out whether your fish are herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores, and ideally the exact % of protein the fish species requires in its diet.[1] If you are unsure what type your fish is, simply try out a food and see if they successfully find and eat it; some fish may not be restricted to one area.Cite error: Closing missing for tag

[2] Make sure the fish food you buy matches the needs of your fish. Bettas are carnivores and surface feeders. Their food should contain at least 45% protein, float, and be small enough to fit in the betta’s mouth. Betta food is often sold in the form of tiny pellets.[3]
Goldfish are omnivores, and require 30% protein as adults, or 45% as young fish. Aquatic plant proteins are easiest for them to digest.[4] They are surface feeders, so flakes are a good choice.

Make sure your food is small enough for your fish to eat. Many fish swallow their food whole, which means they are unable to break apart large flakes or pellets that do not fit inside their mouth. If the food you are giving your fish is going untouched, or if it looks bigger than your fish’s mouth, crush it into pieces before feeding or find a smaller type of food.

Look up fish food companies online. Before purchasing a dry fish food, search for the brand name and reviews. Well-respected companies that get good reviews from aquarium hobbyists are more likely to make high-quality fish food.Cite error: Closing missing for tag

If you put too much food in the tank, scoop it out with a fine net. Warning: Betta fish should be fed much less than they can eat in 5 minutes. Two or three small pellets per betta is sufficient.[5]

Soak pellet foods before feeding. Because many aquarium fish have small stomachs, pellets that absorb water and expand in size may cause digestive problems or bloating in your fish. Soak the pellets in water for 10 minutes before feeding so they expand before the fish eat it, rather than in the fish’s stomach.[6]

Feed the fish once or twice a day. Because it is much easier to overfeed most fish than to give them too little food, one feeding a day may be safer. However, if you are careful to give them small amounts of food as described above, you may feed the fish twice a day. Some aquarium owners prefer this because the fish become more active and interesting to watch during feeding.

Look for signs of overfeeding. If a trail of poop is hanging from your fish, their intestine may be partially blocked due to overfeeding or the wrong type of food.[7] If the water gets dirty enough that you need to do a water change more than once a week, you may be overfeeding the fish, or the tank may be overcrowded. Reduce the amount of food per serving or the number of servings per day to see if the problem goes away within a few days. Ask an aquarium store employee or fish raising hobbyist for advice if it does not.

Spread out the food so everyone gets some. Even within the same species, the larger or more aggressive fish may not leave enough food for the other fish. Reduce the chance of this happening by dividing the food and adding it to more than one area of the tank, or by sprinkling it evenly across the entire water surface.

Watch for problems if you have multiple types of fish. If you have fish in your tank that feed in different areas of the tank, or on different types of food, you will likely need to purchase more than one fish food. Watch mixed-species tanks closely during feeding when you start them on a new food. You may need to find different combinations of food or feeding times if the fish at the surface eat all the food intended for the fish at the bottom. If some of your fish are active during the day and others at night, feeding them at two different times may help ensure that each fish gets enough food.[8]

Consider your options while away on vacation. Leaving adult fish alone without food for a few days is almost always safe, and if you research your fish species online you may discover they can survive without serious risk for one or two weeks.[9] For longer trips, or for young fish with more urgent food requirements, you’ll need a way to feed them while you’re gone. Choose from one of the following solutions:Cite error: Closing missing for tag

Feed most fish vegetables or algae. Herbivores and omnivores will likely be healthier and more colorful if you supplement their diet with the occasional plant matter, and even many carnivorous species can eat plants for useful nutrients. As always, research your fish species online before feeding it a new food. You can attach a piece of vegetable inside the tank with a vegetable clip, or cut it into small pieces to feed to your fish. Be sure to remove any uneaten vegetables within 48 hours, or it will start to rot in your tank.[[Image:Feed a Fish Step 16.jpg|center|550px]
Carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and peas are just a few of the vegetables your fish might enjoy. Feed once every few days or as advised for your species.

Using spirulina powder, infusoria, algae, or other plant matter sold at aquarium shops is another option, and a necessary one for tiny, juvenile fish too small to eat vegetable pieces. As long as the tank’s surface or walls doesn’t become overgrown with algae, you may add it according to instructions once or twice a day.

Feed your fish a variety of these supplements for greater health. Different animals or vegetables provide different vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Alternate between two or three types of animal or meat (for carnivorous fish) or vegetables (for other fish) for a better chance at providing all the requirements for healthy fish.[Image:Feed a Fish Step 17.jpg|center|550px]#Provide straight vitamins or minerals if you notice problems. If your fish’s bright colors fade, they become less active, or you notice other signs of poor health, your fish may be lacking certain nutrients. It’s best to seek expert advice to gain a better idea of which vitamins or minerals your fish needs, or to identify other problems. Fish may need these supplements during times of stress, such as when new fish are introduced to the tank.Cite error: Closing missing for tag

If you are going to hand-feed, place the food in your hand and let the fish swim up and pick the food out of your hand. Do not keep trying if the fish are shy and having trouble eating; some fish may be stressed by your attempt.

Do not overfeed!

Be careful not to overfeed! Fish can die if you let them eat too much.

Certain foods such as beef heart are high in fat. Your fish will love these, but they should only be given occasionally or to growing fish.

If you are feeding your fish live food, you should make sure the food is healthy and parasite-free.

Don’t feed a fish a new type of food (such as insects or vegetables) without checking if it safe for that species. Some species may catch diseases from certain foods or have other health problems.

Related wikiHows
How to Hand Feed a Fish

How to Set up a Freshwater Aquarium

How to Set up a Tropical Aquarium

How to Clean a Fish Tank

How to Create Aquariums So Lizards and Fish Can Coexist

How to Make Fish Food from Fish

Sources and Citations
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