As a general rule, fish should be fed little and often – as much food as they will eat within 2 minutes about 2-3 times a day. As aquarium owners become more familiar with their fish, they will be able to fine tune the feeding of their individual fish. Their diet can be varied by feeding a treat food several times a week, in addition to their usual food. Overfeeding is much more common and detrimental than underfeeding.
'Over feeding' results in incomplete digestion of food and waste material produced by the fish can then pollute the water. It is important to ask about the specific feeding needs of a fish before purchasing it, as some may have special requirements.
Fish food quality has a significant impact on the aquarium or pond environment, and how easy it is to maintain. This is because it is the main source of the dissolved and solid waste that fish produce. Overfeeding, or feeding a poor quality food, will result in greater waste production, and faster pollution of the water. This in turn necessitates more maintenance to keep the environment healthy.
Good quality foods use the right ingredients, manufacturing processes, and formulas to keep waste production to a minimum, whilst at the same time providing the fish with a healthy diet.
Tropical and coldwater ornamental fish differ in their nutritional & feeding requirements. For example: some fish have evolved to feed on specific types of foods (e.g. herbivores and carnivores), whilst others have particular physical feeding needs (e.g. bottom feeders and algae grazers). The diet offered needs to be appropriate to meet these different needs and you can read more about this in our Nutritional Needs section.
Some fish only eat plants and others only eat animals, but the majority of aquarium fish are omnivores and eat both plants and animals. It’s important to match the type of food to the type of fish. It is very likely that unless there is only one species of fish in the tank, different foods will be needed, some floating, some sinking, some animal based and some plant based. Owners will need to take this in to consideration when choosing their fish and can benefit from some guidance from the retailer.
Nutrition problems usually result from feeding the wrong type of food or feeding improper amounts (too much or too little) so follow the principles above and our Nutriton section for healthy, happy fish.