Sunday, 13 November 2011

Choice of Fish Foods for Pets

Fish needs variety of diet and quite often it is a mistake to feed the same type of foods everyday. While it is very convenient to use the proprietary dried fish pellets, soon enough you will find that your pets will become bored and unhappy. Each individual fish species has their own preferences and some need to have meaty diet in order to stay healthy. Quite a number of species are opportunistic feeders, eating smaller sized fish or young fry while some will grab just about anything that comes along. In the wild, the fish has a lot to choose from including insects that dropped into the water, worms, larvae, water fleas, algae, aquatic invertebrates, snails and even plants but in your home aquarium, what they get depends entirely on you.

A good practice is to provide both live foods and flakes so that your fish get the best of everything
As an aquarist, it is your responsibility to understand your pets’ needs. There are different types of fish with each having their own feeding habits. Some species will take the food floating on the top; some like the catfish are bottom feeders, so it’s your job to find out and observe their feeding nature. Thus if you are providing floating sticks, your catfish will find it difficult to get to the foods and will have a hard time competing with the other fish in the community aquarium. When to feed and how frequent are also important questions you need to ask yourself. By right, the maximum number of times you will need to drop the food is only twice a day and never go beyond that because it is totally unnecessary and will just end up polluting the water. Apart from that, always make sure that you are dropping the correct quantity of foods with the right amount and high quality diet. Remember it’s not just the quantity but the quality is also extremely important.

The size of your foods also needs to be taken into consideration. Small pet fish like the neon tetra has a very tiny mouth opening and they will find it difficult if you provide pellets that don’t fit in at all. In this case, what they need are crushed flakes or powdered form which they can grab and eat as a whole. For large predatory fish, like for example the arowana, it might be a good idea to provide small size fish that they will find it easy to swallow. When it comes to feeding fish fry, never provide chopped worm meat that will be difficult for them to swallow. From my own experience I had a couple of young goldfish fry which actually got choked and died because they were trying to swallow the worms. By right, the best choice of foods for young fish is brine shrimp and until today, it remains the common agreement among all aquarist. While all these are pure common sense, most people still got it wrong because they just don’t bother and leave it for their pets to handle.

Cleanliness is also issue and this is one you should pay particular attention to. Not all foods are safe especially those made for pets. If you are providing live foods like tubifex worms caught from the wild, then exercise caution because these worms are known to harbor disease and they are often found living in contaminated wastewater. If you are providing dried pellets, check for the expiry date, study the ingredients and content before you decide to buy. If you are getting your bloodworm supply from your pet shops, ask around where they actually get those from. If you are unsure, try not to take the risk but if you insist, the most you can do is to leave it for some time and change the water so that this will help to clean the worms. However, there is no guarantee that doing this will be good enough. Some people take the extra effort to grow their own live worms supply. One of the methods you can try is to obtain microworms culture from your friends and then cultivate it enough to support your fish population. However one word of caution, these microworms culture can produce quite unpleasant odor, so you have to decide whether you want to bear with the smell.

Dried foods in pellets, sticks, flakes and granules are very popular and as mentioned earlier, are the most convenient form of foods you can provide to your pets. All these are packed in plastics bottles, jars and whatever packaging form you can find which are often very colorful and attractive. The most important criteria when selecting the right type of foods is by looking at the content and ingredient stated and look for those which contain the necessary protein like wheatgerm, vitamins, and trace elements needed for your fish. Pay particular attention to those that are made specially for certain types of fish. Sometimes you can find carnivorous pellets made for Oscars, special formulation for goldfish and koi or even herbivorous mix. Long term feeding using only dried foods are not recommended as most of the time, your pets can suffer from malnutrition, digestive problems due to swelling of the foods in the stomach and the fish will often become stunted. Thus, use it only as filler meal while the best nutrition should still come from the preparation of live feeds.

Guide on setting up new aquarium and aquarium water management

Moving on to live foods, there are certainly long list of options. White worms or called microworms can be very popular as mentioned earlier can be cultivated in your own backyard. Earthworm is also another popular choice and if you have a garden and heaps of compost, then you will find abundance of these worms when digging through the soil. Tubifex can also offer another alternative but these buggers are often found in contaminated water so make sure you know what you are doing. Other than worms, if you have ponds nearby, you can actually go on a field trip to collect daphnia, bloodworm, mosquito larvae, cyclops including insects which will be readily devoured by your fish. Certain people took the extra effort to leave buckets of water in their backyard hoping that the mosquito will lay eggs there so that they can collect the larvae and bloodworm but be careful because if you don’t catch every one of it, some may actually reach adult stage to become mosquito. Certain countries have tight regulations concerning this practice as it illegal to leave stagnant waters in order to become breeding place for mosquito and these insects are known to harbor dangerous disease that can be life threatening to humans.

Finally one last option is market foods. Some aquarists are known to use meat, fish fillets, prawns, mussels, beef heart to feed carnivorous fish like oscar, discus and arowana. If you have pets that are herbivorous in nature, for example like gourami, then it should be easy as you can use peas, spinach or lettuce to supplement their diet.

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