Food, glorious food
There is a confusing wealth of food available for the hobbyist to tempt their fish with. Here is a brief break down of the basic types.
Probably the most important group, varied, easy to store — the ‘staple’ diet of most fish. You’ll find pots and pots of different types in the average shop, including: • Flake: The classic fish food — thin flakes of compressed food, typically of different colours in a single pot with each colour denoting a different food type, green for algae, red for protein etc. Floats on the surface until it becomes waterlogged and sinks. Ideal for surface and mid-water feeding fish. • Granules/pellets: Various sizes available from micro granules to chunky pellets. Choose the size that best suits your fish stock. Generally faster sinking than flake, so best for mid-water and bottom feeding fish. • Tablets/wafers: Generally designed to target feed bottom dwelling fish such as catfish and loaches, these larger, compressed pieces of food sink rapidly and are usually designed to dissolve slowly and be nibbled at by several fish at once. Some tablet foods can be pressed against the tank glass where they will stick, allowing fish from the top and midwater levels to enjoy them.
Typically sold in foil topped, plastic ‘blister’ packs, frozen food comes in an increasing variety. Fish will love the occasional treat of frozen bloodworm or brine shrimp and these foods can be great for getting fish into top condition ready for breeding. Best used as a supplementary food alongside dried.
To be clear, we’re not advocating feeding your fish anything much bigger than a worm or shrimp and the feeding of live vertebrates is illegal in the UK. Small bags of live Daphnia (water fleas), Tubifex and bloodworm or brine shrimp are regularly available from most aquarium shops and make a great occasional treat or conditioning food for your fish. You can also try culturing or catching your own foods. Be aware that there is a risk of introducing ‘nasties’ to your tank when feeding live foods.
Many fish, even the non-vegetarian species, will usually appreciate a few ‘greens’ in their diet. Slices of cucumber, courgette, squash or sweetpotato, or a few defrosted frozen peas popped from their skins can all prove popular but will often need weighing down to prevent them bobbing around your tank.
Flake food Wafers. Freeze dried food. Crisp food Tablet food Pellets Micro granules Medium granules Dried food.
Defrosted frozen peas. Cucumber. Sweet potato.
Bloodworm. Brine shrimp. Daphnia.