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Understanding Aquarium Fish Nutrition


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Understanding Aquarium Fish Nutrition

Tropical flakes, granules, wafers, bloodworms, krill... sometimes it seems there are more foods for fish than for humans! There is a reason - no single food can provide all of the nutrients your fish need (protein, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals) in the forms each species prefer. Fortunately, the easy availability of high quality fish foods helps you satisfy the nutritional needs of all your fish species.

Dietary concerns
Proper nutrition is essential for healthy aquarium inhabitants. Achieving good nutrition is more than choosing a food and feeding your fish. When selecting food for your fish, consider the dietary needs of your fish, as well as the location your fish prefer to feed.

Understand your fish's dietary needs
In general, fish can be grouped based on their primary dietary requirements, carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. Carnivores are meat eaters and rely on a protein-heavy diet. Herbivores are plant eaters with digestive systems designed to extract nutrients from plant material. Most aquarium fish are omnivores and require a diet that includes both meat and plants. Since plant-eating fish are not able to properly digest animal-based foods and strictly carnivorous fish cannot obtain the proper nutrients from a plant-only diet, it is critical to match the food to the dietary needs of your aquarium fish.

Deliver balanced nutrition where they feed
A balanced diet should include a staple diet supplemented with frozen, freeze-dried, or live foods. Vegetable-based foods should be included for aquariums with herbivores and meat-based foods for carnivores. However, it makes little sense if your fish are not able to receive the food. Choose the form that is right for your fish. Offer floating foods for surface feeding fish and slowly sinking granules or pellets for mid-water feeders and bottom feeders. For added convenience, use automatic fish feeders when you are away from home, or to regulate your feeding regimen for maximum health.

Question:
I'm often away during the weekends. What is the best way to make sure my fish are fed properly while I'm away?
Answer:
Many people rely on neighbors to stop in and feed their fish, but it may not always be the best choice. People unfamiliar with fish keeping may unintentionally overfeed your fish. Invest in an automatic feeder to ensure consistent and reliable feeding

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