How to Properly Feed Your Pet Fish

When you buy new pet fish from the pet store, ensuring that you are feeding them correctly is very important.  Unlike traditional pets such as cats and dogs, aquarium pets cannot really tell you when they are hungry.  They will not give you any behavioral clues when they are being underfed or improperly fed, either.  Fish will literally overeat until they die, or ignore incorrect food until they starve. 


Because of this, it is very important to be sure that you are feeding your pet fish properly.

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to feeding fish, so let the size of your new fishy friend and his or her breed guide you.  Some breeds of fish require multiple feedings a day, while others require feeding a small pinch of flakes only once every couple of days.  Because of this, when you first get a fish tank or pond you must research the different breeds in your aquarium or pond. You can ask the salesman at the garden center or pet store for help if you are new to fish-keeping.


As a rule, you will want to take extreme caution not to overfeed or underfeed your fish.  When overfed, the creatures can become lethargic, develop balance problems, or even start swimming upside down.  If the feeding continues in this manner, the creatures will certainly die.  Underfeeding is also cause for concern, as it will make the fish very stressed and they will quickly succumb to even a small infection. 


Overfeeding also pollutes the water – uneaten food will sink to the bottom of the tank and rot, fouling the water and poisoning your fish. Purchasing a bottom-feeding fish such as a catfish, or a water-cleaning creature such as a snail will help take care of any leftover food, but the best remedy is not to overfeed in the first place.


You must also research the type of food that you need to provide.  Some fish are omnivorous, while others are herbivorous or carnivorous.  Knowing which type of creatures you have will let you know what you should be feeding them, and how much.


For example:

Goldfish require one small pinch of flaked goldfish food twice a day, morning and night. If there is food left on the surface after 2 minutes, remove it with a small net. You have fed too much. Feed a treat once a week of thawed frozen or fresh peas, threaded on a string. Tie a ring to one end of the string to anchor it, and let the peas float. Remove the string and all uneaten peas after an hour and discard.


Betta Fish require pellet food the size of sprinkles (pellets must be no larger than their eyeball or they will choke). Feed 10 pellets once a day or 5 pellets twice a day, and remove any that go uneaten. They can also be given a once-weekly treat in the form of fresh or frozen bloodworms (but not too many of they will get fat).


Large goldfish, Carp and Koi in a pond require good-quality commercial carp diet. As a treat, feed small pieces of chopped fresh bacon. Take care to remove any uneaten pieces as these will rot and poison the pond very quickly.


Researching how often to feed your pet fish and whether they need live food, freeze dried food, or special flakes is crucial.  With the right information, you can ensure that your fish remain as healthy as possible.

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