Feeding Tropical Fish

Providing your fish with correct nutrition is one of the most important parts of fishkeeping. Fish rely on the food you feed them to meet all of their dietary needs, therefore it is vital to ensure that you use good quality foods. Cascade stock a wide range of fish foods from Tetra, Nutrafin, Interpet, Aquarian they are manufactured to the highest quality, ensuring that they are both highly palatable and very nutritious.

Fish need careful, regular feeding with a variety of the right types of food in order to remain healthy and to thrive. Good nutrition will ensure your fish are colourful, lively, free from disease and able to reproduce.

What do Fish Live on in the Wild?

In their natural habitats, fish show a wide range of adaptations that enable them to find enough food to survive. There are three major types of fish when it comes to feeding: herbivorous fish feed primarily on plants and algae, omnivores feed on a vast range of items, from vegetable matter through to insects, small fish, and anything else that they find, and carnivores primarily prey on other animals (piscivores are carnivores that feed exclusively on fish).

There is some overlap between these classifications and it is not always clear how a particular fish should be classified. Omnivorous fish may feed on only a limited range of foods, or they may feed on a vast range of items.The majority of fish that are kept in “community” aquariums are omnivorous, accepting a wide range of foods.A good quality flake food such as TetraMin, will meet the nutritional needs of all tropical fish that are kept in community tanks.

Fish food primarily consists of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins. These components can be included into fish food in various forms, using various techniques.A good quality food, such as TetraMin or TetraMin Pro, will include these constituents in their correct proportions, in a form that will allow them to be readily utilised by the fishes. TetraMin, along with other foods in the Tetra range, is very digestible, ensuring that only a small amount of waste is produced compared to poorer quality foods.

If you do not use a good quality food like TetraMin, then you run the risk of creating excess levels of waste in the tank. Because poor quality foods are not digested as well, more solid waste is produced which ultimately breaks down in the tank, using up oxygen and releasing pollutants. Because Tetra’s foods are better utilised by fish, they also encourage better growth rates, and promote greater health and vigour than poorer quality foods. If you want the very best, then Tetra’s latest food, TetraMin Pro, is even more efficiently utilised by fish, and its unique low heat manufacturing process better preserves its nutritional content.

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How Much Should You Feed and When?

Fish should ideally be fed in small meals, two to three times a day. These meals should be spaced out, preferably in the morning, at midday, and in the evening. If you are not at home at lunch-time then two feeds a day is adequate. The fish should consume all of the food within two to three minutes. Any excess should be removed from the tank so it does not have the chance to rot down. If you have fish that only feed after dark then you should add a good quality tablet food to the tank, after you have turned the lights out.Tetra’s tablet foods such as Tabimin are manufactured to the highest quality and will remain stable in the tank until they have been eaten.

Tetra Flake and Granular Foods

TetraMin and TetraMin Pro are floating foods, specifically designed to provide a high quality, staple diet for your fish. These foods should form the core of the diet that you feed to your fish, as they will supply them with all of their nutritional needs. If you keep fish that prefer to feed in the middle of the tank, or on the bottom, then Tetra Prima can be used alongside one of the floating feeds.This granular food will sink slowly, allowing these fish to get food that they might miss out on if they had to get it from the surface.

Tetra Tablet Foods

Certain fish species, such as some catfish and loach, will not come out readily to feed at the same time as the other tank inhabitants. Often this is because they are nocturnal and are therefore not accustomed to feeding whilst it is light. These fish must not be allowed to starve, and therefore Tetra has produced a number of tablet foods that can be added to the tank at night for these fish to feed on.

It is important to meet the needs of individual fish in your tank, and a good way of doing this is to feed a variety of foods. Remember that when you try a new food for the first time, the fish will not be used to it, and it may take a few days for them to fully accept it. A good way of getting them used to a new food is to mix it in with their usual food, slowly increasing the amount, until they are taking it readily.

Feeding a varied and nutritious diet is vital in order to ensure healthy and happy fish.

Nutrafin Max

Complete, balanced fish foods that have been specially produced using top quality ingredients containing essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. It contains no artificial preservatives or additives. All the varieties contain pre-digested plankton, a colour enhancing compound and other highly beneficial supplements. It is available in flake, freeze-dried, granular, stick and tablet form. Importantly Max is formulated to provide precisely the right amount of phosphorous, helping to CONTROL ALGAE and the lowest ash content to reduce waste.

Less waste, less algae - less work for you!

Every species is different and you should seek advice as to the right feeding regime for your fish. However, as a rule of thumb most surface feeders will eat all they need in about two minutes, two or three times daily, while bottom dwellers take a little longer - about 5 minutes. Start with 2 or 3 flakes per fish.

Best Advice Always remove any uneaten food with a net.

  1. Make sure you know the feeding requirements of your fish.
  2. Wait at least 30 minutes after you turn the lights on to begin feeding.
  3. Keep dry food away from moisture, especially wet hands.
  4. Use a Feeding Ring to keep surface food under control.
  5. Use an automatic feeder such as Nutramatic or Nutramatic 2x to regulate feeding.
  6. Use bottom-feeding tablets for bottom dwelling fish.
  7. Use high quality foods such as Max.
  8. Provide a varied balanced diet - a minimum of two different types of food.

Tetra Tell You How and Why

It may be a surprise to know that the provision of a good diet is as important as water quality when it comes to looking after fish. This is because the food we give to our fish directly affects their health and condition, as well as the quality of the water. Providing the right diet for our fish is not just about offering variety, but also quality. In fact, quality is more important than variety, as the use of a poor quality diet could quickly affect the condition of your fish.

Confused? You needn’t be – it’s very simply to provide your fish with a top quality diet from the Tetra range of tropical foods. Based upon over 50yrs of research & development into the nutritional needs of ornamental fish, and the most advanced manufacturing processes in the industry, all of Tetra’s foods are designed to be top quality. This, coupled with a wide range of foods to cater for all types of fish, makes it easy to provide the right diet for your fish.

Why quality is important

If poor quality foods are fed, they are not digested and utilised properly by the fish, resulting in the excessive production of both dissolved (ammonia) and solid waste. The more waste that is produced, the faster the water quality deteriorates. Levels of nitrate and phosphate will rise rapidly, leading to algae problems, and the sediment will become clogged with solid waste, leading to cloudy water and lower oxygen levels. The filter will also struggle to cope, requiring more maintenance to keep it working properly.

Aside from water quality problems, fish rely on a balanced supply of nutrients for remaining in good health and condition. Failure to offer a good quality food will weaken fish, leaving them more vulnerable to stress and disease, and preventing them from looking their best. Tetra’s foods are highly digestible, resulting in minimal waste production, and they have been formulated to actively improve the condition of fish. This ensures they receive the right balance of nutrients, and that they stay looking and feeling healthy.

Meeting the physical feeding needs of your fish

There are many hundreds of tropical fish available to aquarium owners, not all of which have evolved to feed in the same way. Generally, they can be divided into surface feeders, mid-water feeders, and bottom feeders. Surface feeders include popular species such as guppies, danios, and harlequins, and they prefer to feed on items that float at the water’s surface. Staple foods, such as TetraMin Flake & TetraMin Crisps, are ideal for these species, as they are primarily floating and they will provide everything these fish need. Mid-water feeders include species such as angelfish, barbs, and many tetras (e.g. neons and cardinals). They have evolved to feed on food items that are suspended in the water column. Suitable foods for such species include slow-sinking granules, such as TetraPrima (for medium to large fish) and TetraPrima MiniGranules (for smaller tetras and barbs). Bottom feeders are those fish that spend most of their time at the base of the aquarium, including loach and catfish. They prefer to feed on sinking tablets and wafers, such as Tetra VarietyWafers or TabiMin. Failure to provide a proper sinking food for these fish may lead to poor physical condition, as they struggle to compete with other fish for floating foods.

Meeting the nutritional needs of your fish

As well as different physical feeding needs, fish have also evolved to feed on different food items. For example, herbivores feed primarily on plants and algae, whereas omnivores enjoy a diverse diet including both animal and vegetable matter. Good quality staple foods, such as TetraMin, will provide a balanced diet for all fish, making the provision of the right nutrient balance easy. However, in some cases it may be beneficial to offer a specific diet for certain fish. In particular, certain herbivorous species benefit from a vegetable-enriched diet. Plecostomus (‘sucker-mouth’) catfish are perhaps the most commonly kept herbivores, being used to keep algae off the sides of the aquarium. In order to keep them healthy, their diet needs to be supplemented with herbivore foods, such as Tetra PlecoWafers or PlecoMin.

Adding a touch of variety

If you feed the right foods for the species of fish in your aquarium, you will already be providing a varied, high quality diet. However, many fish enjoy and benefit from the occasional treat food. Treats should be offered a few times a week, to provide a change to your fishes’ normal diet. Suitable options include live foods (which must be from a reputable source to avoid introducing disease), frozen foods, or Tetra FreshDelica. The latter are nutritionally enriched fresh foods, available as bloodworm, daphnia, or brine shrimp. These are natural food organisms that fish feed on in the wild, and because they are fresh the fish go crazy for them. Although it’s as fresh as frozen food, Tetra FreshDelica does not need to be refrigerated or frozen, and can be kept alongside your other fish foods.

How much to feed?

Most fish should be fed 2-3 times a day, offering only as much as they can consume within a few minutes. Any uneaten food should be removed. For certain nocturnal species, such as plecostomus, it is sufficient to add a wafer or tablet once the lights have been turned out in the evening.

Where to start?

It might seem like there are a lot of different foods available, but it’s very simple to select the right ones. Begin with a staple food, such as TetraMin Crisps or Flake, and build on this as you purchase different fish. Your aquatics outlet will advise you on the correct food for any new fish you choose, or you can use the simple feeding chart in this information section. If you have any questions about feeding your fish, why not join the Tetra Club for free and e-mail us your query.