08-08-2011, 11:35 AM
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Live foods include brine shrimp, worms, daphnia, insect larvae, ants, wingless fruit flies. And small fish for larger, but I also don't agree this is wise; I'll assume you are thinking of smaller fish in the tank, so the foods I've mentioned are the standard. Some of these you can buy from fish stores if they carry live foods, some you can buy cultures to raise yourself.
It is not necessary to have live foods, unless you have wild caught fish that take nothing else. But for most of the common aquarium fish, a good variety of prepared foods will provide complete nutrition. Discus are known for being fussy, but discus expert Jack Wattley frequently writes of never feeding anything other than good prepared (dried) foods for healthy discus. A variety is essential, 3 or 4 different types of flake/pellet and 3 or 4 different types of sinking foods if substrate feeders are in the tank. Frozen is another option, for variety. Having said that, some fish will not spawn unless fed live foods to get them in condition.
Live foods often become mandatory if you intend to raise fish such as most of the soft water egg-laying species. Livebearers are large enough to accept finely ground flake foods from the first, but many other fish are not. Newly-hatched brine shrimp is often a first food after infusoria. Most of us try to get prepared foods into the fry as soon as possible but this is usually not possible initially.