08-31-2011, 08:56 AM
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You can over feed fish. They won't explode or anything
, but they can add on fat, just like people do from overeating. That can lead to a shorter lifespan. An excess of food may contribute to poor water quality, as you referenced, and in some cases can trigger breeding behaviors since food is often limited for wild fish.
A general rule of thumb, assuming you feed flakes, is if there is a significant amount reaching the bottom, the you have fed way too much! I overfeed, even though I try not to. Feed twice a day max, and try feeding them about 1/3 to 1/2 of what you think they actually need! If the foods not all gone in about 5 minutes, cut back the amount more. About the only exception to this is if you have a school of catfish to worry about on the bottom and then you can buy sinking food for them!