01-09-2012, 10:33 AM
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The advice for how often/how much to feed fish is another of those guidelines with no set rules (like frequency and amount of water changes). It is important not to over feed as this would be unhealthy and create an excess bio-load in the tank (excess decaying organic matter) - and whether it's in the substrate or the filter, unless it's a heavily planted tank, it serves only to potentially foul the water.
Many here believe feeding once per day and only what the fish will consume in a minute or two.
Some also believe that withholding food a day a week is a good thing - that fish can go without food for several days and be fine. (well, so can humans, but I don't know that's it's the best thing!). I read here one fella that only feeds his fish once a week!?
I have read that in the wild, fish forage for food most of the day, every day...and some days are better than others. It goes without saying that anytime you approach the tank, the fish will come 'running' since they associate our presence with food. I think feeding very lightly a couple of times a day is best, ensuring we don't over feed. An exception is fry that need special attention.
Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate (as well as heavy metals) but this lasts for only 24-48 hours according to Seachem Tech Support. However, during this period, the biology in the tank is working to convert these elements into [more] harmless compounds.
If when the tank is heavily planted, it is nearly moot as plants use and convert the ammonia so cycling is relatively unimportant. Of course plants bring other requirements of light, substrate and fertilizer to do well.
I often hear of test results showing zero ammonia and zero nitrites with some nitrates. It would seem that since ammonia is being constantly produced, there should always be very small amounts of both ammonia and nitrites along with nitrates, but perhaps the testing for these elements just can't reveal these minute amounts. Once you have an established tank, water testing is not really required - at least it hasn't been for me since the biology of the tank self manages. Of course, you need to guard against rapid changes in bio-load.