Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Balanced Diet? (

Jo 06-09-2008 10:22 PM

Balanced Diet?
Our Pacu, nicknamed Paco is 13” and he used to eat everything offered, algae disks, bloodworms, spinach and nuts. Recently he got a big scare, dashed around the tank, and hurt himself. Shortly after that, he came down with ICK, he lost his appetite for a few days. I added ICK med’s, he didn’t get better, I called the company and they told me to add “Fungus Clear”
He is improving, although he will only eat nuts and bloodworms. With the occasional nibble on spinach, is that a sufficient stable diet for him? Will the peanuts contaminate the water?
I have a 150 gal tank with 40 other small fish in with him, so far everyone is healthy and Paco hasn’t ate them yet. We do plan to buy a tank just for him, but waiting for our remodel to be completed.

iamntbatman 06-09-2008 11:30 PM

Nuts are really high in fat content and I don't believe they'd make a good food for any fish. I would try to get him on some sort of flake or pellet as a staple, especially one with spirulina in it as pacus need some vegetable content in their diets.

Jo 06-09-2008 11:49 PM

Thanks for the info, I will try and get him more on the greens.
I heard in the wild that pacus eat the nuts that fall into the rivers, so thats why I tried it, but he does'nt want anything else now. He used to eat 50 algea disks a day + his worms.

iamntbatman 06-10-2008 12:01 AM

That's a lot of food! Even for a fish his size, I think that's overdoing it. Fish have much slower metabolisms than warm-blooded animals and can go for much longer on a surprisingly little amount of food. Algae wafers are a good staple for a pacu (along with flakes or pellets with fish or shrimp meal) so I would maybe go a few days without feeding him at all, then try offering just a couple of algae wafers.

Jo 06-10-2008 12:40 AM

I did'nt realise I was over feeding him. I even mentioned what he ate when I went to Petsmart and no one seemed to know what to feed him.
I just thought he was so big that his stomach must be that big.
It's terrible that petsmart sell these fish and can't give you any info on them.
I have read a few stories about Pacus and was total shocked when I found out how big they grow, If I had known I would never have bought one. But now I am smitted with him, He really is a character.
But no one has mentioned quantity of food.
Do you have any idea?
I do applogise for babbling on.

Flashygrrl 06-10-2008 04:49 AM

Unfortunately, in a lot of cases the petstore employees are as uneducated as us and so it falls on to us to use both Fish Forum and that lovely search engine called Google to look up what we want and figure out what we want and if we can have it...preferably before we buy the fish :) It's a mistake a lot of people have made so don't feel like you're the only one :)

Gump 06-10-2008 08:17 AM

Pacus do eat a lot, and it will only get worse as they grow. I know someone who feeds his pacu a can of green beans in a single sitting. If i were you I would keep trying different foods and using things like algae wafers as a treat and not a staple. As he grows it will become very very expensive. Also flakes are a waste of time for a fish like this and you can get bulk quality pellet food for pretty good prices on the net that would be much better for your wallet. Pacus do eat nuts in the wild but they are much different than peanuts which I personally wouldn't feed. Give the pacu a little time from being sick to get back to eating like the pig that it is, don't worry it wont starve itself. If you are going to feed often just remember to keep the water clean with water changes and if you plan on keeping it be prepared to buy a 500+ gallon tank.

Jo 06-10-2008 09:57 AM

Wow, a 500 gal tank.
I thought a 300 gal would have been big enough for a Pacu, 3 Disks and a 13 in Placo. We're just enclosing a room and I'm trying to talk my husband into the 300. He's not keen on that since i just got my 150 7mths ago. I'm really torn, maybe it would be better for my pacu If I found someone with a large tank already looking for another pacu. That way he would have a playmate of his own kind.
Sad for me but good for him. :(

okiemavis 06-10-2008 05:49 PM

What are the water parameters of your tank? It's just good to check that there isn't any ammonia/nitrites since he's such a wasteful fish. Stress would definitely contribute to him not eating.

Pacu's are awesome fish. I'd love to keep one, but the space is definitely an issue here. The biggest mistake that people make is feeding them too much meat, as they are primarily herbivores. I'd check this out, but usually goldfish and koi food is lower in fat & protein and higher in vegetable matter. You can buy pond koi food in HUGE quantities for cheap, which is probably the best way to go with this guy.

I've also read a bunch about Pacu eating nuts. They will easily crack the shell and eat what is inside. In fact, nuts falling in the river is supposedly the reason they have evolved such powerful jaws. Brazil nuts are the most accurate to their wild diet, but a treat of other nuts every once in a while won't harm him.

Jo 06-11-2008 10:53 AM

Right now Paco is in a 150 gal tank, I do a 25% water change every week, It has'nt hurt my other fish as I've never lost any, They have all lived happy in there for 7months now, I was shocked at how fast my Pacu grew. But he got spooked a few weeks ago and hurt himself, then stressed out and got ick. Thats when he stopped coming to me and refused to eat. He used to come to the surface and eat food from my fingers.
He's well on the way to recovery again, Thank goodness, but will only eat, blood worms and nuts. (cashews, macadamias and almonds )
But somone told me these are too high in fat.
He will eat an occasional grape and veg, won't this contaminate the water.
He chews them pretty well, but alot of particals come through his gills.

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