Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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tanker 03-19-2010 11:04 PM

How much food?
 
As with every topic I've been researching, I've read conflicting information about feeding. The sticky here says as much as they can eat in five minutes but doesn't say how often. The fish food container says as much as they can eat in five minutes twice a day, but I'm not sure you can trust them because they'd want you to use lots so that you buy lots. I've read as much as they can eat in 2 minutes once a day, and as much as they can eat in 1 minute once a day. Aargh.

The platies I've got now seem very enthusiastic about food. I think they'd gobble up as much as they were given no matter how large, so I want to find a level that I'm comfortable with that won't result in them being overfed/me stressing out that they're overfed or starving.

Also, I've read that they can have a variety of foods other than the flakes they're having now. What kind of ratio is good for mixing up the food? Something else once a week? More often?

Thanks for any advice or info about what you do with your fish.

Mean Harri 03-20-2010 12:15 AM

A tropical fishes stomach is about the size of its eye. Considering that they don't need a lot of food. What I do is pinch a small amount of flake and drop it in. Once it's gone I drop in a little more. Wait until it's gone then a little more. I know I don't spend 3 minutes feeding them. You want to avoid over feeding. Try not to drop in a bunch and let them free choice feed. That leads to excess food piling up.
Fish can go days without food if necessary. Of course, you don't want to do that unless there is some need for it.
When it comes to varying the diet I am random. Omega One freshwater flakes are the staple diet that I feed. Occasionally I feed some Omega One color pellets. And sometimes I feed dehydrated mysis shrimp. It's more important to feed only one food at a time than tossing in some of this and some of that at the same feeding.
I also think of it as if feeding yourself or a dog. It's better to feed ourselves several smaller meals than to eat one large meal. I don't know if this is necessary for fish but it seems to make sense to me.
I don't feed in the morning as I leave for work before lights on. I feed in the afternoon and then again before lights out.

tanker 03-20-2010 01:15 AM

Thanks. I didn't know that about the size of their stomachs. The way they've been chowing down, they could have stomachs the size of a shark's:-D.

When you say wait until it's gone, are the fish supposed to dive and eat all of it that's sunk? They dive for it, but some sinks right to the bottom before they get to it. They don't usually browse at the bottom, they tend to eat it when it's in the water. When I eventually get my corydoras, they'll be able to eat any sunken food, but meanwhile do I need to worry about it?

1077 03-20-2010 01:26 AM

I might try offering just a little bit less if much is falling to the bottom. Don't worry, fish will go to the bottom and forage once they realize no more food is forthcoming at the surface.

Mean Harri 03-20-2010 01:51 AM

A little at the bottom is ok. The goal is to not overload the system with too much wasted food.

iamntbatman 03-20-2010 03:36 AM

It's basically just a "you'll learn how much is enough at a feeding" sort of thing. I don't really time my feedings but I try to put in enough food so that every fish gets something to eat and all of the food is gone from the tank within, say, 10 or 20 minutes. I feed twice a day. Prepared foods (flakes, pellets, crumbles, wafers, etc.) are the staple diet but I replace a few feedings a week with frozen or live foods.

Byron 03-20-2010 03:58 PM

I normally only feed once a day, prepared foods (flake and tablet/pellet for the bottom feeders). A second feeding of frozen bloodworms 3 times a week is primarily for two fish species that will eat nothing else, and I ensure they get this but of course other fish get some of it as well, but not much.

The flake is gone within 2-3 minutes max, usually within 1 minute. The tablet takes longer as it comes apart slowly or as fish pick at it; I have seen bits of one of the veggie tablets a couple hours later. The snails usually get what's left of those. The normal and "shrimp" pellets are gone within the hour.

In 20 years of doing this I have never had a fish starve, they are full bodied, spawning madly, so I assume they are getting what they need.

tanker 03-20-2010 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iamntbatman (Post 347519)
It's basically just a "you'll learn how much is enough at a feeding" sort of thing.

Yes, I think I need to observe until I find a level I'm comfortable with. At this stage, I think I need to resist the urge to give them heaps of food just because they ask for it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 347865)
In 20 years of doing this I have never had a fish starve,

I never starved the fish I used to have either, but they were much daintier in their feeding habits than these platies, who seem much greedier and demanding. They don't seem to eat and then stop like my previous fish, they look like they'd keep eating as long as you kept putting it in there. I'm probably wrong about that, but they are very keen on eating. (If a good appetite is an indication of health, then I'm quite pleased about that.)

Byron 03-21-2010 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tanker (Post 348083)
Yes, I think I need to observe until I find a level I'm comfortable with. At this stage, I think I need to resist the urge to give them heaps of food just because they ask for it.

I never starved the fish I used to have either, but they were much daintier in their feeding habits than these platies, who seem much greedier and demanding. They don't seem to eat and then stop like my previous fish, they look like they'd keep eating as long as you kept putting it in there. I'm probably wrong about that, but they are very keen on eating. (If a good appetite is an indication of health, then I'm quite pleased about that.)

Being "hungry" is good, but remember they are instinctively going to eat all they can when it is available, since they don't know when the next meal may be around. Normally healthy fish can go 1-2 weeks without food; some aquarists here have mentioned not feeding fish one or two days a week. All of this just supports the fact that a fish that is healthy and eats a flake or two a day will continue such.

tanker 03-21-2010 11:24 AM

Their instinct is to eat everything that arrives and my instinct is to keep throwing it in if they're eating it. :-D I'm the one who needs to rein in my instinct.


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