Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   How can my fish look so hungry? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/how-can-my-fish-look-so-91093/)

Inga 01-20-2012 10:42 AM

How can my fish look so hungry?
 
I know I feed my fish enough. In fact, I know I over feed my fish so how is it that they always look hungry? They swim around staring at me and trying to get my attention so I will feed them. Sometimes, I set the container with food on the desk near the tank and I swear they look at me then at the food then back at me. I swear they are beckoning me to feed them. How do they do it?

I know that there are some of you that once a week fast your fish. How long can a fish go without feeding? How long until it starves? I was feeding mine 2 times a day but have cut it down to once a day now. Unless they get to me with their sad eyes, which happens sometimes. I try not to look at them when I KNOW they are not starving. HELP!!! I am going to have obese fish because I can't NOT feed them.

Boredomb 01-20-2012 11:20 AM

LoL Inga, I can't tell you how to feed your fish. Some will say just once a day is plenty some say more is better. I only feed mine once a day and don't feed on WC days. Personal belief here is do whatever is working for you and your fish. If you feed more then once a day and believe you are overfeeding then just cut back to once a day or go with smaller potions still twice a day. I have heard fish can go a week with out food if they are healthy. I have never done this as I have always had someone feed my fish if I wasn't here to do it. If the fish are healthy and looking good and growing then keep doing what it is you are doing. I wouldn't worry about it as long as the water parameters are good between each water changing days.

Romad 01-20-2012 11:23 AM

You could feed them 5 times a day and they will still look at you in anticipation when you get close to the tank. I feed mine small amounts twice a day.

I have to assume they burn up the first feeding swimming around all day.

AbbeysDad 01-20-2012 11:32 AM

I have studied this some. In the wild, fish forage for food nearly all day, every day. Some days are better than others. Because food can be scarce, like most things in the wild, they are 'programmed' to gorge themselves when food is available. And yes, like Pavlof's dogs they associate your presence at the tank with food so they come 'running'.
Yes fish can survive for days without food. So can humans. I don't know about you, but I kinda like eating regularly. If/when I go without, it's not good as by the end of day one, I feel queezy and light headed.
I know there are folks that withhold food a day or more a week in the belief that it 'cleans them out'.
We had one fellow here that only fed his fish once a week! (one of those "I've done it this way for years and my fish are just fine so I know I'm right.")
I don't know if there's any science behind this and surely fish in the wild would not do this.
Now, without question, over feeding is very bad but I think the fear of over feeding has produced yet another fish keeping myth about feeding. I recently read that one of the top ten mistakes new fish keepers make is under feeding! - Believe it or not.

So, after a fair amount of research and pondering, except for fry which I feed more often, I feed my fish twice a day in very small amounts. This better ensures against gorging and seems to be working very well.
Also, some may remember from other threads that I feed very high quality foods made from fresh food grade fish rather than fish meal w/flour binders/fillers. I'm convinced this makes a huge difference and results in far less fish waste.

AD

Inga 01-20-2012 11:34 AM

That is the thing. One of my tanks is conveniently placed right next to my desk so I can see (with my peripheral vision) my fish staring at me with drool dripping from their little mouths. Alright, not the drool but it seems like they are calling to me. I know they don't want me to come throw a ball for them which is what I do when My dogs are behaving like this but... they want something. Maybe I should change my hairstyle so it hangs in my line of sight and I can't see them staring at me.

Truth is, I like to feed everyone and everything. I am forever stopping to pick up food for homeless people and animals. I can't stand the idea of anyone going hungry and everyone seems hungry. lol

thekoimaiden 01-20-2012 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AbbeysDad (Post 957232)
-snip-
We had one fellow here that only fed his fish once a week! (one of those "I've done it this way for years and my fish are just fine so I know I'm right.")
I don't know if there's any science behind this and surely fish in the wild would not do this.
-snip-

:shock: One day a week? That's... ya. But there are fish in the wild that go weeks without eating. Salmon swimming upriver to spawn don't eat at all. They run purely on fat reserves. Really neat stuff, wild fish foraging behaviour. But it is VERY different from species to species. When people say "fish" they can be referring to any of about 40,000 species.

As for the feeding regime. I think it depends on the fish. My goldfish get fed small amounts about 4 times daily, but this is because they have small stomachs. The best way to feed goldies is small amounts 3-4 times a day. My bettas get fed 2-3 times daily. The younger ones get 3, the older ones only 2. The loaches get it once daily in the dark. I do withhold one feeding on water change day. And I don't feed them when I'm gone. My bettas have gone a full week without food and been fine. The goldfish just eat the plants.

Inga, if you want you could increase feeding to 2-3 times per day and watch for signs of overfeeding like nitrate/ammonia spike or excess snails. Also depending on what fish you have, you could provide plants that they like to snack on. Maybe you could try a higher quality food. AD really is right. Food quality makes a difference; it actually caused some pretty major problems with my goldies until I switch to the good stuff.

Inga 01-20-2012 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thekoimaiden (Post 957345)
:shock: One day a week? That's... ya. But there are fish in the wild that go weeks without eating. Salmon swimming upriver to spawn don't eat at all. They run purely on fat reserves. Really neat stuff, wild fish foraging behaviour. But it is VERY different from species to species. When people say "fish" they can be referring to any of about 40,000 species.

As for the feeding regime. I think it depends on the fish. My goldfish get fed small amounts about 4 times daily, but this is because they have small stomachs. The best way to feed goldies is small amounts 3-4 times a day. My bettas get fed 2-3 times daily. The younger ones get 3, the older ones only 2. The loaches get it once daily in the dark. I do withhold one feeding on water change day. And I don't feed them when I'm gone. My bettas have gone a full week without food and been fine. The goldfish just eat the plants.

Inga, if you want you could increase feeding to 2-3 times per day and watch for signs of overfeeding like nitrate/ammonia spike or excess snails. Also depending on what fish you have, you could provide plants that they like to snack on. Maybe you could try a higher quality food. AD really is right. Food quality makes a difference; it actually caused some pretty major problems with my goldies until I switch to the good stuff.

I do feed high quality food, I don't have snails but I NORMALLY do every 4-5 day water changes of 60-75% at a time. So, no nitrate issues at all. I do have plants, used to have more but am working on getting them grown in nice and thick again. I think all in all, I just like to feed them. I find pleasure in making them happy whether it is feeding or cleaning their tank. I love to see their happy little faces swimming around.

I just got back from Petco and once again had to fight the urge to save one of those pathetic Betta cup fish. I hate seeing them. Maybe once the last of my male Guppies dies of natural causes (over eating? just kidding) I also buy a variety of foods so they don't have to eat the same thing all the time. Fresh frozen and freeze dried varieties. I have assassins which keep down any other pest snails that might crop up.

thekoimaiden 01-20-2012 07:00 PM

I love feeding my fish, too. And my cats and my dogs (that's the reason we now have a diabetic cat). I think one of the dangers that comes from overfeeding is a buildup of nitrogenous wastes, but it sounds like you have that under strict control. I did once see what I would have thought as "fat fish" at an aquarium once. I think they were neon tetras (can't remember). They all had huge bulbous stomachs. It was kinda gross. I know feeding goldfish a diet too high in protein can cause fatty-liver disorder. Maybe the neons had something like that.

I hear you about bettas. That was how I ended up with 4 bettas. They do really great in 10 gal divided tanks. Speaking of which, it's betta feeding time.

Tetra Guy 01-20-2012 07:18 PM

Mine do that too, lol! Maybe they just want to watch you. Curious like a cat. Mine watch me, they like to show off and greet me when I approach the tank. Through studying them, I noticed they each have a personality. At night, my albino shark tucks himself in behind the heater to sleep, every night like clockwork. Sometimes I think I can see facial expressions. They're very smart.

Tetra Guy 01-20-2012 07:28 PM

On the eating bit: We, as humans, are 'super predators' meaning we are on the top of the food chain. We eat for pleasure, not survival. There is a big difference between those two types of eating. We go to a nice restraunt, get seated by the host, start with a nice wine, order our food, and so on... Think about it, we go for the experience, not just the food, but the whole production. So as said earlier, fish eat for survival, not pleasure. We spoil them when it comes to food. Because we eat well, we want them to eat well too.


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