Fish food is something very confusing for aquarists, though they get the list of foods for their pet fish from care guides. However, the quantity of food and the frequency of feeding are sometimes not clearly mentioned there. So there is a possibility of either overfeeding or underfeeding the aquarium fish, which will give rise to multiple health issues to your fish.
We generally over/underfeed our pet fish because of our misperceptions; take a look at some of them:
1. Your fish is eating algae, so it is hungry.
2. It is swimming close to the aquarium wall, so it is hungry.
3. It is not eating sufficient, which means it is ill and so on.
These are myths having hardly any connection to reality, and you can easily debunk them. First of all, eating algae is a common tendency of fish but don’t consider it to be hungry just because of that. Similarly, swimming close to the aquarium wall is often their trick to show they are hungry when the fish is actually not hungry at all. Eating less does not necessarily indicate illness; it also means that your fish want something different to eat.
These causes of over/underfeeding can easily be omitted, and if you have the idea of quantity and frequency of feeding, you can raise your fish healthily.
According to the experts, your fish have to consume the food in 5 minutes, not more than that. It will take time for you to determine the quantity of food. You can simply drop a very small quantity of food and watch how much time your fish takes to consume that. If your fish takes 3 minutes to eat that, you will have to drop a lesser quantity on the second turn. You will gradually learn to drop the exact quantity to be consumed in 5 minutes.
You have to feed the fish only once a day. A fish takes 16-24 hours to digest this food, and you can’t feed the fish before this duration, even though it looks hungry.
For nocturnal fish, you will need to turn off the lights right after dropping the food to indicate its night, and they can eat.
Some experienced aquarists prefer to feed twice a day, but the quantity of food should be half of what you used for one meal a day. For example, for two feedings, you have to check that your fish can consume each meal in 2-3 minutes only. Try to fix two specific times a day and maintain that, but you will have to consider that the duration between two feedings cannot be more than 10-11 hours.
Apart from these, the herbivorous fish need several meals a day, as they cannot keep much food in their small stomach. You can offer them multiple meals but in very small quantities. Also, you can provide plenty of live plants in the aquarium for them. The newly hatched fries also need several meals in small quantity.
You need to know that overfeeding means over excrete, and it will eventually increase the quantity of dirt in a fish tank. It will clog the filters and increase the harmful toxins. These are the birthplace of nitrates, which cause excess algae. So you make the aquarium unhealthy for the fish just by overfeeding.
Your fish will eat whenever you offer them something to eat. So it is more important to know and follow the quantity of food and frequency of feeding than looking at the innocent face of your fish that looks like it is begging for food.