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Feeding Fish - Saltwater

Fish Care

Feeding Tetra Marine Flakes

One of the most important aspects of maintaining an aquarium is feeding the fish.  They are dependant on your proper care.  Most fish eat flake foods, but refer to the Fish Facts tab to get information on specific species and their diets.  For example, Tangs and other herbivores eat mainly algae based foods, like dried seaweed (nori) and spirulina flakes.  They don't require high protein insect based flakes.  Generally, herbivores will eat small amounts continuously whereas carnivores eat larger amounts sporadically.  It's always a good idea to vary the diet of your fish and to introduce live foods occasionally.  Flakes foods, freeze dried shrimp and freeze dried bloodworms can usually be used for either freshwater or saltwater fish.  Household vegetable matter is readily eaten by many fish, but there is a risk of adding unwanted chemicals to a tank from these sources.

Feed your fish at least twice a day and try to make sure they finish eating in a couple of minutes.  Don't feed all the food at once - spread out the length of the feeding period  Make sure each fish is finding some of the food, including the bottom dwellers, and make sure to stop if food is reaching the bottom and being neglected..  There are two basic situations to watch for:

  1. Feeding too much.  This is a common problem in saltwater tanks, especially since feeding is an easy way to display the tank to spectators.  Placing more food in the tank than can be consumed in a minute will likely result in food settling to the bottom of the tank where it will pollute the water.  If fish are eating all the food and none is settling, you can increase the number of feedings, but clouded water is a sure sign you have fed them too much and its time for a water change - see the Water Quality section.

  2. Feeding too little.  This situation is easy to recognize in the early stages.  Your middle & lower level swimmers and your shy fish will come to the top and compete for food - a sure sign that they are starving, because they don't want to be there.  Increase the length of time for each feeding or the number of feedings.

Fish can go without food for days at a time, so you can leave them without food on a short vacation.  For longer absences you can buy foods that will release in the water for periods of up to a week.  If you are having trouble with an ammonia spike, it's a good idea to reduce or stop feeding your fish.