How to feed fish

How to feed fish

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How to feed fish

The Spruce / Hilary Allison

Overfeeding is the most common mistake fish owners make, and it can lead to a multitude of serious problems in the aquarium. Overfeeding clogs the filter, and breaks down into toxins that are harmful to fish. This is why fish food packaging includes clear warnings regarding the dangers of overfeeding.

In nature, fish search for food when are hungry, but will also eat whenever food is available. If food sources are plentiful, they will eat several times a day. On the other hand, if food sources are scarce, fish might go for days between meals with no ill effects. For this reason, fish are very opportunistic and will eat whenever they have a chance. Whenever you offer them food, aquarium fish will usually gobble it up even if they aren’t in need of nutrition. Keep that in mind the next time your fish appears to “beg” for food. Fish quickly learn who brings the food to the tank and will jump at the chance to be fed, even if they are not in dire need.


Feeding your fish too often or offering them too much food can lead to several problems. Both excessive digestive wastes and uneaten food can pollute the water and create high ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, and lower the oxygen level as well as lowering the pH levels. If your water tests show high nitrate levels, it is very likely because you are overfeeding your fish. Further, excessive food floating in the water can clog filters, causing the water to become toxic.

How Often

The correct frequency of feeding will vary based on the species of fish. In general, most fish do quite well on one or two feedings per day. Most fish require 16 to 24 hours to fully digest the food they eat, so a once-a-day feeding is quite sufficient. However, some owners prefer to feed their fish very lightly twice a day. Whether you feed one or two times per day, the key is to keep the feedings very small. The timing is not critical, with the exception of species that are nocturnal feeders, such as certain catfish. If you have nocturnal fish in your aquarium, be sure to feed them just before turning the lights out at night.

There are some exceptions to the once-per-day feeding rule. Herbivores (vegetarians) need to eat frequently because they do not have large stomachs to hold a lot of food. In nature, they graze all day long on plants that are readily available and have no need to gorge opportunistically. These species should be given several small feedings a day or provided with live plants they can nibble on constantly.

Also, newly hatched fry and young fish not fully grown require more frequent feedings of special foods designed for fry. Usually, three or four feedings a day are necessary for fry.

How Much

As for how much food to feed, a good rule of thumb is to feed no more than the fish will consume completely in five to ten minutes. When in doubt, underfeed! You can always give them another small feeding if necessary. However, if you overfeed, the uneaten food will produce wastes that can be harmful to the fish. In the event that you do overfeed, promptly remove the uneaten food from the tank using a siphon or net. If you see rotting food hovering near the bottom of the tank, it is a clear sign you are overfeeding. This can lead to elevated ammonia levels in the water and serious health consequences for your fish. Like any species, overfed fish may become obese and bloated.

Store your fish food in a cool place to maintain its vitamin value and ensure your fish get the maximum nutritional value from the feedings. It’s also best to buy small amounts, a month’s supply at a time, to prevent the food from losing its nutritional value before being used up feeding your fish.

As a final note, keep in mind that not only the amount but the type of food is important. Research fish species to determine which type of food is appropriate for the fish you keep. Some fish foods are specific to species, such as algae wafers for bottom-feeding herbivores, while others may be tailored to freshwater fish or saltwater species. Whatever food you choose, make sure it is balanced to provide the vitamins, protein, and minerals your fish need. Small amounts of good nutritional food are much better for your fish than large amounts of cheap food.

Keep Your Fish Healthy Through Proper Nutrition

How to feed fish

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How to feed fish

Amir Mukhtar / Getty Images

What you feed your fish—and how much you feed them—is an important part of providing a healthy environment for them. There’s much more to offering the proper diet for a fish than just sprinkling a few flakes on top of the water a couple of times a day.

Choosing the Right Food

The fish food section at the pet store can be overwhelming to a novice owner. First, learn more about your fish species, starting with whether the species are meat-eaters (carnivores) or vegetation eaters (herbivores). From there, options to choose from include:

  • Dry Food: When you think of fish food, you think of flakes. That’s the most common option for feeding a tankful of fish, but dry fish food also comes in granules and pellets, sinking, and floating varieties, as well as options for specific species. Dry fish food can be lower in fiber, but adding vegetable foods to the diet will help reduce the risk of swim bladder disorders and bloating for vegetarian species. Pet stores may also sell sheets of dried spirulina or nori algae, which are great for herbivorous fish to nibble on.
  • Frozen Food: Some fish will enjoy frozen food, such as shrimp, bloodworms, plankton, prawn, krill, or mussels. Pet stores often also sell frozen spirulina cubes for feeding herbivores.
  • Freeze Dried: Tubifex worms and Mysis shrimp or other foods can be found as freeze-dried cubes. These are very nutritious and great for carnivorous fish.
  • Live Food: Options include live brine or ghost shrimp, feeder fish (for larger carnivorous fish), crickets, and worms.
  • Greens: If your fish are the type to munch on aquarium plants, such as anacharis, give them greens as well. Options include lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and spinach. Clip the greens to the side of the tank or fasten them in place near the substrate, but remove or replace the uneaten vegetables within 24 hours. Fish such as plecostomus love to eat fresh greens.

The biology of different fish means they often need different food. Therefore, if you have a variety of fish in your aquarium, use a combination of food—such as floating foods, slow-sinking foods, and rapidly sinking foods—to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need.

How Much to Feed

Fish owners are more likely to overfeed their fish than underfeed them, which increases the amount of waste in the tank. This is not only the waste left when the fish do not eat all the food but also the waste is excreted from the fish because they’re eating more than necessary. If you find that ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate levels are going up and the tank seems polluted, you’re probably overfeeding the fish.

Adult fish can be fed once a day, around the same time, though you can feed them multiple times a day if you’re giving them a smaller amount each feeding. Young fish may need three or four feedings a day. Herbivores typically don’t have large stomachs to hold a lot of food, as in nature they would nibble on algae and plants throughout the day. They can be fed more frequently than carnivores, or given live greens that they can snack on throughout the day. Follow the rule of thumb that you should feed the fish only what they will eat in five minutes. If there is food left after that time (except for the fresh greens), you are feeding too much. One exception is for fish that are nocturnal (night time) feeders, where you should put the food in the aquarium in the evening before turning off the lights, and let the fish eat overnight.

Don’t take the size of the aquarium as an indication of how much food is needed. Five fish in a large aquarium need the same amount of food as five fish in a smaller aquarium—just spread it out across the aquarium so everyone can get to it easily.

It’s a good idea to build a feeding routine for your pet fish. If you usually feed them around 7am, 12pm and 6pm every day, you’ll find them waiting for you at those times. Here’s more on what to feed your pet fish.

A well-balanced diet for pet fish

Always make sure you buy the right type of food for your fish – don’t buy your goldfish tropical fish flakes, for example. This is because they contain different levels of nutrients.

It’s also important to supplement fish food flakes with other foods for balanced nutrition and enrichment. For example:

  • Goldfish love chopped vegetables such as peas and spinach.
  • Tropical fish vary in what they’ll eat – frozen then fully thawed fish, crumbled boiled egg yolk and some lettuce leaf depending on the species.
  • Certain species of pleco need vegetables, such as potatoes, or pieces of wood that they graze on.
  • Invertebrate foods, such as daphnia (‘water fleas’) or brine shrimps, are an excellent supplement for tropical fish and are widely available in frozen packs. Only feed small amounts of them to goldfish due to their high protein content.

Different tropical fish species need their food given to them differently. Middle and bottom-dwelling species will need their food delivered accordingly (quickly sinking food or compressed food ‘tablets’) and nocturnal species, like some catfish, need to be fed last thing at night.

How much to feed your fish

You’ll need to adjust the quantity of food according to the size and quantity of fish in your tank. Always feed as much as the fish can eat within two to five minutes and don’t overfeed them. Also, it’s better to feed them two or three times a day rather than just once a day.

Holiday care for your fish

If you go away on holiday, ask a responsible person to check on the fish and equipment each day. Remember:

  • Tropical fish will need daily feeding, and it’s important that whoever feeds them in your absence knows how to feed them and to avoid overfeeding. It’s a good idea to prepare some meals in advance.
  • It’s actually better to underfeed rather than overfeed because fish are more susceptible to poor water quality than a lack of food. Find out more about this on our fish environment page.
  • We don’t recommend using holiday ‘feeding blocks’, as they release a lot of food into the water very quickly and most of it may rot.
  • Anautomatic feeder will release a measured amount of food each day. However, you’ll still need to ask a responsible person to check the tank every day to ensure the equipment is working

Follow the links below to find out more about how to care for your pet fish.

How to feed fish

What type of food should you feed your fish? How much food does it need daily? We answer these and other common questions about the nutritional needs of a fish.

The amount of food you give your fish is important. That said, do not overfeed the animal. You have probably heard this before and it is true. While overfeeding won’t make your fish explode, it will contaminate the water, making the tank an unpleasant place to live. In addition, an excessive amount of food particles in the tank can clog the filters, which also causes the water to become toxic.

So how much food is too much?

It depends on the type, size, and breed of your fish. Try sprinkling a small amount of food in the fish’s tank and watch. Your fish should eat its fill in about five minutes. Experiment and take notes until you find appropriate amount for your fish. However, it is better to err on the side of caution — at least at first — and feed the fish too little rather than too much.

How many times should you feed your fish daily?

This will also depend on the fish’s breed and size. Most fish only require a once-a-day feeding, though some people like to split it into two smaller feedings. Consult your veterinarian or the fish experts at your local aquarium to learn about the daily requirements for your particular breed. But be aware that a fish will eat even when it’s not hungry. So there is no point feeding your water-bound pet three times a day, when once a day is sufficient.

What about the type of fish food?

Some food is breed-specific. Other types are based on whether the fish is of fresh or salt water. Some fish even eat live food (e.g., worms, shrimp, and fruit flies), so make sure to get this information before purchasing the fish and bringing it home, especially if you get queasy at the site of one live creature eating another.

Regardless of the type of food, fish, much like other animals, require daily nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and protein. Again, consult your veterinarian or the fish experts at your local aquarium to best fulfill these needs for your pet fish.

How should you store your fish food?

When storing food, it is best to keep it in the freezer to help preserve the vitamin content. And for the best nutritional value, only buy enough food for the month. That way you will be able to have the healthiest fish possible.

It may be seem like a difficult ordeal to feed your fish, but really it is not. As long as you don’t indulge your underwater pet by giving it some crackers to munch on, you should be fine. Anyways, fish aren’t much into snacking.

Even fish in an aquarium want to be fed appropriately! Everyone knows the clichй of the XXL flake food can, which sits on the cover of the tank and is handled several times a day. Which takes us right to the nitty-gritty! Aquarium fish need to be:

  • fed appropriate to their species
  • fed food small or big enough for their mouths
  • fed economically
  • be fed varied food

If you, as an aquarium owner, follow these four principles, you will be rewarded by the animal inhabitants with a long and healthy life. We will now take a closer look at these subitems.

Feeding types

What does that mean anyway? To stick to the example of a flake food can: most species of fish indeed will eat flake food, but a species-appropriate diet means that the diet is adapted to the natural feeding behavior and the choice of food. First of all, a distinction is made here between different diet types. Carnivores eat meat, herbivores on the other hand mainly eat vegetables. Omnivore species eat everything. These dietary habits should be considered.


Carnovorous fish require a high-protein diet in the shape of live-, frost- or dry food. Carcasses, in other word: carrion, as food falls under this type of diet as well. Predatory species usually eat carnivorous. In the aquarium, for example, these include most of the cichlids.

How to feed fish


Herbivorous fish species prefer a vegan diet. Usually animals on this type of feed have a longer digestive tract. Many species of catfish primarily eat vegetable food and, above all, graze the biofilms off of all hard surfaces. This growth consists of microorganisms such as algae, bacteria and fungi.

How to feed fish

Dried leaves such as oak leaves, but also fresh food like blanched plant leaves (e.g. stinging nettle) or veggies (sliced cucumber, zucchini, etc.)are gladly accepted as food. Since especially some catfish species are dependent on an increased fibre content in their diet, countless manufacturers offer special feeding tabs, containing high amounts of veggies and sometimes even some wood, to meet the need for fiber.


Omnivores eat both, plant- AND meat-based food. They are thus quite flexible in their food choices. For example, we humans are arguably among the omnivorous creatures, too. Well-known aquarium fish that fall in this category are most of the viviparous species like the popular guppy. Nonetheless, omnivores may still have a certain focus in their diet, either on the carnivorous or herbivorous side. Omnivorous fish are especially happy about a varied diet.

How to feed fish

Food specialists

Food specialists include living beings that can consume only a certain amount of food. In terms of nutrition, such animals therefore require special attention. Typical candidates in aquaristics are, for example, puffer fish species, which necessarily need snails as the main food source. If snails are unavailable as food, these animals can get problems with the tooth growth and eventually die.

How to feed fish

Species-appropriate feeding

Species-appropriate feeding now means, above all, that consideration is given to the respective diet types and that the animals in the aquarium are offered appropriate food. If you keep fish and invertebrates in the aquarium, who all belong to different nutritional types, the range of feeding should be adapted and each group of inhabitants should be fed individually, appropriate to its species.

Bite-sized food

This means that the food should be adapted to both the size and the shape of the fish muzzle. Small nano fish obviously can not take large chunks of food or ingest them. Appropriatly small food as granules or powder is more suitable. There are also small frost- and live foods such as freshly hatched artemia nauplii. On the other hand, larger animals should also get appropriate food. A stately discus fish can not absorb tiny food particles such as powders.

How to feed fish

Dennerle Nano Gran is a special granulate for small fish.

With regard to the mouth shape, a distinction is always made between:

    a projecting mouth. Here, the food is absorbed primarily on the water surface. Swimming foods like flakes and buoyant granules are advisable..

How to feed fish

inferior. The food intake happens on the ground. For these fish, sinking food and nourishment given as tablets are very suitable.

How to feed fish

Cories have an inferior mouth.

terminal mouth. Placed in a middle position, the animals mostly feed in free water. Food that sinks slowly or is distributed by the flow, accommodates this type of diet.

How to feed fish

Economical feeding

Fish should only be fed as much as they can eat in a few minutes. Leftovers increase the water load and should better be removed. A good help for this is a cleaning troop of invertebrates such as snails and shrimp for the aquarium, which are excellent scavengers. In addition, it can’t hurt to in a fasting day or two during the week. In the aquarium, however, sufficient food is usually still available in the form of microorganisms and algic growth, from which the animals can feed.

Varied feeding

To feed in variety means to vary often and regularly between different types and shapes of feed. Instead of just feeding flakes all the time, you can offer them tabs or granulate every once in a while. The aforementioned XXL flake food can makes little sense here, since the overabundance of food encourages an unbalanced diet. Feed types in smaller packages make much more sense.
If dry food is used almost exclusively, the fish will be happy with an addition of frozen or live food once or twice a week. Herbivores also need proteins from time to time and are therefore allowed to occasionally get meaty food. Omnivores should switch more often between vegetable and meat food.

Food provides the building blocks for everything that happens in your fish’s body and is also important for water quality.

Thinking about the dietary needs of your fish is one of the first things you will need to consider. The nutrition you provide your fish is hugely important – food provides the building blocks for everything that happens in your fish’s body and is also important for water quality.

There are lots of different species of fish, which have slightly different requirements. First it is important to feed for all the ‘types’ of feeders in your tank. These are:

  • Top (or surface) feeders, which have an upturned mouth, and need floating foods
  • Mid-feeders with straight mouths, who need food that slowly sinks
  • Bottom feeders who have downturned or mouths on their underside, and need sinking foods that sit on the bottom.

Food can also be species-specific, for example ‘chichlid food’ or ‘plec pellets’. Many simple aquarium fish will do well on more generic foods, such as tropical fish flakes, but you should always check if your fish species have any specific dietary needs.

Live food supplements can also be a great way to provide nutrition and stimulation for fish that will eat live foods – while many fish species are omnivores, some are herbivores and won’t be interested in live options.

To see a range of nutrition options for fish, have a look at what’s on offer from our friends in store.

More about feeding your fish

Once a day feeding is perfectly fine for most fish, although some herbivorous fish like Mollies have smaller digestive systems and can do better on more frequent feedings. It is always good to check when you buy your fish what their recommended feeding pattern is.

Splitting your feeds throughout the day does actually match the natural feeding pattern of most fish better. However, when feeding more often it can be tempting to overfeed which should be avoided. Fish will generally always eat when it is offered, even if they are not particularly hungry. They will also quickly learn who brings the food, and can ‘beg’ in their own way, so don’t be tempted to succumb to the pleas of ‘starving’ fish!

However you choose to feed, routine is best, so try and feed your fish at the same time every day. If you have nocturnal fish, such as some catfish, make sure to consider that when planning your feeding regime.

Overfeeding can be a big problem for fish, and sadly is often a product of over-kindness! Waste food accumulates, and this increases levels of nitrates in the water. Higher nitrates upsets the balance of the water, leading to lower oxygen levels and a fall in pH. Overfeeding or feeding a low fibre diet can also lead to constipation, which his usually seen as a trail of poo coming from your fish.

A good rule of thumb is not to feed more than your fish can eat two minutes.

Don’t forget to alter the amount you feed if you gain or lose fish in your tank, or if you change food brands or types. It is important, however, not to change the amount you feed if you are only changing tank size, as this will not alter the nutritional requirements of your fish unless they then grow.

Management : Nutrition

Purina Animal Nutrition

Anyone who has ever spent a Saturday morning on their pond with a fishing rod knows what a thrill it is to feel a tug on the end of the line.

The size of the thrill, however, is directly related to the strength of the tug — the bigger the bend, the better. So wouldn’t it be great if the fish in your pond were as big as possible? Wouldn’t it be nice if your pond not only had big fish, but more of them?

It may sound like a fish tale, but it is achievable. We’ll show you how to grow big fish with good pond management and supplemental feeding of your fish.

Supplemental feeding of fish

Research has shown that ponds stay healthy, fish grow big and fast, and sustainable per-acre populations are larger with supplemental feeding. Ponds that naturally sustain a stocking population of 500 bluegills and 50 bass per acre can easily sustain 1,000 bluegills and 100 bass per acre with supplemental feeding. This remarkable difference is due in part to the fact that supplemental feeding affects a pond’s entire food chain.

Picture one of the old cartoons that showed a small fish being swallowed by a bigger fish who smiled all the way down the throat of an even bigger fish. This is the food chain in action, and it illustrates one of the hidden benefits of supplemental feeding. At first glance, supplemental feeding seems to benefit only those fish, such as bluegills, sunfish, hybrid striped bass, catfish, minnows and other species, that directly consume the feed. And, while it’s true these fish flourish — converting feed at a 2:1 ratio to produce a full pound of weight gain for each two pounds of feed — they are not the only beneficiaries.

Feeding fish also supplies nutrients to the water, which enable phytoplankton to grow. Since phytoplankton are at the very bottom of the food chain, they affect all the animals above them. When they thrive, other life flourishes.

Feeding full circle

At the other end of the food chain are the predators, such as bass, walleye and larger catfish. They eat the bluegills, minnows, small catfish and other forage fish that have been supplied with supplemental feed. The food chain has now come full circle. By feeding the forage fish, you’ve not only provided yourself with a better catch when you hook a bluegill, you’ve also provided a better meal for your bass.

As an added bonus, supplemental feeding also makes the forage fish population more plentiful, because the larger size brought on by feeding encourages earlier breeding — sometimes as early as the first year. In the end, the result is an increase in the capacity of your pond to grow and maintain a greater number of trophy fish.

There was a time not too long ago that feeding fish was a time-consuming and difficult endeavor. While packaged foods existed, it was absolutely terrible for your fish – assuming that you could get your fish to eat it in the first place.

You would often find aquarists out in ponds and streams collecting live food, or spending hours creating homemade fish from their own secret recipe – which usually included some mix of meat, fish, invertebrates and vegetables.

Of course none of this is really necessary anymore, since fish foods have advanced so far. And while you don’t have to make your own homemade fish food, it’s still a good idea to offer your fish vegetables on a regular basis.

The reasons for this are simple – almost all fish in the wild have some plant matter in their diet, and as good as prepared fish foods have become, most don’t offer much in the way of plant matter to fish.

If you are going to give your fish vegetables or the occasional fruit, you need to know how to prepare and serve them to your fish. Like so much else involving aquariums, it’s not as straight forward as it sounds, and you can’t just throw a cucumber into your aquarium and hope for the best.

Cleaning Vegetables

Probably the most important thing that you need to remember with vegetables, is that you absolutely have to clean them before feeding them to you fish. Most vegetables from the supermarket are filthy when you get them. Not only are they covered in bacteria and dirt, but they can also have some pretty nasty pesticides on their skins.

Thankfully all of these contaminants are easy to deal with, and they can removed with just a minimum amount of effort. If the fruit or vegetable have a firm skin, then you can just clean it under some cool water, using a stiff brush. Make sure that you get every surface of the vegetable with the brush, and give it a good rinse afterwards.

If the vegetable is leafy, or has an irregular skin, then you should fill up a bowl with cool, clean water to clean it in. After you have filled the bowl, you should wash the vegetable as if you were washing clothes in a tub – dip and gently rub it. After you have thoroughly washed it, you should rinse the vegetable off under tap water.

Make sure that you allow the vegetables to completely dry afterwards, since you don’t want to introduce any chlorine into your tank water. If you’re concerned that the vegetable could retain water, then you should use rain water, or distilled water to do the cleaning.

Preparing the Vegetables

After the vegetables have been thoroughly cleaned, you can then move on to preparing them for your fish. Some fruits and vegetables can be fed raw to the fish, but most vegetables should be blanched prior to being offered to your fish.

The fruits and vegetables that are generally alright to serve raw are bananas, plantains, pumpkins, pears, apples, carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes. These should all be cut into small pieces before they are offered to your fish.

Most other vegetables you’ll want to blanch for your fish. All that blanching means, is bringing the vegetables to a rolling boil in a pot, and then removing them just after the water has begun to boil. Lightly steaming is also acceptable, and may actually be preferred for certain hard vegetables.

The best vegetables to blanch or steam are zucchini, squash, cucumbers (remove seeds), lima beans, peas (shell before serving), broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and spinach.

Make sure that the vegetables have completely cooled before you add them to the aquarium. Otherwise you could end up injuring your fish, since they will try to eat the vegetables immediately.

Keeping the Aquarium Clean

Even when you cut vegetables into small sections, your fish likely won’t be able to finish off the amount of vegetables that you give them. To ensure that the water doesn’t become fouled, you need to remove any uneaten portions after 24 hours. If you wait any longer, you risk your water becoming fouled.

Choosing Vegetables

If you’re unsure of what your fish will eat, there are a few general rules that you can abide by when choosing vegetables.

Peas are great for nearly any fish, and are perfect for helping to relieve a fish that is constipated. Regular feedings of peas is almost a requirement for fancy goldfish, since their compressed bodies means that they regularly become constipated. Just remember to shell the peas prior to feeding them to any fish.

If you’re just looking to get your feet wet with vegetables, one of the most widely accepted vegetables is zucchini. These are especially appreciated by live-bearers, but nearly any fish that eats plants or algae in the wild will accept these. Just slice them up into medallions, blanch and then feed them to your fish.

When it comes to offering vegetables to fancy snails, there is no question that leafy greens are a favorite. A good vegetable to get started with is romaine lettuce. It’s absolutely packed with nutrients, and its easy to prepare for snails. Just break off a leaf, blanch it, and offer it to your snails. In most cases, it will be completely devoured by morning.

One of the amazing things about snorkelling is being surrounded by so many beautiful, brightly coloured tropical fish. To encourage the fish to come a little closer, some people might throw bread or food scraps into the water. But did you know feeding the fish is actually harmful to them and their environment?

On behalf of the team at The Reef-World Foundation, here are five things you might not know about fish feeding:

How to feed fish

  1. Fish feeding is damaging to the natural balance of the ecosystem

Marine ecosystems are all connected. So, feeding the fish – which is also dangerous to the health of the fish too – can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem. Through the simple act of fish feeding, you’re changing natural behaviours which can lead to the destruction of coral reefs and the incredible marine life they support. When a diver or snorkeller feeds bread, rice or food scraps to the fish, reef fish rush to them to try and get a nice bite to eat. But when species that are usually solitary show this type of group predatory behaviour, they leave their territory and nests unguarded and vulnerable to predators.

  1. Fish feeding can lead to starvation

It might sound strange but being fed by humans could lead to fish starving to death. That’s because most marine animals have a very specific diet and a very specific range of digestive bacteria. If they’re fed the wrong food, the wrong type of bacteria can become dominant in their stomachs meaning they’re no longer able to digest their natural food and could starve to death.

  1. Algae smothers the coral

Many fish normally eat algae; helping to control its growth. When they are fed by humans, the algae no longer has the fish to control is growth and may spread too quickly, smothering and suffocating the coral and causing it to die.

  1. Crown-of-Thorns sea stars can grow out of control

Many divers have seen the catastrophic effects of a Crown-of-Thorns outbreak decimating the reef. These sea stars are natural predators of coral but, normally, fish grazing upon algae accidentally eat the eggs of Crown-of-Thorns and other coral predators; keeping them in check. When fish are being fed and stop grazing, predator populations can increase and damage the reef.

  1. Throwing your lunch scraps overboard can be a problem too

You know the feeling: you’ve finished a great morning’s diving, had your fill of a delicious lunch and now you’re dozing in the warm sunshine. The crew are preparing to head back to the dive shop: collecting everyone’s tupperwares, tossing the scraps overboard and starting the engines to head back to shore. But throwing scraps overboard – even if your intention isn’t to draw in the fish – can have the same effect. Rather than throwing any leftovers, fruit peels or other food into the ocean, it’s best to collect all your scraps and take them back to the shop where they can be composted or disposed of responsibly.

How to feed fish

The Reef-World Foundation leads the global implementation of the UN Environment’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry globally. To keep up with our latest news and developments, please follow Reef-World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also follow the Green Fins initiative on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with new materials, updates and sustainability insights from Green Fins members.

How to feed fish

For pond and lake owners who stock their outdoor space with fish, it’s important to know how to care for them and help them grow. But what do fish eat in a pond, and do you need to actively feed them? Algae, weeds, insects, leeches, and worms are great naturally occurring lake and pond fish food. However, fish also need supplemental nourishment, particularly if you’re growing them for sport. Keep reading to learn more about what, when, and how much to feed your fish.

What to Feed Pond Fish

To maintain a natural balance in your pond, we recommend stocking a good ratio of prey to predator fish and adding minnows from time to time. If you need help, read our pond stocking guide for tips on how to properly stock your fish. It’s also important to create a proper fish habitat in your pond to enable smaller prey fish and minnows to reproduce and naturally maintain the food supply.

If you’re trying to help them grow quickly so you can use your pond for fishing, supplemental nutrition is key. Our Game Fish Grower pellets make great pond fish food for bluegill, bass, and more. Packed with high amounts of protein and vitamins, they encourage growth and provide balanced nutrition to increase resistance to common diseases.

Also remember to look for high-quality foods that contain better ingredients for your fish. Lower-quality foods will be harder to digest and pass through fish, adding unnecessary nutrients to the water, which can cause water clarity issues. Look for fish food with at least 40% protein for fast growth and vitamins to keep them strong. Use EcoBoost in your pond every 2-4 weeks to improve water clarity and add over 80 trace minerals, good for fish and fast growth.

For small fish or growing fry, we recommend crushing pellets into tiny pieces to make them more manageable.

How Much to Feed Pond Fish

The size of your pond, number of fish, and whether or not you use a pond aerator are all factors that affect how much your fish need to be fed. Aeration in the pond will allow your fish to be more active, requiring you to feed them more. To start, we recommend feeding one-half to one pound of pellets per surface acre of water two to three times per day. This should equate to roughly the amount of food fish will eat in a ten minute period.

When to Feed Pond Fish

Water temperature will have an effect on how much your fish will eat. As the water temperatures start dropping in the fall, fish will eat less and will eventually stop feeding until spring when the water warms up. Only feed your game fish when the water temperature is above 50°F (10°C). When temperatures become colder, fish are almost in a state of hibernation and will live off their stored body fat until spring. Once water temperatures are above 50°F, start your feedings again.

What Else Can You Feed Fish in a Pond?

Along with the commercial food and natural food found in the pond itself, you can also offer your fish human treats like torn-up chunks of stale bread or chopped fruits and vegetables. They will add a much-welcomed variety to their diets and help you clean out your refrigerator!

What’s Next?

Now that you’re an expert on feeding pond fish, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Pick up some Game Fish Grower or your pond fish food of choice and help provide your fish with the supplemental nutrition they need. If you have any questions, our customer service team will be happy to help.

Heading away for the holiday season? May be with your four legged friends pet friendly accommodation. Lucky you! Unfortunately your water pals aren’t as lucky and will need to stay home. Who will feed your fish while you are on Holiday? Here are our suggestions on how to feed fish while you’re away:

1. Have a neighbour or friend drop by.
Make sure you show them how much to feed as overfeeding can be fatal to fish.

2. Feeding blocks

  • Feeding blocks slowly dissolve and release food for your fish while you are away.
  • The Serenity range of vacation feeding blocks have specially formulated ingredients to feed you fish whilst also helping neutralise and purify your aquarium’s water.
  • Blocks come in various sizes and will depend on how many fish you have, the size of your aquarium and the length of time you are away.
  • For example: one block from the Serenity Weekend Feeder 4 pack feeds 10 to 15 average size fish in a 60 litre aquarium for up to 4 days.

3. Automatic feeders

  • Unlike feeding block electronic automatic feeders are designed to dispense your fish’s normal food of flakes, pellets or freeze dried foods at set times of the day. The Dial a Diet Automatic fish feeder is perfect for any size of aquarium.
  • The size and capacity you need will depend on how much food your fish eat at each feeding and the number of feeds per day.
  • For your pond, the PondMAX 1L Automatic Fish Feeder can be set to feed from 1 to 6 times a day and has a large 1L capacity.

All of the above products can be found here

PLEASE NOTE: We strongly recommend testing whichever method you choose for a few days before you leave so you can observe how your fish react to the new food dispensing method.

How to feed fish

When keeping an aquarium, fish feeding is one of those things that you want to get just right. Using the right methods, the right food, the right schedule and the right quantities can affect much more than just the basic nutrition of your fish, extending to tank-wide consequences if you get it wrong.

At Swell UK, we take hundreds of advice calls every week about fish feeding, and usually, it boils down to the next few categories of thought:

Tailoring the diet of your fish

First of all, the type of food you are feeding your fish needs to be considered. It is at the point that the most research needs to be done into the specific dietary requirements of the fish in your care, and also the place where many fish keepers fall down at.

For instance, a tropical, vegetarian grazing fish will have different requirements to a marine, carnivorous fish, requiring different amounts of protein, vitamins and other nutrients.

This is of course an extreme example, and a freshwater fish and a marine fish would not be kept in the same tank, but that’s the way you should try to think about it. Consider all the different fish in your aquarium and then choose a fish food that best suits all of their needs. In a lot of cases, the fish in your tank may be so diverse that several different types of food may be required to satisfy their needs – E.g. in a large marine tank, some fish will need top floating flakes made of algae, some will need brine shrimp, and the marine Beta at the bottom needs a tasty bit of crab meat or something similar to keep it happy.

Feeding times

Once again, this depends on the type of fish you are keeping and research is essential. For most tanks, however, the 2-minute rule is often a good one. Place the food, either in flake or pellet form into the tank, and allow the feeding frenzy to ensue for 2 minutes, then use a net to remove the uneaten food.

Most fish can satisfy their needs in this two-minute window and fill their stomachs until their next meal, and the removal of uneaten food stops them from getting obese.

But it also provides another important function. Uneaten food will often sink to the bottom of the tank over time, and begin to degrade and rot away. This releases ammonia into the tank water.

Ammonia is likely already present to some degree in your tank due to the waste created by your fish, but this extra ammonia is completely unnecessary and can cause havoc with your water chemistry, increasing pH levels, and causing algae blooms.

Removal of the food before it can enter the nitrogen cycle, therefore, becomes very important when you consider the effects on your tank as a whole, and therefore we highly recommend it where possible.

How to feed fish


If you think you know exactly how much food your fish are going to eat in a sitting, you can invest in an automatic fish feeder. Some aquariums have a specially made hatch for this, and others can be used as a hang-on feeder to automatically dish out your fish’s feed.

Perfect for holidays or while you are at work, they do however come with the disadvantage of only being able to reliably decant pellet type foods, as flakes tend to get stuck. They also don’t take care of the removal of waste food issue, so we recommend their use only when you know just how much food they will eat.

How to feed fish

Are you about to buy a fish, but just need a little bit more info on feeding requirements? Here’s all the basics on what to feed your fish, how much, and how often.

Before you commit to a new fish family member, it’s really important to understand what they eat and how much you can feed them. Feeding your fish, the right way, will ensure they live a healthy life. Like some other pets, fish tend to eat whenever they’re hungry and when food is available, so it becomes very easy to over-feed them, which can bring about a slew of other problems including stressing your fish – so let us help you avoid this.

In this article, we’ve compiled a handy guide around things to note around feeding, so you can be sure that you’re providing the best care for your fish.

Please use this as a guide only. If you’d like to find out more about your fish’s dietary requirements, please reach out to your friendly local PETstock fish specialist. Find out where your nearest PETstock store is with our Store Finder.

Types of fish food

Generally, both cold (fresh) water and tropical fish can eat the same food, though, there are also different varieties suitable for either types or even down to specific breeds. While the easiest and lowest maintenance foods are the dried varieties – flakes, granules, pellets, sticks, etc. – some fish do prefer live food, frozen or not, such as worms, shrimp, etc.

Be sure to do your homework – always check on the preferred types of foods or any dietary requirements before you purchase the fish, as this will go a long way in keeping your fish healthy and happy.

How much to feed your fish

As a general rule of thumb, add only the minimal amount of food each time you feed. It can be harmful to the fish if there’s an excess of food in the water as it not only means you’re over-feeding them, but the leftover food can dirty the water and clog up the tank filter, resulting in a stressful environment for your fish.

Fish only need to eat for about 30 seconds to be satisfied if you are feeding them in intervals throughout the day, so use that as a starting point to minimise wastage. That said, do observe your fish whenever you feed them, particularly in that first 1 – 2 months, so you can take notes on how much they eat, for how long, to inform your regular feeding routines.

Going on holiday? Aside from asking your neighbour/friend to drop in, there are also options like automatic feeders or gel/feeding blocks that you can look into before you head off. At PETstock, we have a variety of feeders that you can check out here.

  • With new fish, feel free to decrease feeding frequency at the start to keep any levels of harmful toxins down
  • Do consult your vet, or even your local PETstock fish specialist to learn about daily requirements for the breed(s) you choose
  • One important thing to note: Fish will still eat even when they’re not hungry, so be aware in case you do end up over-feeding

How to feed fish

How often should you feed your fish

The truth is, there’s no one rule around frequency of feeds, as this also depends on the breed and size of fish you have.

We do, however, recommend that you feed your fish 2 – 3 times a day, with minimal amounts each time, as opposed to one huge feed in the morning/night. This simply helps manage your fish’s food intake and prevents things like over-feeding or excess food in the tank, which can lead to your fish developing serious health issues due to effects to the chemistry of your tank’s water.

For reference, the size of a fish’s eye is the size of its stomach.

Storing fish food

Depending on the type of food you have brought for your fish, will determine storage. For dry foods, you should store in a cool and dry place. For other types of food, it is sometimes best to keep them in the freezer to retain its vitamins. So, always double check the written instructions on the food label and/or consult one of our PETstock team members in store.

When getting new fish, feel free to decrease the feeding frequency at the beginning to avoid increasing levels of any harmful toxins in the water.

Again, this is simply a guide. Do consult your vet, or your local PETstock fish specialist to learn more about the daily nutritional requirements for the breed(s) that you choose. Getting a good understanding at the start will go a long way in keeping your fish happy and healthy for a long time.

Need to know how to correctly clean and maintain your fish tank? Keep reading…

If you’d like more detailed advice on pet care, stop by your local PETstock store and chat with our friendly staff.

Compared to terrestrial animals, fish have certain specific characteristics in terms of dietary requirements:

  • They have lower energy requirement
  • Require less lipids in feed (except for cold water species such as trout)
  • Can directly absorb certain mineral element from water medium

There are three types of food used in aquaculture:

  1. Natural food occurs naturally in fish ponds. This includes detritus, bacteria, plankton, worms, insects, snails, aquatic plants and fish. Their occurrence and abundance depends on the water quality and in particular
  2. Supplementary feeds usually consist of feed materials available locally such as terrestrial plants or agricultural by-products like wheat

Many kinds of feed materials may be used as supplementary feeds for your fish such as:

  • Terrestrial plants: grasses, leaves (e.g. cassava)and seeds of leguminous shrubs and trees vegetables;
  • Aquatic plants: water hyacinth, water lettuce, duckweed;
  • Small terrestrial animals: earthworms, termites, snails;
  • Aquatic animals: trash fish;
  • Rice: broken, bran, hulls;
  • Wheat: middling, bran;
  • Maize: gluten feed, gluten meal;
  • Oil/cakes after extraction of oil from seeds of mustard, coconut, groundnut, cotton, sunflower, soybean;
  • Cottonseeds;
  • Brewers wastes and yeast;
  • Slaughterhouse wastes: offal, blood, rumen contents;
  • Manure: chicken droppings, pig manure

Supplementary feeds are available in two forms

  • Dry feedstuffs such as cereals and cakes with about 10% moisture. These are easier to transport, store, and to distribute to the
  • Wet feedstuffs such as blood, rumen contents, molasses and brewery wastes with 30 to 50% moisture. Moist feeds do not keep well, and only small quantities should be prepared at a time. These feeds require special treatment, for example mixing with dry feedstuffs to absorb part of the moisture or drying to improve storage life before
  1. Complete feeds are made from a mixture of carefully selected ingredients to provide all the nutrients necessary for the fish to They are made in a form which the fish find easy to eat and digest. These feeds are difficult to make on the farm and are usually expensive to buy. Under intensive systems, feed provided to the fish must meet all their dietary requirements. The fish rely wholly on exogenous feeds. The feeds must be complete in terms of nutrients supply.

Fish Dietary Nutrient Requirements Protein

  • Important tissue building component
  • Also important in repairing worn out tissues
  • Important to juveniles for
  • Fish requires much more protein levels in feeds compared to most domestic animals

In semi-intensive production, protein comes from the algae (resulting from proper pond water fertilization) and exogenous feeding with supplemental feed. However in intensive production of tilapia, the diets should have 28-32% protein.


Provides energy needed by the fish to carry out its physiological activities like respiration. Any excess is converted and stored as lipids

They are utilized to supply energy like the carbohydrates. They also provide structural support and act as precursors to physiological chemical processes. Excess of fats reduce the marketability of fish. Diets for adult fish should not have high amounts of lipids because it accumulates and reduce flesh quality. Trout is able to utilize fats much more effectively and can ingest considerable amounts with their diet.

Deficiency in essential fatty acids result in reduced growth, de-pigmentation, erosion of fins, fatty liver and even shock.


Vitamins are required in very small quantities but play a major role in the chemical processes within fish body. Deficiency results in poor health and deformities.

In artificially produced feeds, a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals (premixes) can be obtained from specialized feed manufacturers. They should be used in proportions that meet the nutritional needs of the fish under culture.


These are inorganic elements needed for various metabolic functions. Fish can obtain some of them through the gill surfaces into their bodies. Some important minerals include calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.

Other feed additives

Some feed additives that could be used in fish feeds includes attractants, binders, dyes and medicinal agents like vaccines.

Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR)

  • Feed conversion ratio (FCR) is calculated from the kilos of feed that are used to produce one kilo of whole fish
  • It tell a farmer the amount of fish feed needed to produce one kilo of fish
  • It can be used to estimate the quantity of feed needed in a production season for a given crop of fish
  • For example, if the estimated FCR for a feed is 3:1, it means that a farmer needs 3kg of that feed to produce 1kg of

It is important to note that:

  • Small fish need more food than larger
  • Where there is plenty of natural food, less supplementary feed should be used
  • Where low stocking densities are used, less supplementary feeds are used
  • The better the quality of the feed (low FCR), the less the quantity needed to feed the fish
  • More food is required in warm water than in cooler
  • It is therefore recommended for producers to constantly adjust the feeding throughout the production cycle for better
  • FCR will be affected by Overfeeding, poor feeds, poor pond fertilisation for semi intensive production and poor fish


It is normally not easy to estimate the amount of feed to provide to each pond. However, the following should be avoided:

  • Under feeding, will lead to loss in fish production;
  • Over feeding, uneconomical (higher production costs) and may also result in poor water quality

A producer must at all times know approximately how many fish and how big they are in each pond to be able to estimate the amount of feed to give.

How to feed:

For most fish, feeding twice a day is sufficient – at about 10 AM and 4 PM. Earlier than 10 am in the morning, the water is a bit cold and oxygen levels are low so this is not a good time t feed the fish.

If you feed at close to the same time and at the same place in the pond every day, the fish will learn to come for the feed.

Recommended feeding rates for tilapia or tilapia/clarias polyculture

What Koi Fish Can And Can’t Eat And How To Feed Them

Find Out More On Koi Fish Diets So You Can Have Happy Ones In Your Maryland Pond

How to feed fish

You can feed koi vegetables, fish food, fruit, and pretty much anything that doesn’t have a lot of carbs. Feed them over a 5 minute period.

Discover more below-

It’ll Be Fin-tastic!

Christina sighs and rubs her temples after hearing that truly un-fin-tastic joke.

She loves Matt, but his jokes can be…yeah, well, anyway, back to the main issue: caring for the koi fish they’re about to buy.

“We have the pond, and it’s an ecosystem pond too. That means we don’t need to feed them for survival, just for fun,” points out Matt. Christina nods. “True, now we just need to know what can koi fish eat, how to feed koi fish, and what we shouldn’t feed koi fish.”

“Let’s look it up!” booms Matt as he gets his phone. Christina laughs, saying “That’s the spirit! I’ll do the same and we can talk about what we find on Google. Hopefully, we can also find out how long pond fish can live for.”

Here are the answers they find:

General Information On Feeding Koi Fish

Here’s almost everything you need to know on how to feed koi fish:

How to feed fish

Photo from

If you have an ecosystem pond you’ll only want to feed your fish a handful of food twice per week. Any more and they can start having health problems.

If you don’t have plants you can feed koi fish as much as they can eat in 5 minutes once per day. Fish don’t have the ability to tell when they’re full so they won’t stop eating as long as there’s food to be had.

How to feed fish

The best time to feed your fish is when the pond water is between 50-degrees and 85-degrees Fahrenheit because outside of this range they can’t digest very well. During winter they hibernate so please do not feed them.

Also, get food pellets appropriate for the size of your fish. A better-suited size means your fish can digest more efficiently, making for healthier fish that can grow to their proper size.


It’s been said that keeping an aquarium provides relaxation. There have been scientific studies done that show looking at an aquarium lowers blood pressure and calms the nerves but most importantly—-it’s fun!

It’s fun to watch the fish interact with each other in their environment. It’s fun to collect different kinds and colors of fish. Also, at the top of the fun list —- FEEDING THE FISH! Who hasn’t dug deep into their pockets for change to put in the “food dispensing machines” at the zoo and aquarium in order to feed the animals?

Feeding the fish is not only fun but very important in maintaining their regular care. In their natural environment, fish spend a majority of their time hunting for and grazing on food. In an aquarium we must help supplement that by providing the right types and amounts of food.

It is not as simple as just dropping in some food without some understanding of the parameters involved with keeping fish in an aquarium. The aquarium is an artificial environment we have set up to keep our fish. The filtration system we employ to run it, maintains their environment (the water quality). We don’t want to pollute their water environment and improper feeding could do just that.

Many kinds of foods are available as there are many types of fish feeding behaviors. There are fish that eat at the surface, fish that eat off the bottom, fish that off of plants, fish that eat off of tree trunks submerged in the water and fish that hunt and peck throughout their environment. The location of the fish’s mouth tells a lot about the type of feeder it is and where it finds its food. For example, fish that have mouths located towards the top of their body, generally feed at the surface of the water. Fish with mouths located on their underside feed off the bottom, for example, scavengers. Some fish are herbivores (eat plants and algae), some carnivores (eat other fish and animals) and some are omnivores (eat both).

Most aquariums are made up with many kinds of fish and so, many kinds of feeding types, which can become confusing and a challenge for fish keepers. Because today we have so many good aquarium fish food choices available, this can be an easy and fun challenge to overcome. There are foods made and designed to work for all fish feeding types and mixing them up and feeding a varied diet insures all fish get what they need.

Fish respond to their food —– this is what makes it fun. First, they usually attack it, reminiscent of a “shark feeding frenzy”. This occurs because they are being fed occasionally throughout the day rather than their natural instinct to graze all day long in their natural environment. Second, fish have the ability to lighten or darken their coloration to help camouflage themselves in their environment and to show emotion (attracting the opposite sex). When fish feed, they get excited and strongly intensify their color. This means the beautiful, bright colorful fish become even more so. It’s like turning on a neon light!

Because fish spend all day hunting for and grazing on food, it is best for their health and well-being to feed them in your aquarium several times a day. Here in lies the challenge, the several feedings a day have to be very small, so as not to cause a water quality problem from too much uneaten food. When food is put in, it should never reach the bottom (unless we are feeding bottom feeders), if it does then too much was put in at that time.

So, a little bit (pinch) goes in so all of the fish eat it before it reaches the bottom, then a little more can be put in so all of the fish eat it before it reaches the bottom and so on for about 3 minutes —- this routine can be done two or three times a day. For bottom feeding fish, 1 wafer or tablet (special “bottom” fish food) can be fed for every two or three bottom fish every other day. This is all much generalized and every aquarium will have its own special mix of fish and feeding regimes will need to be adjusted.

There are many kinds of foods – live, frozen, freeze-dried, prepared pellets, flakes and liquids. All of these can be used and varied amongst the different types of fish in your aquarium. Mix and match to keep your fish interested, stimulated and healthy.

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Feed the Fish


This is great fun for young children, and for big kids too!

How to feed fish


The Fishery is closed for the winter season. See you in spring 2022!

Our Feed the Fish experience is great fun for young children, and for big kids too! Filled with Rainbow Trout you can buy a bag of pellets from the Fishery Tackle Shop for £1 per tub and enjoy throwing handfuls of feed into the pond.

See the excitement as many mouths come to the surface to get to the food first. This is an ideal activity if you have family or friends who wish to go fishing and children that want to do something exciting.

Book Your Activity Now

Feed the fish isn’t currently available but it should be back later in the 2021 season.

  • The Nitty Gritty
  • Rates & Dates
  • Our Instructors

A cup of pellets to feed the fish.


Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

Suitable for all ages.


£1 for a cup of pellets.


Open year round. Winter months dependent on weather conditions.


Our passionate and experienced team have fished across the country and indeed all over the world. Their endless enthusiasm to see others enjoy it as much as they do will ensure you leave reeling for more!

Providing your fish with the right food in the right proportions is very important. This can be much more of a challenge in a saltwater tank than in a freshwater tank, because most marine fish are still wild-caught, and their natural diet can be difficult to maintain in captivity. With the right information, however, most marine fish will learn to eagerly anticipate their feeding time and will voraciously devour their food.

How much?

A good rule of thumb to follow is that fish should be fed no more than they can consume within a five minute period. Any food that is left behind after feeding time should be removed before it has a chance to begin decomposing. If you find that your fish are consuming the food in far shorter a time than five minutes and seem anxious for more, you may need to increase the amount you are feeding them. On the other hand, if your fish are healthy, but they are only consuming about half of what you’re feeding them, you will probably need to start feeding less. Always keep in mind that much more harm can be done to your fish by overfeeding than by underfeeding.

How often?

In the wild, reef fishes will browse for food throughout the day. Since you should be attempting to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible, it is recommended that you feed your fish several small meals every day. At the very least, feed two medium-sized meals per day, one in the morning and one at night.

What kind?

The kind of food to feed depends on the kind of fish you’re feeding: herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore.


It is common for fish that graze on algae in the wild to suffer in captivity because they don’t receive the appropriate type of food to keep them healthy. Many of these fish (tangs and angelfish, for example) are fed terrestrial greens like spinach and romaine lettuce, but these are not appropriate foods for these fish that are solely algae eaters. They should be fed either dried or fresh algae. Dried algae is sold in paper-thin sheets that can be broken down into appropriate portion sizes, depending on the number of fish you are feeding. Fresh algae can be obtained by placing a glass container, with one rock from your aquarium in it, on a sunny windowsill. Wait for the rock to grow a nice layer of algae, and then place it back in the aquarium for your fish to graze on.

Herbivorous fish can also be fed one of the frozen fish foods that is formulated especially for herbivores. This food should contain a variety of marine algae, vegetable matter, and seafood. Whether you feed your herbivorous fish dried algae, fresh algae, or a frozen food formula, herbivorous eaters are grazers and should have food available to them at all times, unlike most other fish. You should replace their portions (and remove any old, eaten algae) once every day.


Meat-eating marine fish can enjoy a variety of fresh, frozen, freeze-dried, and live foods. Fresh foods suitable for your fish include many seafood items, such as shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, and some fish. If you’re serving seafood to your fish, cut it into bite-sized pieces (or serve it whole to larger fish). Fresh seafood can be frozen and then thawed as needed.

Frozen foods are available from most fish shops and other sources. These offerings may include brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. They may be in the form of a slab that can be broken into smaller pieces or small, ready-to-go cubes. To feed frozen foods to your carnivorous fish, thaw a small portion in aquarium water, and then drop it in the tank.

Several freeze-dried foods for carnivorous fish are readily available, such as plankton, krill, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Freeze-dried foods are foods that have been completely dehydrated, yet they maintain most of their nutritional value. They have a relatively long shelf life, particularly when compared to fresh and frozen foods. Freeze-dried foods should be used as supplements for carnivorous fish.

Live foods are almost always a favorite of fish. Adult brine shrimp, bloodworms, and Mysis shrimp are among the better choices. Earthworms are also a great live food choice because they come in all sizes, fish love them, and you can collect them right from your own garden. Be sure to thoroughly rinse them before feeding them to your fish.


The majority of marine fish are omnivorous, which means they need to eat both meat- and plant-based foods. One easy option for omnivorous eaters is commercial fish food, such as flakes or pellets. However, offering a varied diet will give you healthier, more colorful fish. Try feeding your fish two feedings a day of commercial fish food and one feeding of a meaty item, such as bloodworms or chopped fish. Try to keep alternating the food you offer in addition to commercial food to keep the fish from getting bored and to make sure all of their nutritional needs are met.

Having an aquarium with fish is not only a pleasure but also a duty. One of the most important tasks is feeding the aquarium fish. And although it seems to be a trivial activity, it does not turn out to be so easy in practice.

How to choose food for the fish? The key is to know their nutritional requirements. Most aquarium inhabitants are omnivorous species whose diet is based on both animal and plant ingredients. Another criterion to consider when choosing the fish food is how the fish feed. Different types of food are suitable for feeding species living on the bottom, others for those floating in the vegetation or in the mid-water. Not to mention fish that live practically below the surface. We will now discuss the types of fish food with their characteristics, which will help you to select the best food for your aquarium inhabitants.

How to feed fish

Fish flakes

This is the most popular type of fish food. It is universal, which means it is suitable for species feeding in all areas of the aquarium. First, it floats on the surface, then it falls down and dissolves all over the aquarium, giving the possibility to eat it to individuals that prefer lower areas.

Fish pellets

Ideal for mid-water feeders and fish feeding at the bottom of the aquarium. They are available in different sizes and in regular or slow sinking versions. Their structure has a smooth surface and closed pores, which enables slow water absorption, high hydrostability, and limited release of components into the water.

Tablets for fish

Their great advantage is that they can be glued to the aquarium wall or placed at the bottom. They can be used to feed bottom fish, crustaceans, as well as mid-water feeders.

Fish sticks

Floating food for medium and large species of fish that collect it from the water surface.

Fish wafers

As the wafers quickly fall to the bottom, they will be the ideal food for crustaceans and fish feeding in the bottom zone. This food absorbs water slowly and thus retains its shape for a long time, which in turn makes it an ideal food for fish whose mouth opening is adapted to scrap the food from different surfaces.

Fish chips

Fish chips are shaped like a flat disc and are distinguished by their high hydrostability. Although they are mainly intended for larger species, smaller specimens also have no problem with eating them – they simply bite them off piece by piece.

How to feed fish

Freeze-dried fish food

Freeze-dried food is a type of food that is somewhere in the middle between natural and artificial ingredients. It’s made form crustacean larvae, insects and zooplankton, free of water. The freeze-drying process consists of freezing these creatures and placing them in a vacuum, which causes the water to evaporate, so that the food retains its nutritional properties, taste and smell.

Natural foods

Natural food is considered to be the best solution for aquarium fish. When it comes to predatory fish, it means living organisms, and herbivorous aquarium inhabitants are sure to enjoy algae, vegetables or aquatic plants. Finally, a handful of tips – small fish species and those with small mouth holes should be fed with flakes and microgranules. Larger species that collect food from the water surface are best fed with chips and sticks, while bottom fish eat flakes, pellets, tablets or wafers.

Posted on 14th Aug 2017

How to feed fish

By the Pond Boss, Bob Lusk

Feeding those hungry fish…just exactly what should you do, and how do you do it? Job One is to have your goals sharply in focus. Job Two is to think about your feeding program, and Job Three is to follow the program.

Here’s some help with Job Two. Learn as much as you can about each species of fish you intend to feed. The more you know about them, and the products available, the more likely you are to reach your goals. In pond management, there are basically two types of fish you’ll be feeding.

CARNIVOROUS SPECIES—Feed-trained largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, bluegill sunfish and trout require high protein, nutrient dense diets to promote healthy growth. Feed these fish Purina’s AquaMax Sport Fish products.

OMNIVOROUS SPECIES—Catfish and tilapia are the major species for this category and don’t require the higher protein levels or nutrient density of carnivores. These fish grow well on the AquaMax Pond Fish products.

For starting young fish and early growth phases, use AquaMax Starter diets for both species groups. For fingerling fish or larger, follow the recommendations below.

Begin feeding bluegill each spring when the water temperature rises into the low 50’s. Continue feeding into the fall or early winter until feeding activity stops. Feed what the fish will consume in five minutes. Activity will vary based on weather and temperature. To grow the biggest bluegill you can, feed up to three times daily. As consistent as your feeding program, that’s how consistent your bluegill will be. The best product? AquaMax 500.

“Feed-Trained” largemouth bass are a trend in pond management today. By nature, largemouth bass are predator fish. If you currently have largemouth bass that haven’t been conditioned for fish food, they aren’t likely to eat pellets. If you’ve purchased feed-trained largemouth bass from a hatchery, use AquaMax 600. Feed-trained largemouth bass are most active at temperatures between 55° F and 85° F. They will consume an average of 3% of their body weight daily in fish food and continue their role as predator in the pond. Feed these fish two to four times daily during the peak months of consumption.

Hybrid Striped bass are a nice choice to diversify the fishery of a sport fish pond or as a stand-alone fishery. They readily eat AquaMax Sport Fish food and grow rapidly. Begin feeding Hybrid Striped bass when water temperatures are approaching 50° F. These fish will eat aggressively into water temperatures in the mid-80’s. Feed them near the deepest water you can. Feed what they will consume in no more than five minutes. Feed one to three times per day.

For feeding rainbow trout, peak temperatures are mid-40’s into low 60’s. Rainbow trout are cold water fish. They’ll readily eat Sport Fish feed and consume an average of 3% of their body weight each day. Feed one to four times daily, based on consumption.

Channel catfish do quite well on AquaMax Pond Fish food, a grain-based diet. They feed best between water temperatures of 55-85°F. Feed one to two times daily.

These feeding rates are general guidelines based on landowner goals, water temperatures, fish size, and stocking rates. Local conditions and variations in management style may call for adjustments to these recommendations.

A feeding program using Sport Fish utilizes excellent feed conversion rates which helps minimize the risk of water quality deterioration. But, follow good management practices and feed only what the fish will consume within 5 minutes. Excess feed increases the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) which, over time, can contribute to degradation of water quality for your fishery. Adequate dissolved oxygen (DO) must be maintained for sport fishing ponds, so aggressive feeding should be accompanied by an adequate aeration program. Store feed in a dry, well-ventilated area free from rodents and insects. DO NOT use moldy or insect-infested feed.

You may also be interested in How to Produce TrophyBass, another great article from Bob Lusk and Where to Find Bass this Summer on the Texas Hunter Products Blog.

Texas Hunter fish feeders make it easy to grow bigger fish. Texas Hunter Products has engineered and built the industry’s premier line of directional fish feeders. Their patented, high efficiency fish feeders feature a dual motor system that delivers a consistent, metered flow of feed into the powerful centrifugal air blower system. This specially designed air blower system creates a high velocity air stream that projects the fish feed in a large wedge-shaped pattern up to 45-feet into the water.

The premium digital timer, a Texas Hunter Products’ exclusive, synchronizes the fish feeder’s two motors. This design turns the feed flow on and off while the air blower system is still running which prevents fish feed from dropping directly in front of the feeder and attracting varmints.

Texas Hunter Fish Feeders are available in three capacities: 70 lbs., 175 lbs., or 250 lbs. They are always in stock and available for same-day shipping. Texas Hunter Products has built a reputation in the automatic feeder industry for delivering reliable, long-lasting products meeting the real-life needs of outdoor enthusiasts for over 60 years. Visit them online to see their full line of fish feeders and their broad product line including a big selection of deer feeders, wildlife feeders, protein feeders and hunting blinds. For a complete product catalog call 800.969.3337.

November 6, 2019

Worried about how to care for your fish while away over the holidays? Take the stress out of worrying with these holiday feeding and care tips.

How to feed fish

As long as you plan ahead before you go, you’ll be reassured that your fish will remain healthy and happy while you’re on your trip. Here are some things to prep before you go.

What’s the best way to feed pet fish while on holiday?

If you’re only going on holiday for a few days, you actually might not need to feed your fish during that time. Some fish breeds can survive without food for a long as two weeks so research this beforehand to see if it’s the best option for you as it’s important to not overfeed them.

Generally, carnivorous fish such as Jack Dempsey cichlids and bettas can go without food for longer than omnivorous species like goldfish, while herbivorous fish such as tetras and tags will need to be fed the most often. Similarly, large, adult fish can go without food for more time compared to smaller, younger fish. The more active a fish is , the more you need to feed them; so little, active fish like tetras need to be fed daily. If you’re not sure what’s best for your pet fish don’t hesitate to come in store and just ask a friendly Petbarn team member.

For fish who will require food while you’re gone, you can provide them with a holiday feeding block that matches the breed of fish you have. Make sure to trial the feeding block before you go on holiday to see how fast it dissolves and how your fish react to it. Some fish may not perceive this as food which can cause the block to negatively affect the water quality when you’re gone.

An alternative is using an automatic feeder which can portion out dry food at regular intervals or engaging a fish sitter to feed them the correct amount while you’re on holiday.

Posted by Alexandra Kunaj – World Of Water Blackpool​ on 24th Jun 2021

How to feed fish

Feeding koi and pond fish can often seem complicated; the temperature at different times of the year affects how much they eat and how easily it can be digested. However, when we are asked ” what and when do I feed my pond fish?” our experts here at World Of Water are more than happy to share their expertise.

What should I feed my pond fish in the.


As the beginning of the ‘pond season’ rolls in and we slowly break in to the warmer spring, after what always seems like a long winter, the temperatures in your pond will begin to increase. This encourages your fish to come to the surface of the pond in search of food. At this time, when the temperature is around 5-10 degrees centigrade, the best course of action is to feed them on a low protein food.

It is important to also note that as the weather warms it takes time for your filter to become fully active again, so it is important to observe whether your fish are feeding on what you give them and make sure to remove any excess food to prevent contamination of your pond. This is especially important during the first few weeks of warmer weather as your fish may take longer than you expect to get back to full feeding, even on low protein food. Feed minimally at first and work your way up to an acceptable feed for your ponds stock level (see below how to work this out).


Once the summer comes around and the pond reaches its warmest, of 18 degrees centigrade and above, your fish will be able to digest high protein food easily and their metabolisms will be working overtime, resulting in them requiring regular feeding. At this time of year if your fish are finishing their food quickly and leaving no excess, yet still seem hungry, feel free to feed them little and often rather than once a day like your other seasonal feeds.

The advantage of high protein feed at this time of year is that it will assist in your livestock’s growth, bulking them up in preparation for the cooler months, and colour which will allow them to be at their most vibrant and active whilst you are outside on the warmer days enjoying your pond.


Around autumn and the later days of summer, when your pond begins to cool and the nights begin to grow longer, your fishes’ metabolisms will begin to slow down as your pond reaches 10-17 degrees centigrade. At this point, staple food is advised as the high protein diet of the summer would be hard for them to digest and a staple is a good way to wean your fish off their high protein diet in preparation for the winter.


During winter your fish will slowly stop feeding as the temperature drops down, once the water approaches 4 degrees centigrade, we advise you stop feeding your fish as the temperature is too low for them to be able to metabolise the food properly and the unsettled food may cause illness in your fish and issues with your water quality.

How much food do I need to feed my fish?

Well the simple answer is that it varies depending on your pond.

For example, ignoring filter mechanics, say you have a 50,000 litre pond that spans most of your garden but you only have 4 goldfish and 2 koi in there, you simply won’t need to feed as much food as someone with a 20,000 litre pond stocked with 10 koi and 20 goldfish.

The easiest way to tell how much food your fish need is to feed a little bit at a time and watch them eat. You can then decide if all the fish have eaten and if they need more food. It is important to remember that koi and goldfish are part of the carp family, a fish species known for appetites that are way larger than their bellies can handle, so it is better to underfeed your fish than risk contaminating your water. We always advise that if your fish do leave food after feeding at any time of year to remove the excesses from the pond.

Okay but what about sturgeons and sterlet?

We advise a low to zero plant-protein diet as sturgeons and sterlet lack the enzyme in their stomachs to digest higher quantities. It is essential that they receive their own specialist food which lacks the plant-protein that most normal fish food contains.

Sturgeon and sterlet food should be fed all year round as unlike koi, goldfish and other pond fish, sturgeon can withstand extreme cold temperatures and will continue to feed even in the winter. Although, we do recommend reducing their feed quantity and frequency in winter as not to pollute your pond water.

Another point to consider when feeding your sturgeon and sterlet, is that if you are keeping them with other pond fish is that it is vital to make sure they are able to get to their food before the other fish eat it all. A common issue people find with feeding sturgeons is that they areunable to get to their food when kept with other fish. To counter this, we recommend feeding your sturgeon at the same time as your other fish but away from each other (if possible at different ends of the pond) This allows your sturgeon to get to their food without disturbance of faster fish.

We’re here to help.

Here at World Of Water we stock many varieties of pond fish food for all seasons and species and we hope this guide has helped further your understanding of the fish that live in your pond. If you are ever in need of assistance on what to choose, or are after a recommendation, feel free to ask a member of staff at your local store for advice about your pond.

Keeping fish is a natural part of having a water garden. In addition to their appeal as pets they are a part of your pond’s ecosystem. In order to maintain the health of your fish some basic precautions are necessary. It is important to keep the right amount of fish for the pond size, feed properly, and monitor the water. Since a backyard pond is not a natural environment it is the responsibility of the pond owner to govern the conditions.

How Many Fish Can I Have

The stocking level of the pond is critical to the health of your fish. Too many fish leads to decreased oxygen levels and the extra fish waste leads to ammonia and nitrite build-up. To a certain degree, your fish load can vary based on your level of filtration. A pond with an undersized filter will not be able to keep as many fish, while an oversized filter will allow you a few extra fish. With an average-sized filter, your preferred stocking level will be based on surface area of the pond. For goldfish you can keep one average size fish for every 3-4 square feet of surface area. For koi, it should be limited to one fish for every 10 square feet of surface area. For example; a 10 x 10 pond will have a surface area of 100 square feet (assuming that it is a perfect rectangle). With an average filter this pond could house up to 30 goldfish or 10 koi. Of course, keeping fewer than this would make keeping good water quality even easier.

Fish Feeding Dos & Don’ts

There are two main aspects to properly feeding your fish. These are feeding the right foods and feeding in the right amounts. Each time you feed your fish, whether its three times a day or three times a week, you need to make sure you feed only what they can eat in 5 minutes. A little experimenting can teach you how much to feed. If, five minutes after feeding, there is still uneaten food you know to not feed that much next time.

Determining what and how often to feed your fish depends primarily on water temperature. In warmer water (60-85 degrees) the metabolism of the fish is high and they can be fed 2-4 times per day. At this time you should be feeding a food with a high protein level such as Legacy Variety Mix. If the water rises to 90 degrees or above you should stop feeding. In spring and fall when your water temperatures fall to 50-60 degrees, you should reduce feeding to once every 1-2 days and feed a low protein food such as Legacy Cold Weather Food. When the temperatures drop to below 50 degrees stop feeding the fish. On warm days the fish may become active and “beg” for food. Don’t be fooled. Stay strong and do not feed. If the fish do need a little food, they will find enough growing in the pond. The algae that coats the pond liner is all they need. These cold temperatures slow the metabolism of your fish and food will not be properly digested. It can take 3-4 days for the fish to digest the food. It’s not worth the fish’s life to give it food.

Water Quality

Water quality is very important to the health of your fish. Poor water conditions stress fish. A stressed fish is more susceptible to disease. One of the most important things for water quality is to make sure toxins are not getting in the water from fertilizers or pesticides. Don’t spray anything near the pond and make sure rain run-off does not flow into the pond as this can carry these very toxic chemicals. Some of the other factors in water can be tested, such as pH, ammonia, and nitrites.

A pH level of 6.6 to 8.4 is safe. The ideal range is 7.0 to 7.8. If it becomes necessary to adjust the pH it should be done gradually as a sudden change in pH can cause severe damage. Ammonia should be zero. Any level of ammonia can be a problem. Note that ammonia is more toxic in higher pH ranges.

The nitrite level in your pond water should be zero.

If your ammonia or nitrite level is high it tells you that you either have too many fish or your filter is not doing its job adequately. Another possibility is that your filter may not have had time to cycle if it is a new pond. As with a new pond, a filter that has been shut off for the winter will need time to mature. This can take several weeks. A partial water change should be performed to dilute the high ammonia or nitrite problem during this time.

It is best to set up a regular routine of water testing. Once a week is recommended, more often if you are experiencing problems. Make sure you test your pond at the same time of day each test. The pH level can fluctuate throughout the day.

  • Airline, Airstones and Hoses
  • Air Pumps
  • Auto Top Up System
  • Betta Accessories
  • Breeder Boxes
  • CO2
  • Grounding Probes
  • Mesh Lid
  • Plant Weights & Rock Stands
  • Tank Divider Kit
  • Thermometers & Hydrometers
  • Water Leak Alarm
  • Cleaning Tools
  • Fish Nets
  • Tongs & Scissors
  • Filters
  • Filter Media
  • Filter Sock
  • Netting Bags
  • Pumps
  • Decorate Your Aquarium
  • Mix and Match Cabinet

How to feed fish

Aquarium fish food is plant or animal based material intended for the consumption of pet fish in aquariums or ponds. Fish food generally comes prepared in the form of pellets, flakes, tablet and frozen block form. Fish can also be fed insects in frozen and live form. The type of food you give your fish will depend on their species.


How to feed fish

Consume both plants and meaty foods with the majority of aquarium fish fitting into this category.


How to feed fish

Only consume plants and sometimes vegetables, such as spinach, zucchini or green peas. Some herbivores do not have large stomaches and may need to be fed more frequently than others.


How to feed fish

Are meat-eating fish that prefer to feed on frozen or live food such as bloodworms or shrimp. Many will happily eat dry foods too.


How to feed fish

The most common cause of death in fish comes from overfeeding them. When purchasing your fish, ensure you speak to the aquarium retailer and ask for suggestions on what is the best type of food for your fish.
Once you have an understanding on what nutrition best suits your fish, always refer to the fish food labels on how much to feed them and seek advice from your aquarium retailer.

Here is a brief description of the available types of food: