The importance of good food for Tropical Fish cannot be over emphasized. Many common fish ailments originate in the little can of “Fish Food” we carelessly pick up on sale. Worrying about price and not ingredients will not keep a healthy happy community aquarium. Feeding your fish is the single most important thing you can do for your Tropical Fish on a daily basis.
It is difficult, even for the most experienced fish fancier to know whether a food is satisfactory until he or she has given it a thorough test.
By that time, if the food is the wrong kind, the hobbyist may have already ruined or almost ruined the aquarium.
How then, are we to guide ourselves on this most important problem of fish culture? If we are to accept the statements of Fish Food manufacturers, there is no food on the market that is not perfect. We must bear in mind, however, that it is easy to talk about a great fish food, but very difficult indeed to make a truly great food, tested and well respected food.
What is a good food? You are told that a certain food contains Vitamin this and Vitamin that, or is exposed to ultra-violet or sun treatment. You are also told that Vitamin D prevents rickets and the “shakes”, promotes growth, and you are led to believe that a food containing Vitamin D is preferable to other foods. Now then, how much of this Vitamin D is necessary to accomplish this purpose, and is a food exposed to ultraviolet ray possessed of the proper amount of Vitamin D?
Any honest chemist will tell you that you can incorporate Vitamin D or, for that matter, A, B, C, D and G in a food; but unless these vitamins are incorporated in a staple form they will entirely disappear from the food, almost before they move off the shelf. Furthermore, this chemist will also tell you that while certain Vitamins are essential in certain proportions, an overdose of some Vitamins will actually kill your fish.
How many fish food manufacturers really know what the proper amount of each Vitamin is to be incorporated in their food. My honest opinion is; a great deal of this Vitamin talk is just used as so much smoke screen to sell an inferior food. A properly blended food, rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and iron, will contain all the Vitamins necessary for your fish to live happy healthy lives. What’s most important is that a good well established and tested food will be good for most if not all the fish in your community aquarium.
How then are you to know whether a certain food is properly balanced? Don’t think for a moment that when you throw some fish food into your tank and the fish just gobble it up, it means you have found the perfect food. The fact is, most fish aren’t particularly choosy, and if you tear off a piece of the bread of your sandwich and throw it in the tank, they will probably attack it with fervor! It may be very bad for your fish, yet very palatable to them. On the other hand, a food that fish do not like may be very good for them, though it is not palatable, they won’t eat it, so what good is it that it is good for them?
A truly good food must be properly balanced and at the same time palatable to the majority of the fish in your community aquarium.
I have found throughout my over 45 years of feeding fish, that TetraMin is a safe bet. I will not say it is the best, I am not paid to sponsor that brand, I will simply say, that it is well balanced, very good for the fish, most fish like it, accept it over and over, and it keeps them alive a long time and it has always been there.
Now, you cannot stop with just a “Staple” food for your community aquarium. If you have various kinds of catfish, or other vegetarian verities of fish, it is more than advisable to get Spirulina wafers. These can be purchased inexpensively and come in round sinking tablets, you drop one or two in the water, they sink to the bottom and are consumed. Mollies are particularly fond of Spirulina.
Your fish appreciate a varied diet, just like you do. I suggest that you get a variety of freeze dried live foods, and maybe even an occasional frozen treat like frozen brine shrimp.
You may, from time to time want to test some of the new “miracle foods" that come on the market. The best way to do this is to select a pair of cheap fish. Isolate them in a seoarate aquarium, and feed them exclusively on the new food, watch their condition. If the results are satisfactory, if they grow faster, or larger, or become brightly colored, or whatever the new “miracle” food has promised, great, you have found a great food, they are out there!
But 9 times out of 10 at best, after all the promises and bluster, the fish survive, and the new food that costs 3 times as much and promises brighter colors and fast growth, just doesn’t pan out. In the worst case, your test fish become listless and won’t eat, better you find out this way. There are many good brands on the market, foods that have been around since the last century and still going strong. Be very weary of new fad foods, Vitamins that seem too good to be true, because like humans diet pills, and pep pills, and virility pills, many are all promises and no delivery.
Giving you fish a good steady diet of an establish and respected brand of food, twice a day, no more that they can finish completely in 5 minutes or less. Then, to improve their standard of living, supplement feeding with Spirulina, Freeze Dried Treats, and occasional Frozen Brine Shrimp. Do this and you will have a very healthy happy community aquarium long into the future!