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How to buy the right fish food

Whether you’re setting up a brand new fish tank and are looking for advice on how to succeed in your new hobby, or you’re an established fishkeeper hoping to provide better care for your fish, knowing what food to buy for your fish is a vital element of the fishkeeping hobby. Choosing between the various types of fish food, creating a feeding schedule that serves the needs of your fish and knowing how much food to give them can seem a little daunting at first but, with our guidance, you’ll soon see just how easy it can be.

Why do fish need food?

Just like with every other animal, aquatic or otherwise, fish need to eat. Having a healthy, varied diet helps all types of fish develop and grow while also improving their general health and happiness. The type of fish food required differs from fish to fish too, so don't think If you’ve already put in the effort to create a healthy tank or pond environment that it will be enough to sustain the life of your aquatic friends - they need the right type of fish food.

Types of fish food

Not quite as simple as popping down to the local pet shop and grabbing the first pot of fish food you see, there are lots of different types of fish food available and, in order to ensure your little friends are benefiting from a healthy fish diet, you’ll need to select the right one for you. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of three questions that will guide you to the best food for your fish.

Are you looking for food for pond or aquarium fish? 

Due to the different dietary needs of pond fish and aquarium fish, it’s important to ensure that you’re buying the correct fish food according to where your aquatic friends live. At most retailers, you’ll find that pond fish food in its varying forms is cheaper than aquarium fish food and many fall into the trap of choosing it as a way to save money. 

For the most part, pond fish food is cheaper as it is more likely to be bought in bulk, but some of the price difference is down to the ingredients. Aquarium fish food is more expensive to produce as it usually has higher protein and fat content, while pond fish food is designed to suit the different needs of pond dwellers.

Overall, your best course of action is to trust that the higher price is worth the investment and buy the correct type of fish food for your fish. At Aquacadabra, we have dedicated pond fish food and aquarium fish food to help you find the right kind.

Are your fish surface dwellers or bottom feeders?

It’s important to choose the type of fish food you buy according to the feeding habits of your fish. Species such as loaches and catfish are common bottom feeders and require a different type of fish food to mid and top feeders such as tetra and guppies.

Fish food flakes, which is probably the most popular or best known type of fish food, is best for mid-to-surface feeding fish as they can get to the food before it dissolves into the water. For bottom feeders, a fish food that sinks, such as fish food pellets, are a better option. When buying fish pellets however, it’s important to pay attention to certain features such as the rate at which they sink as some are made to drop quickly to the bottom for bottom dwellers to feast on while others have a higher buoyancy in order to better serve mid-feeding fish. 

When it comes to feeding pond dwellers, the type of feeders you have is not a concern. All pond food, such as pond pellets and pond sticks will float on the surface, softening as it absorbs the water, while your fish swim to the surface to eat. 

Are your fish picky eaters?

Just like other animals, fish can often be picky eaters, refusing to eat if something isn’t to their taste. For the most part, this problem can be solved by introducing a more varied diet with a mixture of different types of fish food. While it’s good to have standard dried food such as fish pellets or flakes, adding things like frozen fish food to the mix and even some occasional fish treats is a great way to peak the interest of your fussy eaters.

Beyond just being a good way to convince your fish to eat, frozen fish food is also a great source of nutrition as the proteins and minerals are preserved more successfully through freezing than drying. Be aware, however, that if left uneaten, frozen fish food can cause the water in your tank to foul, so make sure you feed your fish the right amount so there aren’t any leftovers.

How do you properly feed a fish?

With the right fish food in place, the next step in creating a healthy diet for your fishy friends is to make sure you’re feeding them the right amount at the right times. It can be difficult to keep on top of a schedule, especially if you’re usually busy or forgetful, so we recommend using an automatic fish feeder. Not simply for use with an aquarium, an automatic fish feeder such as the Fishmate P21 Automatic Pond Feeder can be used to feed your pond fish at regular intervals - all you need to do is ensure it remains stocked with food! Of course, an automatic fish feeder solution is only appropriate for use with dried fish food, as frozen fish food should only be given while frozen or freshly defrosted.

For fishkeepers that never miss a feeding and enjoy watching their pond and aquarium fish enjoy their food, an automatic fish feeder isn’t a necessity. However, for holidays and weekend breaks, it can often be difficult to find someone to fulfil regular fish feeding duties. For these occasions, using holiday fish food or weekend fish food is recommended. Available in a range of forms including gel, blocks and sticks, holiday fish food is designed to deliver the nutrition your fish need over a longer period of time, ensuring they’re as healthy and happy when you return as they were when you left.

How much food should I feed my fish?

As you might expect, the amount of food you should feed your fish is dependent on the species you have. Small sharks and pond koi require significantly more food than small tropical fish, so when buying your fish it's a good idea to ask your seller how much food they recommend. On average however, most aquarium fish require between one and two feedings a day, and should only be given the amount of food they can consume within five minutes. If there are fish food pellets or flakes left uneaten after this time, remove them if possible and lower the serving amount for the next feeding.

For pond fish, the recommended feeding frequency is higher at one to three feedings a day, though only during feeding months. If you’re worried you may be at risk of overfeeding or aren't sure how much to give, wait while they eat for around five minutes then remove the excess food from the surface. This will stop the leftover pond sticks and pellets from dissolving into the water and damaging its quality.

Find the right fish food for your fish at Aquacadabra

At Aquacadabra, we have everything from healthy frozen fish food to all-purpose pond pellets from top selling fish food brands like Tetra and Vitalis, allowing you the freedom to choose the best food for your fish. Our customer service team are also well-versed in the needs of a wide variety of fish so, if you aren’t sure what food to start your fish on, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to share our expertise.