It can be difficult to tell how much is appropriate to feed your fish. For most types of fish, the right amount of food might seem like too little. Some species of fish can be given the occasional fresh food treat to supplement the flakes in their diet, which may tempt owners to give treats too often. However, overfeeding fish can be a serious problem that can cause fish becoming lethargic and sick, and even lead to death. In order to get the most out of the fish in your aquarium, it is important to know how to avoid overfeeding.
Issues Associated with Overfeeding
Overfeeding can not only affect the health of your fish but the health of the tank in general. If the fish aren’t able to eat all the food you give them, the leftover food in the tank will rot and lead to a buildup of ammonia or nitrates. Both of these compounds are toxic to fish and can rapidly affect the health of your tank. In addition, food that is left to rot in the tank can lower oxygen and pH levels. Rotting food can also lead to algae growth and cloudy water that makes it hard to see the fish in the tank. Finally, too many uneaten food flakes floating around in the water may clog the aquarium filter and make it necessary to replace it more frequently.
Some of the health problems associated with overfeeding include improper digestion, fatty liver and fin rot. Improper digestion leads to a contaminated tank because fish produce more waste than usual. Fatty liver is a hepatitis-like disease that mostly affects cichlids and other fish who are hearty eaters. Fin rot is caused by the stress of overeating and can make fish look shaggy and colorless.
How to Avoid Overfeeding
The first thing to do when trying to avoid overfeeding is find out how much you should be feeding your fish. Begin by feeding the fish the amount you usually do, and see if they eat all the food within four or five minutes. Gradually reduce the amount of food you give the fish until they finish the feeding in the appropriate amount of time. If there is ever food left in the tank, remove uneaten food with a net or siphon.
Once you know how much your fish should be fed, set up a feeding schedule and stick to it. Some types of fish prefer to be fed once a day, while others should have several smaller feedings spaced throughout the day. Make sure family members and fish sitters know about the feeding schedule and how much to feed the fish.
If leftover food in the tank continues to be a problem, consider getting a scavenger such as a catfish or loach to help keep the tank clean. Also make sure you are using a filter of the appropriate size for your tank and conducting regular maintenance on the filter to ensure that it is running efficiently.
Overfeeding is a common problem but one that is easy to rectify. Follow these simple steps to keep your fish healthy and happy.