Novice aquarium hobbyists often assume that all you need in order to feed aquarium fish is a canister of processed flake food. While most tank-bred species of aquarium fish are likely to accept flakes, processed foods cannot provide aquarium fish with all the nutrition they need. If you only feed your fish processed flakes or pellets they may not only suffer from malnutrition but could become bored with their diet and eventually stop eating altogether. While it is more common for wild-caught fish like many saltwater species to refuse to eat, any fish can potentially become a picky eater. If one or more of your fish stops eating do not panic – there are several things you can try to encourage them to eat.
Why Fish Become Picky
Many times, fish do not stop eating because they have suddenly become picky but because they are ill – loss of appetite is a common symptom for many aquarium fish diseases. Ammonia poisoning, systemic infections and mouth fungus have all been known to cause fish to lose their appetite. If your fish do not stop eating as a result of disease, it is possible that they are just stressed. Fish are likely to become stressed when the water quality in the tank declines, when other tank mates become overly aggressive or when the fish are suffering or recovering from an injury or illness. All of these conditions are likely to occur relatively suddenly, but if your fish demonstrate no desire to eat from the moment you bring them home from the store you may simply be feeding them the wrong food.
How to Get Fussy Fish to Eat
In their native environments, many fish feed on live insects and crustaceans, so one of the best ways to encourage fussy fish to eat is to offer them the kind of food they would find in the wild. Live brine shrimp, bloodworms and Daphnia are very popular among aquarium fish and can often encourage even the pickiest of fish to eat. If you suspect that your fish simply do not like prepared foods, try offering them frozen or freeze-dried foods that have a more natural taste and texture. While some foods like brine shrimp can be dumped directly into the tank, others require special preparation or presentation. Worms should be kept in a floating feeding cone or placed in a bowl sunk at the bottom of the tank so the worms cannot escape before your fish are able to eat them. Frozen foods need to be thawed in a cup of tank water and then separated into bite-sized pieces for your fish.
Tips for Preventing Fish from Becoming Fussy
The key to maintaining a healthy appetite in your aquarium fish is to offer them a varied diet. Create a staple diet for your fish of fortified pellets or flakes, whichever your fish most readily accept, and regularly supplement that diet with healthy live, frozen and freeze-dried foods. While a varied diet is the best way to prevent your fish from becoming fussy it is also important to keep the tank clean so the fish do not become stressed or ill and thus lose their appetites. Adding an EcoBio-Stone to your tank is a simple way to keep the water in your tank clean and clear so your fish stay healthy. EcoBio-Stones are made from natural zeolite and are infused with beneficial bacteria that will help maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank. Once you have added the EcoBio-Stone to your tank, you will find that your maintenance requirements will be greatly reduced – the bacteria in the stone will multiply naturally and will immediately get to work maintaining high water quality in you aquarium.