After you have finally made a perfect aquarium with colorful fish and created their environment to look as natural as possible, the following essential thing is to keep the fish healthy and feed them properly.
That’s why paying attention to what you feed your fish and how much you provide them is important. Although most beginners sprinkle flakes a few times a day, experienced aquarists know that proper nutrition is much more than that.
Choosing the right food
You can find a large selection in the pet store’s fish food section. First, you start from the basics, i.e., whether the species are carnivores or herbivores. From there, the options you can choose from include the following:
Flakes are the most common feeding option, but dry fish food also comes in granules and pellets, sinking and floating varieties. Dry fish food may contain less fiber, but adding plant foods to the diet will help reduce the risk of bloat for vegetarian types.
Some fish enjoy frozen food, such as shrimp, plankton, mussels… Pet stores often sell frozen spirulina cubes to feed herbivores.
Options include live saltwater or shrimp, feeder fish (for larger predatory fish), crickets, and worms.
If your fish is the type to eat aquarium plants, such as anacharis, give them greens. Options include lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and spinach. Pin the vegetable to the side of the tank or attach them to a spot near the substrate. But remove or replace any uneaten greens within 24 hours. Fish like plecostomus like to eat fresh food.
Fish also need a variety of food, so you can use a combination of foods to ensure they get everything they need through their diet.
Keep in mind that if appropriately used, dry food, such as flakes and pellets, can be a helpful foundation in the diet of many aquarium fish as it provides all the necessary proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients. Still, there is a danger if we use only dry food. Unlike live food, it does not contain indigestible matter, and fish fed only dry food often suffer from indigestion and constipation, which can quickly become fatal. Dry food expands when soaked, with dramatic consequences if this occurs in the stomach, which is often the case. You can avoid this by feeding the fish sparingly and appropriately.
Although commercial food products contain many nutrients, they are often expensive and contain artificial ingredients for preservation and flavor enhancement.
Making your fish food is a great way to give your fish a healthy diet and tailor the food to the exact needs of your fish. Homemade fish food is cost-effective, and in the following lines, we will show you that it is much easier to make than you expect.
The beauty of making your fish food is that all the products are available, ensuring that you feed your fish the best quality.
How to start making homemade fish food?
All fish eat differently, so it can be challenging to give you an exact science for fish food, but you can adapt your homemade recipes.
Please start with the ingredients list on your current fish food; it can be a model for making homemade food. To start, choose the first three or four ingredients. It will likely be fish ingredients such as shrimp, cod, and salmon.
Remember that you can stick to more than one type of fish food. Fish enjoy variety and are used to having various food in their natural habitats, so you can test and try different recipes.
Can you give fish human food?
Since you will find many ingredients in the recipes already in your kitchen, you will conclude that you can also give the fish something from your menus, such as vegetables, meat (without fat), raw eggs, and fruit in small quantities. However, whatever food you feed your fish, you must ensure that there is no spice, as this could harm your fish. So feel free to use leftover raw meat and cooked vegetables to make homemade fish food. Below we will give more precise guidelines on how and what you can feed your aquarium fish.
What kind of fish food should I make?
So, before you start making fish food, you need to know the nutritional needs of your fish.
Herbivores eat only plant matter, including algae. Many popular cleaning fish species are herbivores, for example, plecos.
As the word suggests, Omnivores eat meat and plant matter—the most popular aquarium fish, including goldfish, gourami, tiles, guppies, and tetras.
Carnivores eat only meat, including other fish and invertebrates. For example, the discus is carnivorous fish.
Vegetables in fish nutrition
Most community aquarium fish are herbivores or omnivores, which means vegetables are the best solution. Whether you’ve run out of fish food or not, supplementing your fish’s diet with vegetables is always a good idea. Although leafy greens are not in the fish’s natural environment, these foods provide valuable vitamins and minerals.
You can include many vegetables, such as spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, carrots… You can give fruits in small quantities, such as apples and pears. Indeed, this food is full of nutrients, which help boost the fish’s health, vitality, and color, but always remember that fruits contain sugar.
What is interesting is that you can also offer garlic to your fish. It contains antibacterial chemicals that support the health of your fish and increase their appetite. Offer garlic by crushing, chopping, and adding it to food, or rub the juice onto pieces of food.
Corn and potatoes are also a good option to add to food in smaller quantities, but we do not recommend giving your fish bread! Aquarium fish do not tolerate bread well as it will expand in their stomach, which is a health risk as it can cause severe constipation.
Also, be careful with rice. You will hear that any fish can eat rice, but as with bread, rice is a food that expands and can cause stomach problems. Apart from carbohydrates, it does not provide a higher nutritional value. If you decide on rice, we recommend that you cook the rice well.
Meat in fish nutrition
Many carnivorous and omnivorous fish eat fish and fish products, including salmon, tuna, trout, and cod. And you can include squid, mussels, and shrimp in their diet.
Earthworms are also a great addition to any homemade fish food recipe. They are packed with nutrients and very cheap. However, we advise you to buy earthworms and not take them from ponds or rivers in the wild, as they can contain parasites and harmful bacteria that can make your fish sick.
You can feed the fish with live, fresh, or frozen food. And if you provide your fish live food, only give them 5 minutes to eat it, then clean up the rest to prevent rotting.
What is also crucial in feeding fish with meat is to remove the fat because too much fat in a fish diet can cause liver damage.
Make homemade fish food
Below we bring you some recipe suggestions, but the important thing is that you can adapt everything to the needs of your fish. You can add more or fewer ingredients, it is crucial to follow the reactions of your fish, and over time, you will find a winning combination.
It would help if you had these items to prepare food
- Kitchen scales
- A sharp knife
- Blender (make sure you only use it to make fish food)
- Plastic wrap
- Ice trays
Note that the best way to store homemade fish food is to put it in ice containers. Place the ice cube trays in an airtight container and store them in the freezer. If stored in the right conditions, you can store frozen fish food for an extended period.
Homemade food for herbivores
- 140 g of spinach
- 140 g of cucumbers,
- 140 g of peas,
- 140 g of oatmeal,
- 280 g of gelatin
Blanch the vegetables and blend until smooth. Add the oatmeal – mix again, then add the gelatin you prepared according to the manufacturer’s recipe.
Pour the food into an ice cube tray and store it in the freezer.
Homemade food for omnivores
For omnivores, you can prepare food with a little more protein.
- 70 g of garlic
- 400 g of dark green vegetables – broccoli, spinach, cauliflower…
- 1 cup of water
- 70 g of seafood
- 270 g unsweetened gelatin mixture
- One drop of fish vitamins
Blanch the vegetables and blend; add the garlic and seafood and blend again until pureed. Make the gelatin in a separate bowl, following the package instructions, and add the mixture and vitamins. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.
Homemade food for carnivores
We’ve also included some vegetables to add fiber and extra vitamins, making this recipe perfect for omnivores.
- 140 g of white fish
- 140 g of shrimp
- 140 g of vegetables – broccoli, carrots, cauliflower
- 270 g unsweetened gelatin mixture
Blanch the vegetables and blend; add the white fish and shrimp you previously blended until you get a smooth mixture. Make the gelatin in a separate bowl, following the instructions on the package, and add to the mix. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.
Homemade protein food for fish
This homemade fish food is a high-protein recipe for encouraging young fish’s growth.
- 200 g of salmon
- 1000 g of raw shrimp (without tails)
- 500 g of frozen peas
- 500 g of spinach
- 300 g of carrots
- Two cloves of garlic
- 550 g of gelatin
Finely dice the vegetables and seafood and blend to a smooth paste. Prepare the gelatin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the vegetable and seafood pastes to the gelatin and mix well. Heat the mixture over low heat for about 45 minutes or until cooked. When the mixture is cooked, let it cool. Transfer the food to ice trays and place it in the freezer.
Homemade food for discus
We will single out one recipe, especially for discus to pay attention to processing some ingredients.
- 1 kg of cleaned beef heart
- 700g of white fish (for example, hake)
- 500 g of cleaned shrimp
- 300-400g of green vegetables
Pay attention to cleaning the beef heart of fat and arteries because it can cause health problems in fish. Be sure to clean the shrimp since they have sharp tails, and try to wash the vegetables well to remove all potential pesticides.
Blanch the vegetables and then add the blended meat to the mixture. You will get a smooth mixture that you can transfer to ice trays.
We didn’t add gelatin here since the beef already has enough firmness, which you will see during the preparation of the food, but of course, if you feel safer, you can also add gelatin.
Homemade fish food can be an excellent alternative to store-bought pet food and is much cheaper. As you can see, it is effortless to make. You can make large batches of food and freeze it, potentially saving you money in the long run and ensuring that you always have a ready supply of high-quality, freshly prepared food for your fish.