Is daily feeding harming your fish?
I bet your fish adore being fed like all of us but what if I told you, you were doing more harm than good by feeding them daily…sure they will eat it if it’s there and they’ll be more than grateful but feeding your fish with all this food is simply not good for them to the point that it’s potentially life threatening!
Wait! There is a simple solution contrary to popular belief.
My fish have never been happier or healthier using this method, the secret is not simply cutting down how much they eat but how many days you feed them…there’s a little more to it than that, nothing beginning fish keepers can’t handle; are you ready to help your fish?
“But it’s cruel to not feed daily!”
I’m not sure where it came from but as far back as I can remember people always told me to feed my fish daily, I like many others assumed it was the right thing to do, let’s face it, it not the worst assumption we’ve ever made.
The first thing everyone jumps to when they hear this method is, “surely it’s cruel to not feed them daily?” and I would just like to say once and for all it’s not, far from it and here’s why; in the wild fish fend for themselves like any other animal, they eat what they can get when they can and there comes a time (very often) when there is nothing for them to eat and they get through it just fine. In the wild they haven’t got the luxury of someone chucking in food daily, sure they would love that it and eat it all but it’s not natural and that’s the point I’m trying to make, fish don’t need to eat everyday, it’s simply not their natural way.
So where did I learn this method you’re probably thinking…”torture school”!, funnily enough no! I learnt this from a reputable source, an aquatic shop I worked at for my first job, the owner taught me everything he knew about keeping freshwater tropical fish including all the age old myth of feeding daily.
Daily feeding is constipating your fish and strangling your filter
Feeding your fish daily creates three major problems that can be very serious for both the fish and the tanks overall health.
The biggest problem is the fish become constipated, yes you did read that right…who knew that could happen to fish but it does and its very real and is very serious. The reason they get constipated is because they simply can’t digest the man-made fish food we feed them quickly enough, down to the bare bones that’s it; in the wild they eat much more vegetable and plant matter compared to domesticated fish which does wonders for their digestive system along with the added rest gaps when food is scarce.
Next is the water quality of the overall fish tank, this is a given really; the more food they are feed the more waste there is, all of which contributes to higher nitrate and low pH levels which is harmful to the whole tank.
And the last problem is with your filter system, it can only handle so much fish waste until it gets clogged up so much so it needs cleaning and emptying , not cleaning it immediately will also result in poor water quality such as harmful levels of nitrate, shockingly low pH and eventually cloudy water.
Less food makes fish, healthy & happy
There are huge benefits to be had from not feeding daily not just for the fish but you as well.
Better water conditions are noticeable by the end of the first week in comparison which is simply fantastic, this is because the filter systems copes so much better and it’s all down to the reduction of physical food/fish waste in water and allowing the tank to work through it all.
If you think about these two benefits alone, you’ve already got better living conditions for your fish and don’t have to clean your filter as much, both are huge bonuses in my book!
What about the benefits to your fish, well these are amazing to say the least; by giving them a day off from food it gives their small digestive systems a chance to catch up and clear out so to speak which prevents them from being constipated and reduce the chances of other health issues arising.
You will also be able to see a noticeable difference in their daily behavior, they will be much more active, looking around for food (which they don’t need!) and getting more exercise, this may sound a real stupid thing to say but you will see for yourself…fat lazy fish waiting for food don’t move half as much as slim healthy fish do, its true!
Change slowly, don’t shock them
This method is really simple to implement although it needs to be done in small stages to help reduce any potential shock to your fish.
Start by feeding them as you would for the week but choose a day that you want to be their food rest day, let’s take Wednesday as an example. When you get to Wednesday only give them half the amount of food you would normal give them for that day and no more, return to normal the next day.
The following Wednesday reduce this to ¼ of the food you would normally give them on a daily basis and on the third Wednesday don’t feed them at all…don’t panic they will be fine; return to normal feeding the next day. Now every Wednesday you don’t need to feed them at all, just miss it out every week.
In three short weeks you have implemented a method that will help not just your fish’s health but also the tanks, now you can sit back and enjoy fish keeping for what it really is.
PS. For a little add piece of mind add plenty of plants to your fish tank which the fish will graze on as and when, this way if they are hungry they can still eat on their weekly rest day but get the add bonus of eating natural plants which is great for them!