Lake Malawi Species • Picky Eater

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Picky Eater

Postby Bamzam » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:27 am

Assuming an African cichlid was perfectly healthy, would a picky eater ever starve itself to the point of death? Or will the hunger always eventually win out, even if you fed the same thing every day?
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:30 am

The Africans I have kept are never picky eaters if they are healthy. Especially Malawi.

I feed the same thing every day to all lakes, all tanks.

The Tangs wait for the pellets to fall from the surface, but few hit the substrate. The Malawi and Victorians are swarming the surface as soon as I enter the room and most pellets do not get much of a chance to fall. I often get splashed and some report the fish jump out of the tank in their eagerness.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby Bamzam » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:02 am

I guess I'm wondering because I read a few threads on here and monster fish keepers about people having a tough time training them to pellets. The advice was always to show tough love and that they could hold out for weeks, but rarely saw follow up on the threads so I was wondering how far the stubborn fish would take it.
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby ken31cay » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:36 am

Bamzam wrote:I guess I'm wondering because I read a few threads on here and monster fish keepers about people having a tough time training them to pellets. The advice was always to show tough love and that they could hold out for weeks, but rarely saw follow up on the threads so I was wondering how far the stubborn fish would take it.


Feed a good quality pellet like Northfin or New Life Spectrum and they will eventually eat, unless the fish has another issue such as being sick, aggression from tank mates, issues related to tank water or oxygen level, etc.

What type of fish, what size tank is he in, tank mates & sizes, and filter(s) used?
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby Bamzam » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:02 pm

This is related to a separate thread I have going where I'm treating my tank for bloat/internal parasite/bacteria/something. I have 19 peacocks/haps that are all between 2-3.5" in a 75 gallon.

Some of my fish I can tell are sick, but i'd say maybe 15/19 seem perfectly healthy. They all refuse to go near pellets. I did a test with a very tiny amount of freeze dried bloodworms (used to only use as a 2x/month snack) and they gobbled it up. So im about to start the tough love and do strictly pellets 1x/day, and that's why I was wondering if theres ever been a case where a picky eater didn't give in.
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby sir_keith » Mon Jul 06, 2020 1:41 pm

For monster fishes, pellets make sense because of their sheer caloric requirements, but if your African cichlids prefer another kind of food, like flakes, why not just feed them flakes? Personally, I go heavy on flakes and lightl on pellets for fishes like Ophthalmotilapia, which are sensitive to intestinal overloading.
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:17 pm

I have only had one fish (out of 100s) that was healthy but refused to eat for a period of day/weeks after purchase. It was a 8" bulky borleyi. I did end up feeding him 2mm pellets because I wondered if he had vision problems and was unable to see the 1mm pellets well.

He did eat better with the 2mm pellets. But to some extent it was a "new fish in the midst of being introduced" rather than a health issue or a food preference issue.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Picky Eater

Postby noki » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:09 pm

I have never seen picky tank raised Malawi cichlids ever. If they don't recognize something as food at first, when they get hungry they will give it a try.

The "monster fish" picky eating problems stem from that they feed the monster fish live feeder fish, then the large predators stop eating the pellets because they only want more live fish to eat. Oscars are infamous for this.
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