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Feeding Tropical Fish
Nick Kornblith
Tetra Senior Brand Product Manager


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It is probably no surprise to know that feeding a good and varied diet is essential for keeping your fish healthy. This is because the diet they receive directly affects their health and condition, as well as the quality of the aquarium water. With Tetra tropical fish foods it is easy to provide your fish with a top quality diet. Based upon over 50 years of research & development into the nutritional needs of ornamental fish, and the most advanced manufacturing processes in the industry, all of Tetra´s foods are designed to offer top quality nutrition. This, coupled with a wide range of foods to cater for all types of fish, makes it easy to provide a balanced and healthy diet.


Why food quality is important

If poor quality foods are fed, they are not digested and utilized optimally by the fish, resulting in the excessive production of dissolved (ammonia) and solid waste. The more waste they produce, the faster the water quality deteriorates. Levels of nitrate and phosphate can rise rapidly, potentially leading to algae problems. Other problems can occur such as the substrate becoming clogged with solid waste, leading to cloudy water and lower oxygen levels. If conditions deteriorate enough the filter will also struggle to cope, requiring more maintenance to keep it working properly.

Aside from water quality problems, fish rely on a balanced supply of nutrients for remaining in good health and condition. Failure to offer a good quality food will weaken fish, leaving them more vulnerable to stress and disease, and preventing them from looking their best.

Tetra´s foods are highly digestible, resulting in minimal waste production, and they have been formulated to actively improve the condition of fish. This ensures they receive the right balance of nutrients to keep them in top condition.


Meeting the physical feeding needs of your fish

There are many hundreds of tropical fish available to aquarium owners, not all of which have evolved to feed in the same way. Generally, they can be divided into surface feeders, mid-water feeders, and bottom feeders.

Surface feeders include popular species such as Guppies, Danios, and Harlequins, that prefer to feed on items that float at the surface. Staple foods, such as TetraMin Flake & TetraMin Crisps, are ideal for these species, as they are primarily floating and they will provide everything these fish need.

Mid-water feeders include species such as Angelfish, barbs, and many tetras (e.g. Neons and Cardinals). They have evolved to feed on food items that are suspended in the water column. Suitable foods for these species include slow-sinking granules, such as TetraColor granules (for medium to large fish) and TetraMin granules (for smaller tetras and barbs).


Meeting the nutritional needs of your fish

As well as different physical feeding needs, fish have also evolved to feed on different food items. For example, herbivores feed primarily on plants and algae, whereas omnivores enjoy a diverse diet including both animal and vegetable matter. Good quality staple foods, such as TetraMin, will provide a balanced diet for all fish, making the provision of the right nutrient balance easy. However, in some cases it may be beneficial to offer a specific diet for certain fish. In particular, certain herbivorous species benefit from a vegetable-enriched diet. Plecostomus (´sucker-mouth´) catfish are perhaps the most commonly kept herbivores, being used to keep algae off the sides of the aquarium. In order to keep them healthy, their diet needs to be supplemented with herbivore foods, such as Tetra VeggieWafers or TetraVeggie Flakes.


Adding a touch of variety

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If you feed the right foods for the species of fish in your aquarium, you will already be providing a varied, high quality diet. However, many fish enjoy and benefit from the occasional treat food. Treats should be offered a few times a week, to provide a change to your fishes´ normal diet. Tetra's expanded supplement line provides a number of convenient treat food options for tropical fish including; bloodworms, baby shrimp, mini krill, jumbo krill, river shrimp, shrimp puffs, and Tubifex cubes. Each variety contains natural food organisms enriched with vitamins. Tetra supplement foods do not need to be refrigerated or frozen, and can be kept alongside your other fish foods.


How much to feed?

Most fish should be fed 2-3 times a day, offering only as much as they can consume within a few minutes. Any uneaten food should be removed. For certain nocturnal species, such as plecostomus, it is sufficient to add a wafer or tablet once the lights have been turned out in the evening.


Where to start?

It might seem like there are a lot of different foods available, but it's very simple to select the right ones. Begin with a staple food, such as TetraMin Crisps or Flake, and build on this as you purchase different fish. Your aquatics outlet will advise you on the correct food for any new fish you choose. You will quickly learn which foods are needed to provide your fish with a balanced and varied diet, and benefit from a healthier aquarium as a result. If you have any questions about feeding your fish, why not join TetraCare for free and e-mail us with any questions. www.tetra-fish.com
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