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Hello

I am new to cichlids and aquariums. 5 days into having fish.

I am curious to see if I can get a more quantifiable answer to how much to feed my cichlids. I have a 75 gallon tank with 10 2-2.5 inch cichlids. I have the pellet food which indicates to feed how much they can eat in 3 minutes. I have also heard to feed them how much they can eat in 30 seconds. And also to feed them a "pinch"

I would like to see an answer such as 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon or 5 pellets per fish.

I am an accountant/finance guy and like the numbers aspect.

Also what is the best way to get their attention when feeding them?
 

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Unless you soak the pellets in some tank water before feeding them to your fish, they can take a bit longer for the fish to eat than flakes. So "as much as they can eat in 3 minutes" might work for pellets. With flakes, definitely "what they can eat in 30 seconds" is best.

Exact measurements are hard to give. It really depends on the fish you are feeding and how often. Trust me, I like numbers too, sorry :(

As far as how many times a day to feed, I have seen many different opinions, both here and on other parts of the web. General consensus is... there is none. Some will say once a day is enough and let them fast one day a week. Others will say feed them sparingly, 3 times a day to reduce aggression. Still others would say morning and night. Bottom line is, as long as your fish are healthy and eating like the are hungry, then they are OK. If they browse, like they are considering eating or just looking at the food like they aren't starving, you are overfeeding or they are sick.
 

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I would start with a level 1/4 teaspoon and adjust. I would not soak pellets. I would definitely use the 30 second rule and 1X daily since your fish are young adults and not fry.

As your fish grow the amount they will eat in 30 seconds will change.
 

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Here's what I do. Picture the stomach size of one of your fish, and yes it's very small. That'd be a max portion for one fish. Now picture that portion times ten, since you have ten fish. I end up with about 1/4 tsp per tank, some more, some less. I use pellets also. I adjust the amount as they grow, but then settle on an amount once adults. I sometimes mix pellet sizes if there are different size fish, but still same amount. I somtimes will use a smaller size pellet if there are a few aggressive fish that try to eat everything before the rest get a chance. Each tank sort of has a different strategy. I don't feed any two the same way or same amount. And each has been worked out over time. You'll eventually get a feel for what's right for yours, and it's ok if you occasionally over or under feed in the meantime.

I use a feeding tube on many tanks, so the food drops in gradually. I don't like to make fish that aren't surface feeders surface feed. You can drop the food into a small cup of water and stir it a bit first, then add, but doesn't work if you have fish that won't bottom feed. Or, you can add the food, then run your hand through the surface of the water to get it to sinking. Don't soak the food. It shouldn't be necessary and can reduce the nutritional value.

I feed once per day. The only time I go twice is for small fry, but that's even rare. I usually add enough food that they can graze on it for a while. If you're using a good, nutritional food, then once per day feeding is enough. More often and you'll be cleaning filters more often. I do sometimes power feed, and power clean when growing out fry. Sometimes it's appropriate, just be aware and increase maintenance, if needed. I don't feed adults more than once per day.

I never subscribed to the 'clean up in so many minutes method'. Some fish eat faster than others. Just give them the right portion and it usually goes pretty quick.

Most fish will be attentive at feeding time, but not all. Some hide. What are you feeding? I get my fish's attention just by walking into the room.

Last thought. There are some very good, quality foods out there now, which is good, but they can be easy to overfeed. When I get new fish, I usually watch that they come around and at least get a few pellets. I know that if they're doing that, they'll be ok. I know the food I use is that good. Eventually they get bolder and get more. The flipside is that you can easily overfeed. They don't need a lot of food. They don't need to gorge themselves. At least not in my experience. They can only use so much. The rest will be either excreted as waste or build up as fat.

HTH
 

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See, different opinions :)

prov356 said:
Don't soak the food. It shouldn't be necessary and can reduce the nutritional value.
Tim (and DJ), I don't see how soaking the food would reduce nutritional value. I'm not talking about letting it sit for an hour, I'm saying a minute or so. Perhaps I should have specified. I understand that a bit of the food kind of shreds off some, but that has nothing to do with the chemical and/or biological makeup of the pellet food, just the quantity. Besides, I've noticed that (even with the small pellets) if I were to put say, 2 or 3 pellets of food in per fish, it takes them that long to eat it, so the last ones to get eaten have been "soaking" anyhow, probably for longer than a minute.

You guys have more experience in this, so I'll acknowledge that, but unless you have a source for this claim, I don't think it holds water... (pun intended?) :)
 

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You guys have more experience in this, so I'll acknowledge that, but unless you have a source for this claim, I don't think it holds water... (pun intended?)
From the New Life Spectrum web site.

Basic Fish Nutrition By Pablo Tepoot

Another common mistake by some hobbyists is to pre-soak their pellets, in the misguided belief that this will aid in digestion and prevent swelling of the pellets inside the fishes gut. This is nothing more than an urban myth created by those that simply do not understand the amount of enzymes and gastric acids that are released by most fish when they consume food. Those hard pellets turn into soft mush in a very short period of time! If a pellet food causes gastrointestinal issues in a fish, it will usually be due to the use of poorly digestible ingredients, such as excessive amounts of grains and grain by-products, not from the food swelling up inside the fish's stomach. Most importantly, when you pre-soak pellet food, you are allowing nutrients and water soluble vitamins and minerals to leach out into the water.

That's about as good of a source and as expert of an opinion as it gets. :wink:

I'm not talking about letting it sit for an hour, I'm saying a minute or so.
But, you didn't say that. You said 'soak'. Easily misunderstood to mean for a long time. And as you see from the above, not needed, and not a good idea even for a minute. I wet them enough so they sink and then dump. So, we're talking seconds. The second the food hits the water, the clock is ticking.

And my experience and comments are with and about NLS. But, I don't see that other pellet foods would be any different.
 

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Thanks Tim! You the man! I won't be soaking any longer.

I love this forum. :thumb:
 

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natedgg said:
See, different opinions :)

prov356 said:
You guys have more experience in this, so I'll acknowledge that, but unless you have a source for this claim, I don't think it holds water... (pun intended?) :)
Most of the good foods like NLS and Hikari have a specific moisture make-up its meant to be eaten in a certain ammount of time otherwise nutrients that are water soluble will dilute into the tank... yes the latter of the food eaten once dropped in the tank will have a lower nutritional value as per the first pellets eaten but imagine if you soaked it first. It would have even less. plus there is no evidence that soaking the food helps them eat it any easier. We don't need to soak our solids before ingesting them because we have saliva which is the first part of our digestion process. Fish have a similar method but I'd have to reference my biology text books.

only thing you want to watch is if you see food particles coming out of their gills when they eat, then the pellets you are feeding are probably too big for the fish, or its old (check the label)
 
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