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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My book on Tangs as well as my LFS owner say it's beneficial to the fish to be fed 6 days a week with one day off. Okay, fine....but neither give a reason for it. Do any of you practice this schedule and know what the benefit is for the fish? I currently feed my Tangs twice a day, 6 days a week, but I like to know why I do what I do.
 

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I know with mbuna it's because a day of fasting will help to reduce the chance of bloat. I'd assume it's the same with Tropheus species, as they're prone to bloat, too. Other tangs? Don't know.
 

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It's thought to be beneficial by some, but I feed every day. The idea is that it gives the fish's digestive system a chance to clear out. I don't think feeding or food is the bloat trigger. I don't thnk you'll find anything more than anecdotal evidence to support fasting fish one day per week. But, I have things I do as well because of gut feeling alone. The risk here is that you'll go to 7 days, have a bloat issue somewhere down the line and it'll get blamed on going to 7 days. That's how these things get started, I think.
 

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Or even as a way to prevent overfeeding which is the #1 problem fishkeepers have. I skip the day, but I don't think it is essential as long as you feed the correct amount overall.

Also I like to think that day without food they might pick over the substrate and clean up any leftovers a little, or the BN might eat a little more algae that day.
 

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I dunno about garbage for sure I have been succesful without it but think it kind of stretches back to the days where folk used raw tap water for water changes. Day after no food, giving the filter bacteria a day to biuld back from the damage done by a raw waterchange and may have been a good thing. With a good dechlorinating product or chlorine removing filter on the water coming in or pre aged water change water, then I think it a waiste of a good feeding day even for Tropheus. Not that a days starvation would do most overfed Tropheus any harm at all. Some I see in photos should be starved for a week or more to become more like mine that are fed so little they have to eat tank algae. :wink:
To prevent the usual overfeeding of lake Tang cichlids folk as respected as Ad Konings recommend only feeding commertial foods once every two days. There sure is a lot of ways to success these fish being so forgiving of our various predudices. :wink:
The truth is I think, they need a lot lot less than three feeds a day as the fish food manufacturers assure us they do (but then they would say that. :lol: ). Its kind of why folk in the US think you need such high filtration rates. More in more out kind of thing.

All the best James
 

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The origin of the practice actually runs back to as old as I am and stemmed from care for predatory animals in the zoos. PRedators were found to have a greater overall health if they were fasted one day per week. As an impressionable young boy, it made sense to me and I practiced that with my dog. That dog (a pure bred no less) died at the ripe old age of 17... yes, 17.

A sample size of one isn't "proof" but I've practiced the fasting day with many a predatory fish and I do have a strong hunch that they are better for it. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies. You all bring up good points that have helped shape my opinion of the situation. Basically, I'd say if you feed proper amounts daily (don't overfeed), then a fasting day is probably not necessary for any reason. After all, wild fish eat every day, don't they? And they don't have humans imposing portion control on them like they do in our tanks. But again, overfeeding is a tendency of many hobbyists and maybe those are the fish that might benefit from a fasting day to clear out their systems. I think above all, a little common sense goes a long way here. Thanks for all your helpful input.....it got me thinking.

All the best....Tom
 

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to clear out their systems
But is this actually a good thing? For all we know, it's detrimental. Just because something sounds like it's a good idea, doesn't make it so. We'd first have to ask and answer why an empty digestive system is beneficial to a fish. If they've been typically overfed, then I could see where skipping feeding one day would help. But, then I'd wonder if the overfeeding six days and fasting one day plan is better than just cutting down on the daily feed. In the end, I'm not sure it matters much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Exactly prov, that's where the common sense plays in. "Proper" feeding should make the whole issue a mute point (ie: no need to fast for a day). If you are currently an over-feeder (and you can admit it to yourself), just cut back to no more than the fish can consume in a minute or two with no waste falling to the substrate or getting sucked into the filter. With that said, I just wish I could be that diligent with my own diet :)
 

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Making fish "fat" ... will hurt the fish. If you've ever seen a fish that is disected, it's quite gross to see the fat cells. Everyone always thinks my fish are under fed that visit my fishroom. Yet, they seem to breed more than the average hobbyist. I feed once a day but I do not skip the 7th day of feeding. I have some VERY old tangs... over 10 years old. Still thriving and breeding.

We usually see pictures in the wild of very healthy fish. But if you ask those same people that dive the lakes... they will say that, a lot of the fish look skinney. But, they don't take pictures of those fish for the most part ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't like them skinny OR fat (although a little on the skinny side would be the lesser of the evils
healthwise). My schedule determines how I feed. Some days, 2 small meals, other days one meal. No meal is more than they can consume in a minute or so. Based on this, and the fact that the fish look good, I don't see the need to fast them for a day any more. Like I said before, I'm sure they don't do a weekly fast in the wild, and as long as I'm keeping their meals small, there's no reason they should have to in my tanks. Right or wrong, that's how I'm rationalizing it for now.
Thanks to all who shared theirs thoughts.......your a great bunch and a valuable resource :thumb:
 

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In my opinion, even being conscious about overfeeding doesn't entirely address the reason for the day of fasting.

From what I understand, even feeding what we as fishkeepers think of as small amounts regularly isn't how the fish eat in the wild. There can be times when they go days without eating, and there are other times when they'll be able to gorge themselves.

I'm not suggesting that sort of feeding behavior is the most healthy for them, but my personal feeling is that neither is a constant feeding at what is (even being careful not to overfeed) well above what their average intake would be in the wild.

I don't personally define a particular day as fasting day, but I've come to the point where I don't stress out if I don't feed them on a given day, either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
From what I understand, even feeding what we as fishkeepers think of as small amounts regularly isn't how the fish eat in the wild. There can be times when they go days without eating, and there are other times when they'll be able to gorge themselves.
Wei,
True...true. But it's also true that wolves and lions go several days without eating between kills when they can again gorge themselves. Yet we are content to feed our genetically similar dogs and cats pre-measured amounts of food on a regular daily basis. No different than how we feed our fish. There is simply no way to know or simulate the diet of any wild creature in our pets. So yes, that's why (thanks to this thread) I'm now of the opinion that it's okay if my hectic schedule causes me to vary my fish feedings, be it twice today, only once tomorrow, and to even have to skip a day every now and then. It may not be totally consistent, but neither is the diet of their wild counterparts.....and all do just fine. Do we agree on that?
 

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TMB60 said:
There is simply no way to know or simulate the diet of any wild creature in our pets.
I suggest you read up on BARF to see how some folks with Dogs strive to do exactly what you deny that any dog keeper does.

You can deny that there is a significant improvement in animals to fast a day or have a diet more like their wild counterparts but you likely cannot dismiss the opinion that there is a significant improvement either... lack of information for either side IMHO.
 

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I don't purposely fast my fish but the tank I have at work goes the weekend (two days) with no food and I notice no difference. Were it a fry tank I might be more concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I totally agree number6 about the lack of information either way. And I don't think it matters either. I just try to feed on a consistent schedule like most of us probably do, but will no longer sweat it if a meal has to be skipped here or there. Don't want to make it sound like I obsess over it.

punman, your work tank is a good example of what I'm getting at.
 

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Number6 said:
TMB60 said:
There is simply no way to know or simulate the diet of any wild creature in our pets.
I suggest you read up on BARF to see how some folks with Dogs strive to do exactly what you deny that any dog keeper does.

You can deny that there is a significant improvement in animals to fast a day or have a diet more like their wild counterparts but you likely cannot dismiss the opinion that there is a significant improvement either... lack of information for either side IMHO.
As a person who is all too familiar with BARF (6 years) I would say that trying to mimic our Cichlids diet in captivity to their diet in the Wild as compared to a dogs diet being mimicked my BARF is nearly impossible.
Studies of BARF fed dogs will be silenced as long as there is a $35 billion industry for dog food.
Studies for Cichlids, on the other hand, are coming from the very few who have actually seen what a Wild Tanganyikan might be eating while diving in the Lake.
A deep water Tang might go for days without eating...this is generally speculation.
Many Mbuna are eating regularly from grazing on the awfuchs...this seems to be as close to factual as we can get on the diet of any African Cichlid.

Fast your Cichlids once or twice a week?
Why not?
If you have given them a healthy environment one day every week without food can't hurt them.
Some of us go on vacation and come back a week later with their Cichlids not even getting a drop of food and sometimes the results are even a lot of holding females. :wink:

Very good thread. :thumb:
 

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I'm not sure it's best to assume that "Wild" fish, in the wild that is, are better off on their natural diets. My only evidence for this is that I doubt that all the "safeties" of a life behind the glass :) exist in the wild. Just for example, A wild Alto may consume a sick, dying wild fry which is easy prey whereas we would never intentionally feed a sick fish to a larger healthy fish (I don't do live food for the contamination risks they and their water pose.

I can see it benefitting predators I suppose, but even then I'm not sure that nature has the market cornered on animal husbandry unless that animal is at the top of the food chain. There I go, naively assuming that man is not part of nature. :roll: :D
 
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