Favorite fish foods

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Fish Crazy
Nov 20, 2023
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What are you favorite fish foods? Do you know where your fish came from and what it likes to eat in the wild? Is it an omnivore, herbivore or carnivore? Do you try to substitute somewhat close to what it would eat in the wild? Talk about what you feed and why. Some of you have some serious fish rooms with all types of different fish so is your shelf/cupboard/drawer full of variety?

I'd also like to hear why you don't feed certain food/brands etc. I know a lot of folks frown upon flake food because it fouls the water quality quicker in some cases than other foods you can feed. Also, how much food do you feed and how many times a day? What's the right amount of food generally speaking?

Breeders feed quality food especially when theyre trying to entice their fish to spawn. Let's hear about that as well. Tell us your food preferences!
I feed dry, mostly. I don't have anything special. Hikari vibra bites in the smallest size, and some of the tropical green granules from Ken's Fish. I usually crush them up since my neons are still pretty small, and I find that smaller food particles reduce bloating/over-eating and help make sure everyone gets food. I fed flakes to start out, but don't really use them anymore. Never had an issue with water fouling, I just have better foods now. I also feed blanched peas on occasion. I obviously don't really try to replicate wild diets, but I don't think there's much importance to that unless you have a wild-caught fish.

I got ADFs recently and don't plan on ever feeding them dry food due to impaction risk and low-quality dry food offerings for frogs, so I went and bought some frozen brine shrimp and mysis shrimp. I'd like to get them tubifex worms, but the LPS doesn't sell them... I've heard of too many issues with bloodworms and ADFs, otherwise I'd feed those instead of tubifex. Anyway, if there are leftovers from those feedings, the fish get some nice frozen food as their daily meal.

Variety is good, but I have few animals to feed, so I have to stop myself from buying more foods. I already use so little as it is. If I had more variety, some would be bound to go stale.
My main food is freshly hatched brine shrimp. Most of my fish are small insect eaters, and it's a good basic diet for them. I don't want to fill the fishroom with mosquitoes.

When I am prepping for breeding them, they get whiteworms. I culture those.

My herbivores get spirulina flake and sinking tabs. I use the bug bites ones (disclosure - I do freelance work with Fluval). I also prepare zucchini coins and feed those.

For my dwarf Cichlids, who are detritivores, it's a mix of the two.

I use bug bites flakes and pellets, but greatly prefer flake. My fish are small, and they eat flakes more easily. I don't overfeed. It's not the flakes the foul the water - it's the people scattering them. I find the soldier fly larvae based foods, which I can get from Fluval, Northfin (pellets only) or a Polish company the LFS deals with are the best for my purposes. Killies produce eggs when they eat them. They don't with the competing processed flake types. I've experimented with quite a few.

When it warms, in about a month, I fill my dormant Daphnia tubs with water and then, feeding will take off. I have two large, low black plastic totes for now, but plan to add 2 more this Spring. They sit in a shaded corner of the garden with old window screens on them to keep the mosquitoes out. I suppose I could dress up as a medieval warrior and scream "I will feed the blood of my neighbours to the fish", but that doesn't seem cool.

I will get bloodworms in there, as midges get through the screens. Not many. Sometimes, I leave the screen ajar to let mosquitoes in as the larvae are the best food I know of for insectivores. I only do that if I am going to harvest intensely, and get those larvae. I live about a kilometre and a half through heavy woods from a salt marsh, so there are a lot of local mosquitoes some summers. Last year was crazy.

I do research every species I keep. I like single species tanks, and if I have a community, it's generally related egg laying fish. I have my insect hunters, my invertebrate and larvae lovers, my bulk mulm munchers, my algae eaters, my eat anything thank you types, and my specialized mosquito ambushers. I pay attention to fibre for all of them - it's really important.

It sounds complicated, but I read labels when I buy processed fish foods, and I spend an average of ten minutes a week prepping live foods. The brine shrimp are expensive, but the whiteworms, and outdoor food are free.
My absolute all time favorite fish food is live wingless fruit flies . Probably not a good choice for someone with big fish or a lot of fish because the fish gobble them up like a kid at Holloween . They’re easy to culture and my Bettas have them as an exclusive diet . Should be great for guppies too . Many fish are insectivores so flies are their natural food . The movement at the surface gets the fishes attention and then you get to see a show . Flakes and frozen brine shrimp are kind of a let down for them after they’ve had flies .
I use bug bites as my main staple, and repashy soilent green every now and then for the platies and otos. I have different-sized fish in the tank, so I've learned to crush up the bug bites pellets into varying sizes before I drop them in, that way the large fish will grab the big bits while the powder will fall down to the bottom for the pygmy cories and platy fry. I also prefer to drop it in under the surface or even midwater, rather than on the surface, because this helps make sure all the fish get some.
I use Ultra Fresh, & Bug Bites as everyday staples... for most tanks, but I have a 2 foot by 6 foot rack, 3/4 full of variety... as well as frozen brine shrimp in the freezer... I did buy one of those brine hatchery's, but haven't had the time to get it going...
I use Ultra Fresh, & Bug Bites as everyday staples... for most tanks, but I have a 2 foot by 6 foot rack, 3/4 full of variety... as well as frozen brine shrimp in the freezer... I did buy one of those brine hatchery's, but haven't had the time to get it going...


I've been making brine for my fry. I use live brine for 2 days after they hatch to feed and than after that whatever is left over I use a pipette to fill the above linked trays. The cube sizes are really nice and the rubber material makes it a sinch to get the cubes out one by one. Really happy to have the extra food available whenever i need it and not let the brine go to waste.
In order of frequency of feeding:
1. Frozen- mostly from Jehmco but also a lot of Kikari and a small amount of SF Bay. Mysis. Brine, Brine gut loaded w. spirulina, daphnia, blood worrms in two sizes, rotifers and a bit of BBS. I love cyclops for fry and small fish but they have been hard to find lately. I loved Cyclop-eeze but the population crshed some time back and it was the only lake where they lived. They could never restart it. :(

2. Repashy Gel foods. Mostly for my bottom feeders- Spawn & Grow and Bottom Scratcher nother of which are mixed 20% w/ Soilent Green which is also fed to my Aufwuchs feeders. My clowns loaches shred the Igapo Explorer "Contains Invertebrates, Nuts, Fruits, Seeds, Legumes, Herbs and Greens."

3. Commercial foods. For a long time this was Kensfish flakes and sinking sticks. I still use their flake food but I make my own blend from several of their flake offerings. But I have switched all my other commercial sinking foods to Ebo-Aquaristik- mussel, insect, veggies, shrimp pellets and their smallest size Artemia Softgran.

I have tried other foods including Bug Bites but am not a repeat buyer of most commercial dry foods any more. I try to limit my use of them to abut 15% of their feeding, less if I can. But these are the easiest food to feed.

When I had ancistrus I fed fresh zuchinni and sometime cucumber. I messed with hatching BBS and it was too much f a mess and work, I did red witggler worms but they are a pain to keep and gacve them up too. I know the best foods are live when they can be done. But I went for the next best alternative, imo.
My display gets a wide variety of food. There are 5 different pleco species that all have different needs, silver dollars, clowns and roseline barbs. I feed a lot of veggies and fruit, watermelon being the main one. For the protein part of their diets I feed frozen brine, blood worms, dr bassleers and kens pellets. I do feed spiruline flakes mostly for my roselines and silvers. The loaches get their veggies from the the zucchini/cucumber/watermelon. Once in awhile I feed tetra crisps flakes, they love that stuff idk why. They also get aqueon shrimp pellets and vibra bites.

My hypancistrus tanks get a completely different diet rich in protein. I feed a lot of EBO foods. They prefer the soft gran in mussel/sponge/insect. They also love Dr bassleers and I feed a few different flavors of that as well from Forte/pumpkin/garlic/regular and one other one but im forgetting what it is right now. They also get Brine Shrimp/blood worms/mysis shrimp. I try my best to give them something different daily but they seem to really love EBO sponge and Bassleers pumpkin.

My fry I feed mainly the same thing, EBO fry paste. I use Bassleers baby nano and sometimes I'll smash the spirulina paste or youngster grow into a flat and than smash some baby nano into that. I've tried to feed cucumber/zucchini but they don't eat it so spirulina is the best I can do for their veggie needs. I hatch brine and feed that as well. I've also made frozen brine cubes with the leftovers from my hatches and they get that a few times a week.

I'm fairly new to breeding hypancistrus. I've been given a lot of solid advice from those who have done it for years, on this forum and elsewhere and im truly thankful. Some of the best advice included feeding quality foods to induce spawning and its worked for me. One day I'd like to have a decent operation so I can offer quality fish at a reasonable price. Forums like this are essential for gathering info from some of the experts who are willing to share. To me there's a lot more value in a forum than on social media.

@GaryE @TwoTankAmin and @Colin_T you guys have forgotten more about fish than I'll ever know. None the less I love it!

Another question for you guys, how do you go about feeding food to bottom dwellers without dropping it in from the top? I've been loading food in a baster and using it like a pipette. Any other ideas?
For prepared foods, I'm big into quality. I look for the foods with the most whole ingredients and the least amount of fish and shrimp meals and grain fillers. I feed New Life Spectrum Flakes, Fluval Bug Bites, and Omega One Catfish Pellets. And I also feed frozen daphnia.

But I'm getting more into live foods. No animal should eat processed food for every meal (including people). There's something about watching how fish react to live foods that they have to hunt and chase down. Right now I hatch baby brine shrimp and culture grindal worms and microworms. In summer, I'll harvest mosquito larvae and hopefully have enough to freeze for a winter supply. I want to move on to live daphnia by setting up a couple of bins for them. And maybe some wingless fruit flies. Maybe scuds, possibly blackworms. Nice thing about the latter two is that you can culture them in the same container. Maybe I'll find some space for a spare 10 gallon for that.
I'm waiting to set up some other tanks so I have more fish to feed these live foods too.
@Back in the fold Could you share your recipe for fruit fly mediums? I've had trouble there. They are great fish food though.
I buy the commercially made stuff that The Fruit Fly Shop sells . I don’t think it’s anything more than instant mashed potatoe flakes , which works good , but they claim to put something in it to take care of mold . It’s cheap and they sell it already to go in individual bags . You mix it with a little water until it’s just soupy enough to slowly run downhill when you tip the container , sprinkle a tiny amount of yeast on top and let it sit overnight for the yeast to grow . Add new flies the next day and in a week to two weeks you have a thriving new culture . I keep a spray mist bottle handy to lightly mist the culture once a week . Once they dry out it’s too late and you have to restart .
Omega One Cichlid
Fresh Brine shrimp when available
Fresh mosquito larva when available
Occasional ground beef heart (absolutely no fat)
Frozen bloodworms
Frozen brine shrimp

Every feeding has some dry food, twice a week they get a treat of live or frozen. Feed once a day except saturdays.

Dog demands a taste of the dry food during the feedings.
Fluval Bug Bite Tropical flakes, Fluval Tropical micro pellets, and Omega One freshwater flakes. All in small amounts , once a day. I mix these up, I do have some Platy babies, so the flakes I make sure are small enough so they can eat, I grind the flakes a little bit with a small wood dowel I have laying around. The Bug Bite micro pellets are nice for my adults, Platys, Tetra’s and my couple Danios.
So I have no idea if what I am doing is good or bad, but everyone gives a different story so......
Wednesday/Saturday - Alternate bloodworms and brine shrimp
Sunday - Veg, Spinach, Cucumber or Zuccini
Friday - Nothing
Monday/Tuesday/Thursday - Alternate between catfish pellets and algae wafer, I also throw in some flakes for the guppies. (Though they seem to prefer the wafer)

I did recently buy some Bug Bites too which I may swap out for the bloodworms. As there always seems to be some bad bloodworms that just messy the tank. That and everyone seems to be against them, even though fish go crazy for them.

I have Guppies, Cory's and a Bristlenose Pleco.
I got some shrimp last weekend after seeing some on here and thought I must have some.

The only 2 things I have really learned in my time of feeding
Algae wafers should be made smaller. They go along way.
The all they can eat in 5 minute rule is garbage when it comes to Cory's and Pleco's. If I lived by that rule they probably would not eat.

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