Frozen fish food is one of the most nutritious types of food you can give your fish. It's also great for encouraging an energetic feeding response for finicky eaters. In this article you'll learn about the different types available and where to find them.
If you are new to the aquarium hobby, you may be unaware that fish food comes in a variety of forms, not just flakes. While flake food is perhaps the most commonly used type of fish food, it is not necessarily the healthiest. Some fish food companies produce vitamin- and mineral-enhanced foods, but few novice aquarium hobbyists realize that even these foods are not enough to provide fish with a well-balanced diet. One of the most nutritious types of fish food is frozen food.
What Is Frozen Fish Food?
Frozen fish food often comes in small cubes which can be dropped into the tank or thawed prior to feeding. As the cubes melt, the food is distributed to hungry fish. Frozen fish foods may contain a variety of ingredients including shrimp, insects and small organisms like daphnia. Before you go out and stock up on frozen fish food for your aquarium it is wise to explore the benefits and disadvantages of this type of food. In order to keep your fish healthy and safe, learn which types of frozen food are best for the fish species you keep.
Frozen fish food is more nutritious than most commercial and freeze-dried foods because fewer nutrients are lost than during freeze-drying and processing. In most cases, frozen fish food comes in individual cubes sold in packages designed to keep the foods fresh. While some hobbyists drop the frozen cubes into their tanks directly, others recommend thawing the cubes first for no more than thirty minutes. The easiest way to do this is to place the cube in a cup of tank water for ten minutes or so, then dump the contents into the tank. If a whole cube is too much for your fish you can chop it into smaller portions and only thaw the amount you intend to use.
Types of Frozen Food
Many fish foods are available in frozen form which makes it easy for aquarium hobbyists to provide their fish with a well-balanced and nutritious diet. One of the most popular types of frozen fish food is brine shrimp. Though adult brine shrimp have relatively little nutritional value, they are often used when conditioning fish for breeding. Cubes of brine shrimp are sometimes supplemented with garlic or plankton to add nutrients. Tubifex worms and bloodworms are also popular varieties of frozen food which most freshwater aquarium fish are eager to eat. Daphnia, or water fleas, are another option in frozen fish food as are Mysis, a type of shrimp high in protein. Cockels and mussels are also high in protein when kept frozen and they can provide your fish with valuable minerals needed for bone growth.
Where to Find Frozen Foods
Many large retail pet stores have a selection of frozen fish foods which is likely to include cubes of brine shrimp, tubifex worms and bloodworms. It may be easier and cheaper, however, to shop online. Reputable sites like Foster and Smith Aquatics and Marine Depot can be considered safe places to shop for frozen fish food. Do not purchase fish food from websites that do not look trustworthy or those that do not provide adequate information about their products. Before buying, make sure the products you are ordering will be shipped properly – the product should remain frozen throughout the entire shipping process in order to retain nutrients and to avoid contamination. Most quality retailers will offer overnight or 2-day shipping. Foods should also be packaged in foam coolers with dry ice or ice packs to keep them frozen.
Benefits and Drawbacks
The main benefit of frozen fish food is that it retains more of its natural nutrients. When commercial and freeze-dried foods are processed, they lose many of their nutrients which makes them good for little more than simply satiating the hunger of your fish. Frozen food, on the other hand, can keep your fish healthier, can give them more energy and it can bring out more vibrant colors in their scales. Not only do your fish benefit from being fed frozen food, you will also be able to enjoy an aquarium full of colorful and active fish. After all, half the fun of keeping an aquarium is seeing your fish thrive and grow!
The most commonly cited drawback of frozen fish food is the higher price. Frozen fish foods are more expensive than flake food and they may also be a little more difficult to find. While most pet stores and large grocery stores carry a supply of flake foods, not all pet stores carry a selection of frozen foods. If you live in a small town or a rural area, your only option may be to purchase frozen fish food through an online retailer. Finding a variety of frozen foods for fish can be easy online but be sure to compare prices between companies before selecting one and do not forget to factor in the shipping costs. In addition to the added cost and effort in finding it, frozen fish food also needs to be kept in the freezer. This type of food cannot be thawed and refrozen and it certainly cannot be left sitting out on your tank stand or cabinet for easy access.
Tips for Frozen Fish Food
If you want your fish to receive the benefits of frozen food but you do not have the extra money to spend on it, consider making your own. Mosquito larvae are nutritious for fish and you can gather them in the summertime for free. Scoop the larvae into an ice cube tray and fill each cube with a little distilled water before freezing it. Simply place one of the frozen cubes in your aquarium and, as it melts, the larvae will be distributed to your fish as a tasty treat. You can also purchase frozen prawns and chop them up into tiny bite-size pieces for fish. Mix the prawns with some garlic to make it more nutritious for your fish and freeze it by following the same procedure.
Once you have made the decision to start using frozen foods you should be aware of a few precautions. Never thaw frozen fish food using hot water – this could result in the loss of valuable nutrients. Once the food has been thawed, never attempt to freeze it again. Re-freezing thawed fish food can result in contamination and your fish could become sick if you feed them contaminated food. The final thing you should be aware of is that even though frozen foods are among the most nutritious, you still need to supplement the diet of your fish with other types of food. Live, flake and freeze-dried foods contain different vitamins, minerals and nutrients than some frozen foods and you need to provide your fish with a combination of all types of fish food to ensure a balanced diet.