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How To Easily Create Live Fish Food For Your Fish

Feeding your fish live fish food can be a rewarding experience, especially for your fish! In this article you'll learn about the different types of live fish food available and how you can cultivate some of your own.

 

fishfood xs 13606871As you wander through the aquarium aisle at your local pet store you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices in flake foods alone. In addition to flake foods, there are also pellets, granules and wafers, not to mention frozen and freeze-dried foods. If you want to give your fish the best diet you can possibly give them, however, you need to move away from the processed foods and stick to live foods. Live fish food contains the highest amount of nutrients which are the key to a healthy, balanced diet. If you’ve never tried using live fish food before you may not know what to look for. Before you make the commitment to creating a live food diet for your fish, learn the basics about live food and determine the nutritional needs of your fish to ensure that you will be able to meet them.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Live Food

The main benefit associated with live food is the high nutrient content that cannot be matched by processed or even frozen foods. In addition to all of the natural nutrients, live foods can be “gut-loaded” to deliver additional nutrients or enriched with vitamin supplements. Gut-loading is simply the process of feeding live insects like bloodworms or white worms nutritious foods in the hopes of passing those nutrients on to the fish in your tank when they eat the worms. Another benefit of live foods is that they will not decompose in your tank as quickly as processed foods which can have a negative effect on water quality. In addition to keeping the tank environment cleaner, offering your fish live foods is also a great way to simulate their natural habitat and feeding habits.brine-shrimp-eggs SFBayBrand

Though it is true that live foods are much more nutritious than processed foods, they are also more expensive. If you take the health of your aquarium fish seriously, however, and you want them to thrive and grow, then the price may not be an obstacle for you. Another drawback associated with live foods is that they may be more difficult to store and there may also be some work involved in raising the foods. If you choose to give your fish brine shrimp, for example, you may need to hatch the brine shrimp eggs and raise the shrimp to the proper size. Unlike processed foods, live foods cannot be kept in large quantities because they may die, at which point they should not be fed to fish.

Types of Live Fish Food

Brine Shrimp – Newly hatched brine shrimp are a staple in the diet of fry and small fish and most aquarium fish feed readily on adult brine shrimp. The best way to procure live brine shrimp is to hatch them yourself. Brine shrimp eggs can be purchased online or from your local pet store and hatched in a plastic 2-liter bottle. Connect the bottle to an air pump, regulate the temperature around 85° Fahrenheit and add un-iodized salt. Once the eggs have hatched, simply siphon off the brine shrimp and add them to your tank using an eye dropper.

Daphnia – Also known as “water fleas,” daphnia are tiny crustaceans ideal for feeding newly hatched fry. These creatures will not die in the tank and they can be cultured at home in batches of nearly any size. Simply order a starter culture online or by mail and feed the culture using algae scrapings from the main tank, artificial plankton, deactivated yeast or powdered milk. If you live near a body of water known to contain daphnia you can catch your own using a fine net. If you choose to do this, beware that you may also catch parasites and insects you do not want to put in your aquarium.

worms xs 4656355Bloodworms – Though they are actually mosquito larvae rather than worms, bloodworms are a favorite among many aquarium fish. It is easy to collect your own larvae by setting out a wide-mouthed bucket of water and adding evaporated milk or grass clippings to promote bacteria growth. Once mosquitoes discover the water they will lay eggs and 2 to 3 weeks later you will have a ready supply of larvae. You may also collect larvae from local ponds or lakes.

maggots xs 10771899White Worms – These worms are small, typically around 1 inch in length, and they can be fed to fish that are between 3 and 6 inches long. White worms should be kept in dark containers filled with moist potting soil and fed a diet of milk-soaked bread. In the darkness, these worms will come out of the soil and cover food sources, making it easy to collect them for feeding. It is best to offer white worms to fish using a feeding cone – if you drop them freely into the tank white worms may burrow into the substrate where your fish cannot access them.

Infusoria – These microscopic protozoans are most frequently used in feeding newly hatched fry. Infusoria are naturally found in every freshwater aquarium so it can be easy to raise your own. Establish a culture using water siphoned from the gravel in your main tank and add some kind of plant material. As the plant material breaks down, bacteria will appear and the infusoria will rapidly multiply as they feed on the bacteria.

goldfish xs 2018338Feeder Fish – While most fish do not require feeder fish as part of their diet, some larger species like cichlids and piranhas can benefit from eating live fish. The most common types of feeder fish are goldfish and guppies, both of which you are likely to find at your local pet store. Before offering your fish any feeder fish, it is wise to quarantine the fish for some time to ensure that they are not carrying disease or parasites. If you feed your tank inhabitants contaminated feeder fish, they may fall ill themselves.

Tips for Live Food Diets

While you may be able to find some live fish food at your local pet store or online, in most cases it is easier to raise the foods yourself. By raising your own live foods, you'll not only have a supply on hand whenever you need it, but you can also save money. Culturing your own live foods is also a good way to ensure that the foods you are offering your fish are kept free of disease-causing bacteria.

Feeding your fish live foods can be a rewarding experience, but you may need some extra equipment if you plan to raise your fish on a live food diet. Floating feeder cones are ideal for bloodworms and white worms because the cone floats on the surface of the water and fish may access the worms through holes or slots in the sides of the cone. If you don’t have a feeder cone you can sink a bowl in the bottom of your tank and drop the worms into it to keep them in place until your fish eat them. Some live fish food like brine shrimp, daphnia and infusoria can be infused directly into the tank water without fear of affecting water quality.

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