Experienced fish keepers: What are you feeding your fish?

Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
250
Location
South Carolina
Since entering the hobby years ago, I was always curious as to what foods were best and usually stuck to a comprehensive pellet or flake. Right now “live foods” seem to be all the rage, and while I think that’s as close to natural as it gets for our fish, is it necessary? What are some good tried and true options with healthy profiles? I could easily just look this up but I’d prefer genuine keepers opinions 👍🏻
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,909
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Right now “live foods” seem to be all the rage,.....is it necessary?
I think that a lot of people have always <"fed live food">, it just hasn't always had a very high profile.

Live worms (Earth, Grindal, White, Black) are great food to condition Corydoras catfish etc. for breeding. Mosquito larvae do the same for a lot of more surface orientated fish and a small live foods (BBS, Vinegar Eels, Microworms) are essential for fry rearing.

Just for general maintenance you can definitely use dry food. I've tried <"Fluval Bugbites"> recently and they look pretty good. At the moment the fish get a mix of grindal worms, some Daphnia, micro worms, decapsulated Brine Shrimp and "Bugbites". If you look at the breeding logs on Planetcatfish, a lot of people are breeding "difficult" fish just feeding "Repashy" and frozen foods.

Bugbites and <"Repashy foods"> are both based on Black Soldierfly (Hermetia illucens) larvae.

Traditionally I've bought my dry food from <"Tim Addis">, and I'll swap out the Bugbites for some of his soon and then alternate them along with the live food.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,909
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I was actually looking into Fluval bug bites myself
I was a bit dubious, but I thought I'd give them a go. I don't get through much dry food (even when I had a lot more fish), so price point isn't ever really an issue for me.
Do you feed these live
All live. Grindal and Micro/Banana worms are cheap to culture, and they appeal to nearly all fish (of appropriate size). In the past I've used PYO frozen Opossum Shrimp and Mosquito larvae, just because I've been in situations where I could harvest a lot for minimum effort.

cheers Darrel
 

DaveWatkin

Member
Joined
26 Oct 2020
Messages
44
Location
Aberdeen, UK
Bugbites for my community tank, mostly flake now but some granules every now and then for a change.

My Betta has pellets, Betta bio-gold.

I throw in some carrot or cucumber every now and then as a treat for the amanos and I have some frozen bloodworms that all get fed when I remember.
 

castle

Member
Joined
19 Dec 2015
Messages
502
Location
norfolk
Feeding fish is a bit tricky, I haven't used anything dry in about 4 years.

I normally have three cultures running (when I'm stable) , outdoors I have two buckets mostly green water, indoors grindal worms, vinegar eels. I buy Daphnia from the LFS once a month or so, and normally add to a bucket, and to a tank. Fish normally get a breakdown of something different a few times a day. For the veggie fish, spinnach, and cabbage are my go-to.

A few years ago I came up with the idea of defrosting a selection of frozed foods, then splitting them into smaller droplets (onto tinfoil) so I could feed a selection of frozen foods at once - works fairly well, but I am not currently doing that due to limited freezer space and lockdown storing :oops:.

For the last few species i've kept, rearing snails has been a prerequisit, or atleast buying them (Badis Badis, Badis Ruber, and now Carinotetraodon travancoricus).

Every fish is different, and I haven't kept anything big enough to eat whole insects, whole frozen cubes would be a terrible idea.

I find BBS to be the most irritating food to rear up, I've only done it few times and I won't do it again - I don't have the space.

Vinegar eels are a lot easier to grow and I think fry love 'em. They move slowly, and wriggle.
Grindal worms I often forget I have, adding a pinch every now and then.
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
964
Location
Nottingham
Since entering the hobby years ago, I was always curious as to what foods were best and usually stuck to a comprehensive pellet or flake. Right now “live foods” seem to be all the rage, and while I think that’s as close to natural as it gets for our fish, is it necessary? What are some good tried and true options with healthy profiles? I could easily just look this up but I’d prefer genuine keepers opinions 👍🏻

Think of it like this. You could probably survive perfectly well for quite a while on only dry Nestle Shreddies and packet cuppa-soups, but would you have as much health, strength and vitality on that diet versus a normal diet of fresh veg, fruit and meat?

Sure there are days when you can't be bothered to prepare the veg, or don't have time to cook the meat, and you might not have the budget for fresh stuff everyday, so you go for Shreddies those days instead - so the reality is a diet that includes both. (I'm simplifying the metaphor for effect of course).

Same goes for animals. Use the dried food where you don't have the time/budget to prepare the live food, and feed the live food in between to get the best from your fish and give them the best diet you can.

I won't lie, live foods can be time consuming to culture (BBS in particular) - but when you see how much the condition of your fish improves when you feed them, its well worth the extra effort.
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
70
Location
London
I keep kuhlis, apistos, otos, gouramis, pgymy corys and shrimp.

I like to feed a lot of livefood, which I fish out of the waterbutts at my alotment - I use the waterbutts as my tank water, so when I do a water change they get a big load of food at the same time. I get different things at different times of the year (daphnia now, moina and little butterbean things during summer/autumn, mosquitos during spring/summer). I also feed my otos and shrimp blanched vegetables from my alotment (particularly courgette, which I froze so they have a good supply of ultra-organic veg). I also feed the kuhlis & corys (and now otos who decided they like them) sinking hikari loach pellets, and my gouramis get tiny bug bites. I buy daphnia when I'm at the shop, and every 2 months I buy a big lot of blackworms that live in all my tanks, as good food for all the carnivores to forage for. I also feed frozen bloodworms, brineshrimp and daphnia, but I don't have enough fish of a big enough size to use a whole cube which I find a bit annoying, and tbh this seems like their least favourite food.

I'm planning on trying to start some cultures of different types to see how that goes this winter.
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,254
I try to feed as much live food as I can simply because I believe feeding the whole animal, containing all the guts, skins, organs, oils etc is what contributes most to fish health. Prepared foods might be fine but they don't trigger the same enthusiasm in the average fish.
 

ScareCrow

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
59
Location
South west
I'd prefer to feed live more but for me the cultures have to be easy to maintain and not take up much space, which limits the selection a little. A lot of people breeding fish condition them with live food, so there must be a benefit to it that we're not aware of. That said I've found it hard to get accurate and reliable nutritional values for a lot of commonly cultured live foods. So it's hard to say exactly what you're feeding your fish. Therefore, I wouldn't rely on just one source of live food. Frozen is a good alternative and I've been looking at freeze dried foods as another alternative.
For dry food I always check the ingredients. Often companies will add things like wheat flour or soya to help bind the food or as a cheap filler. I avoid this as much as possible as it doesn't provide anything to the fish and just contributes to polluting the water, as far as I know. As @dw1305 mentioned TA Aquaculture have a really good selection of quality dry foods.
I think a bit of everything is best.
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,909
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
That said I've found it hard to get accurate and reliable nutritional values for a lot of commonly cultured live foods
There is a nutritional breakdown in <"Mike Hellweg's "Culturing Live Foods">. I have a copy and can recommend it, but unfortunately it is quite an in demand book and out of print, so 2nd hand copies are pretty pricey (although a lot cheaper now than it was in 2017).
Often companies will add things like wheat flour or soya to help bind the food or as a cheap filler.
That was one of the reasons why I invested in some <"Bugbites"> and buy from someone I trust, like Tim Addis.

cheers Darrel
 

SRP3006

Member
Joined
18 Feb 2019
Messages
562
Location
GB
I've recently (end of September) started my own grindal worm cultures mainly after reading a lot of posts on here from @dw1305
The fish really enjoy them and they 'seem' really simple to keep, not sure I've mastered the feeding part yet as they are a little difficult to separate from the bedding and food.
Apart from that 2 to 3 times a week I feed bugbites and frozen BS.
 

veerserif

Member
Joined
7 Jul 2020
Messages
48
Location
Bay Area, California
I'm an apartment-dweller so water butts aren't really an option for me, and the fish stores around here don't stock much live food. I am a big fan of my banana worm cultures, and I'd definitely recommend them to anyone looking to include live foods more often. I've also got a rotation of high quality pellet foods, some frozen spirulina brine shrimp + bloodworms, and some freeze dried daphnia so there's a bit of everything. I keep very small fish - the biggest ones I own are some honey gouramis - so the banana worms are thankfully still big enough for everyone. I slice and freeze suitable veggies to feed my shrimp and snails as well.
Aside from the nutritional benefits, it's a lot of fun watching fish exhibit hunting behaviour when they're chasing down live food.
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,909
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
so the banana worms are thankfully still big enough for everyone.
My Micro Worms are probably <"really Banana Worms">. I had cultures of both, but they are very similar (Banana Worms are a bit smaller) so you only really need one or the other. Banana Worms definitely increase more quickly. I've not tried Walter Worms, but I think they are very similar as well.
not sure I've mastered the feeding part yet as they are a little difficult to separate from the bedding and food.
I usually just wipe them off the glass cover.
they 'seem' really simple to keep,
Mine have always ended up with <"cereal mites">, and I still have the occasional <"culture crash">, but I've got better at recognizing the warning signs.

cheers Darrel
 

kammaroon

Member
Joined
30 Jul 2020
Messages
29
Location
London
I'm not an experience fish keeper but I feed a variety of dried foods (flakes, pellets and wafers) as well as live Walter worms and live BBS. The fish go crazy for live food, less so for my selection dried food. The Walter worms are easy to culture, much like any other micro worms. I use the Hobby Artemia Breeder to hatch my BBS. It's easy to use and hatch enough for a few feeds a week for my three nano tanks.
 

SRP3006

Member
Joined
18 Feb 2019
Messages
562
Location
GB
and I still have the occasional /www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/live-food-cultures.49975/#post-490728']culture crash[/URL]">, but I've got better at recognizing the warning signs.

cheers Darrel

I have 4 cultures on the go at the moment, 3 different bedding materials, only a matter of time until one crashes and then I can start to learn why. Not a fan of soil bedding at the minute, coconut coir seems to be OK but rough/large grain/piece coconut coir seems to be the best, not sure if its because they are staying slightly drier due to the increased air circulation.
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
964
Location
Nottingham
I have 4 cultures on the go at the moment, 3 different bedding materials, only a matter of time until one crashes and then I can start to learn why. Not a fan of soil bedding at the minute, coconut coir seems to be OK but rough/large grain/piece coconut coir seems to be the best, not sure if its because they are staying slightly drier due to the increased air circulation.

I’ve had my grindal worms in coconut coir for months now. It surprises me every time I open the tub that there is no odour at all.

All I have to do is occasionally spray a little extra water on it, and once every month or two give the coir a good stir to loosen it up and aerate it.

I’ve even got a bit lazy with the feeding, and stick three mini cat biscuits in once a week instead of one every day or two, and it hasn’t caused any issues.

My previous Pygmy Cory’s were never than bothered about the grindal worms but my new Salt and Pepper Cory’s (Habrosus) seem to love them.

In terms of separating the grindal worms, do you use some mesh on top of the coir and put the food underneath? That seems to work for me - the worms crawl all over the mesh as they surround the food, then I just lift the mesh out, and rinse it into a shot glass. Then use a pipette to suck up the worms and feed.
 

SRP3006

Member
Joined
18 Feb 2019
Messages
562
Location
GB
I’ve had my grindal worms in coconut coir for months now. It surprises me every time I open the tub that there is no odour at all.

All I have to do is occasionally spray a little extra water on it, and once every month or two give the coir a good stir to loosen it up and aerate it.

I’ve even got a bit lazy with the feeding, and stick three mini cat biscuits in once a week instead of one every day or two, and it hasn’t caused any issues.

My previous Pygmy Cory’s were never than bothered about the grindal worms but my new Salt and Pepper Cory’s (Habrosus) seem to love them.

In terms of separating the grindal worms, do you use some mesh on top of the coir and put the food underneath? That seems to work for me - the worms crawl all over the mesh as they surround the food, then I just lift the mesh out, and rinse it into a shot glass. Then use a pipette to suck up the worms and feed.


Can you stir the coconut without damaging the worms? Thought they might be too fragile, not sure why though.

Mine don't quite finish off the little biscuit I give them, 2 to 3 days. It's not a big culture yet.

My panda cories go crazy for them, to the point they drive me crazy by knocking soil onto the sand, the embers love them too.

I've not got the feeding down to a very good technique yet, need to sort some mesh or perspex really. I just use my pinsettes to grab a small amount, not ideal I know but tank only has 8 embers and 8 pandas so lightly stocked at the moment.
 

Similar threads

Top