Different species of fish need different nutrients. These include carbohy-drates, proteins, fats and fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements etc. Different fish have different needs.
Differentiation by food group:
Tropical, ornamental freshwater fish, saltwater fish or cold water-fish may be divided into sub-groups by diet as follows (these are known to biologists as “consumer groups”):
Omnivores (eat everything)
This Includes most fish and they need food consisting of both animal and vegetable material. In nature they eat everything – from algae to small animals.
More accurately known as zoophages, these include discus and angel fish. In nature they mainly feed on insects, larvae and, depending on the species, small and larger creatures – sometimes even their own off-spring.
These “ vegetarians” include mollies and sword-tails. Like all herbivores they have long intestines in which the appropriate enzymes break down vegetable nutrients.
As well as algae-eaters this sub-group of herbivores includes, for ex-ample, pleco’s, panaques and similar fish. Although most algivores feed on algae, this is not their sole source of food and hunger is seldom enough to keep an aquarium free of algae.
It is not necessary to draw too sharp a line between the different groups since, in nature, carnivores will also feed on vegetable material.
Conversely, herbivores also consume animal ingredients with their greens and will often devour larvae and other small creatures.
EHEIM professionel food comes in a variety of mixtures for omnivores, car-nivores and herbivores - some of them aimed at specific species and habitats.
Differentiation by origin and habitat
Most of the ornamental fish in our aquariums are freshwater fish from tropi-cal waters, though more and more enthusiasts also keep saltwater fish which usually originate in tropical coral colonies. There are also many cold-water aquariums with fish from cooler regions such as Central Europe, North America etc. Goldfish (originally from China) also belong in this cate-gory.
All these species have different dietary requirements and belong to the various mixed consumer groups. When it comes to food, a particular dis-tinction must be made between freshwater, saltwater and coldwater fish and the specific needs and preferences of individual species must also be taken into consideration. Some discus, for example, are very fussy eaters and chromides, cichlids, tilapia and similar fish can also be fed with specific food, as can goldfish.
Basically it can be assumed that many of the fish that are available com-mercially are of a new generation and they will be used to “eating out of tins” regarding their food, making them more robust than newly-caught fish from distant habitats.
EHEIM professionel food offers a variety of foods to suit the habitats and peculiar features of your fish – particularly for discus and cichlids as well as goldfish.
Differentiation by environment and feeding areas
As in nature, different species of fish will swim in different parts of an aquar-ium – at the top, in the middle or at the bottom. Guppies and platties prefer the top and the middle, neon tetras the middle, while catfish and loaches, for example, live on the bottom.
These environments are also the areas in which they prefer to feed. Fish that live on the bottom, in particular, must find their food there.
To ensure the food reaches the appropriate feeding areas, it comes in the following forms:
This food consists of flakes of various sizes and mixtures. The flakes swell up in water and then slowly sink to the bottom, ensuring the food reaches all the fish in all areas of the aquarium.
Granules consist of small compressed pieces which remain stable for a long time in water. They absorb water and are eaten whole by the fish and for this reason, the size of the granules must suit the size of the fish. Granules are especially suitable for cichlids.
Tablets are the best form of food for demersal (bottom-dwelling) species of fish. They consist of pressed flakes and sink quickly to the bottom. Tablets are useful for examining fish as they spend a long time nibbling at them.
EHEIM professionel food comes in the form of flakes, granules and tablets. The common feature with of all of these foods is that they maintain their shape and do not make the water cloudy.
How to feed your fish
In nature, fish spend almost all day looking for food and are constantly con-suming it in small quantities and, depending on the available food, they can adapt themselves to the conditions better than mammals. If there is not much food about, their metabolisms will slow down, making the fish less hungry.
3 Basic rules:
• Feed 2 or 3 times a day but only with as much food as will be consumed in two minutes (you could use the EHEIM Futterautomat automatic feeder + the EHEIM feeding station).
Never make all the food available at once!
• Provide a bit of variety and occasionally (once a week) feed live or natural food (ideally frozen animal, vegetable or mixed food obtained from a specialist aquarium dealer).
• Do not include any days of fasting as is often recommended. If you feed your fish properly that will not be necessary.
Do not overfeed!
Overfeeding and incorrect feeding are the most common causes of disease in the aquarium. Underfeeding, on the other hand, is almost unknown.
One clear sign that you are overfeeding your fish is if they eat greedily (for a number of days). They will store up fat if offered an excess of food and the fish will then grow in size and get hungrier and hungrier.
The only remedy is to feed them nothing at all for a few days. Their craving will gradually abate and your fish will start eating normally again.