Do We Feed Our Fish Too Much?

After feeding my fish the other day I settled back to watch them feed and then observe them as they returned to their normal habits on their ‘reef’ after all the food had gone.

This is something that I like to do as I find it relaxing plus it also gives me the opportunity to be able to check the fish are all healthy and active.

One thing I noticed was that even though they had just been fed they continued to scour the reef looking for food.

This got me thinking – do we need to feed our fish the amount that we do?

Is there enough food in an established aquarium to be able to sustain the health of any fish which are kept in an enclosed environment?

I am not saying by any means that anyone should stop feeding their fish – far from it.

What I was thinking about that evening is something that has stuck in my mind. In an established aquarium there are all sorts of life which are too small for us to see however fish are able to see them (and if they can catch them they may eat them).

With the amount of life which is in an established aquarium is there enough variety and quantity to be able to sustain the fish?

Would aquarists need to supplement this food to provide variety or for health related matters?

Would it be better for the fish as they would be able to feed lightly throughout the day rather than having one or two ‘mass’ feedings a day?

Another thing I was thinking about that evening was the feeding itself and whether the way we normally feed fish due to busy lives changes the in-built habits of fish. The majority of fish have an inbuilt urge to look for fish and then eat as much as fast as they can as they do not know when they will next find food. With the hand of the aquarist feeding the fish on a daily basis is this urge removed or reduced?

Perhaps this is all just me thinking too much but as said it is something that just stuck in my mind.

Maybe a test could be performed – not by me I hasten to add but by someone who both has more courage as well as the ability to scientifically prove the outcome of the test.

Until a test such as this is performed I am going to continue feeding the way I have been and recommend that you do as well.

If anyone has any answers or thought to any of the above questions then I would love to hear them.

Note – It has been a long time since I posted on Aquarists Online and it has been very nice to see emails asking if everything was ok etc. The reason I have not been posting for a while is that I have a lot going on at the moment and there do not appear to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. John has done a fantastic job in my opinion getting posts out as often as he does however although he is retired he is also an exceptionally busy man. I am pleased to say that I am now getting back into posting regularly on Aquarists Online – I hope no-one minds!

  1. In my opinion many fish keepers share the same sin, feeding too much. I enjoy reading your blog.

  2. Thanks rotem we’re glad the blogs are enjoyed.

    I also think that many aquarists feed too much. In the main this tends to be beginners or those of limited experience. Even the more experienced are sometimes guilty.

    I feed daily but watch carefully to see if interest wanes, at the first sign of this I stop. I also monitor the body shape of the fish, ensuring that they are not fat or becoming thin.

    I don’t think that fish will be sustained by aquarium sourced food alone. I do think that in an aged reef aquarium there should be food to be found that could reduce the amount needed from the aquarist.

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