No matter what type of aquarium you keep or are hoping to keep – be this a [tag-tec]fish only aquarium[/tag-tec], [tag-ice]reef tank[/tag-ice] or [tag-self]mixed reef tank[/tag-self] then there is one thing which you need to ensure.
Let’s face it the aquarium is a closed environment. The fish, corals etc have no way to escape. They live, breathe, feed etc in the water which you, the aquarist provides them,
If you take a closer look at the various components (if that’s what you call them) in the water then basically it is like ‘pea soup’. It is a mixture of various nutrients, chemicals etc which all work together to make up the water.
There is a very fine line in the aquarium between good water quality and bad water quality. Of course we all should aim for excellent water quality but at the start let’s aim for good water quality and attempt to improve it from there.
All it takes to tip the balance from good water quality to bad water quality is an inbalance so why assist in this inbalance by feeding the fish to much.
In my opinion it is better to feed the fish little and often, however this is not always possible due to the lives we all lead. Of course there are automated feeding deviced which we can procure and install but in my opinion this is taking some of the enjoyment away. I don’t know about you but I thoroughly enjoy feeding the fish.
So if you can’t feed little and often what do you do.
Well a lot of people come home from work, spend some time with the family and then dump some food into the aquarium and believe that this is ok.
It isn’t unfortunately. Sure the fish will survive but you could inadvertanly be harming the water quality in the aquarium. Fish by their very nature will feed when food becomes available. The trouble is that the fish will not digest all the food which it has eaten. A lot of the food will pass through their body partially digested back into the aquarium where it will slowly rot and deteriorate the quality of the water.
Scavengers if you have enough may assist but more than likely you will start to see climbing nitrates etc.
What I do is feed sparingly throughout the evening. I always soak all food prior to adding it to the aquarium in some aquarium water and then feed a little. I use this time to watch the fish closely to ensure that they are all feeding etc. I then wait an hour or so and then feed them some more. I tend to perform 2 to 3 feeds per evening, however there are nights when I feed less.
Personally I have found that by feeding sparingly that the fish appear to be healthy and I am able to maintain excellent water conditions.
I know that it is hard to not feed the fish as much as it is a very enjoyable time. Plus the fish have a habit of coming to both the front of the aquarium and the waters surface begging for food when they detect your presence. Remember that this does not mean that they are hungry. This is a natural response.
Look at it another way. Would you live in a home which was polluted with gases and other substances. Of course you wouldn’t. You want to live in a home where the air is fresh, free from toxins and will not harm you. Your fish are the same but unfortunately they do not have the benefit of being able to go outside if the water is bad quality.
Basically you are the hand of the fish god. You provide them with food, you care for them but you also have a responsibility to ensure that the habitat which they live in is the best it can be.
Don’t ruin it by overfeeding.