Introduction To Fish Food:
The biggest expenditure of fish farmers is the fish feed. If management of fish feed is done in a good way, the overall culture cost can be decreased and even the environment of the fish farm can be improved which ensures a healthy and perfect growth of fish. Management of fish feed involves selecting the correct feed by using the right method of feeding by considering the cost of feeding and also ensuring the cost-effectiveness of the fish farm.
Nutrients required for the fish:
Proteins: Proteins are the ones which build the muscles of the fish and also provide them with sufficient energy. Deficiency of Proteins will result in the slow growth of the fish. Excessive feed of protein is also not good in terms of health for the fish and it also increases the cost of feeding.
Proteins contain 50% of carbon, 16% of nitrogen, 21% of oxygen and 7% of hydrogen. Fishes have the capacity of having a very high content of protein. But the thing is that 65% of protein will be lost as waste to the environment. Most of the nitrogen from the fish is excreted as ammonia (NH3) through the fish gills, and only 10% will be lost as solid wastes.
Fat: Fat provides energy to the fish. If a proper and correct amount of fat is included in the feed, then it increases the taste of the feed, whereas if the fat content is given in a high quantity to the fish, then it leads to harmful health hazards to the fish.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are also considered to be the source of energy to fish. But the disadvantage with these carbohydrates is that most of these will not get digested easily by ordinary carnivorous manne species.
Vitamins are organic compounds which are very much important for the fish for its health and growth. The fish cannot synthesize them always. Hence, the vitamins have to be supplied to the fish through its diet.
There are two types of vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins are B vitamins, choline, folic acid, biotin and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). From all these water-soluble vitamins, vitamin C is the most important. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps the fish in improving its immune system.
The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, retinol, which is responsible for clear vision, Vitamin D, cholecalciferol, which is responsible for maintaining the integrity of bones; E vitamins, the tocopherols which act as antioxidants; and K vitamins, menadione which help the blood without clotting and also maintains the integrity of the skin. Of all these vitamins, vitamin E is the most important one as it acts as an antioxidant.
Minerals are the inorganic elements which are very much required for the fish to carry out their normal functions of the body. Minerals can be divided into two types depending on the quantity required in the fish’s diet and the amount which is already present in fish.
- macro-minerals and
The more common macro-minerals are sodium, chloride, potassium and phosphorous. These minerals help the fish in regulating the osmotic balance and also helps in the formation and integrity of bones.
Micro-minerals (trace minerals) are just needed by fish in little amounts as components in enzyme and hormone systems. The most common trace minerals are copper, chromium, iodine, zinc and selenium. Fish can absorb most of the minerals from the water directly by using their gills and skin. This helps them to compensate deficiencies in minerals to some extent in their diet.
Goldfish should be treated with the right food in order to make sure that they are healthy. Goldfish will keep on feeding until the food is available to them. Because of this, goldfish have chances to get prone to problems of digestion and even death because of overfeeding. Moreover, the more you feed the goldfish, the more waste it produces which results in the excess toxic material in the tanks which would slowly act as poison to the fishes. This will lead to diseases in the goldfish which would make them eventually die. So it is very important to understand what the goldfish eat and feed them appropriately.
Read: Snail Farming Business Plan.
Diet for Aquarium Goldfish:
Aquarium goldfish will lead a life which is less active when compared to the wild goldfish. So they have to be fed with less food in order to make them stay healthy. There would be specially formulated food for goldfish which is highly recommended. This food contains less concentration of proteins, keeping in mind the trouble of digestion of the fish, more concentration of carbohydrates. Feed of goldfish is available in flake form and pellet form. You can offer both types of foods to your goldfish depending on their feeding preferences. Flakes float on the surface of the water of the aquarium whereas the pellets sink into the water. If you offer both flakes and pellets, then the fish would get an opportunity to feed at different levels of the tank.
Feeding tips for Goldfish:
- Goldfish should be fed at the same time every day. The fish will also remember and recognize the person who is feeding them and with time, gradually, they would start coming up to the surface of the water to receive the feed which is offered.
- If you observe the tank getting dirty in a very little time, then it means that you are overfeeding your fish due to which they are producing a lot of wastes. That would be the perfect time to decrease the amount of feed gradually and make your fish get habituated to the new diet. You can always get a chance to supplement the goldfish food with some treats occasionally.
- Occasional treats should be fed to the goldfish for only one or two times a week. You can try different varieties of treats in order to satisfy the preferences of different fish. Same as humans, goldfish will also have fewer preferences in terms of feeding.
- Any food which is not eaten by fish should be removed immediately after 10 minutes. There is a chance for the uneaten food to get rotten which is considered harmful and unhealthy for the fish. Because of the remains of uneaten food, the fish tank may also get dirty creating extra toxins. If the uneaten food is removed, then the diet of the fish can also be regulated from overfeeding.
- Adding to the normal food, goldfish feed can be supplemented by occasional treats by feeding them with, skin removed shelled peas, Bloodworms, slices of cucumber, orange, watermelon, corn, broccoli, leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, etc. You need to make sure that the treats you offered should not remain in the fish tank for more than two hours as this causes overfeeding to the fishes and there may also be chances for the food to get rotten in the tank.
Koi Fish Feed/Food:
- To grow healthy Koi fish, it is very much important to invest in food which is of high quality as the Koi fish needs essential nutrients and vitamins in order to be healthy. Adding to this, high-quality Koi food provides them with a good amount of proteins, carbohydrates and minerals, which help them in terms of their growth and to develop in more vibrant colors.
- High-end Koi food should also taste good so that the fish gets excited and enthusiastic while feeding. We normally observe Koi fishes swarming towards the surface of the water for the feeding, which teaches them to be tamer.
- Koi fish requires a balanced diet of protein, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates for their healthy growth. Forgetting protein content, most of the Koi fishes are fed with wheat germ pellets that provide the fishes with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed. For good content of carbohydrates, Koi fish has to be fed with pellets, squash, peas, fruits, and watermelon.
Feeding tips of Koi Fish:
- Koi fish should be fed four times a day.
- The feed must be given to the fish continuously for five minutes. They will take how much they need at that specific time.
- Koi fish can eat anything which can include small bugs and insects, plants and algae at the bottom of the fish pond.
- Koi can also consume the food which is preferred by humans. Koi fish love to eat cereals, lettuce, shrimp, rice, peas, watermelon.
- Koi fishes should not be fed before storms or at the time of the rains. This is because, at the time of rains, the oxygen level in the water decreases. As the kids fish needs oxygen for digestion, feeding them at the time of rains may create problems in terms of health.
- Koi fish has the capacity to remember the feeder in a very less time and if they get habituated, they come to the surface of the fish tank whenever you approach it.
- The small Koi fish should be provided with flake feed, whereas the bigger ones can eat the pellet foods.
- In the spring, Koi fish prefer the foods which are rich in carbohydrates whereas, at the end of fall, when summer starts and when mating is being done, they prefer protein-rich foods.
Read: Indoor Aquaculture.
- Pellets, flake foods, brine shrimp, bloodworms are the diet if catfish which are also considered to be a well-balanced diet.
- These catfish should be searching for food from discarded waste and it is highly important to feed the catfish specifically.
- The catfish needs to be fed with the prepared foods. The timings to feed would be present on the packaging.
- Any food which is frozen should be liquidated before feeding it to the catfish.
Pond Fish Feed/Food:
Most of the pond fishes seem to be omnivorous. For example, fishes like goldfish and Koi will eat peas, watermelon slices, orange slices, wheat germs, bloodworms, shrimp etc. They even eat algae. The important factor in deciding the diet of a fish is the temperature of water. If the water is warm, i.e., if the temperature of the water is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, then the metabolism of fish would be high and they can be fed with the foods which are rich in proteins. If the temperature of the water is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, then the fish should be fed with a diet which has less content of proteins and higher content of carbohydrates. That is in lower temperatures, fishes should be fed with fruits and vegetables so that the fishes get to digest the food easily even when the metabolism is low.
Aquarium Fish Feed/Food:
Aquarium fish food is the one which is completely meant for the fishes which are grown as pets in aquariums. Basically, fish foods by default contain micronutrients, trace elements and vitamins which are necessary for the fishes to maintain their health.
The aquarium fish can be fed with the below foods:
Prepared foods are those which are made by the aquarist. These are the ones which are already prepared by keeping in mind, the diet of the fish.
Dry Foods: Flake food is a fish food which is manufactured artificially and is consumed by saltwater fish. These foods remain on the surface of the water, so it is suited for the fishes which dwell on the top of the water. Baking is done for flake food so that the moisture can be removed. Removal of moisture from the flakes helps in the extension of the life of the shell.
Medicated Fish Food:
Medicated fish food is considered to be a safer one to deliver appropriate medication to the fish. The main advantage of this medicated food is that the water in the aquarium does not get contaminated with this food.
Betta Fish Feed/Food:
- Floating Pellets are the main food source for the betta fish.
- The pellets are available in many sizes, but selecting the brand which is of high quality is very important. Before selecting the pellets for a betta, make sure that you are reading all the ingredients which are present on the packaging. The betta pellets should have a high amount of proteins in it.
- It is advisable to choose a betta pellet which is having a fish meal mixed with 34% of crude protein.
- Betta flakes are good for the fish, but we cannot control the feeding of fish. These sink very quickly in the water. These flakes when uneaten are very difficult to find and remove. Hence this leads to contamination of water. Betta fish love bloodworms. Bloodworms can be bought in a frozen way in cubes. Make sure that you are not giving the entire cube of bloodworms to the betta fish. Make the cube into small pieces and then feed them to the fish.
Fish Feeding Methods:
Though the techniques for feeding fish keep changing, the basic methods of feeding fish are as follows:
Feed tray: This one is of less cost and moreover, this is very simple to use. Feed tray is a ration which is placed on a fine-meshed net. This net is situated below the surface of the water. In this feeding method, the feed would be distributed in a limited way.
Hand feeding: Feeding is done by hand for approximately 20 minutes. In this method, the feed can be distributed equally and even the person can check if the fish is getting overfed. As it involves manpower, cost of labour will increase.
Demand feeder: This is a mechanism of releasing feed that too on demand by fish. This is a cost-effective method. But the feeder to fish ratio has to be maintained to make sure that the fish are not overfed.
Automatic feed blower: In this method of feeding, the feed is broadcasted by feel blower which is an electrically powered one. One feed blower is sufficient to feed 5000 fishes. This is a high-cost machinery which does not keep the appetite of fish in mind.
Automatic feed spreader: In this method of feeding, the feed is broadcasted by a feed spreader which is run electrically. One feed spreader can feed 15,000 fishes approximately.
How to prepare fish feed at home?
- To prepare Fish feed at home, we need dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Dry ingredients include five containers of flour, four containers of fish meal, two containers of starch. Adding to this, we need six spoons of oil, Vitamin packet and a mineral packet.
- In order to prepare wet ingredients to take a banana and cook it. Mash it enough so that you can fill the soup container and transfer it to the bowl of wet ingredients.
- The soup container should now be filled with water and should be mixed with starch. In the same process, you can mash a sweet potato and mix it with an egg yolk.
- To prepare pellets, you need to mix both wet and dry ingredient mixtures in a bowl and prepare a dough.
- Once the dough is prepared, oil should be poured in order to make the mixtures blend well.
- The dough should be made into small balls. Each ball should be placed on a mesh and by using the thumb, it should be pushed from one side of the screen to another.
- Now remove the small pieces of dough from the screen of the mesh. Instead of this method, you can also take the dough, grind it, cut the strips of the dough into small pieces. These small pieces are called as pellets.
- To this mixture, you can also add the meat of snail.
- After getting the pellets from the mesh, those should be spread on a plate and kept in a sunny place. They should be dried completely for a day.
- After they are completely dried up, they need to be placed in the feed bag.
Read: Raising Catfish In Tanks.