After water conditions, the next most important factor of fishkeeping is feeding. Not every fish has the same dietary needs and not every fish feeds in the same way.

By taking note of the fish's mouth position, the fishkeeper can evaluate how the fish feeds.
An upturned mouth indicates a fish that takes food from the water surface.
A centrally positioned mouth usually shows that the fish takes food as it descends through the water.
An underslung mouth is found on species inhabiting the bottom levels of the tank.

TYPES OF FOOD : There is no reason at all for not providing your fish with the
                              correct diet, such is the research and production undertaken
                              by manufacturers.

Manufactured food compositions include floating 'sticks', flakes, fast sinking granules, 'stick on the glass' tablets, extruded paste like foods and 'wafers'. There are high protein content foods for fry to easy to digest coldwater foods for when Summer turns to Winter and Winter returns to Spring.
Herbivore and carnivore mixes are available in multi-sized flakes for differing sizes of fishes, and those specially-formulated foods for difficult marine fish.

There are also 'live' foods that can be fed. Water Fleas (Daphnia), Tubifex worms, Bloodworm and Mosquito larvae are favourite waterborne foods.
Make sure that these come from fish-free (or certainly disease-free) waters.
In addition, a number of live foods can be cultured. Primarily of use for young fish these include Brine Shrimp eggs (hatch in saltwater for the tiniest, disease-free, live food), Micro-worm, Grindal Worm and White Worm which can all be cultured using cereal based food on a compost base.

HOW TO FEED : The golden rule for feeding is NEVER OVERFEED

Firstly, the fish don't require anywhere near the amount of food we think they do and, secondly, any uneaten (or undigested) food will simply pollute the aquarium water.

Feed just the amount of food that the fish will eat in a matter of minutes.

In ponds, where you may not be able to see the food once it falls through the water, using floating sticks or pellet foods will enable you to gauge the right amount more easily.
In the aquarium, you should siphon out any excess food rather than let it lay on the substrate gradually rotting away.
Don't neglect nocturnal fishes' needs. Add some fast-sinking foods just after 'lights out' for their benefit.
When feeding marine, turn off filters (but leave any water-circulating pumps working) so that food is brought to sedentary filter-feeding invertebrates.

HOLIDAY CARE :Many people worry unduly about leaving their fish whilst they
                            go on holiday.

In most cases, providing that the fish have been well fed and are in a well-established aquarium or pond, the fish can be left quite safely for up to two weeks without any further care being needed.

This is better than relying on a non-fish-experienced neighbour who may well decide to use the whole tub of food over the time you're away!

If you have to rely on a neighbour, then make up small meal-sized packets of food - with strict instructions to only use one a day at most!

© FBAS 1998 RCM/RDE             Aquarium Management Care Sheet 5 1/1

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