Most seasoned fishkeepers will concur that live foods are the finest option if you’re seeking for the best fish food to feed the fish in your aquarium. This high-end meal has several advantages and is the closest thing to what fish eat in nature. Fish that are underweight or growing need to take more nutrients than usual, therefore the movement of the food encourages them to eat. Additionally, hunting gives aquarium animals both physical and mental enrichment and enables you to observe intriguing behaviors that would not show while feeding flakes. And finally, one of the quickest ways to get your fish ready for breeding is to feed them live foods.
- Grindal and White Worms
- Vinegar Eels
- Baby Brine Shrimp
Many fish naturally consume insects and insect larvae, and their exoskeletons offer beneficial roughage that facilitates fish digestion. Feeder insects, such as mealworms, dubia roaches, and crickets, can be purchased at reptile retailers. Some people even raise their own dubia roach colonies. Red wigglers and earthworms can be cultured at home as well as being sold in some pet stores and bait shops.
Grindal and White Worms
When your fish fry has progressed past vinegar eels and micro worms, you can introduce Grindal worms, which have a diameter of about 0.5 mm, and finally white worms (about 1 mm in diameter). Start by purging the substrate (such as coconut fiber, peat moss, or organic potting soil) of mites and other pests. You can either moisten the substrate and microwave it for 90 seconds at a time in the microwave until it reaches 180-200°F (82-93°C) or you can heat the dirt for 30 minutes in an oven at 180-200°F (82-93°C). White worms must be kept at a temperature of about 55°F (13°C) in a cold cellar or wine cooler while grindal worms may tolerate room temperatures of 70–75°F (21–24°C). To gather them, take off the deli cup lid that is on top of the meal, extract few worms with your finger, and then rinse them in a tiny cup of water before giving them to your fish.
Live blackworms are thought by many breeders to be the greatest way to condition corydoras catfish since they sink to the ground, making them a perfect diet for bottom-dwelling creatures. California blackworms can be difficult to grow at home, but in the US, farmers cultivate them on a huge scale in man-made ponds. Typically, you may buy blackworms from the farms directly online or at your neighborhood fish store. Immediately after receiving them, place the blackworms in a fine-mesh fish net and thoroughly rinse them in dechlorinated water that has been cooled to 40–55°F (4–13°C). Keep them in a wide, shallow container to prevent overcrowding and prevent the worms from being stacked on top of one another higher than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm). Blackworms should be covered with only enough cold, dechlorinated water, so set the container in the refrigerator without a lid.
In the wild, what do most young fish eat? Typically, microorganisms such protozoans, microalgae, and invertebrate larvae. To feed tiny fry, many fish breeders create their own freshwater plankton cultures (also known as infusoria). One of the most common techniques is to squeeze some mulm from your filter media into a big jar after adding a few quarts (or liters) of old tank water. To feed the infusoria, drop a 1-inch (3-cm) chunk of banana peel or a half-teaspoon of instant yeast. Warm the water to 78-80°F (26-27°C) for quicker results, and you should start to see some tiny, moving specks in a few days. The culture is ready to be harvested if the water changes from hazy to clear, indicating that all of the food you provided has been consumed by the infusoria.
These 1 to 5 millimeter length aquatic crustaceans are a great source of protein for tiny to medium sized fish. We advise keeping them in as much water as you can because they reproduce rather quickly, making it important to maintain the water’s characteristics and avoid the population from collapsing. Since they are extremely sensitive to chlorine, use old tank water or aged, dechlorinated water for water changes.
Other nematodes or roundworms that are utilized as live fish food include banana worms, walter worms, and micro worms. They can be fed to young fry because they are slightly larger than vinegar eels but still smaller than young brine shrimp. We enjoy starting our cultures with instant mashed potatoes in tiny plastic containers. To keep unwanted pests out, make a breathing hole in the plastic container’s lid and load it with filter floss.
Egg-spattering fish like tetras, rainbowfish, and killifish typically lay teeny, tiny eggs that hatch into tiny fry that are too small to consume standard fry chow. Vinegar eels are white roundworms that are completely nontoxic, easy to culture, and ideal for feeding infants until they are old enough to consume brine shrimp larvae. Just combine some apple slices, dechlorinated water, and 50% apple cider vinegar in a wine or other long-necked container. Once there are sufficient numbers of vinegar eels, you can harvest them by placing some filter floss and dechlorinated water into the neck of the bottle, causing the vinegar eels to swim out of the vinegar and into the fresh water.
Live snails are a favorite food of many fish, including puffers, loaches, and larger South American cichlids. The pufferfish’s ever-growing teeth are ground down by the snail shells so they won’t become too long. Set up a separate aquarium or tub as your breeding facility for bladder, ramshorn, or Malaysian trumpet snails to ensure a consistent supply of these aquatic gastropods. They require hard water with a higher pH and GH because else, their shells could become pierced. Use 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of broken coral as a substrate if your water is soft like ours, and add mineral supplements like Wonder Shell or Seachem Equilibrium as necessary.
Baby Brine Shrimp
Baby brine shrimp are the best when it comes to rearing young fish or inducing adult fish to breed. These small, saltwater crustaceans of the genus Artemia are born with yolk sacs that are extremely nutrient-rich and stuffed with proteins and good fats. Simply place brine shrimp eggs in salt water to begin the home hatching process; this should take 18–36 hours if the water is heated to 74–82°F (23–28°C). Shine a light at the base of your brine shrimp hatchery when you notice hundreds of small, pink dots swimming around to attract the brine shrimp and help them escape their egg shells.