How much do I feed my fish?
We get asked this question often up at The Fish Works, and the answer is simple.
Feed your fish as much as they will completely consume in 1-2 minutes. If there is any feed left over after this amount of time, then you have overdone it.
The reason we tell people the 1-2 minute rule rather than a set amount is that conditions change within your pond. Fish appetite will increase in the warmer months and be minimal during the colder seasons. We feed our fish once or twice a day in summer, but only very small amounts once or twice a week in winter. But the rule remains: Feed the fish what they will totally consume in 1-2 minutes.
Overfeeding fish is one of the biggest killers of fish! Excess food pollutes the water and leads to problems such as high ammonia and nitrates, low oxygen levels and algal blooms.
Your pond is an ecosystem, and fish will find some food within the pond such as algae, insect larvae etc.
Fish will eat as much as they possibly can fit in because that is their instinct. In the wild, when food is available, all animals eat as much as they can because they are not sure about when the next meal is coming. Conditions are different in our fish ponds, so keep the feeding light. Do not aim to fill them up to capacity every time, as your generosity will lead to problems.
If you notice that your fish appetite suddenly reduces and you are unsure why, then do water tests and observe your fish closely, keeping an eye out for signs of disease. Unexplained appetite loss can be a sign of high ammonia levels of the pH being out of whack or that your fish may be sick. These issues need to be addressed with urgency.
If you go away on holidays, either get an automatic fish feeder and set it to a minimum setting, feeding the fish half of what you normally would. If you are getting a friend or neighbor to feed them, then once or twice a week is fine. Ensure that they know exactly how much to feed them.
Only purchase good quality pellets! Poor quality pellets will pollute your water and lead to poor fish health. We also recommend mixing in some finely chopped kitchen vegetables weekly as well. Maybe just for 10 - 20% of their diet. They will love you for it :)
If you have any questions, please get in touch with us!