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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Overfeeding kills

Give your fish no more than what they can all consume in two to three minutes
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - January 22, 2011
By: James Ong
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Overfeeding kills

I remember that when I was growing up, and still rebellious, I was extremely picky about food. Not unlike other kids, I would throw out all the veggies, and resist eating fruit or anything else that didn’t look pleasing to my eye. In short, what I didn’t like, I didn’t want anywhere near my mouth. At times, I would stack my plate with carefully selected food that had looked delicious and interesting initially, but lost its appeal when I got full. I would then bin it all in a carefree manner, like it was the most natural thing to do.

That didn’t go down well with my mother, who would try her utmost to get me to swallow everything in the end, even when I was almost “bursting” from the binge. Still, she would persist. In her bid to make me finish every morsel on my plate, she would coerce, persuade and sometimes wield the rod in a chilling manner to hint at what was to come should I resist any further. But her favourite stance was to cite how the poor, undernourished children of South Africa had nothing to eat while I was wasting all the “precious” food.

Mothers may know best with their human kids, but when it comes to fish, you should never do that, because overfeeding kills them.

Overfeeding equals overeating

Overfeeding is probably the most common mistake fish owners make. Some species are even capable of eating to death, or getting severely constipated from overeating. Consuming too much food causes the fish to produce excessive ammonia. The leftover food in the aquarium also breaks down into harmful toxins which affect the water quality and the fishes’ health. 

Feeding frenzy

Fish probably overeat because in the wild, they never know when their next meal is coming. They eat whenever they are hungry and whenever food is available. They may eat several times a day, or endure a few days without a meal. Because of this, fish are highly opportunistic consumers.

Feeding frequency

How often you should feed your fish depends on what type of fish you have. Certain species, especially the herbivorous ones, are often not built to hold a lot of food in their stomachs. Such fish need to eat frequently throughout the day. Most, however, do well with one daily meal. Regardless of feeding frequency, always keep the feed portions small.

Best to underfeed

At each feed, it is best to give your fish no more than what they can all consume in two to three minutes. Watch them eat, and time them. Adjust the quantities at the next feed to meet the two-to-three-minute guideline, and again at each feed until you get it right. Remember that whatever is left over will probably never be consumed, and will only pollute the water. If you are still in doubt, just underfeed, so that your fish can live more healthily. You can always give them another feeding later if you have to.

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