Feeding your fish can be one of the more enjoyable duties…

Feeding your fish can be one of the more enjoyable duties of the hobby. It is also one of the most important (along with water changes and gravel cleanings). While teaching a class on Cichlid nutrition; I was enlightened through my students that the average hobbyist is a one and done feeder. I was surprised to learn of this and wondered if we we’re doing enough to educate Aquarists on the importance of fish-nutrition.

Fishes, like all animals need energy to run the body machinery i.e. metabolism. They require 23 essential amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates to live and grow. Vitamins and minerals are needed to protect itself against disease. All of the above are necessary for healthy fish to sustain life in an aquarium or any captive closed system. So as we can see, good nutrition is the foundation to paramount fish-keeping. Unfortunately, it is very rare to meet all of the nutrient requirements with one type of fish food and one feeding daily…

It’s all about GALT (Gastro-associated-lymphatic-tissue). This is a thick-milky-slimy covering of the stomach and intestinal linings. It’s the mucus filled with anti-microbial peptides that keep pathogens from entering the blood stream. Look at it this way; “it’s like a rubber lining keeping water out your house”. A wholesome GALT lining is imperative for fish to be healthy.

GALT must be enriched with adequate nutrition to remain wholesome. For example, tryptophan and arginine are 2 of the 10 essential amino acids fish need to grow. In other words, they must get them from protein sources you feed. If they are deficient of either these two amino acids, the body’s GALT-layer diminishes quickly. Remember, this is a reduction in one of the fish’s primary defense mechanisms. Therefore, feeding quality fish foods manufactured with proper AA’s and minerals will retain this mucosal gauntlet within your fish’s GI tract.

What is the solution?

Feeding quality foods often plays an important role in the fish’s growth, reproduction, and tissue transplantation i.e. GALT. “One and done feedings won’t cut it”. Neither will inappropriate food sources such as terrestrial-animal proteins. Beef, pork, barley, soy, crickets, mealworms, chicken, are just a few examples of terrestrial food sources I’ve seen mixed in fish-foods. Bonified seafood, aquatic plants, and animal resources are usually best. Here are a few tips:

  • Look at the ingredients on your dry food cans. Make sure it’s all aquatic and low in fillers.
  • Algaes are good. Feed spirulina and chlorella to all fish. They are powerful antioxidants much like tomatoes and green leafy vegetables are to us. Incorporate them numerous times weekly.
  • Utilize freeze dried treats. Best sources of HUFAS needed for high metabolic functions and GALT. Feed them as treats, not as the main food choice.
  • Soak vitamins on freeze dried treat or pellets. Food soaks such as Vitamin C, B, E, and D are important as immunostimulants. They are extremely beneficial for marine fish such as Angels and Tangs.

Every fish has different requirements. To learn more about fish nutrition and your particular fish needs, stop by or call us at 973-365-0200 or email us at absolutelyfish@yahoo.com. A big part of our employee training is fish nutrition, you should have no problem finding an expert here to meet your fish needs.

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