Feeding Fish in the aquarium

feeding fish

Anyone who keeps animals in an aquarium must of course provide them with regular food.

Although there is already a natural occurrence of food in every aquarium that can be used such as bacteria, and the like, this is not sufficient.

The aquarist must adapt the additional food supply as well as possible to the needs of his pets so that they can stay healthy and thrive.

5 important questions to ask when feeding fish

  1. Can I overfeed my fish?
  2. What types of foods should I feed my fish?
  3. How do I store fish food?
  4. What are automatic feeders?
  5. Are there any tips and helpful suggestions on how to feed fish?
feeding fish

Negative consequences of feeding fish too much

Over feeding fish in the aquarium is not advisable.

Excess food is quickly deposited on the substrate in the aquarium and ultimately can rot there. This leads to pollutants being released which can quickly have a negative effect on the water values ​​in the aquarium. The end result will be:

Consequence 1: An increased occurrence of algae in the aquarium

feeding fish

If algae form in the aquarium, this is generally the first sign that the ecosystem has been impaired or even out of balance.

Quick and targeted action is required so that the uninvited algae do not multiply uncontrollably. Algae can usually be combated well with natural means and avoided with proper aquarium care.

Fighting algae in the aquarium the natural way

If you have set up your aquarium, you should check it daily for algae. Algae deposits on the pool floor or the roots of the plants as well as algae threads should be removed immediately. The best way to do this is to take the algae out of the water by hand. A disc magnet is a practical aid for the dirty aquarium walls.

3 Tips to Get Rid of Algae in an Aquarium (Managing Easily)

3 useful tips for managing and getting rid of algae in your aquarium

Consequence 2: Poor fish health

Apart from the negative consequences of an oversupply of food on the water quality, too much food can of course also lead to the animals in the aquarium eating too much and consequently having their health impaired.

What applies here is what is important for all living things: The right amount of feed and a balanced diet are essential.

Feeding fish and observing their health

Every feeding is an ideal opportunity to observe very closely the animals that are kept in the aquarium.


  • It is fun
  • It is also necessary to recognize early on whether there are health problems

When it comes to feeding fish, less is more

  • If you keep fish in the aquarium, feeding once or twice a day is sufficient. The amount should be measured so that the animals have cleaned the food within three to five minutes.
  • If you put the fish on one fasting day per week, this will not harm the animals – on the contrary. The feeding break promotes health for many fish species.
  • If your animals live in a sufficiently large pond, you may not have to feed them at all. There the fish actually find enough phytoplankton or other vegetable substances.
  • In small garden ponds, however, the natural ecosystem is insufficient as a food source. Pond fish need around one to two percent of their own body weight in food every day.
  • Here, too, the food should be eaten within a few minutes. If you feed too much, the food sinks to the bottom and contaminates the garden pond.

How much food should I feed my fish?

The right amount of food is different in every aquarium. You have to find out for yourself what the right amount of food is for your aquarium. Not too much and not too little, that is the goal. This is how you do it:

Not too much

Most newcomers to the aquarium hobby are feeding their fish too much. Are you one of them and prefer to feed a little more so that no fish has to go hungry? Or do you feed more often because you or others like to watch the fish eat? Not a good idea.

How do you know if you are feeding too much? Here are a few examples: You probably feed too much if your fish are really spherical – this is not very healthy for the animals.

It is also too much if there is still food floating around in the aquarium after 5 minutes or more. Food tablets can be an exception here, as these are often grated slowly by catfish.

If the algae and snails are doing really well in your aquarium, this can also be an indication that you are overfeeding. This happens especially when you feed so much that some of the feed sinks to the ground and remains there.

Some species still eat when they are actually already full, but if you feed once and the fish do not accept the food or spit it out again, it might just be too much. Try a fast day and reduce the amount step by step.

Don’t underfeed fish

If the aquarium fish don’t get enough food, they either worry or starve. But that happens a lot less than you might think. Many fish don’t just eat the food you give them. Herbivores can feed on the aquarium plants or algae, and catfish nibble on the roots.

Still, not feeding enough is not good. Here are some tips on how to recognize when you are not feeding enough:

If the fish really have to fight over that little bit of food, it may not be enough. There should be at least a few flakes per fish so that it isn’t too little.

You can recognize malnourished fish when the belly is no longer nice and round, but curved inwards. In this case, feed a little more and see if the fish gain weight.

Feed fish just the right amount of food!

All fish are given enough food once a day, but are not overfed. The meal can take 1-2 minutes, shorter is probably not enough.  

As long as the fish eat the food as soon as you add it to the aquarium, everything is fine. In these 1-2 minutes, it is better to add several smaller portions to the aquarium to avoid a lot of food sinking to the bottom.

If you have a lot of bottom fish in the aquarium, feed them specifically with food tablets. If you throw so much flake food into the aquarium that something sinks for the bottom fish, it was probably too much.

How often should I be feeding fish?

You should generally feed your aquarium fish once a day. More often, feeding only makes sense if you are raising young fish, for example.

When feeding the fish, always keep in mind that each time you feed, it is a drain on the water. This means that you should never feed your fish just for fun.