… continued from “types of tropical fish” in the “keeping tropical fish” series. This article is designed to help you feed tropical fish and many other types of fish also.

Fish can’t feed themselves, and it is up to you to give them a balanced diet for each one of them. You will probably want to have several species at once, so it’s important to give them the right food to accomodate all of them. Give them too much and the tank becomes unhealthy to live in. Give them too little and they will starve to death.

A freshwater, tropical fish’s diet can include: aquatic worms, crustaceans, insect larvae, green plant matter, algae and small fish. So to give your fish a healthy life, try to include the proper food. I use several flake products, dried worms and brine shrimps to give them a bit of variety and extra nourishment. I also include granules for my mid-water fish, and some algae wafers and pieces of cucumber for the catfish. Let us not forget the food in the freezer and the fridge, peas and corn, lettuce and small pieces of spinach, to provide variety.

Brine shrimp can be bought from a pet shop frozen but there is nothing like breeding them for your fish and giving them live. Your fish will thrive on a varied diet. Just imagine if you were given the same kind of food every day. It might be all right for a short while but soon you would sicken and die from boredom if nothing else.

Fish are more colorful and active if they get live food or if you wish to breed them. This can be achieved much easier with a change in diet. Firstly make use of dried and preserved brine shrimp and tubifex worms from your store. But why not get more adventurous without costing quite as much!

Live tubifex worms

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live tubifex worms

These can often be bought from your pet shop owner although fish love them it is possible for them to introduce disease because they are often harvested near sewage outfalls.

Live mosquito larvae

Mosquito’s breed and lay their little boat of eggs in stagnant water. If you leave water out in a good spot you will get mosquito larvae or little “wrigglers”.

Step one
Put a pan or old ice cream containers of water outside in the shade. Preferably about 3cm deep for easy collection of your crop.

It ‘s wise to have several going so you have a regular source of food for your fish. The containers always seem to collect decayed leaves that fall in. Leave it, because they seem to like it!

Step Two.
When it is harvest time invest in a very fine meshed and very small net from your pet shop. Sometimes it is easier to suck them up with a turkey blaster (ask your mother).

They will dive to the bottom when you start to catch them but stick with it because when you have separated them from the odd leaf and bit of rubbish caught as well you will be astounded at how much the fish will enjoy them and hunt them down.

If you have a lot don’t feed them all to your fish at one go! You can put them in a covered container in your fridge and they can be fed over the next few days.

Don’t be surprised if you have to teach your fish to eat them… it seems all my fish had to learn, which mean s only add a few, preferably smaller ones (so they don’t turn into adults and fly aqay to bite you) and wait until they are all eaten.

Lastly, what you are breeding is potentially annoying to you and your family/neighbors, make sure you mosquito farm doesn’t cause problems.

Live earthworms

This has become a popular way for families to recycle “vegetable waste”etc and feel responsible for their environment. This is great because fish LOVE earthworms.

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Earthworms – one of the best and cheapest food sources for your tropical fish

If you know someone who has a worm farm persuade them to let you raid it for nice small worms which should be washed before feeding to your fish or alternatively if they are large and you are not squeamish the worms can be chopped up.

Keeping worms is another great hobby. Not only do they serve as a delicious and nutritious snack for your fish, you can also put them in your own garden to produce nutrients. Furthermore, keeping worms is extremely easy and cheap because their only required food material would be left over food and grass trimmings – instead of throwing your food waste into a plastic bag and sending it to the dumpster, why not be environmentally friendly and recycle it in your handy backyard worm farm? Keep the nutrients and energy in the privacy of your own home to be recycled!

When feeding worms to your fish its important to be patient. They will have to learn to eat this new food and don’t try to feed something the size of a small snake to tiny fish with tiny mouths.

To start a *worm farm*, visit almost any nursery for the starter kit or go to your garden and start digging. (sometimes the best way, because nature has already given you a supply, although if you start a little compost heap in the garden you will soon find all sorts of little worms to give your fish).

Live Brine Shrimp

Brine Shrimp close up (seamonkeys)

These salt-water creatures are harvested near Salt Lake City in Utah USA and shipped all around the world. When you buy the eggs you will get instructions on how to raise them. For best results you will need an aerator so run a separate lead from the one in your tank or buy a cheap second one. They need strong aeration because if the eggs settle in a clump you will get a poor hatching for your tropical fish.

The eggs need to be kept at 65F (18C) and 75F (24C) so they can be kept in a separate dish floating in your aquarium or preferably if you wish to grow them to a good size invest in a little heater and big bowl for them.

After 2-3 days they hatch and can be collected if you switch of the aerator and place a lamp next to their container. After a short while you will see a cloud of tiny moving bugs at the side nearest the light

.The brine shrimp can now start to be harvest by sucking them up with a piece of airline hose or that old turkey blaster once again.

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Yes, this is what a turkey blaster looks like, you probably thought it was going to be a much more robust machine (it is nothing more than a type of eyedropped for your tropical fish)

An important secret

These tiny little things are really only good for your smallest baby fish so what’s the big deal?

What few know is that these shrimp can be grown to about 1/4 inch ( half a centimetre) long if you feed them yeast.’

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Yeast – feed this to your brine shrimp to grow them to massive sizes

Simply put a tiny amount of yeast in the aerating jar of brine shrimp as they are moving about they will be eating the yeast solution. Once they get bigger they are really interesting to even bigger fish


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