Yes, you can feed your pet fish your love just like your cat or dog. There are many “treats” available on the market for fish and not all are created equal.
When adding treats into your fish’s diet, or curtailing their treat-rich diet, be sure to consider the following points.
- TREATS = NON-ESSENTIAL SUPPLEMENTS. These items should NEVER make up more than a small percentage of the diet. If you removed them, the fish would still get a complete diet.
- Your tank or pond water needs to be sufficiently warm enough to provide correct digestion. For most pet fish, this will be above 65F (18C).
- Fish can become obese if fed too many calories, specifically from increased fats or carbohydrates. Some species have developed liver failure from too many carbs (remember: fish and carbs do not usually mix well).
- If your water is warm enough and you are already feeding a complete diet, treats should be fed NO MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. I’ll say it again:
DO NOT FEED TREATS MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK
Types of Treats
Often coming in packs of small cubes or a large, frozen sheet, most of these treats are protein-rich. These should never be the only thing in your fishes’ diet. Unless you have a super rare, picky carnivore that eats nothing else, your fish should have something, anything else in their diet. For common pet fish on a standard pellet, frozen treats can be a safe addition.
If you only have one or two small (under 8″) in a tank, you do NOT have to defrost and feed a whole cube. We had one 6″ goldfish referred to our office getting 3 CUBES A DAY to cure “constipation.” The owner couldn’t figure out why their fish was pooping so much and their water quality had tanked. Don’t do this. Cut up the cube with a sharp knife before adding to your tank to save on waste.
Common species like krill and Daphnia can be dried into a still-life crunchy treat for your fish. Like the frozen blocks, these will need to be cut up for smaller feedings. Some of the antennae on larger krill may need to be snapped off in order to prevent injuries in voracious feeders. Most pointy appendages will soften up after a few seconds in water.
Fruits & Veggies
There are a variety of fruits and veggies that you can feed your fish:
- and others…
We have come to find that not all fish like the same treats, and some just don’t appreciate them at all. You are welcome to offer your fish treats, but keep in mind that if they don’t like it, remove it from your tank to keep your water quality from crashing.
Cheese-Poof Like “Treats”
One of the few marketed fish “treats” on the market, these air-filled sticks are meant to draw your fish to eat out of your hands. Although I can’t seem to find a recent ingredient list, they will work to draw your fish, but they are the equivalent of eating cheese puffs yourself. They also disintegrate very quickly, so are of little nutritional value on top of being a treat. They are fine in small amounts, but the worst of the treat variety.
Yes, you can feed your fish some caloric lovin’, but remember the carbinal rule:
ONCE A WEEK AT APPROPRIATE TEMPERATURES