Many “internet fish helpers” recommend fasting sick fish, or decreasing their diet, and we have to ask…WHY?!?!?
If you were constantly swimming to survive, you’d be burning a lot more calories than sitting at your desk, reading this article. When you’re sick, you often want to lay around in bed because your body is working so hard to get you back to normal. All of your energy has been diverted to keeping you alive. A sick fish, who is still swimming, won’t appreciate the lack of food. When they stop swimming and get stuck on the bottom or top of their tank, the additional stress could make other maters WORSE.
Most of the reasoning behind dropping your fish’s calories is to prevent excess ammonia in your tank. This is a lazy excuse for not doing your water changes, not having enough filtration, having too many fish or not starting your tank properly. Don’t punish your fish for your laziness or lack of preparation.
Here are the rare instances fasting sick fish or a decreased diet is necessary:
- Your fish does not WANT to eat and ignores the food you offer.
- Your fish is about to undergo surgery by a qualified veterinarian.
- Your betta has been overfed and cannot digest any more food.
- The water in your outdoor pond is too cold and your fish aren’t interested in eating.
When your fish is sick, please do the following:
- Test your water quality. This is the #1 cause of disease in fish.
- If your water is bad, FIX IT. If you don’t know how, ask a professional, NOT THE INTERNET.
- Check your fishes’ food. If it is moldy/off-color/smells bad (something other than “fishy”), TOSS IT. Any fish food older than 6 months needs to be replaced.
- If fixing the water chemistry and feeding a good diet has not improved the issue, CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN. Yes, fish veterinarians exist. If you go for the “free” help online, remember, you get what you pay for.