Top 5 Fish Mistakes – #3: Poor Nutrition

Top 5 Fish Mistakes – #3: Poor Nutrition

Fish medicine has come a long way in the last few decades and with that comes more knowledge about what fish a supposed to eat. Long gone are the days of flake-only diet. You have options for pellets, frozen food, live food, on and on for any species you desire to keep. A little bit of research goes a long way in order to provide your fish with a decent diet. Check out liveaquaria.com for a good comprehensive view on what your fish is supposed to be eating.

Keep in mind the size of your fish. Note how big their mouth is. If they can’t get their mouth around the food you feed them, they will not be able to eat! For tiny fish, flake is the best all-around staple diet. It can be supplemented with live or frozen food if you prefer. For medium size fish, pick a diet that is appropriate to their species and mouth size. Fish with large mouths can be fed a wider variety of foods, but they need a fish-pellet diet to stay at optimum health.

Once open, fish food will not keep for more than 6 months. Keep that in mind when purchasing your bag of food. You will need to use it all in 6 months. Flake food degrades even faster, due to its increased surface area. The first component to break down is vitamin C, an important component in health and immunity. Other vitamins follow soon after, so make sure you’re replacing your food every 6 months.

How much are you feeding your fish? Like our land-based pets, sometimes we feed our love to our pets, causing them to gain excess weight. We recommend checking out our feeding guidelines to give you some starting points. Remember that fish metabolism is temperature dependent!

Need some feed suggestions? Check out our store, Santa Cruz Koi!

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5 Tricks to Healthy Fish

5 Tricks to Healthy Fish

5 Tricks to Healthy Fish

Directly from our veterinary staff!

Water Quality

The #1 thing you can do to keep your fish healthy is to have good, clean water. You’ve probably heard this before, but we cannot stress this point enough. Think about how the air you breathe can affect your own health. It’s the same for fish, just underwater.

Regular water testing is a simple step to add to your maintenance routine. You should test pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity and temperature regularly. Buy a reliable test kit that uses liquid drops, not strips, for the best results.

Buy a test kit here!

Quarantine

Any new fish you bring into your pond has the potential to bring along all of its diseases. In order to protect your established fish, all new additions should be separately quarantined for 4-6 weeks minimum. This will prevent disease spread to your other fish and allow you to treat the new fish specifically. Quarantining will save you time, money and lives. Potentially the lives of all your fish.

Can’t quarantine your fish at home? Send them to our hospital!

Nutrition

Indoor Tanks

Make sure you know what your fish need to be eating! Many specialty foods are available for all types of freshwater and saltwater species. Do your research before purchasing or adopting a new fish and make sure you have their favorite foods at the ready!

Outdoor Ponds

Pick a food for your koi from a reputable company with a good reputation who know their products well. The two main differences in koi foods are growth and maintenance. The temperature of the water in your pond will determine what type of food to feed when. Below 50°-55°F, do not feed your koi. Their metabolism is not high enough to digest anything. Between 55°F and 65°F, feed them a more easily digestible, wheat-germ based diet. Above 65°F, it is okay to feed a higher-protein, growth diet. There are also specialized diets to enhance the color of your koi.

We recommend feeding koi using the 5 Minute Technique. After checking the pond temperature and choosing the appropriate diet, sprinkle a small amount of food and wait for your fish to eat it ALL. Then, sprinkle another small handful and wait for them to eat it all. Continue this for 5 minutes, then stop.

Here are some recommendations:

Cold Weather Diets – 55-65F

Warm Weather Diets – >65F

Recognize Signs of Disease

Since you see your fish every day, you will be the first to notice anything amiss. Maybe one fish doesn’t have the appetite she used to or another who used to be a bully is hanging back at the bottom during feeding time. Sometimes, it’s not the obvious wounds that we get called out for.

Signs of disease can include inappetance, anorexia, lethargy, change in color or behavior. Fish have different personalities that may change upon the addition of new fish to the pond. Stress can cause a lot of problems in koi. Most stress in koi comes from poor water quality!

Don’t Guess! Ask a Fish Vet

Not all fish owners have direct access to a veterinarian specializing in fish, but not you! Dr. Jessie Sanders, chief veterinarian of Aquatic Veterinary Services of Northern California, is a certified aquatic veterinarian through the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. Her mobile clinic brings the full veterinary clinic right to you! Our hospital offers in-house appointments, critical care and boarding.

Any questions you have about any aspect of koi care can be answered promptly and correctly. The next time your fish gets sick, don’t just throw a bunch of treatments at it hoping to correct the unknown problem. Call us and we can schedule a phone consultation or appointment to get to the root of the problem quickly and treat correctly the first time.

Call now to schedule an appointment or phone consultation!

(831) 346-6151