Keeping carnivorous fish can be challenging, because they can develop health problems if their feeding requirements and exercise needs are not met. There is even a difference in feeding requirements between solitary carnivores and species that are more intelligent, as well as among saltwater and freshwater fish.
What can you do as a responsible pet owner to keep your fish healthy and happy?
Research About the Species
Before you even purchase a carnivorous aquarium fish, you need to thoroughly research about its feeding and housing requirements. That wolf fish might look impressive to you, but are you certain that you can take care of it properly? How many fish can you place in the same tank with it? What type of food does it eat and how often? How big should a tank be for that species? Once you’ve found the right one for you, stick to one species first if it’s your first time with a carnivorous aquarium fish.
Necessary Diet Components
A carnivorous fish primarily eats other fish, crustacean, insects, and insect larvae. They need more protein than the omnivores and herbivores to be healthy; specifically, their diet should consist of a minimum of 40% protein and some plant-based food. Other essential diet components should include fats, vitamins (vitamin B1, B2, B6, and C), minerals (phosphorus and calcium), and a limited amount of carbohydrates.
Gut-Loading of Live Food
Gut-loading simply means feeding live food with healthy food. The live food for your carnivorous fish consists of feeder fish and insects, that you will need to raise to feed your pet fish, so that whatever vitamins and minerals are ingested by the live food will be ingested by your pet as well. Some of the food you can feed to insects and feeder fish include algae wafers, vegetables, and spirulina flakes.
Proper Amount of Food
How much and how often you feed your pet fish will also affect its health. Remember that these types of fish have short digestive tracts and do not need to eat often like humans do. Overfeeding can result to obesity and substrate buildup in the aquarium. Ideally, you should not feed your fish with food that’s more than 3% of their total weight, but to be doubly sure, feed them only the amount they can consume within 5 minutes.
Types of Food for Carnivorous Fish
These are some of the healthy food for your carnivorous fish:
- Fish: goldfish and guppy
- Shrimp: brine shrimp and shrimp meal from cull shrimp
- Insects: small crustaceans, mosquito larvae, white worms, bloodworms, micro worms, and tubifex worms
- Fish Meal: anchovies, Pollack, and herring
Sometimes, you can also feed your fish with cooked beef, lamb, ham, poultry, and venison. Never feed these as raw, because they carry diseases, and avoid salted, processed, flavored, and fatty meat like bacon. Then there is also a difference between freshwater and saltwater fish eating habits, that is why it’s not a good idea to offer freshwater feeder fish to saltwater fish because of the risk of developing health problems.