How to Care for Herbivorous Aquarium Fish

Nutritional deficiencies and failure to keep a stable water condition in the tank are two of the most common causes of fish mortality. Even when you’re keeping a tank of herbivorous aquarium fish, it is important to monitor how often and how much they eat, and the quality of the water.

  1. Get to Know the Species

When purchasing aquarium fish, you need to consider the care requirements for each particular species by asking or researching about their feeding habits, territoriality, mating, and tolerance to different water conditions. With those things in mind, it will be easier to build a tank that will create the most ideal conditions for the fish. Herbivorous fish for example, have elongated guts but no stomach, therefore making them incapable of digesting large amounts of meat. There isn’t a true herbivore fish, but its daily protein intake should be limited to no more than 5%.

  1. Get to Know the Feeding Habits

It’s not only important to distinguish which are carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores, but you also have to determine which fish are surface feeders, bottom feeders, and mid-water feeders. This is crucial when you’re planning to place different species within a single tank, because some of your pets might not get enough nutrition they need during feeding. That is also why there are different forms of fish food in pet shops to accommodate these various feeding habits.

  1. Diet Requirements

A herbivore will require vitamins and minerals, proteins, fiber, and fat just like the carnivores and omnivores, but there is a difference in the amounts needed for each. A herbivorous aquarium fish will need 15% to 30% protein, 2% to 6% fiber, and 1% to 3% fat to be healthy. Adult fish need less protein than younger fish, because they cannot utilize the excess and will only be excreted as ammonia. Other fish that can thrive in cool water temperatures also need less protein, because they have slower metabolism.

  1. Fish Food Options

Herbivorous fish can get the right amount of nutrients with flake and pellet food made specifically for them, but these are usually low in fiber, which is why you should not rely solely on commercial fish food. Freeze-dried food can provide nutrients not found in pellets and flakes and are also safe from diseases. Frozen food for fish are also good substitutes and are safe because they are not processed like commercial fish food.

You can also feed your pet algae wafers or Spirulina, Sushi Nori, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, zucchini, tinned peas, blanched curly lettuce, carrots, and sweet potato. Some species also need wood in their diet, that is why item #1 in this article is important. Finally, the key to keeping herbivorous fish healthy is variety in the food they eat, therefore, complement their usual diet with other plant matter and micro food.

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