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.

How to Care for Carnivorous Aquarium Fish

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.