Tips for feeding fish properly
The weather is brightening up again: we are sitting next to the pond more. And feeding your fish can be an enjoyable, and even spectacular, activity. Some fish literally jump out of the water. Feeding our fish is the only time we interact with them. So we tend to do it too often. And to give too much. We have drawn up a number of tips about how to feed your fish properly.
Give small portions
Fish eat throughout the day and so they eat in small portions. Everything the fish leave drops to the bottom, providing nutrients for algae. So don’t give the fish more than they can eat within 5 minutes. Bear in mind that fish have very small stomachs. Much smaller than ours. A tiny meal for us is still a huge portion for fish. Remove any excess food with a net.
Feed your fish once or twice a day
We tend to give our fish too much rather than too little. So it is advisable to feed them no more than twice a day. Unless you have young sturgeon smaller than 20 centimetres. They should be fed between three and five times a day.
Not only do fish not eat excess feed (which encourages algae), fish will also produce more waste when they eat more than necessary. As well as encouraging algae, overfeeding may result in too much ammonia and nitrate in your pond, low oxygen levels, low pH and fin rot.
Spread the fish feed
Don’t throw all the feed into the pond at one place; spread smaller portions around the pond. In that way, all your fish will get something to eat, rather than just the large or aggressive fish.
Keep the type of fish in mind
Adapt the feed and feeding times in line with the fish in your pond. If you have several types of fish in your pond, give them combined feed so that all the fish can eat appropriately. If necessary, make up your own feed or give different types of feed at different places in the pond. Did you know that there is also special feed that can, for example, improve the colouring of goldfish, ide and cyprinids?
You should also keep an eye on feeding times: not all fish are equally active during the day. This means you should feed your fish, for example, in the morning and evening.
Use good-quality feed
Your fish need vitamins and minerals throughout the year to stay healthy. When, for example, the bright colours of your fish fade and the fish become less active, it may well be that they are lacking vitamins and minerals. You should also keep an eye on other health problems that, in many cases, are related to a lack of vitamins and minerals. So you should always give your fish good-quality feed that is enriched with trace elements and extra vitamins.
Give fresh vegetables from time to time
You should give your fish fresh vegetables such as carrots, courgettes, cucumber and lettuce once or twice a week. Your fish will enjoy it and it is good for them. You should cut the vegetables into small pieces first and make sure the uneaten vegetables are removed from your pond within 48 hours before they begin to rot.
Keep an eye on young fish
Newborn fish are still too small to eat normal feed. They also have dietary needs that are different from adult fish. They often need special feed for several days. So take a look at the Internet to find out about the specific needs of your young fish, or ask your pond supplier. In that way, your young fish will stay healthy.
And finally, make holiday arrangements
Are you going on holiday? Make sure you don’t forget your fish. Although adult fish can manage fine without food for a few days, it’s a good idea to make arrangements for when you are away. Ask a neighbour or a friend to feed the fish and give them clear instructions. Give them these tips, for example. Tell them to feed the fish every other day: people without a pond have a tendency to give much too much feed at a time, even after you have given them clear instructions.
You may also wish to consider using an automatic feeding machine that dispenses small portions of fish feed at regular intervals. Don’t forget to make sure there is enough feed in the dispenser until the end of your holiday.