Overfeeding fish is one of the most common root causes of many problems in the aquarium fish keeping. The following are some of the main reason why we should avoid overfeeding fish.
1. Fish can die directly from eating too much food from digestive problem.
Fish are fragile creatures. They are also not too smart when it comes to feeding. They do not know when to quit. In the wild, food is hard to come by. They might go hungry for days without food. In the million years of evolution, they have come to the habit of grab as much food as quick as possible.
In most cases, they will eat more than they need in a short amount of time. In the wild, it is not a problem since they will stop eating before they start to feel too uncomfortable.
It becomes a serious problem in a home aquarium. Remember what kind of food are we feeding to the fish? Most commercially available fish food in the market is dry food. Flakes and pellets are the staple food for most home aquarium fish. Dry food will expand once they are wet. If the fish have already swallowed too much fish food when they are still dry, imagine how much worse it will get once these foods expand in the fish’s little stomach. Yes, the fish might die as a result.
Pellets are the worse offenders when overfeeding takes place. Since the pellets can expand a lot more than flakes. Embarrassed to say that I have done just that when I was in the first grade. I dumped a lot of pellets into my goldfish tank. They died the very next day.
2. Dirty fish tanks
Overfeeding fish will result in more organic waste in the aquarium. Not only you will see more leftover fish food at the bottom of the fish tank, but you will also see a lot more fish poop.
In addition, the aquarium water might become cloudy, smelly, and hard to fix.
We got the fish to enjoy watching them in our aquarium. Not to have a dirty look right back at our face. Overfeeding might just cause us to get a “dirty look” in return.
3. Overfeeding fish can kill them by polluting the aquarium water.
The visible part of “dirty” is not the worst problem. A lot of the dangerous substances such as ammonia are colorless.
It is not just the leftover fish food in the aquarium that will turn into the toxic ammonia and other pollution. Even when the fish have eaten all the extra food you gave to them, all the food are still in the system. In this case, in the fish’s digestive system. They will come out as fish poop and other waste products. In the end, ammonia is ammonia. Too much food will result in too much ammonia produced in the aquarium one way or another. Ammonia poisoning is another leading cause for fish losses. Do not overfeed fish will save fish lives indirectly by keep the aquarium water cleaner.
4. Overfeeding fish contributes to the algae problem in a home aquarium.
Algae problem can be such headache to home aquarium owners. Algae feed on ammonia, and other form of nitrogen, along with phosphate. The more fish food you dump into the fish tank, the more organic waste it will produce one way or another. Even if your fish are still fine, the increased nitrogen and phosphate concentration in the water columns will directly cause an algae boom soon.
The same goes the other way around. Feed your fish less can greatly reducing the chance of an algae boom.
5. Overfeeding aquarium fish can cause pest snail problem.
A lot of aquarium hobbyists have seen pest snail population booming in their aquarium. These little pests come with aquatic plants, or the water from another source when you add something to your fish tank. They multiply like crazy. The number one condition for the population booming of pest snail is a surplus of food source. They love to feed on leftover fish food.
To combat pest snail problem, the first thing we need to do is to cut back on feeding the fish. Less food means fewer snails and slower reproductions.
6. Overfeeding fish will increase the difficulty of aquarium maintenance.
All the extra stuff caused by overfeeding, from water pollution, algae boom, pest snails, and more than the usual amount of fish waste, mean more maintenance is needed.
We might have to do partial water changes for our aquarium more frequently in order to keep the water quality reasonably high. So instead of doing weekly partial water changes, we might have to do it 2 to 3 times each week with larger percentage water changes. It means more work for us.
To remove the algae, and fish waste also mean extra tasks during the aquarium maintenance. Pest snail problem often time is impossible to fix by just physically removing them. It is a waste of time and effort without going for the root cause.
7. Overfeeding fish will cost you more money directly and indirectly.
Most commercially available fish foods say on the bottle that to feed the fish 2~3 times a day, and feed them as much as they can eat in 5 minutes. This is way too much. Ideally, we only need to feed the fish once a day with as much food as they can finish within a minute. With the except to bottom feeders, who we can give them one hour to finish what they need before removing the leftover.
So why do the fish food manufacturers recommend us to feed the fish much more than they really need? More profit for them of course! The more we feed our fish, the quicker we go through a bottle of fish food. It won’t be long before we need to buy more fish food. They do not come too cheap for the little quantity they offer.
Overfeeding fish can directly cause us to spend more money on the fish food.
The increased requirement for aquarium maintained will also cost more water and water conditioner.
Fish loss from overfeeding is another potential money lost scenario.
To save ourselves all the troubles, time, and money, and for the sake of our fish, we must avoid overfeeding fish. Furthermore, by stop overfeeding the fish we can fix many problems we might encounter in aquarium fish keeping.