How To Keep Your Fish Food from Sinking in Your Tank
By Jecinta Muturi @aquariawise
Fish feeding seems like it should be simple, right?
Not always because one fish may bully others away from the tank, strong water currents may suck food into the filter before the fish get to it, shy fish may not want to dine with others in the tank, and, also finicky eaters may only eat one type of food.
Moreover, if a fish keeper only uses sinking fish food, middle and surface feeders will struggle to the food from the bottom.
As such, your fishes will go hungry, and the food will end up rotting at the base of the aquarium.
This will easily mess up the water quality and enhance the spread of harmful diseases to your fish.
Fortunately, we have a few hacks, when well implemented, will help keep fish food from sinking, thus making sure your finny pets are well fed, regardless of where in the tank they like to swim.
The three most efficient ways of keeping fish food from floating include:
- Feeding your fish floating foods like flake.
- Using fish feeding rings.
- Adding an automatic fish feeder to ensure you only have optimal food amounts in the tank for the fish you have.
Please follow through as we navigate, learn, and expound more on how to keep your fish food from sinking.
Fish Feeding Rings
A fish feeding ring is a ring that floats on the water surface, either free-floating or attached to the side of the tank.
It is a helpful tool for many fish keepers when feeding time rolls around.
Fish food is dropped inside the ring and, the fishes don’t take long to learn the ring is their new feedbag.
The food does not get scattered all over the water because it’s contained in the ring. Therefore reducing waste, maintains water quality, and keeping your fish sufficiently fed.
A basic fish feeding ring consists of three parts:
- Suction cup-this attaches the glass of your aquarium and holds the feeding ring into place.
- Lever-allows the feeding ring to rise and fall with the water level.
- The feeding ring-floats on top of the water and holds your fish into place.
Reasons why you would need a fish feeding ring, apart from keeping fish food from sinking, include:.
- It stops food from floating away: Fish flakes get sucked up by the filter or washed out the overflow before your fish get a chance to eat them all.
- Helps keep the food in place while your fish eat their fill.
- It also helps to prevent waste and reduce the amount of food that is left to rot.
Stops floating plants from moving around: A feeding ring traps the floating plants in your aquarium, preventing them from freely roaming around.
Multiple rings for multiple fish: Using multiple feeding rings lets fish choose where and with whom to feed. Bullies will not hog all the feeding rings, so everyone gets a chance to eat in peace.
Multiple rings also allow an aquarist to feed different foods to finicky fish.
Feeding rings can be found at any pet shop, where they are relatively cheap and come with a suction cup. For busy people, they might find it easier to purchase. One can also find them online.
On the other hand, it is not a must for an aquarist to get a specially made ring because any round, plastic, or rubber ring that will float is suitable for use.
Floating Fish Feed
Floating fish feed is made from a mixture of carefully selected ingredients to provide all the nutrients necessary for fish to grow.
They float on the water surface and, fish must come up to eat.
There are various reasons why an aquarist should choose floating fish food over sinking fish food. They include
- Enhances Convenient Observation: An aquarist can directly observe the feeding intensity of the fish and adjust feeding rates accordingly.
- An aquarist can determine if the feeding rates are too low or too high. This helps in maximizing fish growth and fish use efficiently.
- Sinking pellets will fall into the bottom of the tank where even fish cannot find them.
- Reduce waste: Sinking pellets that remain at the bottom of the tank will often get lost and wasted but, floating pellets can retain their shape even after being in the water for many hours.
- Decrease diseases: Sinking pellets that remain at the bottom of the tank will eventually rot. This may give rise to the proliferation and bacteria and the spreading of harmful diseases to the fish.
One disadvantage is that they are more expensive to buy and more expensive for feed millers to manufacture because they require to go through an extrusion process during processing.
Automatic Fish Feeder
Have you ever had the problem of who will feed my fish today? Maybe while you are away from home? Worry no more because an automatic fish feeder solves this problem.
As the name suggests, an automatic fish feeder is an electronic device designed to feed your fish without you being nearby. It consists of a container filled with fish food and a programmable timer.
All you need to do is fill the container with dried fish food and program the timer for when and how often you want your fish fed.
There are two types of automatic fish feeders.
Rotating barrel fish feeders: This is the most common type. You fill the barrel with your fish’s favorite snack, then program when you want your fish fed.
When feeding time rolls around, the barrel rotates, dropping a small amount of food into your tank.
The advantages of this type of automatic fish feeder are
- It’s commonly available
- Holds lots of food
- Has multiple mounting options.
The disadvantages include:
- It’s not suitable for larger dried foods like wafers
- Not suitable for mixed feedings
- Releases less accurate portions
- Community tanks may need multiple feeders
Portion control fish feeders: In this fish feeder, you pre-stock the trays with your fish’s favorite food, set the timer, and, when feeding time rolls around, the feeder releases the food from a single tray into your aquarium.
With this type, you can perfectly measure out each fish meal and, you can also mix different types of fish food.
The advantages of this type of automatic fish feeder are: can dispense mixed food, dispenses precise amounts, suitable for large dried foods like wafers.
The disadvantages include: meal portions need to be measured out, holds less food, tales up more space, not suitable for betta pellets, and it’s more difficult to clean.
Automatic fish food feeders are for dried food only.
Fish That Eat Food At The Bottom Of The Tank
These are fish that primarily live and eat at the bottom of the aquarium.
They find their food along the substrate instead of grabbing food from the surface. Some are scavengers, others herbivores and, some like Pictus catfish are predators.
They have the following traits
Inferior mouth: It’s located more towards the bottom of the fish’s body pointed downwards.
This helps the fish to root around in the substrate for tasty treats but still keep its eyes looking up for predators
Barbels: They are sensitive to touch and have a tasting cell almost like a tongue which helps them to find food
Suckermouths: The mouths are round and look like a suction cup.
This helps them stay in place to feed even if they are in fast-moving waters.
Bodyshape: Most bottom feeders have a flattened ventral region.
This lets them more easily rest and move along the bottom.
Examples of bottom feeders include
These are sucker-mouthed catfish that originated from South Africa.
They are mostly added to aquariums as part of the substrate and algae clean-up crew.
They are shy-cave dwelling fish and are nocturnal so, they hide in a cave or under a submerged log during the day and emerge to feed on plants and algae at night.
They are mostly peaceful but are sometimes aggressive towards other plecos.
They reach a maximum of 3-24 inches and have a lifespan of 10-15 years.
- Tank requirements
- Size:30-125 gallons
- Temperature: 23.8-27.2 degree Celcius
They are cute fishes that originated from South Africa.
They are active and need a group of at-list six to feel secure and happy.
They are peaceful but may have little fights amongst themselves that can be lessened by keeping them in a big group.
These cute fishes reach a maximum of 1-3.5 inches and have a lifespan of 3-5 years.
- Tank requirements
- Size:20 gallons(75 litres)
- Temperature: 21.1-23.8 degree celcius
- p.h .0-8.0.
They are very social fish and, they interact with others of the same species and other bottom feeders.
They grow 5 inches and live up to 14 years if the tank conditions are ideal.
They have an eel-like appearance and are yellow with brown/black vertical stripes.
They have barbells around their mouth to help sense food nearby.
They are carnivores so, they can be fed with fish flakes or pellets but should also regularly be offered a variety of frozen and live foods like brine and bloodworms.
Yoyo Loach. (Botia Almorhae)
They are highly active and almost constantly searching the substrate of the bottom of the tank for food.
This may cause small and less active fish to shy away from them.
They reach a maximum of 5-6 inches(13-15 cm).
They originate from the rivers and lakes of Africa. They can be shy but still active.
They have a great personality and are fun to watch. They squabble amongst themselves but are very peaceful when it comes to other fish.
They grow up to a maximum of 4-10 inches and have a lifespan of 10 years.
- Tank requirements
- Tank size:30 gallons.
- Temperature: 22.2-25 degree celcius.
- P.H: 7.8-8
They are super neat bottom-dwelling fish that will stand out no matter who their tank mates are. Their long and lean bodies are fun to watch swim around.
One key thing about this bottom feeder is that they need very high water quality to thrive. Water must be clean and oxygenated.
The average twig catfish lifespan is between 10-12 years, but this is dependent on the kind of care they receive.
- Tank requirements
- Tank size: around 35-40 gallons
- Temperatures: 73-79 degrees Fahrenheit
- P.H: 6.5-7.5