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Wen73

Best food for pearscales

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Hi, I was wondering if anyone here who keeps pearscales has some advice on feeding.

I purchased a pearlscale about 5 weeks ago and s/he has been going pretty well, except for a tendency to swimbladder problems. S/he is about the size of a golfball, with a body that is longer than deep.

Initially I was feeding Hikari Lionhead, 2 feeds a day of about 10 pellets a feed, plus fresh vegies (curly leaf lettuce, spinach, peas). That was ok for about 2 weeks and then s/he began to get floaty after feeding. I tried feeding less more often, I tried just feeding less, mxing it with vegies in various proportions but to no avail. The last time I used it the poor fish ate 2 pellets and an hour later ended up swirling around in an uncontrolled manner that was stressful for both of us. By the next day s/he had recovered, but I won't feed it again and feel rather leary about all pelleted food in general.

I also tried a home made gel food from one of the recipes here, but I'm still unsure about using it as a staple. There is a lot of surface lapping after feeding, although after an hours or so s/he comes back down. I've only used it a couple of times so far.

Since then I have been feeding only plant matter, and am trying to track down a shop where I can buy some frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp to add as a protein source. I have elodea int the tank but they won't eat it. There is a native species of elodea available that I can get sometimes that they love (tankmates are an oranda and small ranchu) , so I'm trying to track some of that down as well.

So any advice from pearlscale owners would be appreciated, in terms of what foods you feed and in what amount. There is a lot of conflicting information out there!

Edited by Wen73

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Hi, pearlscales are more prone to swim bladder problems. What temp is your tank at? Higher temps help digestion. Has she been floaty since stopping the hikari? Sometimes pellets cause floatiness, sometimes it's too much protein. If she isn't floating eating only plant matter, I suspect it's one of those. Gel foods can also help floatiness. Usually they are made so they can be staple foods, or at least be the main food source. Repashy soilent green or super green are really good, and there are very few bad stories about them. It's just a matter of trying out different foods to get the best one for your fish. You might also want to try fasting for a day to see if that helps at all (:

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I've had floaty pearlscales before. :(. A homemade baby food gel diet (gel food made from veggie baby food and frozen thawed daphnia for "flavor") plus occasional bloodworms seemed to work well, but I'm not sure how nutritionally complete it would be long-term. It helped a lot with the floating though.

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I would give Soilent Green a shot if you can. My one pearlie used to gulp but has since stopped since feeding soilent green. Every fish is an individual but SG has helped all of my pearlscales grow while not feeding pelleted foods that often upset their sensitive swim bladder. Also take into account your water parameters as fish with SBD are more sensitive to less than ideal water conditions. Weighing your fish and feeding based on body weight is the best way to go in my opinion, that way you're not overfeeding or underfeeding. When you feed foods that are very high in protein I would always feed slightly less and in smaller amounts. Feeding small meals over the course of the day instead of one or two large meals also puts less pressure on the swimbladder and helps keep the GI tract moving.

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Well, I trialled my home made gel food again and it's a no go. Fed one mouthful yesterday and that was ok. Fed another mouthful today and now my poor Pearscale is majorly floaty again. :( Looks like it must be the protein. Hopefully the floatiness will resolve as it has in the past, but it makes me stressed.

Pearsclaeperfect, I've thought about the repashy products but even the super green is 35% protein. I suspect that is going to be too high for this fish.

Back to plants only for the moment I guess. I might try to make another lower protein gel food and see how that goes.

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Have you tried turning up the temp? Protein takes longer to digest, and puts pressure on the swim bladder, with slightly higher temps the food will be digested faster, meaning the pressure on the swim bladder will resolve quicker (:

Edited by LovelyChaos

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Lovelychaos, thanks for the suggestion. It's actually pretty hot over here and even with the light off the water is still 28 degrees C (82.4 F). The floatiness is subsiding thankfully. She is still tending to bob up towards the surface and is tipping forward a bit when stationary, but can reach the bottom more easily, without losing her balance and swimming in a spiral.

I think I will make a gel food with agar rather than gelatine and put less or no animal protein in it. I was thinking about using some frozen brine shrimp. They are supposed to be excellent roughage and the pack says they are only 5% protein.

Thankfully my oranda is much more forgiving and doesn't seem to react so badly to foods.

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