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Overfeeding


Guest dmartins

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Guest dmartins

i think i am overfeeding my goldfish...probably because i like to watch them eat! lol i am pretty sure i am overfeeding, which is bad because the it is clouding the water and the tank is still cycling. it also makes them poo quite a bit.

however, does anyone have a more definate guideline as to how much (in weight) a goldfish needs per day? most people will quote the food bottle, which states to feed them what they can eat in a few minutes, but that does not make sense for a variety of reasons (fast eaters, timing, etc).

For instance, a brine shrimp cube....how much is enough? is one too much for 4 fish? what about flake food and pellets?

thanks!

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hi , im going through a cycle as well I was feeding my fish twice a day and found it too much now I feed once a day it's been a lot easier since ,water can become toxic fast and over feeding dosn't help a few flakes per fish their tummis are only the size of their eye ,don"t let your fish fool you I hearrd someone say on the board not to long ago a hungry fish is a happy fish and since I have stpped overfeeding my fish are more active good luck to you on your cycle :)

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How much to feed is, indeed, a VERY difficult question to answer. So many variables come into play - and make a great deal of difference.

IF you are planning on breeding your fish in the spring, fall feeding is different - heavier, with a weight towards protein. If you have fry, they need a different diet - the age determines what they need. Different types of food, also, has vastly different feeding regiments.

For the sake of simplicity, I am going to assume that you have an average, adult goldfish. This fish has no outstanding physical attributes that handicap their eating capabilities, no diseases that require special diets and the water temp., time of year, etc. are all "average".

Now it gets even murkier. The 1 minute rule or the 3 minute rule is one that is divised for people who like to feed their fish multiple times a day - sometimes more than 3 times, even! This is designed to limit the amount of food - giving them very little so they are not overfed over the course of the day.

Unless a fish is young, has a problem or I am doing something specific with it, I feed ONCE a day, in the morning. My tanks are all bare bottomed - so no food hides down in the gravel - it is all eaten. I have gotten fairly good at estimating the amount of food, but about once a month I have to force myself to rethink that amount and adjust it DOWNWARD. I feed too much quite often and overfeeding can cause probems far worse than cloudy water.

An overfed fish can be a floaty fish. It can be an egg bound fish. It can be a constipated fish - that leads to internal bacterial infections and a whole host of other problems. So overfeeding is really NOT a good idea.

A fish should be slightly hungry ALL the time. They should greet you at the glass with begging eyes. They should actively seek the food when it is dropped in. An adult fish that is fed well will poop nice chunky poop - it breaks apart into chunks after it comes out - and the poop should be the color of the food given. An adult fish will continue to grow - VERY slowly - but continuously all year. It is round and solid looking - not peaked or thin.

If your food clouds your water you need to examine all the factors of your tank. Even a cycling tank should not be that affected by the food the fish are given.

Does the food dissove and cloud the water before the fish eat it? IF so, you may wish to change foods. It does no good if it dissolves before it even gets eaten - that is wasted food.

Is the water cloudy because your fish are creating tremendous waste in an uncycled tank? In that case, you need to change out your water more - to keep the water parameters under control during cycling. I am assuming you are testing - and this cloudiness is from high ammonia or nitrite readings..... During cycling, it is advisable to greatly reduce the amount of food a fish is given. Less food means less waste and less waste means less toxic water parameters. It is a winning situation for the fish. Feed every other day - or cut the food in half or more during cycling. The time it takes to cycle is not that long - and less food is FAR less concerning the water parameters that are out of whack.

Is your tank cycled and the food is not dissolving - but the water gets cloudy? I would question your gph turnover in your filteration. I have a strangely shaped 56 gallon tank. Until I put about 800- 900 gph turnover on the tank, it always remained hazy/cloudy. The shape of the tank, circulation of that tank and the fish load in the tank were such that they simply needed more. The tank is crystal clear now. How much filtration do you have? Remember that no filter does exactly the gph listed - once they get a bit "seasoned" they slow down......

With the exception of a few cases (fry,e tc), I have never met a fish that has not done better in life with LESS food. Less is more in my opinion.

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I definatly agree with Daryl. I started cutting back on portions and the number of times I feed my fish and they seem much healthier and happier, not to mention that my cycle is much, much more stable.

As for a definitive guide to how much to feed, I haven't found that either. For pellets, I used to feed a LOT, way too much. Right now I mainly feed progold and each fish will get about 6 or 7 pellets, sometimes a little more. If it's peas or gel food, I usually give enough for each fish to get 3 pieces (as in 3 half peas, or similar sized pieces of gel food).

I should mention that both of my fish are what I'd consider medium to large, you obviously have to adjust this based on their body size, etc. You also need to watch them feed. My pearl scale Fred is a notorious pig. He catches the food as it sinks, where as my other fish kind of poke around for it slowly. Because of that I've started throwing the food in two seperate areas, so Fred catches most of one batch on the way down and doesn't really notice the second batch going down behind his back. That way, I'm pretty sure everyone is getting their fair share.

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I definatly agree with Daryl. I started cutting back on portions and the number of times I feed my fish and they seem much healthier and happier, not to mention that my cycle is much, much more stable.

As for a definitive guide to how much to feed, I haven't found that either. For pellets, I used to feed a LOT, way too much. Right now I mainly feed progold and each fish will get about 6 or 7 pellets, sometimes a little more. If it's peas or gel food, I usually give enough for each fish to get 3 pieces (as in 3 half peas, or similar sized pieces of gel food).

I should mention that both of my fish are what I'd consider medium to large, you obviously have to adjust this based on their body size, etc. You also need to watch them feed. My pearl scale Fred is a notorious pig. He catches the food as it sinks, where as my other fish kind of poke around for it slowly. Because of that I've started throwing the food in two seperate areas, so Fred catches most of one batch on the way down and doesn't really notice the second batch going down behind his back. That way, I'm pretty sure everyone is getting their fair share.

lol what is it with pearlscales they tell you to make sure they get food because they move to slow I find the oppisite If I dont distract the pearlscale my other fish would starve!!! :)

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I think overall people are always going to be confused by this issue, becuz everyone has a different answer. Some sites you find online will say 2-3 flakes or 3-4 pellets per fish, and others say however much they can eat in a certain time...but I've found some fish like to chew on their food for a long time, and others will practically swallow their food whole. By the time you adjust for all of these variables, overfeeding is easy to do becuz you're trying to give a little more to the one who chews slowly, but the one who inhales everything is vacuuming it all up just as fast as you drop it in.

I think most people don't breed their fish, but I rarely find someone who only feeds once per day. I've fed once per day for over a year, and just recently started feeding twice per day. But I am rethinking that again.....for now, the extra helping of food is helping my wenless oranda develop his wen again. Prolly when it's nice and full again, I'll cut back to once per day again.

Variety is prolly more important that amount or frequency anyway, considering this is a new concept for most fish owners, who have fed nothing but flakes to their fish for years. As with anything, trial and error will always win.

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Guest dmartins

thanks for the awesome reply daryl...

like i mentioned, the tank is still cycling, so i will definately up the water changes to 20-30% per day (i was doing every other day). i currently have a single fluval 205 and for asthetic purposes, i dont want to add another filter. i am considering picking up a powerhead to help move the water around some more as it appears to stagnate in some areas.

i also believe in variety (i feed pellets (wardley and hikari), flakes, blood worms, brine shrimp, peas). i also plan on making gel food soon.

thanks everyone; i will definately cut back , do more water changes and keep watching to cycle carefully.

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You should feed your fish once a day occasionaly twice.

That is not true in the wild fish are constantly searching for food. In an aquarium as long as don't feed too much you can feed them more often like 3-4x a day. This is how most breeders that have the prize winning size fish feed there fish daily.

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my fish get fed once a day.Not exceptions.Mypond fish,my tank fish doesnt matter.The feeding consists of 20 mins. Just a tiny bit at a time.Mostly because i work super long hours,and i can only feed them once a day(not that it's not tempting to feed them more during my days off lol)I've been using this method for about 2 years.No deaths from starvation.lol.How much is a good question and i think daryl answered that pretty well. :)

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i feed my fish once a day, then at weekends let them starve it out for two days, but like its been noted everyone has a different feeding pattens. and we all know they can go a week quite happily without food.

its just that little dance they do that makes you think ahhh go on then just a bit more goldies can be so manipulating lol

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Very timely thread & excellent read Daryl~thanks!

I had been concerned on how much & often I have been feeding my crew. Seems I may be overfeeding them & am going to cut back their amounts slightly but still keep the twice daily.

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In nature, the fish DO look for food constantly. But they do not always FIND it. They may eat one fly on one day, go for two days knawing on algae covered rocks, find nothing for another day and eat a whole little fish on the next day. It all evens out.

Our fish are fed consistantly - a steady diet of the best foods available. Theya re not forced to eat whatever they find - the scum on the top of the floating garbage, the dead body that has partially rotted, etc. They are given nearly the same amount every day of their lives. When the temps drop outside we artificially keep the water temps high enough that the fish continue to be able to eat and grow year round.

So - yes - "wild" fish eat constantly - when they can find it. There is nothing wrong with feeding your indoor fish like the outdoor fish if you wish - 10 meals a day if you wish.

But remember -those meals may mean a piece of a flake of food the size of a mosquitoe. Then, the next meal may be a single tiny planeria. Count each as a whole meal and you may be approaching the correct amount.

Overfeeding has caused so many problems in fish. I see at least a dozen a year that are cured simply by fasting them when they are here and then sending them home with the instructions to FEED LESS. FEED LESS. FEED LESS. It cures a whole host of ills. You can, truly, kill your fish with kindness.

One more small note - fish that are "pumped" - or fed to grow VERY LARGE in VERY SHORT times usually end up with a whole host of problems -not the least of which they commonly have zero immunities. It is a very common thing for someone to buy a HUGE fish coming directly from a breeder who "pumps" - andthe fish dies within a month or two. (These are called "one-show" fish- designed to win once) They simply cannot survive in a tank being fed like we feed them. The "pumping" with food to push growth to the max seems to almost speed up the entire fish's life - making them prematurely large - and die young.

As with just about everything that has to do with fish - SLOW AND STEADY AND CONSISTANT wins the day.

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