TIP from FNM: Fish Food Nutritional Composition
- Do not feed the fish more than what they can eat within 2-5 minutes, once/twice a day and when possible, stick to a schedule, this will ensure that your fishes are happy and healthy
Nutritional Composition of Fish Diets
- Mainly, fish diets tend to be very high in protein. Foods for fry and fingerlings often exceeds 50% crude protein.
- As growth rate decreases and fish age, protein levels in their diet are decreased accordingly.
- Protein levels on grow-out diets often approach or exceed 40% crude protein
- While maintenance diets may contain as little as 25-35%.
- Small quantities of fiber aids digestion, however they should not be too high
- Carnivores are not able to digest fiber well, and hence should not have more than 4% in their diets
- To remain healthy, herbivores should have between 5 and 10 percent fiber in their diet
- The composition of fat in fish diets should be low.
- Even carnivores fish require less than 8% in their diet
- Herbivores fish require less than 3%
- Excessive fat in diets will lead to accumulation and may damage the liver, and can potentially result in disease and early death
- Fish faces difficulties when dieting hard fats such as those in beef
- Polyunsaturated fats such as those in brine shrimp are mostly digestible and is useful when conditioning fish for breeding
- Fish do not need large amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Too much of it can prevent proper growth.
- The danger of higher percentages of carbohydrate is that it results in reduction in other essential nutrients. This is exceptionally true for young fishes, which requires high levels of protein
- Adult fishes can tolerate as much as 40% carbohydrate in their diet without ill effects.
- Most of the carbohydrate in fish food is in the form of starches which is used to bind the food and prevent it from rapidly disintegrating in the water.
- It is important for healthy bones, teeth and even scales
- The important minerals that fish requires are calcium and phosphorus
- They also require small amounts of iron, iodine, sodium, zinc, magnesium, copper, potassium
- Calcium is found in hard water while phosphorus is found in live plants
- If the tank's environment is soft water and artificial plants are used, fishes should be supplemented with food containing minerals in their diets
- Bone or meat meal is a good source of both calcium and phosphorus
- Minerals have a long shelf life, and can be found in adequate quantities in good flake foods
- Unlike minerals, vitamins are not stable in prepared foods
- Flake foods have adequate vitamin content initially, but it deteriorates rather quickly
- Storing it in the freezer will prolong the vitamin content, but it is best to buy only what you will use within one or two months
- Key vitamins which is required for good health are A, D3, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, H, M and inositol
- Important vitamins for normal growth are B1, B2 and B6
- An adequate amount of Vitamin B3 is required for good digestion
- Vitamin C is also needed for healthy bones and teeth
- Key factors in metabolism are both vitamin B5 and M
- The reduction in the formation of blood cells due to lack of Vitamin H can cause anaemia
- Deformities and stunted growth in young fish can be caused due to lack of Vitamin A
- When fish are stressed, there is increased need for Vitamin A
- Key factors are Vitamin E and A to maintain fish for top breeding condition
- The essential vitamin for fish is Vitamin C, and most species tested are not capable of synthesising their own.
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