Are all fish foods the same?
Absolutely not! Different fish have different dietary needs. Some foods are formulated for fish with short digestive tracts (meat eaters), others are made for fish with long digestive tracts (plant eaters). There are different forms of feed. And different manufacturers make different quality feed. A food intended for koi or goldfish will perform poorly with other species.
Flake vs Pellet
The biggest difference in food comes from flake vs pellet. Don’t use flake food as your main food. Use pelleted food. I prefer floating pellets, but the fish often prefer sinking pellets.
Flake food is often much more expensive. Bulk flake food can cost as little as $10/pound. Purchasing it in little containers will drive the cost upwards of $25/lb.
Pellet food costs as little as $0.67 a pound direct from the manufacturer. Locally, I can buy pelleted fish food for around $2/pound.
Why does it matter?
Providing proper nutrition to your fish is important for a number of reasons. First, we need to provide the fish with the proper nutrition in order to keep the fish happy, healthy, and growing. Secondly, since the fish food ends up also being the nutrition for the plants, it’s important to not skimp.
Overfeed or Underfeed?
It’s safer to underfeed the fish. A hungry fish grows slower than optimal. An overfed fish can die from polluted waters.
Going on vacation? The fish can last a week or two with no food. Asking a friend or neighbor to feed the fish while you’re gone can be a bad idea unless you pre-portion out the food
I recommend using an automatic fish feeder. I’m partial to the Eheim Twin Automatic Feeder (Amazon). It can feed the fish up to 6 times a day, which is proven to improve growth rates.
Skretting (my favorite)
Purina Aqua Max