Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Feeder Fish
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Feeder Fish

for the week of 4/21/99

Many keepers of large, predatory fish choose to feed live fish (most commonly goldfish, guppies or minnows) periodically. In some cases, the predator in question will not accept non-living foods, but more often, the aquarist considers live feeders a special treat, or enjoys watching the natural hunting and eating techniques. Any ethical dilemmas of this practice must be resolved by the individual hobbyist, but there are some practical considerations as well.

Feeders and disease. There is always some risk of disease transmission whenever any new fish are added, but inexpensive, mass-produced feeder fish are probably more risky than most. Feeder fish should be inspected for obvious signs of infection before purchase if possible, and certainly before introduction to the home aquarium. Exposure time should be kept to a minimum, which means that only enough feeders that can be consumed immediately should be added at one time. This is especially important if the feeder fish had previously been kept at a much lower temperature. Any remaining feeders purchased should be cared for properly, that is, well fed and kept in heated, filtered aquariums in order to avoid stress and infection.

Feeders and crowding. Many tanks containing large predatory fish are overcrowded to the brink of disaster already, and the addition of dozens or even hundreds of feeders can push them well beyond the margin of safety. Feeder fish consume oxygen and excrete ammonia in even greater quantities than longer-lived tankmates and it is not uncommon for tanks to chemically "crash" shortly after the addition of feeders.

Feeders and aggression. Some hobbyists are delighted and others dismayed to find that feeding live fish increases the amount of aggression among their predatory fish.

Feeders and nutrition. Feeder fish alone rarely constitute a complete and balanced diet, so other foods should be offered as well, and feeders may need to be withheld on occasion until spoiled fish begin to accept more standard fare. Another option is to "gut-load" feeder fish by giving them a last, high quality meal shortly before being offered.

Feeders and digestion. Some types of feeders (certain minnows, for example) have high fat content that leads to unattractively obese and poorly colored specimens. Others, such as goldfish, have large, hard-to-digest scales, which can obstruct proper digestion, leading to illness and death.


"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

Copyright © 1999 Aquatics Unlimited
All rights reserved.

Local Specials

Through 10-26-17

Pond Fish 50% OFF!

Pond Plants 50% OFF!

Select Saltwater Fish 20% - 30% OFF!

Dry Base Rock $2.50 per Lb

GLO-Fish 20% OFF!

All Freshwater Angelfish 20% OFF!

Cobalt Microvue Aquarium Kits 20% OFF!

Seachem Flake Foods 20% Off!

Kent Pro Scrapers 20% Off!

10 tank $16

20H tank $33

20L tank $33

29 tank $50

40 Breeder tank $86

55 tank $105

65 tank $141

75 tank $133

90 tank $225

120 tank $365

125 tank $306

150 tank $521

180 tank $617

210 tank $712

75 Overflow tank $270

90 Overflow tank $324

120 Overflow tank $474

125 Overflow tank $461

150 Overflow tank $663

180 Overflow tank $726

210 Overflow tank $932

Aqueon Pine Black Stands 20% Off!

REWARDS account may be required for special pricing. You may sign up and use the special pricing the same day!

* = SPECIAL ORDER; 100% deposit required

** = while supplies last

*** = specially marked tanks only; selection may vary during the sale

Aquatics Unlimited | 3550 S. 108th Street | Greenfield, WI 53228
Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. | Phone: 414-543-2552 | Fax: 414-543-4929