Category: Fish Food

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Best Aquarium Salt to Keep Your Fish Healthy

Introduction

We all love our fish and wish them  long, healthy lives. A common way to accomplish is this is through using aquarium salt products and adding them to the water they swim in. As you have probably already discovered by now, choosing a quality aquarium salt is no easy task. There is a plethora of products available on the market, and it can be daunting or even overwhelming to make your pick.

Considering how salt treatment itself needs a little tinkering in order to be effective, as it can be toxic and dangerous in large doses, you are probably at a loss by now. Luckily for you, this article will give you all you need to know. First, we will explain whether you should or shouldn’t add salt to your aquarium. Second, we will outline some principles for proper salt use. Third, we will showcase our favorite aquarium salt products. We have personally tried all these and cannot recommend them enough. But first:

Should you Add Aquarium Salt?

The only true answer is that it depends. Generally, adding a bit of salt to a freshwater aquarium aids fish and increases their well being and health. For some fish, however, salt can be toxic. Moreover, any salt treatment should be accompanied by regular water changes to keep salt levels from rising to dangerous levels.

Depending on what fish you have in your aquarium, what you are trying to accomplish – prevention or treatment – as well as depending on where you live – water “softness” differs in different locations – you should calibrate the amount of salt you add to your aquarium accordingly.

We therefore encourage you to perform your own, individual treatment to gauge the salt levels suitable for your specific goals and fish. Giving you exact guidelines would be irresponsible, or even dangerous to your fish.

Principles of Effective Salt Treatment

What we can do, however, is to give you some general principles you can apply in your salt treatment, that you are likely to find useful, no matter your situation.

  • Salt Treatment & Parasites: Regular use of salt as a preventative, can end up making parasites resistant to salt treatment. You might then have to resort to medications, instead. Thus, use salt no more than necessary.
  • Salt & Aquatic Plants: Many aquatic plants cannot really handle large amounts of salt. That being said, most should be fine with a little aquarium salt.
  • General rule of thumb: Like we mentioned, the exact amount of salt you should use depends on factors specific to your own situation. If we were to give a general rule of thumb, we could recommend you start with 1 tablespoon per 7 gallons of water – this is generally considered a safe dose for most fish and aquatic plants.
  • Always follow the product’s guidelines: While salt treatment can be a highly beneficial and inexpensive preventative method, we cannot stress enough the importance of following a salt product’s guidelines. Do not exceed the recommended doses, as doing so will result in many negative consequences you would do best without.

Top Aquarium Salt Products:

Instant Ocean: Sea Salt

Instant Ocean Sea SaltA great brand to introduce yourself to aquarium salt products, Instant Ocean is renowned for their extremely affordable prices. Do not let the price fool you, however, we have made sure this product passes our high standards of quality with flying colors. We present to you to their long time best seller, a product widely used by hobbyists as well as public aquariums and scientific research facilities – talk about a great bio!

The salt is really fast dissolving, and the product is completely nitrate and phosphate free. It has been refined and tested by professional scientists and aquarists time and time again in order to ensure it delivers all the major and minor elements necessary for maximising your fish’s health.

The product comes in many packages, from 10 gallons all the way to 200 gallons. What is really surprising, is how affordable it is. At just $10.78, this is really a bargain and we encourage you to give it a try.

API: Aquarium Salt, Freshwater, 50-Pound Box

API AQUARIUM SALT Freshwater Aquarium SaltAnother excellent choice to consider, API’s freshwater aquarium salt comes to supply your fish with all the electrolytes they need to quickly recover from disease and improve their health and respiration systems. This salt is made from evaporated sea water, and thus includes all  natural ingredients.

The package contains 50 pounds worth of salt – the salt is contain inside a thick, plastic bag inside the box. You can freely use it as needed from there. Now, do not get excited and remember what we said earlier: Use extra care when using salt and don’t exceed the recommended dosage to avoid any complications.

API has been creating massively successful and innovative aquarium products for more than 50 years. If the thought of stress free, vibrant and energy booming fish is to your liking, make sure you give this product a try.

Crystal Clear: Parasalt, 10 lbs

CrystalClear ParaSaltThe final product on our list, CrystalClear’s ParaSalt, has been formulated specifically for goldfish and koi fish. It will increase their electrolyte intake significantly, which is an essential factor in fish health, disease and injury recovery. To give you an example, potassium, aids fish recover from wounds as well as reduces their stress.

The company’s ParaSalt blend can be used routinely as a preventive supplement as well as for salt baths. A salt bath is chiefly used to treat particularly nasty infections and deteriorating slime coats – as well as a bulk of other problems.

Our proposed package contains 10 lbs worth of salt – but there is also the option of settling for 2 lbs, or going big with 20. To give you an estimate, 10 lbs of ParaSalt are enough to treat approximately 2.000 gallons of water. Not too shabby for a product that costs merely $17.49.

If you do not want to go with one of the bigger brands, this is an excellent, top quality alternative for you to take a look at.

Tropical Marine Fish Depression Signs

Introduction to Underwater Depression

It may sound strange at first how aquarium fish, seemingly enjoying a life of tranquility and abundance, may exhibit strong signs of depression and stress. You would think that being taken of as much as they usually are, they would be relatively stress immune. Unfortunately, signs of depression and stress can manifest on all living things of this Earth and our underwater friends are no exception. Much like us humans, fish under long stretches of stress can develop serious health complications and severe problems – and the matter of fact is, such cases are much more widespread and common than one would think.

Perhaps the biggest contributing factor towards their depression is how fish take quite the leap in their lifestyles when brought from the wild all the way to an aquarium. They experience all kinds of stresses, like changes in their diets, the conditions of the water they live in or even a lack of space for them to swim in. Not least among these factors, is how fish are highly social animals and being forced to considerably limit their social life heavily impacts them.

Identifying the leading causes of depression and stress

To better understand how fish develop depression, it is vital to understand what causes it in the first place. While treating sick fish is certainly possible, the best kind of medicine is preventing the sickness from taking root. Whether you already have tropical marine fish in your at-home aquarium or you are planning to get them, you would do well to address the following factors to ensure they live long and happy lives and avoid unnecessary harm:

  • Low oxygen levels: Should oxygen levels fall bellow the recommended level, fish are forced to use far more than what is optimum for their health. In extreme cases, this can even cause death. In any case, improper oxygen levels is a sure way to inflict chronic or acute stress on your fish.
  • Inadequate tank size: While the notion that “fish grow to the size of their tanks” is certainly a myth, it is established that fish who live in tanks too small for them and generally low quality living conditions become stunted in their growth and unhealthy.
  • Fluctuations in temperature: The vast majority of tropical and marine fish have problems with sudden temperature changes. The daily fluctuations produced by tanks that have not been set up properly can inflict significant chronic stress on the fish, whether the temperature is too high or too low.
  • Improper nutrition: Even though many fish are robust enough to survive a less than ideal diet it absolutely does them no good and negatively impacts their well-being. The effects of malnutrition are many and you should really pay attention to how much and what kinds of food your fish eat.
  • Harassment from other fish: On their natural environment, fish have plenty of room to navigate around and many hiding places to protect them. In a small yet crowded aquarium, however, chances are they likely to have conflicts with neighbor fish – and no place to hide. In-fighting among fish is not uncommon. It is part of their nature. Being left helpless against the aggressor fish, however, and being unable to hide is certainly a big cause of stress for them.

Signs to look out for

There is a great deal of revealing signs for you to look out for on your fish to see if they suffer from depression. These fall under the following categories: Differences in their swimming activities, having issues with their appetite, a change of their colors, changes in their breathing rate and how aware they seem of their surroundings.

  • Swimming activities: The most common indication is called the “shimmy” – the fist looks as if it is swimming really fast yet fails to move, practically staying in the same place. Other indicators are generally out of the norm swimming practices: Frantic swimming all over the aquarium is a sure sign of duress. Reversely, a significant decrease in swimming indicates weakness and should raise your red flags.
  • Appetite: Stress triggers a fish’s fight or flight reflexes. A highly stressed fish is constantly on the look out for danger instead of looking around for nutrition. This eventually depletes its energy stores causing it to become weak and susceptible to all kinds of hazards. It is a vicious cycle: The fish’s appetite drops due to stress, and because it does not eat nearly enough it accumulates even more stress.
  • Color: Closely related to a drop in appetite, colors beginning to fade are a sure sign that you fish suffers. Maintaining the beautiful colors your fish sport is quite the costly endeavor for their organisms: When they stop having adequate energy intake through their diets, their coloring is one of the first victims to suffer.
  • Respiration: Our breathing rate increases when faced with stress or adversity – this happens due to our natural fight or flight instincts. An increase in respiration consequently increases the concentration of available oxygen, which aids us when dealing with potentially dangerous situations. Fish have an extremely efficient system of respiration. Unfortunately, it is quite susceptible to infections, disease or plain poor water quality: These cause their gills to produce mucus which in turns decreases the gills’ function and thus causes fish to essentially breathe faster, considerably tiring and weakening them in he long term.
  • Awareness: Acute changes in a fish’s mentation, whether they lean on the side of dullness or overt stimulation are a red flag for distress. Generally, a depressed fish is more likely to be laying still and drifting around instead of racing the aquarium in agitation. In both cases, however, out of the norm activity should be considered a sign of distress. You should take great care to note your fish’s activity levels to be able to deduce whether there is a sudden change or not. It is very important to keep in mind that there is a rather large variation among the many different species of fish, with some being more active than others.

Best Fish Food for Tetras

Best Fish Food for Tetras – Keep your Fish Healthy

Introduction: High quality nutrition for Tetras

You may be wondering how could you ever possibly decide what type of fish food is best for your tetras, considering the abundance of products readily available on the market today. Naturally, that is no easy task. Even though many fish are robust enough to survive under less than ideal living conditions and poor nutrition, in order for them to live long and prosper quality nutrition is mandatory. Luckily, tetras are not too particular about their foods: They can be fed a wide range of products with no problems. In fact, in order to help them develop to their full potential you would do well to serve them a variety of different products, mixing them as much as possible to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

Much like we humans gleam the most health benefits by eating vegetables of many colors, so do tetra fish benefit from eating different sources of food. Luckily for you, we have compiled a huge list of products your tetra fish are going to love. These are all tried and true, guaranteed to aid in your pet’s full development, growth and well-being.

Tetra: TetraMin Tropical Flakes

Tetra TetraMin Tropical Flakes
Easily digestible yet extremely nutritious, Tetra’s tropical flakes have extreme value for their relatively cheap cost. They are currently priced at just $10.18, making for a great purchase for those planning to buy fish food regularly. They contain a patented blend that includes omega-3 fats, biotin and various other ingredients that enhance the immune system, bolster the metabolism and give the all the required energy for the growth of your tetras. The package comes in several different sizes, so that you can finely tune your order to suit your particular needs. If you are not yet convinced, we will just let you know that the product currently has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating, after 793 reviews left by customers. Put that into perspective. Now, go get it!

Tetra: Blood Worms Freeze Dried Treat

Tetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried TreatAnother excellent product brought to you by Tetra’s fish food veterans, this is ideal for giving your fish a quick boost of energy. Having undergone a multitude of tests and processes, these bloodworm treats lack the undesirable microorganisms commonly found in live bloodworms. If you have a lot of fish in your tank be extra careful when feeding them these, as they are very likely to end up fighting for who gets the bigger bite. That is how tasty Tetra’s bloodworm treats are. You have been warned.

Hikari: Tropical Semi-Floating Micro Pellets for Pets, 0.77-Ounce

Hikari Tropical Semi-Floating Micro Pellets for Pets, 0.77-Ounce

These small, pellets don’t sport multiple colors just for fun: Each color shows the presence of different macro and micro nutrients. Reds contain protein along with all the necessary amino acids for growth, yellows have minerals and vitamins to promote health and optimal hormone levels and greens, naturally, signify fiber which aids digestion and helps nutrition absorption. Remember what we stated at the start of this article? That variety and balance is key for a great diet for tetras? This product right here does all that and more. Not only is it supremely nutritious, it also tastes great: Small-mouthed fish like tetras are going to go crazy over it. We encourage you give it a try.

San Francisco Bay: Brand ASF71104 Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp for Fresh and Saltwater Fish, 10gm

San Francisco Bay Brand ASF71104 Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp for Fresh and Saltwater Fish, 10gm

San Francisco Bay’s package contains two packs, each filled with 10 grams of frozen, dried shrimp, a highly nutritious and healthy meal for all kinds of tropical fish. If you want to keep your fish vigorous and vibrant with energy, this is just the right product for you. Make sure you use it as a supplement to their main diet – it might be too expensive to use as a basis for their diet itself – and they are bound to remain stimulated, shiny and strong. It contains algae and diatoms, thus being very rich in both protein and essential fats, thus enhancing all biological processes of your tetras. According to the manufacturer, you should take care in letting your fish consume whatever portion they end up consuming in roughly three minutes. You should remove any leftovers. You don’t want your fish to grow lethargic from overeating these delicious treats now, do you?

Omega One: Veggie Rounds 8.1oz

Omega One Veggie Rounds 8.1ozOmega One’s product is quite special. It contains fresh kelp harvested along the southeast shoreline of Alaska, an extremely rare ingredient. In fact, only one other company is licensed to do that. Another high profile ingredient of these Veggie Rounds is spirulina, a superfood that is arguably the most nutritious plant of our planet. These two ingredients, coupled with salmon, halibut and a seafood mix, give the end product has a very intense green color. This should not alarm you in any way, as it is a sign of high quality. If you want superhero levels of health for your fish, this is definitely the right product for you.

Ocean Nutrition: Brine Shrimp Plus Flake 5.5 oz.

Ocean Nutrition Brine Shrimp Plus Flake 5.5 oz.

The final product on our list comes from a relatively smaller company called Ocean Nutrition. We were very pleased by it, so we would like to put it on the map for you. The product has been formulated with great care after extensive tests by aquaculture biologist specialists, in order to successfully blend a great deal of high quality ingredients. These include salmon, pacific plankton, squid, krill, clams, herring, brine shrimps, various vitamins and minerals along with carotenoid pigments. Not only will it boost a fish’s immune system and improve its vitality, it will also enhance the vibrancy of its colors. Moreover, its high protein content will ensure your fish grow to their full potential while maintaining optimal energy levels. All in all this is a very solid product that can be fed to nearly all marine fish and freshwater species. As a side bonus, it will never cloud your tank’s water. With a two-day shipping option available at checkout, this is a great choice if you want to get great fish food as fast as possible.

What Should I Feed my Fish?

Fish food pellets in hand close-up. carp, child, closeup

Isn’t it weird that while you’re sitting down drinking a Dr. Pepper and eating a slice of cheese pizza you’re trying to determine the absolute healthiest food to feed your fish? Many fish-keepers obsess over what they need to feed their fish. In this article we will discuss the best brands of food, which types of food to feed to different fish and also brands to avoid. This will only discuss pellets, flakes and freeze-dried foods. Not every single brand will be listed so if you have a specific question, feel free to message me on Facebook!

Before we get started though, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Foods that have ‘meals’ (fish meal, squid meal, shrimp meal, vegetable meal, etc.) as the first ingredient are typically lower quality.
  • Foods that begin their ingredient list with ‘whole’ foods (whole Atlantic krill, whole fish, whole shrimp) are almost always high-quality foods.
  • Using natural ingredients like garlic, real seaweeds, different kinds of algae are all signs that the food you’re looking at is of high-quality. Enriching the food with different vitamins is also a common practice in more expensive fish foods.
  • Some fish, like Figure Eight Puffers, need a specialized diet which is something you’ll need to research on your own.

Below-Average Food Brands:

In no specific order, here are the brands of fish food you often see which I think you should avoid. These foods are typically cheaper and use more fillers and less, if any, premium ingredients. Often times, companies will use fillers like wheat to cut costs. Regardless of what specific food they’re selling, I won’t purchase any food from these brands.

  • Tetra
  • Aqueon
  • API
  • Marineland
  • Wardley’s

Average/Above-Average Food Brands:

These brands of food are better quality than those listed above, whilst some of their foods will use fillers, often times they use less fillers and more quality ingredients. Often times, their freeze-dried products will be enhanced with vitamins whereas the cheaper brands will not be. A good example of this is Hikari’s Bloodworms vs Tetra’s. The main difference is that Hikari enhances their Bloodworms with vitamins whereas Tetra does nothing to them.  Personally, I wouldn’t recommend all of their products (flakes/pellets) but I do use Hikari’s Daphnia, Bloodworms and their sinking wafers amongst other things.

  • Hikari
  • New Era
  • Elive

The Best Fish Foods:

There are two brands of fish food that I’m comfortable saying all of their products are of the highest-quality and will readily try any of their foods. Those brands are New Life Spectrum and Omega One. These foods are significantly more expensive but you get what you pay for, they are made with the highest-quality ingredients like whole krill, whole fish, garlic, kelp, different seaweeds, different algaes and a plethora of vitamins. I use numerous pellets from New Life Spectrum. The Betta formula, Cichild formula, small fish formula, the medicated Hex Shield pellets and many more. These pellets are devoured by all of my fish, help keep them happy and healthy and they do not cloud or dirty the tank in anyway. I also use Omega One’s community flakes, veggie rounds and their Betta pellets. You can’t go wrong with either of these brands.

Now that we’ve gone over which specific brands of food you should buy, let’s talk about the basics of what to feed different types of fish.

Your Average Community Fish:

Many people have kept your common community fish at one point or another, these include but are not limited to, many Tetras, Angels, Barbs, Guppies, Mollies, Platies, Danios, Gouramis, Rasboras, Swordtails, etc. These fish usually aren’t particularly picky about what they eat and for the most part they’re omnivores. A good staple food is something like Omega One Tropical Flakes or New Life Spectrum Community Fish Formula. This diet should be supplemented with treats such as Hikari’s freeze-dried Bloodworms and Daphnia.

Bottom Feeders:

Things like Corydoras catfish, Otocinclus catfish and various plecos are often bought to act as a clean-up crew. However, it’s still very important to supplement their diet. My two favorite foods to feed my Sterbai cories and my plecos are Omega One Veggie Rounds and Hikari Sinking Wafers.

Cichilds: 

Often times people are more concerned about what their Cichilds eat than other fish for some reason. It will depend on the specific fish you keep but I keep Rams and Appistogrammas and I feed them primarily New Life Spectrum Cichild Formula.  I supplement that diet with a variety of other foods including Hikari’s Bloodworms and Daphnia.

Discus:

Discus are very expensive fish so I see absolutely no reason to feed them anything but the best, New Life Spectrum Discus Formula or Omega One Discus Pellets. I’ve heard stories where people’s Discus didn’t like these pellets but what I usually find is the Discus are used to eating live and/or frozen foods which are obviously more appealing than pellets regardless of the brand.

Goldfish/Koi:

While I don’t have any personal experience feeding Goldfish or Koi, if I had Goldfish or Koi I would feed them New Life Spectrum Goldfish Formula or Koi Formula. Goldfish and Koi require less protein and fats and more ash content and veggie matter than your average fish. I’ve also heard great things about Hikari’s Goldfish and Koi food but the ingredients used in New Life Spectrum’s foods look to be higher quality.

Bettas:

I do however have plenty of experience with Bettas, personally, I prefer New Life Spectrum Betta Formula. If you prefer flakes, Omega One Betta Buffet is a good option. I’ve also used Hikari’s formula, I found that the colors and activity level in my Bettas increased when I switched to New Life Spectrum’s Betta Formula from Hikari’s.

Fry/Juvenile Fish:

There a few different foods on the market specifically made for fry, my favorite is New Life Spectrum Fry Starter which is an almost dust-like food that’s high in proteins, fats and vitamins to promote healthy growth. A cheaper, easier to find option, would be Hikari First Bites. While still effective the ingredient list isn’t quite as impressive as New Life Spectrum’s though.

As your fish get a little bit older, I recommend using New Life Spectrum Grow. This is a 0.5mm pellet designed to promote rapid, healthy growth in all sorts of fish. This is also hormone-free.

Soaking Food in Garlic – Good or Bad?

Absolutely a good thing, some studies have shown garlic extract helps combat internal parasites. While I’m not confident in that, I am confident in saying that garlic is a natural immune system booster which will help keep your fish healthy. They also love the taste of it. There are easy DIY methods that are cheaper but I’m not allowed in my kitchen so I use Seachem Garlic Guard. Personally I try to do this at least once per week, sometimes two or three times.

Medicated Foods:

The only two medicated foods I’ve used are New Life Spectrum’s Hex Shield (internal parasites/bloat) and Ick Shield. Both of these are great, I’ve used them multiple times with success. Ick Shield is also the only medicine on the market that I’ve ever heard of that disrupts ich during it’s most dangerous stage, the trophont stage. If you want to learn more about ich, click here!

Final Thoughts:

It’s impossible to cover every single food option for every single fish but I hope that this article not only serves as a guide as to which companies make the best food but it also helps teach you how to read the ingredient list at the pet store and make your own decision as to whether you should buy that food or not. Feel free to message me on Facebook if you want my opinion on a specific food!