Is Your Fish Too Fat?
A lot of people have resolved to eat less to lose weight this time of year, but what about your fish? Is your fishy friend overeating and overweight and how does this effect his health?
First of all, most of us humans want to feel better about the way we look, so we go on diets. A better reason would be for our health – and the same applies to our fish. They think they look beautiful no matter how much they eat! You can tell from the way they love to admire their own reflection! Too much food intake will have a negative effect on their health, though.
If your fish is overfed, it may develop constipation or intestinal blockage. This may call for fasting or the feeding of peas. (Much like for humans – fasting or eating vegetables.) For fish, this condition can actually be deadly!
Besides the effect on internal biology, feeding your fishes too much can also be a reason for fish death. Refraining from overfeeding can help keep your fish alive because it helps to ensure good water quality. Usually, when fish die, the problem will be related to water quality.
Of course, poor water quality can cause disease – so this is another reason to not feed your fish more than the optimal amount. Overfeeding can cause the buildup of ammonia – which is the biggest cause of physical stress to fish. If your fish is panting at the surface, it may be ammonia poisoning. They may also be sluggish and have reddened gills or hang just below the surface of the water from the ammonia present in their water from overfeeding.
Decaying matter uses oxygen. If your fish are breathing harder than usual and gulping air from the surface, there is a problem with the amount of oxygen in the water. This could be from overfeeding.
If you feed your fish too much, hydrogen sulfide gas can form. This will cause an unhealthy tank and thus sick fish.
Of course, you’ve got to keep their nutrition up by making sure they get all their vitamins. This can be accomplished by feeding them a varied diet. Getting sufficient vitamins means a helping hand in the right direction to boost their immune system in order to help prevent disease. Even a healthy fish could get sick, but it’s less likely if you are feeding them nutritiously enough to keep their immune system strong. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure! A strong immune system will eliminate the risk of some diseases, but fouling the water with excess food and fish waste can create a breeding ground for unhealthy water conditions. A balance is required.
If you think, based on your daily observation of your fish, that his stomach looks too swollen, he could be constipated – or even have a tumor. Constipation can be dangerous for fish – one common cause sometimes is feeding too many freeze-dried bloodworms. This is another case where variety in the diet can ease an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation for your fishy. If your fish end up with permanently serious digestive troubles – you may have to switch them to only live foods for the rest of their lives after they have been cured of their tummy ailment.
An advantage of live food is that it doesn’t pollute the water since it is live – in fact, some worms used for feeding actually also clean the bottom of your tank and provide food for your fish for later – for example, if you go on vacation!
So, feed your fish various appropriate foods for health, but also because who wants to eat the same old thing every single meal every day of your life? You’ll bore your fish that way and he may stop eating altogether! Variety is the spice of your fish’s life! Your finned friend will eat it up! Bon Apetit! Or, let’s say Bon Aquatíque!