quarium fish hobbyists canenjoy an impressive rangeof species, whose number isincreasing every year.
In response to the growing aquarists’ needsmanufacturers introduce foods with more andmore sophisticated formulas. However, dataconcerning dietary habits of wild specimensare rudimentary and extremely hard to obtain.The knowledge about fish’s needs comes fromobservation rather than rigorous research.Therefore, the common practice is touse research carried out on fish for humanconsumption instead despite the fact that itis not possible to create and maintain naturalnetwork of feeding relations in aquarium andmany species-typical behavior patterns aresimply not observed.No wonder that a diet of aquarium fish isbecoming more universal.In the wild fish feed on insects, molluscs,crustaceans, fish, plants, algae, etc. These foodsdiffer in terms of quality and quantity of nutrients.In addition, fish’s diets vary throughout theyear, as food availability varies depending onthe season. In the absence of their primaryfood, fish are forced to resort to less palatablealternatives, which they have declined so far.It’s not possible to imitate natural livingconditions of wild fish but you can composea diet based on products with nutrient-richcompositions to diversify their diet, henceprevent nutritional deficiencies and numerousmedical disorders. The most vulnerable is thehatch. Any deficiencies it experiences duringthis period can lead to deformities and devel-opmental disorders.For instance, Artemia nauplii, commonlyused for rearing fry, lead to the decalcificationof bones and reduction of the survival rate, if not supplemented by other foods.
In terms of their nutritional requirementsornamental fish can be divided into herbivores,omnivores and carnivores.Prepared foods for herbivorous fish shouldbe characterised with high content of plantmaterial, including spirulina, chlorella, Kelp algae,spinach, nettle, etc. They should also be fed withfresh or frozen plants, mostly spinach, broccoli,zucchini, carrots, etc.For carnivorous fish, which in the wild feedon fish, roe, fry and invertebrates, there’s achoice of frozen foods (krill, shrimps, fish fillets,squid, Daphnia pulex, Artemia, bloodworms,Tubifex etc.) and live foods (fish, Daphnia,Artemia, bloodworms, Tubifex, glassworm etc.)and multi-ingredient and high-protein preparedfoods.
Prepared foods foraquarium fish
Prepared foods available on the pet marketcan be divided into: multi-ingredient univer-sal foods, used in feeding of most popularaquarium fish species and specialist foods,dedicated to particular species or groups of fish with sophisticated dietary demands, suchas Tropheus cichlids, Malawi cichlids of mbunagroup which feed on periphyton, breedingdiscus, goldfish, red parrots and algae-eatersfrom Loricariidae family etc.A special group of foods areproducts enriched with variousnatural resources that improvefish’s health, enhance their colora-tion and increase their resistanceto diseases.The diversity of formulasis accompanied by a variety of forms in which prepared foodsare available, so you can chooseproduct perfectly adjusted to thesize of your fish’s mouth and theirway of feeding (from the surfaceof the water, its middle layers orfrom the bottom - see Figure 1).The best feeding solution forbottom-feeders are granules andtablets. Fish feeding in the middle layers of thetank or at the bottom prefer slowly sinkinggranules, which turn out particularly effectivein multi-species tanks with fish eating in variousparts of the aquarium.Fish with small mouth eating under thesurface of water will choose flakes, which provehighly effective in tanks where intraspecificcompetition takes place and weaker fish havea limited access to food. Flakes, floating all overthe tank, are easily accessible even for smallerand weaker fish.Tablets are recommended for timid fish,as they can be placed in fish’s favourite hidingplaces and for feeding the fry, due to the smallparticles that make up the tablet.
Prevention in fish is more effective thanmedical treatment. Well-nourished fish with astrong natural resistance to diseases is morelikely to cope with stress (transport from farmsto wholesalers, store, the customer’s home)and pathogens. In prepared foods for orna-mental fish one can find numerous substancesand resources, whose components enhancethe immune system, for example stabilised
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vitamin C, beta-glucan, unsaturated fatty acids,spirulina, Kelp algae, chlorella, etc.Stabilised vitamin C is a L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate resistant to high temperatures.Vitamin C reduces stress, stimulates theimmune system, strengthens blood vessel’swalls and accelerates wound healing.Unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs), includinglong-chain fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6,accelerate the regeneration of tissues, includingskin, improving its function as a protectivebarrier.Moreover, they are a building materialof hormone-like cellular messengers - pros-taglandins and reproductive cells. Part of thedemand for Omega-3 and Omega-6 fish coverthemselves by producing them from simpleUFAs, which they obtain from food.However, carnivorous and marine fishshould be supplied with Omega-3 fatty acids,because their ability to process them fromsimple UFAs is small.Beta-1.3/1.6-glucan - a polysaccharidederived from yeast’s cell walls - is a naturalimmune stimulator that directly affects mac-rophages, increasing their capacity for phago-cytosis of alien cells and their own cancer cells.Extremely valuable components of foodsfor aquarium fish are algae and spirulina(Arthrospira platensis).The share of the latter in fish feed dependson, inter alia, a very high protein content (55-70percent) characterised by a high digestibility(90 percent).In addition, protein of Spirulina containsmost essential amino acids for fish (if not all).The cell’s walls of this cyanobacterium arecomposed of mucopolysaccharides, whichact as immunostimulators. In the cells of spirulina one should find three times morechlorophyll than in plants. Chlorophyll reducesthe number of putrefactive bacteria in thegastrointestinal tract. The high content of carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, makesfoods with spirulina intensify coloration in fish,which is essential in case of colourful breedingforms. Thanks to so many different substancesspirulina enhances vitality and encourages theimmune system.Other relatively common algae supple-ments of aquafeed are chlorella and Kelp algae.Chlorella is known for its high concentra-tion of chlorophyll (seven percent in the drymatter) and large protein content(50 percent in the dry matter), richin essential amino acids.Health benefits are attributed toChlorella Growth Factor, rich innucleic acids. Kelp algae is a mixtureof marine seaweed belonging tothe brown algae, which are rich inminerals, including well-assimilableorganic iodine compounds, UFAs,and vitamins. Their addition has abeneficial effect on metabolism andgeneral condition of the fish.
Herbs in the aquarium
Not only have the herbs been applied totreat people, they are also commonly used asa dietary supplement in feeds for livestock anddomestic pets. Herbs enhance food palatability,stimulate animals’ appetite, aid digestion andimprove overall health.They also act as an anti-inflammatory,antidiarrheal andbacteriostaticagents.Herbs arealso present inthe aquarium.They play animportant role inthe preparationof water and areused as a com-ponent of bothprepared foodsand those pro-duced in houseconditions.In Europethere are 25species of basicherbal rawmaterials, includ-ing garlic andcommon nettle,which are usedin foods forornamental fish.To manu-facture pre-pared food pro-ducers also useplants rich in theso called fitamins,which act on thebody in a manner similar to vitamins. But unlikethe vitamins, they do not have to be deliveredeach day. Fitamins are present in vegetableand herbal plants. They regulate metabolicprocesses, detoxicate body and enhance over-all condition. Fitamins include among others:polyphenols (flavonoids and phenolic acids),sulfur compounds (such as allin in garlic), tan-nins and carotenoids. The exceptional sourcesof fitamins in foods for fish are garlic, spinach,spirulina and Kelp algae.Garlic (Allium sativum) is a well-knownspice and herbal plant. Its cloves are composedof sulphur-containing compounds, inter alia,allin which becomes allicin when garlic iscrushed. This is allicin to which garlic owes
by Aleksandra Kwaśniak-Placheta
and Leszek Moscicki
Tropical - Tadeusz Ogrodnik, 25Opolska Street, 41-507 Chorzow,Poland
Lublin University of Life Sciences,44 Doświadczalna Street, 20-280Lublin, Poland
-november-December 2011 | IntnatInal
F: Aquarium fish