What to feed baby fish in a pond
Feeding Pond Fish - The Pond Guy
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Feeding Fish a High Protein and Balanced Diet will Encourage Fish Growth
For pond and lake owners who stock their outdoor space with fish, it's important to know how to care for them and help them grow. But what do fish eat in a pond, and do you need to actively feed them? Algae, weeds, insects, leeches, and worms are great naturally occurring lake and pond fish food. However, fish also need supplemental nourishment, particularly if you're growing them for sport. Keep reading to learn more about what, when, and how much to feed your fish.
What to Feed Pond Fish
To maintain a natural balance in your pond, we recommend stocking a good ratio of prey to predator fish and adding minnows from time to time. If you need help, read our pond stocking guide for tips on how to properly stock your fish. It's also important to create a proper fish habitat in your pond to enable smaller prey fish and minnows to reproduce and naturally maintain the food supply.
If you're trying to help them grow quickly so you can use your pond for fishing, supplemental nutrition is key. Our Game Fish Grower pellets make great pond fish food for bluegill, bass, and more. Packed with high amounts of protein and vitamins, they encourage growth and provide balanced nutrition to increase resistance to common diseases.
Also remember to look for high-quality foods that contain better ingredients for your fish. Lower-quality foods will be harder to digest and pass through fish, adding unnecessary nutrients to the water, which can cause water clarity issues. Look for fish food with at least 40% protein for fast growth and vitamins to keep them strong. Use EcoBoost PRx in your pond every 2-4 weeks to improve water clarity and add over 80 trace minerals, good for fish and fast growth.
For small fish or growing fry, we recommend crushing pellets into tiny pieces to make them more manageable.
How Much to Feed Pond Fish
The size of your pond, number of fish, and whether or not you use a pond aerator are all factors that affect how much your fish need to be fed. Aeration in the pond will allow your fish to be more active, requiring you to feed them more. To start, we recommend feeding one-half to one pound of pellets per surface acre of water two to three times per day. This should equate to roughly the amount of food fish will eat in a ten minute period.
When to Feed Pond Fish
Water temperature will have an effect on how much your fish will eat. As the water temperatures start dropping in the fall, fish will eat less and will eventually stop feeding until spring when the water warms up. Only feed your game fish when the water temperature is above 50°F (10°C). When temperatures become colder, fish are almost in a state of hibernation and will live off their stored body fat until spring. Once water temperatures are above 50°F, start your feedings again.
What Else Can You Feed Fish in a Pond?
Along with the commercial food and natural food found in the pond itself, you can also offer your fish human treats like torn-up chunks of stale bread or chopped fruits and vegetables. They will add a much-welcomed variety to their diets and help you clean out your refrigerator!
Now that you're an expert on feeding pond fish, it's time to put your knowledge to the test. Pick up some Game Fish Grower or your pond fish food of choice and help provide your fish with the supplemental nutrition they need. If you have any questions, our customer service team will be happy to help.
How to Take Care of Pond Fish Babies
by Nicole Galipeau / in Family
Perhaps nothing is more exciting than seeing animals in your care reproduce. Fish can have a startling amount of offspring at a time, sometimes leaving the caretaker wondering exactly what to do. Luckily, most pond species---whether in a natural pond or an artificial one---do best with minimal intrusion, but you can take a few basic steps to provide the best possible survival rate for the baby fish.
Make sure that the pond offers plenty of dense plantings in at least one area to provide a safe, secure place for the baby fish (called fry) to hide out in and get away from potential predators. If the pond does not already have natural plant growth, you can purchase additional plants from pond supply stores to add hideaways for the baby fish. Remember that even the fish's parents will eat them given a chance, so providing cover is crucial to their survival. Other good hideaways include rocks, driftwood, and commercially available "fry hideouts."
- Perhaps nothing is more exciting than seeing animals in your care reproduce.
- Remember that even the fish's parents will eat them given a chance, so providing cover is crucial to their survival.
Feed the baby fish a quality brand of fry food, or infusoria, only if their pond is not well-established; most baby fish feed primarily on microscopic organisms and algae during their first weeks, and the addition of fry food can harm water quality. Natural ponds require no food to be added, and established artificial ponds will only require feeding after the first week. Then you can offer the baby fish powdered fish pellets or fry food.
- Feed the baby fish a quality brand of fry food, or infusoria, only if their pond is not well-established; most baby fish feed primarily on microscopic organisms and algae during their first weeks, and the addition of fry food can harm water quality.
Keep the water quality high in man-made ponds by increasing filter output slightly for the first few weeks after hatching. Ornamental pond fish, such as koi, can be particularly sensitive to water quality when they are newly hatched. This sensitivity combined with the introduction of fry food, which can cause ammonia levels to creep up, can make losing an entire pond of fry very easy if the water parameters are not watched carefully.
Transition the young fish slowly to larger and larger food until they are eating the same things as the adults. Depending on the species, this may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, during which time the fry will have increased in size to no longer be food options for the adults.
Remove fry hideouts if you desire, or leave them in the pond for future generations of baby fish.
- 1 Aquatic Community: Breeding Koi
- 2 PetPlace.com: How To Raise Baby Fish Successfully
How to feed fish in a home pond?
If you decide to create a pond for yourself and keep fish in it, think about the issue of feeding. Although the fish are able to get their own food on their own, the pond is an artificially created biotype, which means that the food supply there is formed in small quantities and cannot be the basis for feeding.
Varieties of feed
Feed is divided into artificial (granulated feed and feed mixtures) and live (make up 25-25% of the fish diet and includes natural live feed). They are also divided into other criteria, which are described below.
Feed must be selected according to its composition - it must contain certain nutrients and trace elements.
- Proteins - play an important role in metabolism. The protein content of the diet should be between 30 and 60% of the total amount of dry food. It is especially important to give the right amount of protein to young animals. It contains essential amino acids and their absence can lead to reduced growth and disease. Protein foods include beef heart, chicken egg, fresh-frozen and boiled fish, shrimp meat and krill.
- Fats - are the main source of energy, their lack will lead to a decrease in growth rates, causes physiological disorders. The need varies depending on the type of pet (for example, for carp - 1%, for eel and trout - no more than 0.5%). Fat is found in various seeds (flax, for example) and cake.
- Carbohydrates - the amount should not exceed 25%, which is a complete source of energy, but the need for different types of fish is different. For example, for carp or eel, a high fiber content threatens to slow down growth and increase the fat content of meat. Also, the amount of carbohydrates should be calculated not only by breed, but also by the age of the fish. Contained in vegetable and grain raw materials.
- Minerals - some minerals (calcium, phosphorus, chlorine) are taken by fish from the water. The rest should be given to them artificially, carefully selecting the elements of the diet. If there is a little lack of minerals, then this affects the growth rate, but if there is a strong deficiency, then this ends with a decrease in appetite or even death of the young. Fish get minerals from plants and algae.
- Vitamins - all vitamins are responsible for certain processes in the body - vitamin A controls the state of metabolism, D is responsible for the formation of bones, E - promotes the formation of caviar. But vitamin B is considered especially important, with the help of which the assimilation of proteins and carbohydrates occurs. the source of vitamins is live food - insects, crickets, dozdrofila flies.
Depending on the type of fish
Fish have their own feeding habits - some feed in the upper layers of the water, others in the lower, and others in the middle. And it is precisely on the basis of such physiological characteristics that food is selected:
- Fish feed on the surface - use food in the form of chips, sticks and flakes for them, as they are light in weight, which helps them stay afloat.
- Mid-water fish - can also eat flakes and chips, because when wet they become heavier and sink lower to the bottom. Another solution is pellets, as they sink slowly, which allows the fish to have time to eat them.
- Fish at the bottom - eat pellets, tablets and wafers. They are heavier than chips and immediately begin to sink to the bottom.
When choosing food, you should pay attention to high quality foods that have proven themselves in the market. Some of these foods have a healing effect:
How to choose the right food for your fish?
If your choice fell on ready-made food, then you should understand that not all of them are the same and useful, so you should pay attention to some characteristics:
- Feed assignment. Use a balanced diet for pond fish, not aquarium fish;
- Balance. Feed must be balanced and include both proteins, minerals and vitamins in order for the food to be healthy and complete.
- Digestibility. The diet you have chosen should be well absorbed and promote good digestion, as this will help keep the water clean for a longer time.
- Components. They must be selected, so you should not buy economy-class feed from low-quality raw materials, as this does not carry any nutritional value for fish and accelerates water pollution with organic matter and algae growth due to poor digestibility.
- Packaging. Do not purchase loose foods or damaged packages as there is no guarantee that such foods will remain fresh or of good quality. The packaging must be made of dense material, not let in light and have a lock;
- Immunity protection. Especially useful food for fish are those that help to increase the body's defenses.
When rearing fish in a pond, feed requirements are slightly reduced, because in natural waters there is natural food that needs a little addition. Typically, fish food is applied in the form of granules, briquettes or pasty masses. Pay attention only to granules or briquettes, as they have high moisture resistance, while the pasty mass will soon lose half of its nutrients.
In early spring, when the fish wakes up, feed them more than in summer. In the heat, the fish does not eat so much, as it can find food in the pond itself. And in autumn, when the water temperature drops below 10 degrees, stop feeding the fish altogether, as in winter most species fall into a dormant state.
How to feed the fish correctly?
While the feeding process is in progress, watch how the fish eat the food. The amount of food should be such that there are no leftovers. If what the fish could not eat accumulates, then the feeders and the reservoir must be cleaned, otherwise the remains will begin to decompose and contribute to the development of pathogenic microorganisms.
The state of appetite is estimated about 40-60 minutes after the food was distributed.
In order for the fish to be fed to the desired result, the following rules must be followed:
- Don't just throw dry food on the bottom of the pond. Add some water to it and make the consistency of a thick dough, and only then add it to the pond.
- Feed the fish at the same time to develop the reflex.
- When feeding in the evening, add lighting so that the fish start to reflexively react to this light, which will further simplify the process of catching.
- Fit the feeding place with a galvanized iron metal tray and a lifting device. This is necessary in order to raise and lower the tray into the pond at any time and monitor the process of eating food. You can also adjust the amount of food given out and make sure that the food does not start to rot or sour, which will help keep the water clean.
Read more about feeding pond fish here.
Compliance with the conditions
Pond fish feeding depends on a large number of factors, which include:
- Water temperature - in the summer months, with a large natural food supply, feeding takes place 2-3 hours after the sun rises. The water temperature should be from 12-15 degrees and above;
- Age - Underyearlings should be fed twice a day - in the morning and in the evening, in small portions. Two-year-olds are fed once a day - in the morning.
- Eatability - in order not to overfeed the fish, you need to monitor the rate of food disappearance. If the food is eaten too quickly, then the fish are not getting the food they need. If the food remains untouched for three hours, then it is worth reducing the rate.
Feeding regimen for different fish
Differentiation of fish by species plays an important role in the efficiency of feeding, as each food has specific nutrient requirements.
The daily feed rate for carp breeding is determined by the weight of the fish and the temperature of the water. If the carp weight is up to 0.5 g, then the daily rate is 100% of the weight, if 500 or more, then 2.8% of the total weight.
Fingerlings and two-year-olds are fed pellets placed in special feeders. The young are fed every hour, reducing the amount of food given out as they gain weight. Also, the number of feedings decreases when the water temperature drops. You can feed carps with protein food (worms, bloodworms, snails and shells), potatoes, oilcake and bread, as well as finely chopped soft grass and special compound feed (which is preferably pre-mixed in a bucket until a doughy mass is formed).
If the water in the pond is very warm - 23-26 degrees, then the appetite of the fish increases and they need to be fed more often. Feed the young almost every hour. Carp weighing from half a kilo to 2 kg is enough to feed 4-5 times a day. If the water temperature is 22-24 degrees, then the number of feedings reaches 5-6 times a day, if 14-20 degrees, then 4 times a day, and at a temperature of less than 14 degrees - 2-3 times a day.
Crucian carp is a fish that is considered to be practically omnivorous. Nothing will happen to her, even if you forget to feed her, because in the reservoirs she will always find the necessary minimum of food, especially if an ecosystem has already formed in the pond.
Best of all crucians eat algae, steamed beans and cereals, worms, insect larvae, bloodworms. Bread is not recommended.
Feed should not exceed 5% of the weight of the fish. The norm is simply calculated - if about 30 individuals of 200 grams each live in the pond, then the total weight of the fish is 6 kg, which means that the one-time feed rate should not exceed 300 grams.
Feed crucians 1-2 times a day, at the same time.
About breeding crucian carp, including their feeding, read here.
Fish of the salmon family are fed with meat waste, non-fat dry milk, as well as meat and bone, fish and krill meal. These components can be mixed together or immediately bought ready-made mixed feeds, which differ among themselves by age groups: for example, for fry weighing up to 5 grams, RGM-6M and S-112-Lat are taken, and for young animals - LK-5P.
Catfish is a special fish, because by the time it begins to eat well, it has already developed a stomach and intestines, which makes it possible to form special enzymes for digesting food. This feature makes the fish less demanding on the composition of the feed - for catfish, SB-1 and SB-3 are usually used, supplementing them with calcium if they are grown in soft water.
Catfish fry should be fed 8 times a day, gradually reducing the number of meals to 4 times. The volume of a single dose of feed depends on the temperature of the water - the warmer the water, the more food should be given.
For successful breeding of young animals, it is necessary to monitor the amount of animal proteins in the eel's food, the more it is, the more intensively the fish grows. Young animals are fed up to 10 times a day in the shaded parts of the pond and are mainly fed with animal feed. In fish weighing up to 2 grams, the daily norm is 16%, weighing 2-4 grams - 12%, 4-8 grams - 10% and 8-25 grams - 8%.
Sturgeon should be given food with a high fat content, this is especially important for bester juveniles. The number of feeding times depends on age: larvae and fry are fed up to 12 times a day, and adult fish - from 4 to 8 times a day.
For tilapia, food of both plant and animal origin is excellent, and protein food is a priority.
Tilapia are suitable for grain waste, meal and compound feed. The larvae begin to consume artificial food as soon as they switch to active external feeding and therefore they are excellent for breeding in pools and ponds.
For juveniles weighing up to 50 grams, feed VBS-RZh-81, RZGK-1, and weighing from 50 grams and above - PK-Br, RGM-2Ke, etc. The norm of the food base per day is determined based on the weight of the fish.
What determines the efficiency of feeding?
The conditions under which fish are grown have a direct impact on the growth rate and quality of fish meat. An important point is the temperature of the water - a large number of species increase the intensity of growth when the temperature of the water in the reservoir rises. If the indicators drop to 0 degrees, then the digestion of food first slows down, and a little later the process stops altogether.
The quality of the feed also matters (protein food accelerates the growth of fish) and the amount of oxygen in the water (1 mg/l is too low for the fish, and it stops growing and eating). A big disadvantage of low oxygen levels is an increase in the concentration of ammonia and nitrates, which also negatively affects growth.
Take care of the length of daylight hours. Since daylight tends to decrease as the cold seasons approach, it makes sense to use artificial lighting to stimulate the production of growth hormone and improve food digestion.
Keep an eye on the level of salt in the water, because some species of fish can only be kept in either fresh water or salt water. An exception is tilapia, as it can grow in any type of water.
Use special feeders that you can make yourself to dispense feed. You will find detailed instructions on how to make such a feeder in this video:
Self-preparation of food
There are situations when it is not possible to purchase ready-made food. In such cases, you can always cook it yourself.
For example, you can make a long-term feed mixture, which will include the following components:
- fishmeal - 15 parts;
- shrimp - 5 parts;
- dried bloodworm - 5-10 parts;
- boiled egg - 5 parts;
- dried daphnia, cyclops and hamarus - 5-10 parts;
- milk powder - 5-10 parts;
- red bell pepper (for coloring) - 5 parts;
- underwater plants;
- yeast - 6-10 parts;
- nettle, dandelion and plantain shoots scalded with boiling water - 10-14 parts.
All ingredients should be ground and supplemented with multivitamins, then mixed in boiling water to a paste-like state and boiled for another 2-3 minutes. Pour into molds and freeze. The dish is given to fish in both frozen and thawed form. Freshly cut greens or ground green peas are used as a garnish.
Fish nutrition is an important issue if you want them to live for a long time and please your eye (when ornamental breeding of koi, for example). Therefore, you should be very careful when choosing food, read the compositions of ready-made feeds and do not hesitate to ask questions to more knowledgeable people who will help you figure it out.
Author of the publication
Feeding the fish in the pond. Proper feeding of pond fish.
In order to properly feed the fish, it is necessary to follow three main rules:
- Favorable keeping conditions;
- Proper feeding of pond fish;
- Disease prevention.
These are the three corners of the base of the pyramid of healthy life! If at least one rule is not observed, the entire pyramid will collapse.
Feeding is one of the three fundamental factors for a healthy and prosperous life of fish in the pond. How the fish will grow, its health, the presence of offspring and the quality of the water in the reservoir depends on feeding.
Proper feeding of pond fish means compliance with the norms and the use of balanced feeds.
The feeding rate depends on the water temperature, the weight and age of the fish and the calorie content of the feed.
Since fish are cold-blooded animals, their metabolism is inextricably linked with the ambient temperature, i.e. water. When the temperature rises, the metabolism increases, and when it decreases, vice versa, it decreases.
Based on this, there are several rules:
- Feeding pood fish after winter should start when the water temperature rises to 8-10 degrees Celsius.
- Fish feeding period in the pond spring-summer-autumn.
- Don't feed the fish in winter!
The temperature of the water under the ice is 4 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the metabolic rate of the fish slows down as much as possible. The fish falls into anabiosis (full or partial). The nutrition of the body is carried out due to the nutrients accumulated earlier.
Feeding in summer
In summer, feeding pond fish should be limited when the water temperature rises to 26-30 degrees Celsius. This is due to the fact that as the water temperature rises, the solubility of oxygen decreases. It becomes more difficult for the fish to breathe. They literally begin to “swallow air” at the surface of the water. In such cases, the food will only harm the fish.
Fish should be fed in the morning!
The weight of the fish depends on the age. The older the fish, the more it weighs. A young growing organism needs more nutrients and proteins. Therefore, for juvenile fish, high-protein balanced feeds are used and fed 2 times a day, or even more. For yearlings, other feeds are used. They contain less protein and more fiber. Feeding scheme - 1 time in 2-3 days.
The amount of feed can be calculated from formulas, identified from feed tables, or the fish can be fed according to palatability (until full). The latter option is most convenient when feeding fish in your own pond.
Modern mixed feed is produced taking into account all species characteristics of fish. Feeds are:
Feeds are completely balanced in terms of chemical composition. They contain all the necessary nutrients, macro-, microelements and vitamins. Depending on the age and type of fish, the feed is divided into the following types:
- Feed for repair and manufacturers;
- Feeds containing pigment;
- Feed for ornamental fish species.
How to choose the right food for your fish
Which food is right for you:
- Starter - suitable for fish fry. These foods are high in protein and nutrients. They promote rapid growth and strengthen the immune system.
- Production - necessary for growing fish. Good feed digestibility ensures high body weight gains and low feed costs.
- Feed for producers - used when fattening fish before spawning. Contribute to the formation of high-quality sexual products.