Freshwater fish astronotus (or cichlids) are quite large in size and heavy in weight, so their feeding in aquarium conditions should be sufficiently rich and thoughtful. The species diversity available today does not pose any particular difficulties. These fish are not too demanding, and if simple rules are followed, even beginners can successfully keep them, giving preference to either ready-made or live food. In this article, we will analyze what is the best way to feed astronotus.
When choosing food for astronotus, it is important to understand that these fish are gluttonous. They can absorb food even after full satiety, so food should be served in well-proportioned portions to avoid digestive problems. The preferred feeding scheme is every other: one-day food is served 1-2 times, the next the fish are left without a portion (food in their body is digested for two days). For young individuals, frequent feeding is required – 2-3 times a day in small portions to avoid overfeeding. Scheduled days without food for the growing fry are prohibited – this will be extremely harmful. A healthy daily intake is an amount that the fish can handle within a few minutes. All unnecessary things must be removed from the aquarium.
It is considered optimal to combine high-quality dry food for fish and periodic feeding with live food for proper growth. It is widely believed that astronotus can be fed with the meat of mammals, but this is not true. This type of food is poorly absorbed in the body of predators and triggers unfavorable decay processes in their digestive system, leading to obesity and muscle diseases.
It is important to adhere to the following feeding rules:
- products, dishes from the human table are prohibited;
- when choosing a high-quality commercial food, you must familiarize yourself with the description – it must correspond to a specific species and even a subspecies of fish;
- all food, live or dry, must be of high quality with an unexpired shelf-life;
- before buying, you need to make sure that the integrity of the package is not violated;
- any type of food must be balanced in its components – fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral.
In nature, small fish are food for predatory Astronotuses. By the decision of the owner, it is allowed to run such live food into the aquarium – veil tails, guppies, etc. Beforehand, you must completely make sure that the new fish are healthy, otherwise, an infection can get into the aquarium.
As the main food for cichlids, the following are suitable:
- large bloodworm;
- earthworms (washed and chopped);
- dragonfly larvae;
- pieces of fresh fish meat, shrimp, squid, mussels;
- vegetables – some representatives of the species happily eat green peas, tomatoes, cabbage, etc.;
- it is allowed to give only pieces of beef heart from mammalian meat – thanks to it, the individuals will be larger;
- minced seafood platter (if you add a small amount of bell pepper to it, you can achieve a brighter color of the fish).
Live food – insects, snails, and worms – are harvested with their own hands in spring and summer, collected, washed, and frozen. To compose a varied diet, they use multi-ingredient recipes and prepare food for fish on their own. This option is popular:
- 100 grams of boiled fish, separated from the bones;
- 100 grams of fresh or frozen green peas;
- lettuce leaves or a quarter of Peking cabbage, scalded with boiling water;
- 100 grams of shrimp or other seafood boiled without adding salt;
- a teaspoon of semolina.
All ingredients are passed through a meat grinder, semolina is added to the mass. From the finished mixture, it remains to form a plate 3-4 mm thick and freeze.
Pet store cichlid food is a simple and affordable option to provide your fish with a complete diet. It is produced in various forms – granules, tablets, sticks, flakes, etc., and is offered in an assortment of many companies. Which one to buy depends on the assortment of the store. The main thing is that it meets the needs of large fish and provides high-quality care of the aquarium (purchased food more quickly pollutes the water and can cause bacteria, enzymes to multiply). Tetra Cichlid Sticks and JBL are popular aquarists. Soft gel foods such as Tetra Min Holiday are less water polluting.
Having chosen the main types of food for fish, you should not make abrupt transitions. If it is necessary to change the usual diet, it is changed gradually, gradually introducing new types of food into the old ones. The optimal time for a comfortable transition is 3 weeks. In the early days, the inhabitants of the aquarium may spit out particles of unusual food, but gradually they will get used to it.
Feeding can be done as follows:
- hard-to-digest food in the form of flakes, granules, assorted fish, bloodworms is offered in the morning feeding. It is better to start a meal no earlier than half an hour after turning on the light in the aquarium so that the fish can adequately respond to the entry of a portion of food into the water;
- the second meal should be easily digestible – such alternation during the day is necessary for the correct functioning of the digestive tract and the prevention of its diseases. The last feeding is no later than an hour before the artificial lighting is turned off.
Astronotus’ food must be varied, including during the day. The uniformity of food with a high protein content is a source of protein accumulation in the aquarium inhabitants and in the water, and with a significant percentage of fat – obesity, degeneration of vital organs, and a decrease in reproductive capacity.
The better to feed the cichlids is up to the owner to decide on the basis of the characteristics of the species and specific conditions, but the food must be of high quality, complete and moderate. The principle of diversity should be maintained with any dietary scheme, even the best-purchased composition cannot be the only food for astronotus.