“What do fish eat?” is a question most children ask.
Home aquariums have found a place in many homes and fish have come to be considered as pets. But the breeds and types of fish for aquarium breeding differ greatly from those found in the wild.
Diets of fish vary from species to species; some are plant eating (herbivorous), some are flesh eating (carnivorous) while others eat both (omnivorous). Fish in the oceans depend for food dictated by the habitat they live in and weather conditions. While some swim long distances to find food, others are found in deeper waters feeding on seaweed and tiny ocean creatures that live on the ocean floor. Herbivorous fish especially those found on reefs have a variety of food to feed on – plant matter, different kinds of algae etc. This in turn helps the ecological system of a particular location as it prevents overabundance of algae growth which negatively affects coral reefs. Omnivorous fish feed on crustaceans, smaller fish and worms besides feeding off plant material like algae and the marine animals that inhabit the algae while carnivores feed mainly on other fish and marine animals.
To list the kinds of food that fish eat, these are mainly:
- Algae and sea grass or weed
- Solid waste material and coral slime that accumulates on ocean floors
- Mixed diet
- Parasites and so on.
Diets of different fish types
Based on various studies, we are able to gather information on the specific diets of some of the world’s most popular fish species.
Dolphins – their main diet consists of mackerel and squids but they also feed on a variety of other fish and foods such as cod, herring and plankton.
Eel – the main diet is crabs, smaller fish and other invertebrates.
Jelly fish – generally, jelly fish feed on the food that attaches to their tentacles like zoo plankton and tiny fish as they do not have a developed digestive system.
Gold fish – an omnivorous variety, the gold fish diet ranges from plankton, larvae, insects and worms to waste on the ocean floor besides plant material.
Piranha – an aggressive carnivore, piranhas feed on a wide variety of marine creatures – insects, crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians, rodents and dead birds.
Salmon – also a carnivorous variety, young salmons feed on plankton and invertebrates while adults eat herring, krill and smaller fish.
Shark – the great hunters of the seas feed on plankton, small and big fish, seals, sea birds and also sometimes injured or smaller ones of their own species.
Diet of aquarium fish
Aquarium fish diet is made up of many ingredients – fish, meat and vegetables with added minerals and vitamins. There are many types of fish food for those grown in aquariums, some are live and some are pre-packaged and depend on the feeding habits of different fish. The live food consists of insects, worms and shrimp while pre-packaged foods come in the form of flakes, granules and pellets.
Some types of aquarium fish can survive without food for many days; overfeeding gold fish for instance causes constipation and digestive system problems.