Healthy Diet for your Fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a 4 kilogram pet gourami named Gary was moved to the Sea Life London Aquarium, he went on a hunger strike and refused to eat the fruit given to him. Eventually, the aquarium staff found out why he was shunning the natural diet of a gourami – Gary had been raised on Kit Kats only.

“I have never heard of a fish being fed chocolate, let alone being brought up entirely on the stuff,” says Gary’s handler, Rebecca Carter. “Gouramis usually eat a diet of fruit but Gary doesn’t appear to have suffered any ill effects from his chocolate addiction. However, we would not recommend feeding fish confectionery of any kind.”

The aquarium personnel is now squeezing crushed pieces of Kit Kat into grapes in an effort to change Gary’s diet.

Fish being fed strange or simply suboptimal food by their keepers is unfortunately very common. Even well-intentioned fish keepers sometimes fail to realize that the various fish species in the world have developed to fit into different ecological niches and a diet that is perfect for one species might be highly unsuitable for another. However, keeping fish on a chocolate coated wafer diet is probably quite unusual.

Another problem is of course people getting fish without making the effort to find out how large the little juveniles they see in the fish shop may grow as fully mature adults.

“Many people don’t do the right research when they buy fish and end up unable to care for them,” says Carter. “Catfish are a good example and we have a number here that outgrew their homes. We simply do not have the space to accommodate the vast number of re-homing requests we receive.”

Facts

  • Gourami are freshwater fish belonging to the family Osphronemidae. Currently, there are roughly 90 described species divided into four subfamilies and about 15 genera. The most famous gourami species is arguably Betta splendens, the Siamese fighting fish. Gourami is native to Asia where they are found from Pakistan to the Malay Archipelago and Korea.
  • Kit Kat is a chocolate coated wafer confection produced by Nestlé and The Hersey Company. Each bar consists of fingers that can be snapped from the bar one at a time. Each finger is made up of three layers of wafer and an outer layer of chocolate. Kit Kat was invented at Rowntree’s, a confectionery company based in York, UK.

Mother Nature

Mother Nature has a natural way of dealing with over-population and unhealthy conditions; die-offs  and natural selection.

Feeding Fish

Photo by Randy Heisch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed fish what they want – observe them,“listen” to the fish. They will let you know whether they are hungry or not. 15-20 minutes after placing the food in the water for the fish to eat, there should be no floating food left. If there is food, you have fed them too much.

Fish are cold-blooded animals. Their metabolism is based on the temperature of the water they live in. Warmer water creates faster metabolisms. Fish will eat more and need more food to survive. Colder water creates slower metabolisms in fish. They will eat less food. In fact, at 50 F / 30 C you stop feeding goldfish and koi. Below 50 F / 30 C if they do swallow food, the food will spoil before it passes out of their long intestinal track. This leads to all types of problems – sickness, diseases, digestive problems, etc. Note that normally they will not eat when it is this cold and the uneaten food will only spoil, clog and over load your filter system, disturb the pond balance and possibly create an unhealthy and detrimental situation. Thus note at 50 F / 30 C and below – DO NOT FEED YOUR FISH!

Start feeding once a day as the temperature warms in the spring. When it warms, koi can be fed multiple times a day. As the weather cools in the fall, gradually slow down on the quantity till you stop at 50 F.

Koi/Carp are bottom-feeding fish in nature. The barbs on either side of their mouths are used to tactilely feel along the bottom of a lake for food. They are omnivores. An omnivore is a kind of animal that eats either other animals or plants.  Naturally, their diet would consist of worms, crustaceans, plant life, etc. We have trained koi to come to the surface with floating food – for our own enjoyment.

Koi food companies are doing their best to create dietary mixtures in their foods and for the most part they are doing a good job. And yet there is still a belief that the dietary needs of koi are still most optimally met by augmenting a variety of foods – some proteins, plants, starch, etc. This can include not just pelleted/processed foods, but also fruit – sliced oranges, grapefruit, watermelon – grains -rice, wheat, bread.

Japanese Koi

The Japanese Koi are world wide known as beautiful fish composed of brilliant colors and markings. People who own these fish can tell you how wonderful it is to be part of their lives. There is a mysterious past that surround this awesome fish. A lot of people still wonder where they have originated from.

Koi is a Japanese name meaning Carp, but the original word comes from the latin word Cyprinus Carpio meaning Carp. Many people believe the Koi came from Japan, but it is understood that Japanese Koi have come from the waters of the Caspian Sea and around China. There are records of carp fossils found in China dating back 20 million years and showing early accounts of the first color mutations being bred in China.

It is unclear as to where Koi are from, but there are a lot of stories that Koi have been brought to Japan by the Chinese invasion. Another says that Japans emperor had kept Koi in 200 AD. The history of Japanese Koi is pretty vague. As to what really happed between the 2nd and the 17th century is an ongoing exploration still today.

Koi Colors and Patterns

Taisho Sanke

Sanke, are another popular koi, along with Kohaku and Showa.  “Sanke means tri-color, the three colors being red, white and black.  In Japanese characters the word Sanke is also read as Sanshoku, the term used in early works on koi.” (Kin Matsuba pg.136)  Hobbysts in many countries love the Sanke because of their extensive variety of designs.

Taisho is in reference to the period when the Sanke was first recorded in Japanese history.  This was between 1912 and 1926.  “Over the past 60 years the markings of the Sanke have changed quite dramatically.  The first Sanke were very striped in appearance , but todays show winning Sanke is a beautifully balanced koi whose sumi, although deeper in shade, is more delicate in appearance than that of its ancestors.” (Kin Matsuba pg.136)

Matsuba, Kin-“The Tetra Encyclopedia of Koi” By, Kin Matsuba

Koi Colors and Patterns

In Koi keeping, hobbyist always begin with a Kohaku and end with a Kohaku.  When new hobbyists begin, they always overlook the Kohaku koi for its simplicity; looking to much like goldfish.  However, they always end up appreciating the colors and patterns of the Kohaku and turn to this simple beautiful koi.

“The Kohaku share the colors of both the Japanese flag and the symbol of that country, the Tancho crane, but it is much more difficult to find a prize Kohaku than a show winner of any other variety.  In Japan, to own a good Kohaku is the ambition of every koi-keeper.” (Kin Matsuba pg.128)

 

 

 

Matsuba, Kin-“The Tetra Encyclopedia of Koi” By, Kin Matsuba