Top 5 Tiny Foods to Feed Baby Fish for Healthy Growth
Breeding fish is such a fun and rewarding part of the aquarium hobby, but while it can be easy to get fish to spawn, raising their tiny babies is where the real challenge begins. The newborn period is often a difficult time for fish due to water quality problems, predation or simply not providing enough food. In this article, let’s talk about 5 miniscule foods that you can feed even the smallest fry to help them grow quickly and get past the first few weeks of their lives.
1. Baby Brine Shrimp
Peacock gudgeon fish eating baby brine shrimp
Baby brine shrimp (BBS) is the best food for fry, according to fish farmers or veteran breeders. Newly hatched brine shrimp have a nutrient-packed yolk sac that is chock full of healthy fats and proteins – perfect for feeding baby fish. Their jerky swimming movements make them a great live food. They grow faster and more quickly because of their lively swimming movements. To hatch the brine shrimp eggs, simply soak them in salt water, add aeration with an air pump, and heat the water up to 74-82degF (23-28degC). Baby brine shrimp can be harvested within 18 to 36 hours. The recipe can be trusted as long as you have good eggs. Follow the instructions in this article.
Baby brine shrimp range in size from 400 to 500 microns. They can be used for baby livebearers, African Cichlids, and other species with larger eggs. If you hatch tiny fry from egg layers such as killifish or rainbowfish, baby brine shrimp is not suitable for them. This article will concentrate on small starter foods. However, it is strongly recommended that you switch to baby salt shrimp after the fry reach a certain size.
Freshwater plankton under a microscope
Baby fish are omnivores and eat protozoans and larvae of invertebrate insects. These microorganisms range from 20 to 300 microns. Infusoria is the name fishkeepers commonly use to describe freshwater plankton. There are many ways to cultivate them. One of the most popular techniques is to fill a large jar with a few quarts (or liters) of old tank water and mulm, and then drop in a piece of banana peel, catappa leaves, instant yeast, or other organic matter. Warm the water to tropical temperatures between 78-80degF (26-27degC) for faster results and add aeration to minimize the smell. Soon the water will start to cloud as bacteria starts to digest the food. The water will then become clearer as the infusoria eats the bacteria.
Use a turkey baster or pipette to extract water from the top of the scum. Then, feed the water directly to the fry. The culture can last between 2 and 4 weeks depending on how often it is harvested. You can extend the life of the culture by topping off the jar with tank water, adding more food every week, and using a turkey baster to remove some of the decomposed gunk at the bottom. You may need to create a new culture every 2-3 weeks if you have many babies or need constant infusoria. Just pour water from the old culture into the new jar, add a food source, and fill the rest of the jar with aquarium water.
3. Vinegar Eels
Vinegar eels being harvested in a bottle neck
You might find keeping infusoria too tedious. If this is the case, you can try vinegar eels. This tiny roundworm or nematode is simple to grow and measures 50 microns in diameter. They are 1-2 mm long. Create a mixture of 50% apple cider mixture and 50% dechlorinated water inside a wine bottle or other long-necked container. Add some apple slices and a starter culture of vinegar eels, and wait for them to reproduce. When you can see them moving near the surface, add a wad filter floss to the neck of your bottle. Add some water above the filter floss and a few drops of fresh water. The vinegar eels will swim towards the fresh water above, so you can easily scoop them out with a pipette to feed the baby fish. The fry will be attracted to their wiggling motions. They can also survive for several days in freshwater. You can make your own vinegar eel culture that will last for up to six months. Please follow our instructions to learn how to do it.
4. Powdered Fry Meal
Sera Micron fry food
Pre-prepared foods may be an option if you don’t have the time or access to live food cultures. Fry foods are usually available in powdered forms that can be found anywhere from 5800 to 8800 microns, depending upon the brand. The key is to provide a variety in diet so that the baby fish do not develop any nutritional deficiencies. Some of our favorite foods include:
Sera Micron Hikari first bites Easy Fry and Small fish food – Golden pearls Crushed flakes, Spirulina powder – Repashy gelfood (in the raw or powdered form).
Powdered food tends to float on the surface due to water tension. You may need to swirl water to get them to sink faster if you are feeding small bottom dwellers. To avoid overfeeding the fish, we recommend using a small children’s paintbrush. To feed the fish, lightly dip the bristles in powdered paintbrush and tap it lightly over the tank. This will ensure that you don’t feed too many fry at once, as this can lead to water quality problems.
5. Green Water
Microalgae under a microscope
Green water is very similar to infusoria in size, but the green color is more prominent because it’s primarily made up of microalgae and other phytoplankton that create energy through photosynthesis. Hobbyists are usually trying to figure out how to get rid of green water in their aquariums and ponds since it makes it harder to view the fish and plants. But it can have many benefits. It purifies the water and makes it more difficult for adult fish to predate on their younger, heals minor ailments, and provides food for baby fish and daphnia culture. Start with a large jar, aquarium, or other container and fill it with old tank water. Add some liquid fertilizer, fish food, or other organics to create a nutrient-rich environment for the microalgae. Some people also like to use an air stone, filter, or other device to agitate the water surface and encourage gas exchange, helping to ensure the algae gets enough oxygen and carbon dioxide. For 24 hours, shine a lamp or desk lamp directly on the container. After several days, the water will start turning more green and should be ready for the fry to be fed.
A Few More Fry Feeding Tips
Baby fish need small meals every day because they have tiny stomachs. Also, it helps to put the fry in a smaller container or aquarium so that they don’t need to swim as far and waste as much energy finding the food. However, frequent feedings in small containers can quickly foul the water, leading to fry mortality. This is why frequent water changes are essential to maintain the water’s stability and cleanliness. Master breeder Dean addresses this problem by creating a rack of fry trays that constantly drips and circulates water from a larger aquarium down below.
Feeding is only one part of raising healthy fry. Continue reading to discover our top 5 tips for raising baby fish that will grow to be strong and healthy.