Last Updated on July 30, 2019 by Aiden Lindow
Why Is Overfeeding Bad For Your Fish?
Over feeding is one of the leading causes of death to fish in backyard ponds and most of the time the owner has no idea, so why is overfeeding bad for your fish?
Overfeeding fish can have severe effects, uneaten food produces ammonia which acts just like a poison and this will kill your fish, especially during the summer months.
Why Is Overfeeding Bad For Your Fish?
So, why is overfeeding bad for your fish? Well, the food we eat or, human food, we all know that there are healthy and unhealthy food options.
Eating an entire sleeve of doughnuts sure tastes good, but doesn’t help with our health, like a plate of salmon and potatoes would.
As a parent, we try to stay healthy and I serve my children meat, greens, and starch for every meal with the occasional cupcake.
Now, if you ate cupcakes all the time this would make you sick, it is the same for fish. Fish need to get vitamins and nutrients just as we do and not all foods provide that.
Not only do some foods not provide the needed nutrients they can also contain unwanted chemicals as well as an outrageous amount of ammonia, these chemicals can add up surprisingly fast and kill your fish before you even knew there was a problem.
In fact, just recently I purchased a water testing kit. This helps knowing how much ammonia, pH levels, iron, phosphates, nitrates, and nitrites that are in your pond. I think this is the best product to help with overfeeding and just checking the overall health of your pond.
How Much Should I Feed Fish?
When it comes to how much food you need to be putting in your pond, you are usually putting in too much.
You might see a few fish who are not getting as much as the others so you throw just a little more, but little amount of food day after day really adds up.
I follow the Five Minute Rule when it comes to feeding my fish.
The Five Minute Rule is when you feed your fish what they can completely consume in five minutes.
This makes sure your fish are getting enough to eat without leaving anything on the bottom of your pond.
I follow this rule because I do not want to throw in a bunch of food and make my fish eat super fast and compete for food but by slowing throwing little pieces it helps them slowdown and makes sure all of my fish get fed evenly.
How Often Should I Feed My Fish?
“How often should I feed my fish” is another very popular question when it comes to fish feeding.
Most fish need anywhere between 18 to 25 hours to completely digest their food. By feeding your fish once a day ensures they are completely digesting their food and not producing excess waste.
If you feed your fish more than once a day, they will not have time to digest the first meal.
If your fish does not finish digesting the first meal, they will produce more waste when the next feeding happens.
The other issue is that the extra waste produced will go right to the bottom of the pond releasing the unwanted ammonia into the water, and causing your fish to get sick or even die.
How Often Should I Feed My Fry?
So, how often should I feed my fry? Well, since fry grow much faster and are able to consume more.
You might be thinking that you’ll be fine to feed them twice a day. The answer is surprisingly a “no.”
These fry eat a lot more algae than when they reach adulthood so, feeding them more than once a day is unnecessary.
How To Keep Excess Food Off Bottom
The easiest way to prevent ammonia in your pond is to remove excess food from the bottom of the pond.
When fish don’t eat all of their food, it sinks and stays on the bottom. When this happens, the uneaten food starts to break down and release unwanted ammonia into your pond.
Ammonia acts like poison to your fish and is the leading cause of death.
By purchasing a pond skimmer, I would recommend the Laguna pt495 pond skimmer, without a skimmer, pond debris and food starts to decompose at the bottom of your pond.
This leads to the debris changing into organic material which can harm your pond if left unchecked. It is really easy to set-up and clean which in turn, will end up saving your fish lives.
You also should have a good pond pump and filter.
The pond pump will get the pieces of food you miss to help keep the ammonia levels in your pond to a minimum.
The filter will help keep the algae in your pond to a minimum and will make your water clear.
It is also very important to make sure extra food does not clog your filter, this will restrict the flow of water and create a poison bath for your fish which is something you need to avoid.
Another great and easy option to help remove unwanted buildup at the bottom of your pond is Pond Zyme.
Pond Zyme is an enzyme safe for fish that helps break up sludge at the bottom of the pond and “eats” it to help remove it from the water.
After using this after for a few weeks, you should notice less and less sludge or built up fish food and leaves at the bottom of your pond.
How To Get Good Water Flow In A Pond
Making sure you have good flow in your pond ensures that there are no hiding spots for pieces of food that can get stuck without you knowing.
If a few stray food pieces find a place where they cannot get removed, overtime this will create a large build up of food which is a big problem.
By adding in a few low powered jets in the corners or edges of your pond allows the water to be pushed towards your filter which makes every piece of food is accounted for.
Should I Feed Fish More Food If They Still Look Hungry?
This is a hard “no.”
Fish may look hungry, although they don’t feel full until it’s too late.
Fish are known to eat until they die because they do not know when to stop. It is very important that your fish get the right amount of food everyday.
Now, when you’re feeding the fish and you’re not sure just how much to give them, remember to feed less, not more.
Fish don’t use very much energy to maintain a balanced body temperature because they are cold-blooded.
Since, they do not use very much energy, they won’t easily starve to death. Overfeeding will kill your fish, feed less rather than more.
How Long Can Fish Live Without Food?
So, how long can fish live without food? Well, as I’ve mentioned above, fish don’t use a lot of energy as they are cold-blooded creatures.
This may shock you, but fish can live up to 3 weeks without any food!
So, if you’re leaving for work or going on vacation for a couple days to 2 weeks try not to feed them more than the usual amount.
Also, do not feed them more on the day of your departure as this will cause bad water quality and ammonia.
You may be asking, what if I am not going to be home for longer than 2 weeks?
Now if you’re like me, and leave quite often and are away for a long time, consider installing an automatic fish feeder it is a great option if nobody will be able to feed your fish.
I recommended testing the automatic feeder a few days in advance before your departure. Sometimes the feeder may malfunction, as this may cause overfeeding or no feeding at all, so making sure it works is always a good idea.
Best Fish Food
When it comes to the best fish for your fish I would recommend Koi Vibrance. Koi Vibrance is a great food for koi and goldfish despite the name.
This food provides great nutrients and helps your fish color stands out and pop. After feeding my fish this food, I have seen real improvement in the color and activity of my fish.
The best part is the amount of color that can be brightened on your fish that you just don’t realize until you have seen it.
The food is also really cheap and will not drain your wallet for the amount you that comes in a bag.