Getting your new fish home into the aquarium is always very exciting for you.
However, you should always spend a moment to think about your new pet, particularly when it comes to feeding the new fish.
So, Should You Feed New Fish as Soon as You Put Them in The Fish Tank?
There is no specific rule to feeding your new fish straight after putting them in the tank. However, how the fish behave once in the tank will tell you if they need to feed. Some fish will be swimming immediately while others go into hiding. Putting in a little food will test their appetite and indicate if they are ready to accept food. If they don’t want to eat, it’s because they are stressed and not yet settled. You should hence wait for about 24 hours and try again.
A stressed fish will not eat and uneaten food can cause problems in your tank.
More so, if the tank has other fish, they might be very aggressive when scrambling for the food, making them bump into the new fish, which stresses it more.
Whenever the fish changes its environment, it’s bound to be relatively stressed and a bit scared.
Similar to humans and other pets, fish require time to adjust to the new environment before they start feeling comfortable.
If your new fish is hiding, you should wait for some time before feeding them.
However, if you feel that your new fish has settled in their new environment, you can go on and put food in the fish tank. Use your judgment, and if the fish seems ready to eat, feed it.
Related: Can You Keep a Fish Tank Outside?
When Is the Best Time to Feed Your Fish?
Regardless of the time you decide to feed your fish, it’s best to stick to a fixed schedule. With time, your fish will begin to develop a sense of time and become excited to see you walking to the tank to anticipate food.
Morning Or Night?
The best time to feed your fish is in the morning or evening. Feeding the fish in the morning is the most recommendable as the fish is active throughout the day.
Eating in the morning will help keep them energized throughout the day. Although not preferred, feeding your fish in the evening is alright.
However, ensure it’s a bit earlier in the evening.
Other than nocturnal fish, most fish switch to rest mode in the evening, meaning reduced metabolic rate and activity. Ensure to feed them before they start to rest.
What About The Older Fish?
When feeding a fish newly added to the tank, it might not eat when the other fish are eating as it is yet to adapt.
If this is the case, you should feed the older fish at one corner and try to lure your new fish into feeding in the other corner.
Just keep in mind that the new fish may be on a different feeding schedule and will take some time to adjust to the new schedule.
How Often Should You Feed Your Fish?
The frequency of feeding your fish mainly depends on the type of fish you own. However, it is most common to feed the fish at least once daily.
However, if your type of fish has a more extensive diet, is very active, or is of a particular size, you might have to feed it more than once daily. Some of the common frequencies for feeding your fish include;
1. Multiple Times Daily?
You will need to know the activity and metabolism rate of your fish if you are planning to feed your fish multiple times every day.
If your fish is very active in your tank, they might get hungrier compared to the fish that normally hide, rest or move slowly.
More so, the metabolism rate of the fish is another factor that determines whether you should feed them multiple times daily.
Fish from warmer climates normally have a higher metabolism and will eat more frequently.
When you feed the fish more than one time daily, you should take care not to overfeed the fish.
You can review this by viewing how quickly your food is being consumed. If they don’t finish the food in five minutes or so, you are probably feeding them more than they require.
2. Once A Day?
The most standard practice is feeding your fish once daily. Fish are relatively good at preserving energy.
With just one feeding, the fish can make it through the day easily.
However, the amount of food you feed them should be sufficient to keep them full of energy throughout the day.
Most types of fish pets will stick to their routine and will be very healthy and content with being fed just once daily.
3. Once A Week?
Feeding the fish one time a week should only be applied to particular fish species.
Normally, these are slow fish species that spend a significant part of their time in partial hibernation.
Even though fish can go for an extended period without starving, it’s recommended that you feed the fish more frequently in a week.
If you feed your fish once per week, you should feed them large amounts to increase their chances of survival. However, this should not be a routine practice.
If you want your fish to be playful, you should at the least feed them once a day.
Some feeding practices allow you to leave your fish to fast for one or two days a week.
This serves to help in their digestive systems, but you should feed them once a day for the remaining days of the week.
What Are the Tips to Help New Fish Settle in A Fish Tank Quicker?
Making your new fish stress-free and settled in the new environment will see them feeding healthy and also decrease the chances of stress-induced illnesses. Some of the tips include;
1. Place Some Food In Your Tank Just Before Adding Your New Fish
Doing this will distract the existing aquarium fish when the new fish is being added.
Just put some food on the opposite end of the fish tank to get the others to crowd over there and allow the new fish to find a hiding spot.
2. Keep The Fish Tank Lights Off
Being transferred from one fish tank to another is very stressful to the fish.
Turning the lights off will help to keep the other fish a bit subdued and enables your new addition to stay in the shadows while settling into the new environment.
3. Target and feed the new addition
Over the next few days, you should watch your new fish closely to ensure you feed it directly if it is hiding so much.
In a chaotic and busy tank, the fish might take up to a week to settle and join the others.
Leaving your fish to spend some time in quarantine will allow the new fish to recover from shipping and get used to your food while also protecting your main aquarium from diseases.
Your new fish will tell you if they will accept food instantly or not.
Generally, if they are out and about in the first hour, they will accept some food.
If the new fish is hiding and not yet settled, leave them for about 24 hours before trying to feed them.
With a bit of time, your fish will get used to the environment and start to feed and swim all the time.