Due to leading busier and busier lives the majority of us humans eat three times a day, but probably not at fixed times. We also snack a lot to keep us going in between those meals we struggle to find time for. But what about the animals we are responsible for, like our gorgeous fish? Do we feed them at the same time that we eat, and as many times, or do they need their very own schedule?
There is a myriad of answers to this question depending on the species of fish that you keep, and even what you feed them.
What’s the best time to feed your fish? Generally, speaking, the best time to feed your fish is once or twice a day, with morning and/or evening being the most popular times. This will suit most people lifestyles and ensure your fish get the right amount of food to thrive on.
If you’re looking for a more specific answer to the question of what time, or times to feed your fish, read on where we’ll discuss the finer points of fish feeding schedules in more detail.
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How often should you feed your fish?
Though the majority of fish do absolutely fine on just one feeding per day, some fishkeepers prefer to feed two, or maybe three meals. This can be due to many different reasons including:
- More interaction with their fish
- Fish appear hungry several times a day
- Several feedings recommended on food packaging
How many times per day you feed your fish will almost certainly dictate the time that you feed them. For those that feed three times a day, for example, feedings will need to be fairly evenly spaced, usually translating to a morning, afternoon, and evening feed. For those who feed only once per day, on the other hand, the time is far more flexible. The main rule is not to overfeed your fish. If you do then follow the guides we created to avoid you harming your water conditions.
So What Time Is Dinner Time?
To put it simply, with some exceptions, but when isn’t there some, sticking to an exact or single time of day to feed your fish is not of any importance. You can feed them at 10 am, 10 pm or 10.10 am, it’s really up to you. Great news eh, for those of you with busy schedules and lifestyles?
Well, in the main yes, but…. whilst feeding your fish can be done at any time during the day there are some things you may want to take into account before setting a schedule. These include things like allowing yourself time post feeding to clear any uneaten foods from the aquarium. After all, uneaten items such as bloodworm, feeder fish, and shrimp, for example, can quickly turn to toxins which are harmful to your fish.
You will also need to take into account any preparation time for the food that you are giving to your fish. Live mosquito larvae need catching and then serving, whilst frozen foods need defrosting. Even freeze dried food can require some prep work in the form of soaking before being given to some species of fish. Therefore, you need to allow for both preparation and clean up time when deciding on the time of day for feeding your fish.
If you’re unsure about what type of fish food to buy then read our Beginners guide to different types of fish food.
Exceptions To The Rule
As mentioned previously there are exceptions to the rule of feeding your fish any time you choose. These include the feeding of nocturnal fish who will be, well, plain and simply asleep during the day. This means, of course, there is no point in feeding them during this time as they will not be awake to eat it. The best time to feed nocturnal fish would be as you are going to bed yourself. This is because you will be switching your aquarium lights off and the ‘night owls’ will be coming out to play.
Herbivorous fish, as plant eaters, are also an exception to the rule because of their natural feeding behavior. These fish eat pretty much throughout the day, regardless of time, meaning they are hungry most of the time. This hunger is due to herbivorous fish having small stomachs that limit the amount they can eat in one sitting. It is recommended that you feed fish that fall into the plant-eating category five to six times per day.
Conclusion-What’s the best time of day to feed your fish?
Following the general rule of thumb that most fish can be fed at a time of day to suit you is always good practice. However, it would be remiss of us not to tell you to do some research about the particular species you are keeping. As shown above, with herbivores and nocturnal fish there are always those who just don’t follow the rules.
Oh, and that’s not to mention those fish who just don’t care about the rules, like the lovable Oscar! This species will beg you for food until the cows come home and soon have you on their schedule rather than yours if you let them!
[author title=”About the Author”]
I have been working in the tropical fish industry for over 30 years now and I’m still learning. Everyday is a school day in this hobby. In my spare time I play golf very badly!