Tropical Food Guide – Flakes
There are many quality brands available and in addition to the standard flake, there are different types such as crisps, color enhancing flakes or vegetable flakes for herbivores.
Most flakes will float for a few minutes, allowing surface-feeding fish to eat, and gradually sink, allowing mid-water fish to feed. M ost aquarists feed flakes as their main feed, supplementing with other types to provide variety and meet the needs of certain species that require specialized feeds.
Micro-pellets, pellets and granules like Tetra Color Tropical Granules tend to sink slowly through the water column, allowing a variety of different fish to feed at different depths.
These provide a great nutritious alternative to flakes and are generally easily accepted by most community fish. There are also pellets formulated specifically for catfish, loaches, and other bottom dwellers. These sink into the substrate immediately and are essential for the sustenance of these fish that inhabit the lower reaches of the aquarium.
These fish should never be considered a ‘cleaning crew’ and are left to clean up uneaten food, but they still need a proper diet in their own right to thrive.
Invertebrates like shrimp and snails also enjoy most pellet foods. Also, pellets and granules are often the best feeds to use in automatic fish feeders because, unlike flakes, they tend not to clog in a humid environment.
Tablets and wafers are larger foods that are adapted to many bottom-dwelling species. These sinking foods will fall rapidly through the water column and be too large for most tall and medium fish to consume at one time on the way down, giving catfish and loach residing on the substrate a better chance of feeding.
Many of the wafer types are algae-based for herbivores and omnivores that enjoy scratching up their food as they eat, allowing them to feed slowly over a longer period of time, as they would in the wild. Multiple food tablets can also be pressed against the glass, allowing the fish to be in full view while feeding, a sneaky way to check that all the fish look healthy.
Floating sticks are enjoyed by larger fish, for example some of the Central and South American cichlid species, providing them with a much more substantial meal for their size.