A number of years ago, I taught at a fish health symposium on natural immuno-responses. I emphasized two key points: 1) Water quality, and 2) food nutrition. Basically my point was if you educate yourself and follow the rules here, you’ll rarely need to worry about treating sick fish
Most of our knowledge concerning fish dietary requirements demonstrates the importance of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates for growth (anabolism) and energy (catabolism). Together they must be balanced to protect the body. This is known as metabolism.
Proteins are primarily needed for growth and the synthesis of antibodies. Good protein sources contain the ten essential amino acids ALL fish need to grow and protect themselves. There are 23 amino acids needed for fish of which they have the ability to make 13. The other ten must be ingested. Thus all fish need to be fed viable protein choices such as balanced flakes, pellets, frozen Mysis or worms.
Lipids are predominately energy sources. Fish get 8.0 kcal/g for lipids while only 3.2 kcal/g for proteins. What this means is that lipids are “the gas” that drives the immune system. Besides being an energy source, lipids provide essential fatty acids needed for the lymphatic system. You can probably see why ALL fish are considered “good fat sources”, because lipids are stored to keep them healthy. The best lipid foods are crustaceans, such as krill, plankton, calanus, mysis/brine shrimp, daphnia, and fish eggs.
Carbohydrates come from vegetation and algae. They are most needed for synthesis. Spirulina, kelp, and chlorella are the best sources of carbohydrates for your fish. Carbs are a necessity to ALL animals when building stronger cell membranes and skin. Remember, the best way to prevent disease is not to let it enter the body. As well, algae and vegetation provide biotin, keratin, flavonoids, carotenoids, and other immune-stimulants needed for stronger eyes and skin.
I recommend feeding 2-3 times per day with a balance of the 3 major nutrient groups. For example, in one week’s time, if you feed 17 times, 7 should be protein base, 5 lipid base, and 5 carbohydrate based. Soaking pellets or freeze-dried foods with vitamins such as Vitamin C, B-12, E, and D are paramount fish keeping. You pack the best punch of antioxidants possible for your fish.
Please comment or e-mail me any questions you have on fish nutrition, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to put a personalized feeding regiment together geared toward your personal fish.
Trust me, it works – with great results.