The right nutrition for aquarium fish

As with humans fish nutrition is no easy matter. It’s hard for us to find the right quantity and quality too. However, the fish are completely dependent on you for healthy and species-appropriate food!

The right food amount

Perhaps you have seen a picture where a tail fin of a fish is protruding from its mouth. Fish have NO feeling of fullness, so they continue eating, even if there is no room for anything anymore (that’s why the fin protrudes from the mouth).

The following basic rule applies to your aquarium fish: feed only as much as the fish can eat in a few (2-5) minutes two to three times daily. If there is still food floating around or on the ground after 5 minutes you have definitely fed too much!

Like almost all animal babies, juvenile fish need food more frequently.

The right food size

A few predator fish eat everything up to their body length. However most aquarium fish prefer convenience. The food needs to fit in their mouth easily, otherwise they will bite off pieces. That’s way food for aquarium fish is manufactured in different flake, granulate and stick sizes.

For fry we have already discussed this topic in length: Fish breeding in aquariums .

For large fish you can find information on the packaging telling you which fish size the food is suitable for. If in doubt just take the smaller food size. That always fits! In the long run large fish are not too happy about undersized food. It is simply too energy-intensive to eat the very small food particles. Please aim for a mouth-appropriate food.

The right feed composition

Apart from meat a hamburger also contains salad and tomatoes. But in what ratio to the meat? For this the protein/fat ratio is the decisive factor together with the selected ingredients.

Fish mostly eat anything they can get. In nature too they can’t pick and choose, but have to settle for what is available. In the rainy season high water levels mean the fish can even reach tree fruits. In the dry season they eat what they can find at the bottom. Even though specialised predators eat mainly fish and shrimps and no plants, they receive through the consumption of shrimp and fish a not inconsiderable proportion of plant food with this “stuffed” prey. JBL’s research and development department collects the available data about fish, completes them with own measurements and observations of the JBL expeditions and develops suitable food. Expeditions .

There both vegetable and animal ingredients are carefully selected, used in the right ratio of proteins to fats and complemented by herbs and spices as acceptance carriers. Since some aquarium owners prefer flakes, whereas others swear by granulates, many foods are available as flakes and as granulates.


Variety in food is at least as important as the right composition. Only a very few fish species always eat exactly the same nutrition. Even the specialised butterflyfish in the ocean which mostly feed coral polyps, have the choice of an enormous spectrum of coral species. The more variety in the choice of food the more varied the supply of minerals, vitamins and trace elements is. This in turn leads to a healthy immune system against diseases. The healthier the fish, the less the risk of illness! This might sound trivial but it is essential. It is really worthwhile to pay particular attention to a diversified diet, instead of investing in medication to close the stable door after the horse has bolted.

A simple trick of many experts is, not to feed the same food twice during the several feedings a day. Ideal is a hearty main food, such as JBL NovoBel in the morning for breakfast, a snack, such as PlanktonPur for lunch and a light vegetable food, such as JBL NovoVert for dinner. That ensures variety and the fish stay fit – often with the prospect of offspring!


Snacks not only bring variety into variety but they are a highlight in the feeding. Already the different shape of the food, e.g. cubes made of freeze-dried food animals ( JBL NovoFex , JBL NovoArtemio ) promote the activity of the fish, which bite off part of the food chunks and have to fight for the food. With a little bit of training the fish even eat the treat out of your hand. This is not only very entertaining but also has the big advantage that you can do it when you need to catch a fish.

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