Omnivore, Herbivore or Carnivore?

The feeding habits of fish can be complex. Many budding aquarium keepers make the mistake of thinking that all fish thrive using the same diet. Unfortunately, this is not true. Like humans, fish eat a wide range of things in their natural habitat. There are three main categories of fish, where does yours fit in?

This group of fish subsists on a diet that consists mainly of plants, algae and possible parts of fruits. With flat teeth and a unique intestine that’s designed to break down plant matter as it moves through their digestive canal, herbivores eat every few hours and must consume a high volume of food to maintain proper intestinal flora and nutrient balance.

This group of fish often have sharp teeth that enable them to snag and consume live food (like other fish and other creatures that inhabit their environment). With a short intestinal tract and a big stomach, carnivores are designed to eat bigger meals and digest them properly. In fact, their ability to digest some vegetable matter is problematic.  More importantly, they cannot get the nutrients they need from a feeding regime high in vegetable matter.

This group of fish ingests both higher proteins and vegetable matter. They also comprise the easiest fish to feed as they like almost any type of food; flake foods, live foods and pretty much anything else. With the most versatile stomachs, omnivores’ digestive tracts can derive nutrients from a variety of dietary options.

When putting together a tank, you want to be sure to understand the dietary needs of each individual fish. It’s important to feed fish species-specific diets! That’s why at Hikari®, we’ve been creating unique formulations that deliver all the necessary nutrients for long and health-filled lives of your prized aquatic pets.