What 'human foods' are safe for fish?


Neale Monks offers some feeding advice to a PFK reader who wants to vary his fishes' menu.

Q) Is it safe to use food from my fridge-freezer to feed my fish? I’m thinking that seafood should be okay, but what about vegetables and meat?


A) NEALE MONKS REPLIES: Quite a lot of human food is perfectly safe to use when feeding your fish. White fish fillet is good, particularly Tilapia, cod and coley, but avoid oily fish as that tends to be a bit too messy. Seafood is good, but be careful not to rely too heavily on prawns or mussels because these contain a chemical called thiaminase that breaks down Vitamin B1.

Meat is trickier because it contains fats that cause problems for aquarium fish so is best avoided. An exception is beefheart, which isn’t as fatty as most other meats once the obvious fat is trimmed away, and can be frozen, shredded, and fed to many types of fish without problems. In the past it was often used as a staple for fussy fish like Discus, but this isn’t common now.

Hard boiled egg yolks are another old standby, often used to feed fish fry and baby livebearers. The particles of yolk can make the water cloudy if overused, but many small fish (and shrimps) seem to go wild for egg yolk, so it’s a worthwhile treat now and again.

Green foods are well worth trying, as are some fruits. Blanched lettuce and cooked peas and spinach are enjoyed by most herbivorous fish, while suckermouth catfish like plecs will also happily graze on raw courgette, cucumber and sweet potatoes, even slices of melon!

Some of these green foods need to soften for a few days before the fish will eat them, so don’t be too quick to whip them out if your fish don’t seem to show much interest. It’s also worth noting that herbivorous fish my pass over healthy green foods if they’ve been pampered with protein-rich pellet and flakes, and letting your fish starve a few days may be necessary before they decide to 'eat their greens!'