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  • Writer's pictureBen Francis-Woodward

Feeding fish regularly throughout the day keeps filters less likely to ammonia spike

In aquatic retail we encourage the customer to only feed once or twice a day as little as possible in order to reduce the chances of ammonia spiking, this is often misunderstood by shop keepers who do the same when in fact - as the experts in our fields we should be testing for NH3 + pH minimum everyday - which means we should be spotting issues with water quality early before they become an issue.

feeding the fish little and often as much as once an hour but the smallest amounts is a good way to keep staff looking out for morts, early signs of disease and it keeps the filter bacteria at a steady amount because it is getting a steady amount of waste.

Feeding fish little and often throughout the day, rather than providing large meals with long intervals in between, helps to maintain a stable environment for the nitrifying bacteria in the biofilter. These bacteria play a crucial role in the nitrogen cycle, as they convert toxic ammonia (NH3) to less harmful nitrite (NO2-) and eventually to relatively harmless nitrate (NO3-).

By feeding fish in smaller, more frequent portions, the bacteria can more efficiently process the ammonia produced from fish waste. This approach reduces the risk of sudden spikes in ammonia levels, which can be harmful to the fish and stress the biofilter system. Maintaining a stable environment with a constant supply of food for the nitrifying bacteria helps ensure their efficiency and allows the system to cope with the waste generated by the fish.

This method of feeding also has other benefits, such as potentially improving the feed conversion ratio (FCR), as fish can more efficiently utilize the nutrients provided in smaller, more frequent meals. Additionally, it can help reduce the risk of uneaten food accumulating at the bottom of the tank, which can lead to water quality issues and increased maintenance requirements.

If you are having to supplement your filtration systems with 'good bacteria' you need to ask yourself the question - why can my filters not cope? is the surface area for bacteria to grow too small? Are you over stocked? Filters too small or not designed correctly.

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