Feed is growth fuel

BY Leslie Ter Morshuizen

If you want your fish to grow well they must be fed optimally; failure to feed adequate feed or the correct feed quality is guaranteed to result in reduced growth.  What few people seem to truly grasp is that feed is growth fuel.  It is only through feeding the correct quantity and quality of feed that our fish grow optimally and have a healthy condition factor.
One of the most difficult skills for a new fish farmer to acquire is the art of feeding the correct quantity of feed to the fish.  If you under feed your fish they will first use what is available for body maintenance, and only the excess will be available for growth.  This will not easily result in profit being generated!  Similarly, if the fish are overfed the excess feed will not be consumed, resulting in direct economic loss along with deteriorating water quality.
With larger fish and a floating pellet it is simple enough to monitor the feeding response and stop feeding as soon as the feeding aggression slows down.  However, the trick is to ensure tiny fry receive adequate feed.  At this stage it is also especially important to ensure that the digestive system gets the right start towards healthy digestion and that the fish are placed on the desired growth trajectory.  Trial and error per species is usually required but some useful indicators are as follows:
·       watch the behaviour of the fish to try to assess when they are hungry
·       check the bellies 5 minutes after feeding to see that they are distended
·       monitor the floor of the tank for uneaten feed, this is the one time that a small amount of fresh uneaten feed is acceptable as it infers that the fish have had enough to eat
Do not allow excess feed to accumulate and be sure to keep the tank floor clean every day to maintain a hygienic environment for the sensitive fry.  Also remember that small amounts frequently throughout the day are better than infrequent large meals.

 January 23, 2017
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