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An average human being eats three meals a day typically – breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, do fishes need to have three meals a day? The answer is no. In fact, as compared to mammals, the cold-blooded fish take a longer time to digest their food and feeding them once per day is often adequate.
*Do note that there are exceptions for certain fishes, like monster fishes and other predatory fishes, which requires more food*

New hobbyists are typically worried about underfeeding, which may cause their fishes to die of starvation. This is not true. On the contrary, it is more likely for aquarium fishes to die as a result of overfeeding than underfeeding.

Thus, the real worry for new hobbyists should be, “am I overfeeding my fish?”, rather than “am I underfeeding my fish?”. Hence, it is important to not over feed your fishes!


Overfeeding is putting more food in the aquarium than your fishes need. Excess food may occasionally be eaten by the fishes and end up back in the tank as excrete. In other cases, overeating may even develop into long-term health issues. However, should the excess food be left uneaten, they are often left to rot in the aquarium.

Uneaten food – as a result of overfeeding – decomposes rapidly and releases a sudden surge of chemical compounds, such as Ammonia (NH3), which imbalances the water parameters in your tank. These can be hazardous to your aquarium and may eventually lead to the demise of your beloved pets.


Below are some of the symptoms which can help to identify if you have been overfeeding.

Cloudy Aquarium Water

Cloudy aquarium water is one of the most common signs indicating the decomposition of organic matters in your tank, caused by the sudden bloom of bacteria. To improve the situation, removing the uneaten food and performing a 30% water change daily, until the water clears is recommended.

Excessive Algae Growth

Excessive algae growth can be another symptom of overfeeding, as algae thrive on the abundance of nitrates, phosphates and other dissolved or discharged by the decays, caused by either uneaten food or excessive fish waste accumulated.

Low Dissolved Oxygen

Low dissolved oxygen is another problem which your tank may face in an overfed aquarium, where oxygen is required by the aerobic bacteria involved in the decaying process of uneaten food. This results in low dissolved oxygen available for your pet fishes, causing them to swim to the water surface for air on a regular basis.

Using an air pump to temporary increase the amount of dissolved oxygen, with water change and removal of uneaten food, will help to cope with the lack of oxygen.

Bloated Bellies

Bloated bellies is a sign of indigestion, as fishes tend to gobble up every piece of food is given to them due to their natural instincts. Fishes suffering from bloated bellies, which can be visibly noticeable, is not a healthy sign and may eventually lead to other fish diseases. Feeding the right type and amount of food will help prevent your fishes from suffering bloated bellies.


Feeding Appropriate Food

Different species of fishes occupy different spaces of the aquarium and are generally classified into 3 categories:

  • Top level fish
  • Mid-level fish
  • Bottom dwellers

With the aid of modern technology, and extensive research and development, fish feeds are produced to suit the needs of respective fishes with specified sets of vitamins and minerals. As different species occupy different areas of the aquarium tanks, the size and buoyancy of fish feed were also considered to suit respective fishes. Hence, it is necessary for hobbyists to understand their fishes, so that they can be fed the right food.

Fish Food G1

As a general guideline, fish feeds with high buoyancy – like the AR-G2 (Pro Arowana Intense Colour) – are designed for top level fishes (e.g. Arowanas), as they are equipped with upturned mouths tailored for top feeding. Slow-sinking food, like the DS-G1 (Pro Discus), is created to sink slowly for mid-level fishes, like Discus, Gouramis and Angelfishes.

Bottom dwellers – Stingrays, Plecostomuses and Corydoras – have mouths pointed downwards for them to feed on food that sinks to the bottom, like the BF-G1 (Pro Bottom Feeder). Always ensure that there is sufficient food for the bottom-dwelling fishes, as they are the last to receive their food and cannot sustain on only leftover food. Do also note that some bottom dwellers are nocturnal and feed only in the dark.

Another thing to note is the size and texture of the food provided. Fishes with smaller mouths prefer pellets of smaller size or micro granules, as it can be broken down easily; whereas fishes with bigger mouths tend to prefer bigger pellets.

Say No to Junk Food

Similarly to human beings, eating food with the essential nutritional values will benefit its growth and development, whereas poor quality food may result in poor health and more water change. Hence, it is the hobbyists’ responsibility to provide their aquatic friends with the right food.

By feeding fishes with quality food, hobbyists can be assured that their pets receive nutrition of the highest quality, which results in healthier and happier fishes. Premium fish feed, like the OF Pro Series, is specially developed to cater the needs of respective breeds, which enhances their natural coloration and growth.

Get Help from Scavengers

Although they do not solve the problem of overfeeding entirely, scavengers (i.e. Yamato (Amano) Shrimps and Apple Snails) can help to clean up food bits that are trapped in aquarium ornaments or have fallen beneath the feeding zones of other fishes. This reduces any uneaten food which are left to rot in the aquarium.

Remove Uneaten Food Immediately

Last but not least, remove uneaten food immediately to minimize any uneaten food left to decompose in your aquarium tank. By cultivating this habit, hobbyists can also judge how much food is required, which can in turn reduce food wastage for future feeding.


  • Overfeeding can pollute your aquarium due to the decay of the uneaten food
  • Overfeeding can be hazardous for your fish and may even lead to fatal consequences
  • Understanding the nutritional needs of your fishes and feeding them with only what is required to prevent overfeeding