It may seem obvious that live food is more beneficial for feeding marine larvae in comparison to dried food. However, the answer is a little more complex as there are many reasons that live food is more beneficial as a feeding product than dried food. Here we break down and explain the nutritional value of live food…
Live food is a natural food source
It’s common sense that live food is a part of the natural food chain and is the source of food for fish in the wild. Nowadays though, with the use of technologies and marketing, we have other options that are more convenient or less expensive for feeding which makes it tempting to use these alternatives. However, this choice can be extremely detrimental to the fish’s health and longevity.
Why? The dried food is similar to if we as humans were to eat staple foods such as rice or bread and nothing else. This would provide us with enough energy to go throughout the day and survive, but these foods don’t provide the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. If we were to have this diet for a prolonged period of time, we would find ourselves lethargic, weak and malnourished. This is essentially what dried food does to our fish over time. Owners who feed their fish live food in comparison to dried food will see the difference immediately as the fish is provided with nutrients that its body needs to survive.
Marine fish require a high content of fatty acids
Most marine fish have a high requirement for the long chain HUFA’s in their diet (2) as these chains are very important during the development process. (1) However, it is not only the amount of HUFA, but also the ratio between different HUFA (DHA, EPA and arachidonic acid (ARA) which is important. (1) Put simply, live foods such as copepods, rotifers and amphipods provide these nutrients that dried food or other types of food cannot. Dried food simply cannot sustain the significant amounts of this fatty acid which is crucial for marine fish survival. It is also crucial to note that some species including; mandarin fish, dragonets, seahorses and others cannot survive without live food (mainly copepods) when they are first born and it is essential to have these in their tank.
The activity of eating live food is healthier for fish
If you have had the experience of feeding with both dried food and live food, you will see the difference in the experience for the fish. One of the most common live food; marine copepods are bethnic, which means they crawl on the bottom of the tank. The way a fish has to go about finding and eating these bethnic creatures is very different to how they would feed with dried food which commonly floats on the top of the water.
It is important to note that although marine fish especially benefit from live foods, many of these points also apply to freshwater fish and live food should always be considered a superior food choice. If you have any questions on the above article we would love to hear from you via our Contact Us page or via our Facebook page.