Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): Flaked Fish Food Causes Algae Problems

Terrible Advice Tuesdays: Flaked fish food will cause algae problems in your tank.

The rest of the story: Poor flaked fish food. What a unwarranted bad reputation.

Here’s the facts: Any fish food can cause algae problems in your tank. However, the moment flaked food enters your tank, your tank isn’t doomed for an algae outbreak.

Therefore, don’t ditch that flaked food. Instead, only feed enough that your fish will eat quickly (before any hits the sand bed). I also recommend holding the flaked food under the surface of the water so that it stays submerged as some fish won’t eat food off the surface of the water. For example, my clownfish, firefish, anthias, and gobies won’t touch food that isn’t submerged.

Note that I’m NOT saying that fish food WILL cause algae problems. The misuse of any fish food can lead to algae popping up in your tank, not just flaked food.


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Comments for this article (18)

  • Great advice. I always tell people to stir flakes in tank water to make it sink below the surface. My fish swim into the cup now..

  • Question. Many of us have tank thst have been running for years. Is it beneficial to replace sand or some of the sand? I notice from beneath tge tank some nasty spots in the sand bed. Rather than stirring and releasing that into the water i thought of removing some. What do you think. Sand beds are an interesting topic. When the hobby first started we al used crushed coral. Those were the days

  • Forrest says:

    imo: Flake food is fast food. You shouldn’t eat fast food every day. Neither should your fish. I only have it for when I have to feed on the run. I hope it doesn’t go bad. I’ve had the same can of flake for about 4 years now.

  • Tony says:

    Well I feed my fish caviar, frozen shrimp,algae pelet food. And once I a blue moon I feed flake food oh can’t for get phytoplankton. I also use vitachem and another type if vitamins to help with LLD to. Plus I feel it important to have a dual reactor one for GFO and CARBON, and a good matanince plan. And try to have fish that love algae. My yellow tang and star blenny and coral beauty love the algae on the rocks on the tanks glass, befour the dual reactor my algae was in then out back in then out. now with the dual reactor it my take 3 to 4 days for algae to show up on the glass. Substright looks better than ever thanks to the books Internet Mark as well for all the great info. This is a good topic.

  • Darren says:

    For a long time I always rinsed my frozen foods. I then came across an article that stated rinsing food wouldn’t affect phosphate that much. So for a while I stopped rinsing. In the past my phosphate sat at 0-.04ppm (with rinsed food). Recently my phosphates came in at 0.13ppm (without rinsing). Not sure if it had anything to do with it but I’m starting to rinse again to see what happens. I’m wondering though if all food including flakes and pellets should be rinsed.

  • Don DeFeo says:

    My angelfish Queen , loves algae flakes , clown fish also

  • Alexander t says:

    Its also important to look at the composition of the flake. Not all are created equally. I only use one type of flake, though I won’t mention it unless Mark says its ok.

  • Alexander t (and others)…you are welcome to mention brands. Mentioning what food/equipment you use is distinctly different from plugging something, i.e…”hey I use brand X and never have algae issues because its the best. If you want to order some send me an email or visit my website!!”

  • Alexander t says:

    I only use Formula 2 flakes due to their relatively low po4 levels and I have alot of tangs. Also my Helfrichi loves them the most. also I try to soak everything in Selcon.

  • jan_16hk says:

    I still use flake foods as a staple, by ocean nutrition. I like it beacause it keeps firm and doesn’t disintegrate….. But i feed sparingly not overfeed. I soak the flakes first in a small cup of tank water and then i use a small baster and deliver the food in the tank, where the fishes wait.

    That way the food that comes out of the baster opening gets gobbled up straight away by the fishes instead of it flying around in the tank.

  • Jimbo says:

    Flake Food is and has always been an excellent source of food for your fish one needs to pick out a brand that your fish really like and eat in the correct amount of time as Mark said you certainly do not want it really floating on the surface since most fish will not eat it that way or you simply watch it go into your pre-filter and thats not good either selcon or Garlic Guard can be used if you choose to use it i do at times. Flake food and Frozen are both a great way to feed just use common sense! Happy Feeding.

  • Jimbo says:

    Selcon and Seachems Garlic Guard is quite good to use on those flakes at times and of course your Frozen thawed foods. As the saying goes mix it up your Fish will be alot happier and Healthy and of course do those Water Changes!

  • Mitch says:

    Just wondering I use kent garlic on ocasion and my skimmer really acts up and produces big bubble for a few hours is this common with all the garlics and Selcon.

  • Mitch says:

    I also use an ehiem auto feeder with food chimmeny but a cheap one does any one know where I could get a good more universal chimmeny. I would also LOVE to see some ideas to autu feed frozen cubes if there is such a n option as I am not home alot.

  • Mitch…the auto feeders need dry food so you’d be left with pellets for flaked food. The only way to feed frozen food would be to thaw it, then pump it into the tank at set times. Nevermind the smell from thawed food that would be left out for days on end…

  • Alexander t says:

    I’ve seen a few NSP system where they incorporate a dosing pump that runs through a mini fridge to feed thawed, frozen, and Reef Nutrition foods like phytoplankton.

  • Dan says:

    I fully agree. Never had a problem when using flake sparingly or as a supplement. I also use flake if I forget to make ice cubes. Yes – you read correctly – ice cubes. I take all my foods – marine cuisine, formula 1 or 2, brine shrimp, mysis, a little flake, and I chop it up and put it in a mini ice cube tray. Add DI water and freeze. I feed 1 mini ice cube per day. The ice cube melts slowly, and the fish chase it around and eat off of it, so nearly no wasted food ever hits the bottom of the tank. Note – I also only put enough food in each cube that I know they can eat (about 1/3 full), and put different mixtures in different parts of the tray as I make it. When frozen, it all gets dumped into a tupperware that stays in the freezer – so when I pull one out – dinner is randomized. Super easy for me and fun for them!
    Happy wife factor: Also easy for the spouse when I am out of town on a trip.

  • Kalamity says:

    Should frozen food be thawed prior to feeding to prevent gastric problems?

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