Mr. Saltwater Tank

Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip: How To Get That Flaked Food To Your Fish

Flaked food is one part of my fish’s food rotation. Besides it’s nutritional value, it does have one attribute that I don’t like – it floats! Some fish will eat the flaked food from the surface of the water and some won’t. Here’s how I solve that problem.

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Comments for this article (24)

  • J. Horowitz says:

    My Huma bites me. (-:

  • greg7663 says:

    what kind and size is that tank Mark? It is really nice!

  • Deb says:

    Mark, I use a tea strainer to put my flake food in and hold it under water before dispensing it! It works great and protects the fingers from any over aggressive fish!

  • Scott says:

    I put the flakes in a plastic cup with some tank water. A quick swirl or 2 then dump it in. It turns my tank into a snow globe and it is fun to watch all the fish and critters explode in activity

  • Mad Hatter's Reef says:

    Very simple yet effective. Good stuff.

  • Daniel says:

    I second Scott’s idea. Works with most foods…

  • I just put a pinch on a plate. A few drops of garlic .mix it up and it goes right to the bottom

  • steven says:

    What a genius!!!!! who would have ever thought of that.


    A lot of your ideas are great but it look like your running out of new things for the Friday Quick tip. Maybe change to the Last of the month Quick tip (12 tips a year instead of 52) some times Quality over Quantity has more value.

  • John L says:

    I use a method similar to Scott’s. But I use an old water bottle to pre-soak the food.
    This method also lets me soak the flake food with garlic extract before feeding.

  • Bryan says:

    None of my fish care for flake food. I have tried a variety of types and they ignore the flakes so I stopped feeding them. I tried seaweed too and they ignore that too. All my fish eat is mysis, blood worms and fortified brine shrimp plus a few daphnia and a bit of cyclopeeze. Of course, I don’t have any tangs or other heavy veggie eaters, so the flakes must be an acquired taste. I suspect if I starved the fish, they would eat what I give them…

  • William Salazar says:

    Hi Mark I’ve found a method that has helped me feed flakes. I put small amount trough the return pump and it distributes all over my reef and every one of my fish get to enjoytheir flakes..

  • Neil says:

    I have a section of lock line around the corner of my tank, with the spout facing into the patch of water that it isolates. The auto feeder dumps flake food on to the surface, and the food swirls around until it gets close to the turbulent water at the spout. The turbulent water brakes the surface tension of the water and lets the food get in to the water column. And because the lock line doesn’t allow the food to escape it just swirls around with out going near the overflow. Works great for an auto feeder that just drops the food on the surface… Hope this helps someone…

  • Dan Skyba says:

    Mark it’s a great tip, and exactly what I used to do before I discovered this method. Now I chop up frozen food and some flake/pellet and put it in mini ice-cube trays. Add RO water and freeze. I make a month supply. Put the cubes in a tupperware in freezer and feed one cube per day. The flake/pellet food gets wet during the freeze process, so no more floating. The ice cube floats, melting and slowly dropping the food. So the aggressive fish hit the cube and feast, and when they swim away, the less aggressive get the falling pieces. Everyone gets a chance.
    Plus this has 100% wife happiness factor when I am away. She does not have to handle food – just hit the pumps off for feeding and drop in one cube. Clean and easy.
    Like you mentioned, I like to manually feed because I enjoy watching my fish eat. it’s part of the hobby for me. Clearly this method will not work for those who like to auto-feed!

  • Karen says:

    That is exactly how I do it! My fish won’t eat flake good otherwise, but when I submerge it, they eat it faster than other types of food!

  • Dan…interesting approach to putting flaked food in with the frozen food. Do you have any issues with the aggressive eaters eating too much cold food?

  • Bryan…do your fish eat mysis shrimp?

  • Bryan says:

    Yes, Mark. My fish love Mysis. They just turn their noses up at flakes. I tried mixing flakes in with the mysis in liquid and it is remarkable how well they can tell the difference as it floats around. They are very selective about what they want to grab!

  • Tom says:

    I love that tank Mark!! What size is that bad boy & what brand?

  • Tanya Barnes says:

    Thank you for sharing! Something so simple, I could have done this forever ago! Been complaining of the flakes getting sucked into my overflows in my 125 Gallon… uhg so frusterating!

  • Dan Skyba says:

    5 years and never had an issue with ice-cube feeding approach for fish large or small, quick or slow. Who knows the exact thermodynamics, but my guesstimate is in a ~80F tank, that 32F food probably quickly gets to about 40-45F by the time the food is exposed outside the ice for a few seconds, and after a few chomps in the mouth, it’s probably upward of 50F. I never saw any frost-bitten lips!

  • David Bradley says:

    What size and kind is that awesome tank?

  • Tom…that’s a 34g Solana tank. It is no longer made.

  • I put my flake / pellet mix and frozen cubes into my sump via a cheap plastic funnel (dollar store) and a 1″ by 8″ piece of flexible clear hose that directs the food directly into the intake of my sump. The auto feeder spills the flake & pellet mixture into the funnel 4 times daily and it flows directly into the intake of sump (pellets don’t fall to the bottom of the sump) which then delivers the food into the middle of the tank through the live rock stack where I hid the outlet for the sump. It is a blast to watch what I call the food frenzy as all the colors of the fish swirl tightly together in the middle of the tank next to the live rock wall outlet. I put a 90 degree elbow on the end of the outlet pipe to direct food out into the middle of the tank rather than falling behind the rock. In addition, I put an air hose up the bottom of the funnel and attached the air pump power cord to the wave maker so the occasional bubbling knocks the food off the side of the clear hose to keep it suspended. Don’t use an air stone it makes to much foam that catches and holds the flakes. When using those frozen cubes I break them in half and simply drop them one at a time into the funnel and it tumbles slowly around as it melts spreading this feeding frenzy out over a 10 to 20 minute time zone. Its fun to see the fish go into a panic. The clear hose allows you to see the food and what is happening to it as it makes its way to the sump pump. Also, to help keep the flake food dry in the otherwise wet sump area I simply drop one of those small moisture absorbent packets that come in aspirin bottles into the feeders holding bin. The packet tumbles around in the flake food touching it and sucking up the moisture and at the same time it helps to keep the food from clumping. Scott

  • Jerry Dube says:

    Hi Mark,

    Hope you get to read this one…
    I have seen allot of professionals talk about tanks, lights and equipment but always show their tank.. from the tank up. Yes, everyone loves to look at fish and corals.

    It would be really nice if you did a 15 minute or so video of your large tank from the equipment aspect. Piece by piece and why you choose it. I know you may have advertising conflicts promoting a vendor. It would be nice to see an in depth look at your system and explain each piece for a few minutes.

    If you have done this on the new tank and I missed it – sorry for the request again… could you give me the link.

    Enjoy your videos and the Q&As.

    Thank you,
    Jerry Dube

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