Mr. Saltwater Tank

Terrible Advice Tuesday: The Absolute Limit On How Often You Can Feed Your Fish

Terrible Advice Tuesdays: If you want your tank to be successful long term, you can’t feed your fish more than once a week.

The Rest Of The Story: Well then, that settles it. For 99% of you, your tank is doomed as I’m sure nearly all of you feed your fish more than once a week.

Advice like this makes me scratch my head as I try to understand the logic behind it. If feeding your fish polluted your tank so much that your tank could only handle a once-a-week feeding, you’d either have a tank with really poor filtration or you are over feeding by a BIG margin.

A properly setup saltwater tank with good filtration that is exporting nutrients can easily handle fish being fed more than once a week. Please, feed your fish more than once a week. Your tank will be fine.

Special thanks to Stephen F who was told this advice by his local fish store.

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Comments for this article (21)

  • Eric says:

    Good lord!!!! I feed them once a day! Once a week sounds like a slim fast crash diet!?

  • Jon Harrison says:

    Not only is this bad advice, it’s also cruel inhumane.. now , I feed my fish once every two days and I feed them enough to where they can make it through. Skipping one day won’t kill your fish or hurt your fish there used to going without food for a day in nature sometimes it just gives your biofilter a chance to catch up

  • jasonandsarah says:

    There’s a lot of fish that require multiple small daily feedings, Anthias and smaller wrasse to name a couple. So feeding your fish like anything else in this hobby is largely dependent on the inhabitants.

  • Fernando says:

    I agree with the comments here. I feed everyday and my fish jump out the water everytime they see the feeding cup/algae clip (they perfectly know if I’m just looking, testing or feeding). 15 years of aquarium. Some fish are more than 10 yrs old. NOPOs are near 0.0x… Really, I cannot imagine such long time of punishment. A week? Im sure in a couple of days I’d find them in the kitchen opening the fidge XD

  • Jim V says:

    Once a week! I feed twice a day. Works good for me.

  • Matt says:

    I could imagine my fish after 6 days without food … not impressed!

  • David Ash says:

    What a strange comment from the LFS?…

    You would think they’d try to sell you more food lol.

    Perhaps I should eat once a week, long term health benefits and all…

  • Al says:

    I feed my 240g tank 2x daily with 2 frozen cubes. My fish happily eat it all up instantly. I also use zeovit and strong skimming to deal with excess no3/po4.

  • oldpaddy says:

    I feed mine 3 times a day. A small pinch of flakes in the morning. Either 1/4 cube of misc frozen food for lunch (or caviar. It’s like crack to them). And finally a pinch of pellets at night. I’ve got zero nitrates and phosphates.
    90gal tank, 6x54w t5, brs dual reactors, and dsb. I’m using nsw from the ocean (cape cod), and the dsb is sterilized cape cod beach sand.

  • Merle says:

    My buddy owns a LFS and feeds twice a week and recommends the same to his customers.
    I feed every 3 days with lots of food on that day spread out for the whole day so none hits the bottom. On the other days, I give the fish freeze dried Brine Shrimp (cubes) in holders I have made, along with nori. My fish are healthy happy and their colors are better than any I’ve seen. My tank parameters are great. “Once a week”! I bet watching the fish eat is bad for their health too!!

  • bearclawws says:

    Most Fish and other inhabitants in the ocean eat every day. Does not make sense to me not to feed every day.

  • bill says:

    We feed ours every other day at least sometimes everyday but not as much also as long as you have the correct filtering system and you do your regular maintenance then there shouldn’t be a problem with every day feeding at all again its about moderation

  • Reeflover says:

    I hate to sound negative but if you have PROPER filtration you can feed 3 times a day! I feed heavy…my fish love me & my corals benefit as well! If you can’t afford PROPER filtration & don’t have good husbandry skills, you are probably in the wrong hobby!

  • Fhqwhgads says:

    What nonsense. My tank consists of 100 gallons total volume, lots of rock, tons of flow, tons of light, macro filled refugium and properly sized skimmer. My acropora colors are great and montipora growth speed is near nuisance level. I feed my fish 5 times a day sometimes, at minimum 2 times a day on long work days. NO3 undetectable, and PO4 is under 0.02 ppm always. No other filtration or media reactors. The key is starting with rock and sand that isn’t already loaded with filth

  • Liza says:

    I needed a good laugh today! I admit it started out as a nervous laugh, though, since I am a newbie. I have a 36 gallon FOWLR and it is thriving! I feed the little ones a pinch in the morning and a pinch in the evening. Even my peppermint shrimp come out of hiding for a flake or two! It’s quite fun to watch…. 😉

  • Andrew says:

    Twice a day when I am home. Mix of Hakari Mysis…Piscene Mysis..and Rods Food. My fish love this schedule, the food is gone in 2 minutes. My corals also grow like crazy. And I only clean the glass weekly for light growth…..and pristene white sand. I sure am glad I do not live in that guys tank

  • Duke Sweden says:

    I have a 180 with Angels, Tangs and assorted damsels (chromis, etc.) In the morning when my lights come on full I throw a pinch of pellets in the tank. A half hour later I throw in mysis shrimp, enough to last about 3 minutes. During the course of the day I’ll give them nori, seaweed, and two or three more pellet feedings, before ending the day with another mysis feeding.

    The water in my tank is so clear it looks like it was pressure forced through a diatom filter filled with Chemi Pure. My filtration is simple, an above average but not top of the line skimmer, bio-pellets in a phos-ban reactor, and a u.v. filter which I don’t think really does anything.

    Seems to me from reading the comments that there really isn’t one single perfect feeding schedule.

  • Duke Sweden says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot. Angel Formula cubes, too. Maybe I should cut down a little bit. I don’t have corals, only mushrooms and some button polyps.

  • angel l montes says:

    i had a problem with my south american cichlid tank where it would get so dirty from feeding them too much so i decided to feed them every other day i would feed them once in the morning and at night then skip a day and then do the same step the following day so far my water is crystal clear.

  • Jason Bird says:

    I have 3 fantail goldfish and I’ve been feeding them once per day with high protein fish food which looks like grains of sand. I’ve had some advice from a local aquatic centre and they advised feeding every other day or even 3 x per week and also use live food every other day. They said Daphnia is a good live food to use, so I’m going to try feeding the fish Sunday, Wednesday and Friday and this will be the microgranules and the live food once per day on these days. Any comments if this is okay as a feeding schedule would be helpful.

  • Jason Birc says:

    I posted a comment on the 18th July regarding how often to feed fish and I got 3 new fish today, so my tank which is the Juwel Rio 125 litre now has 6 fish. There are 3 gold coloured Fantails and the new fish are 2 x Black Moors and 1 multicoloured Fantail. I feel my previous post on feeding wouldn’t be right now I’ve got more fish, so I think once per day feeding of the high protein microgranules food and live daphnia every other day is what I’ll go with.

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