Making sure all are fed

Dempsey Dude

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HI all,

I was wondering how everyone out there deals with this problem in community tanks. I presume many of you keep fish in community tanks where certain species are bolder and more gregarious, while others are shy and retiring. How do you ascertain that the latter are getting their fair share of food?

In my 20 gallon tank, the guppies are fatties and gobble up anything as soon as it hits the water. The curviceps and siamese algae eaters are also a bit bigger and quite boisterous and have no problems coming to the surface and muscling in on the guppies for food (not to mention the supplemental algae the SAE graze on between feedings), so I'm not worried about them. The tiny neons are very quick and zoom around the mid-level scavenging any sinking scraps. My 2 female apistos are ok, they will sometimes venture near the surface and start eating, but my male ram and especially my male apisto (who almost never ventures past the bottom half of the tank) are a bit more shy and I only occasionally see them snapping up a mouthful of food. On occasion I will deliberately overfeed so that the guppies get overwhelmed and let some food sink down to that level, but I prefer not to do this for obvious reasons. Another way I try to deal with it is to supplement sinking food now and again (bottom feeder tablets or frozen bloodworms) to balance things out.

How do you guys deal with this?
 

garikapc

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Try to get some very long forceps/tweezers. I am lucky since I work in medical supply chain and was able to get a set of long (6") surgical tweezers for free (They were chipped) but I know some pet stores sell them as "Feeding tongs" for repitles and such. I use these to drop sinking wafers below the water line after dropping in some flakes for the top feeders. You could also try to distract the aggressive eaters by dropping one pile of food in one corner. They then scramble to that and you can drop foot elsewhere for the slower ones.
 

ricmcc

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I deal with it exactly the way that you are dealing with it--fish that tend to inhabit the bottom get sinking pellets, and fish that would break through a steel wall to get at food get floating food.
Also, quite a few bottom dwellers are nocturnal, so those get sinking pellets, or frozen food (thawed, so that it sinks immediately) at lights out.--

Also, if I don't have sinking pellets on hand, I just place some foating food in the path of the outlet of a HOB filter, which gets the food to the bottom quite quickly----rick
 

Coradee

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You can use a turkey baster to get food to the lower levels & bottom of the tank.
Distract the greedier feeders by putting some food in one corner of the tank while you use the baster in the opposite corner
 

Slug

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Could feed in two spots of the tank as well. Or feed extra and increase your water change regime to counter it.
 

DoubleDutch

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Think the secret is dividing. I crumble all the food to smaller bits so it divides through the tank. Even bottomdwellers love to search fot these bits instead of all eating of the wafers / pellets together.
 
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Dempsey Dude

Dempsey Dude

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Yes I've used quite a few of these strategies... dividing, crushing up the food, putting it under the filter outflow, etc... one I haven't tried yet is the forceps, that's a really cool idea! Hopefully my ram and apisto won't be terrified of the forceps when I try it.
 

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