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Avoiding competition at feeding time - sharing vids of a good experience


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Posting this here as a community service of sorts. At least I hope it's rec'd that way.

In a couple different threads lately I've written how important the size of the food you feed can be when you have multiple species in a tank. Whether it's a community tank with "shy guys" on the floor (cories, kuhlis, etc), or greedy eaters at the top-middle, or a grow-out tank with multiple species where you want to ensure everyone gets enough. 

My comment/suggestion has been that you can use the physiology and behavior of your fish to your advantage by choosing tiny foods for the top-feeders and bigger foods for the bottom dwellers. Duh, right? Well I had a great opportunity to record this in a couple of my 10gal grow outs that both have a mix of guppies and gold ocellatus shell dwellers. Just before I took the vids, I fed 200-300 micron golden pearls on the surface, and the guppies are all staying up top and are totally focused on that (this food floats when sprinkled up top), and I fed a sinking micro-pellet food at the same time (similar to crumbled bug bites community), which the ocellatus happily eat on the bottom. The pellet food was introduced below the surface, so it sank right away, and the guppies pretty much ignored it because the floating/smaller GP is more to their liking. This partly works because of mouth size also - ocellatus have cavernous maws, while guppies have relatively smaller mouths. 

You can see this in two separate tanks here, both with the same species mix just different sizes. With apologies for the glare, here is the older group, you can see the guppies at the top eating the last of the GP, and the golds at the bottom scrounging the pellets. 


Here are a couple yt links: 

The older group (same tank as above): https://youtube.com/shorts/PVnCquoo_AI

The younger group: https://youtube.com/shorts/IpQzYhcFm_4 (shout-out to Star Wars fans re the AT-AT - best ornament ever)

In both vids, with few exceptions you can really see the guppies staying up top (even though most of the floating food is gone) and not bothering the golds on the floor. Most folks consider guppies to be little piggies, and if a single food type had been introduced (whether it was the floating gp or the sinking pellets) I think we can agree there would have been less available for the golds. Distracting the guppies with the floating food ensures the golds get enough on the floor, and get time to eat it.  

What about something like cherry shrimp or cory fry (slower eaters than the golds)? In that case I would have again gone with a floating top food, paired with an even larger bottom pellet (like the vibra bites large size).  

Any similar stories/experiences out there?



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This is cool, I try to do a similar thing with the food mix, lately it has been adding different foods to a cup of aquarium water then using a turkey baster to distribute the mixture to tanks. I’ve noticed some stays on top, some sinks to bottom, and the variety helps the different fish find what they like. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do often feed two kinds of food at once to make sure that my cherry shrimp and also juvenile or more shy individuals can find food without stressing. My fish are mostly livebearers who will be cleaning all the surfaces of the tank up all day, but I also have neons and white clouds who are not really rummaging around between meals--they want food to be floating right around them. So I will put in a 'main meal' of something sinking like Bug Bites and also add some Repashy powder or crumbled up spirulina flakes so the guppies etc. will go after the powder and let the tetras have a minute to grab Bug Bites. 


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