This law is called the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act outlines how people must take care of and act towards animals in New Zealand. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Police and SPCA work together to make sure people in New Zealand follow these laws.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, all animal guardians (owners) are responsible for making sure the welfare needs of animals in their care are met. Learning about the Five Domains helps us to understand these welfare needs and how we can make sure we provide these. One of the Five Domains is Nutrition. In this section you will learn about this domain and how you can make sure your fish have what they need for good nutrition.
What, when, where, and how your fish eat really depends on their species. There are thousands of different species of fish, all with different dietary needs.
It is essential to feed your fish the appropriate food for their species, this ensures that they get the right type of nutrients in the right amounts. Not only do fish need fish flakes/pellets as part of their diet, many species of fish also require a mix of other foods for balanced nutrition and enrichment. What someone would feed their goldfish compared to what someone would feed their tropical fish differs greatly. It is always best to talk to a veterinarian that specializes in caring for and treating fish, they can help you develop an appropriate meal plan for your fish.
Learning how your fish naturally eat is essential. Different species of fish have different styles of eating. Research if your fish is a top feeder, middle feeder, bottom feeder, or grazer.
Just as the names suggest, top feeders eat food that is floating on the surface of the water, middle feeders like to eat food from the middle of their tank, bottom feeders hang out and eat at the bottom of their tank, and grazers are the least fussy, who will graze on food anywhere in their tank.
Nocturnal species, like some catfish, need to be fed last thing at night.
Overfeeding is unfortunately a common mistake that fish guardians make. Fish will only eat what they need, so if they are offered too much, leftover food will remain in the water to decompose and cause unhealthy bacteria growth. This can make your fish very sick.
When trying not to overfeed their fish, guardians sometimes accidentally underfeed them instead. It’s vital to find the balance between the two.
When it comes to feeding your fish – little and often is the golden rule. This means they shouldn’t be offered anything bigger than the size of their eye and no more than they can eat in 2-5 minutes. It’s also best to feed your fish 2-3 times a day to mimic how they would eat in their natural habitat.
Anything that you place in your fish tank should be designed specifically for your type of fish. This includes foods and plants. You don’t want to give your fish anything that could make them sick. If you suspect your fish has eaten something dangerous or you are unsure if you can give your fish certain food/items, talk to a veterinarian that specializes in caring for and treating fish.
You must always make sure your fish get the care and attention they need when you are on holiday. Even if you have an automatic feeder, it’s best to have someone check on your fish daily.
While you’re away, make sure whoever is caring for your fish knows about their needs. Leave a list of care instructions including your veterinarian’s contact details for emergencies.