How To Treat Overfed Fish?

How To Treat Overfed Fish? All You Need to Know:

One of the most common mistakes committed by most fishkeepers is overfeeding their fish. Thus, it is a common question by most of the fish keepers that how to treat overfed fish?

Fishes have an extremely small body and a huge appetite but still, they can’t take a lot of food in at the same time. We often feed them a variety of food at the same resulting in sick and overfed fish.

In this article, we will discuss the signs, symptoms, disadvantages, treatment, and prevention of overfeeding your fish.

What are the Signs of an Overfed Fish?

How Do I Know That My Fish Is Overfed?

Feeding your fish might be your Favourite thing about keeping a fish but overfeeding them can be dangerous for them.

Following are the most commonly seen signs of an overfed fish.

  • Fat and overweight fish.
  • Difficulty in swimming.
  • Lethargy and lack of responsiveness.
  • Uneaten food at the bottom of the tank.
  • Changes in pH, Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia.
  • Cloudy water problems.
  • Clogged up filters.
  • Excessive production of algae.
  • Food and debris in the gravel.
  • Uneaten food on the top of the aquarium surface.

If you notice any of the above-mentioned changes in your aquarium ecosystem it’s time for you to reconsider your feeding habits.

Signs of an Overfed Fish

Disadvantages Of Overfeeding:

Overfeeding your fish not only affects the fish but also affects the whole aquarium ecosystem in the worst way possible. Uneaten food and excess waste production both result in drastic changes in the pH of the aquarium.

Following are the most hazardous effects of overfeeding your fish.

Negative Effects on Health of Fish:

An overfed fish is prone to many diseases and the general effect on their daily activities is also impactful. It becomes hard for them to swim and dive; an overfed fish is often seen on the top of the aquarium.

Changes in pH, excess ammonia, and nitrates can lead to drastic changes in the metabolism of your fish. Nitrate shock and nitrate poisoning are commonly seen in this condition.

Changes In Ph of Aquarium Water:

Sudden reduction in pH is often seen which indicates greater acidity in the aquarium. This can put your fish under great stress.

High Levels of Ammonia:

The uneaten food combined with increased waste production by fish can result in unexpectedly high levels of ammonia in the aquarium. These elevating ammonia levels are a source of stress on fish resulting in retarded and slowed growth of your fish.

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Cloudy And Murky Water:

Due to the high levels of waste in the aquarium, the water becomes cloudy and there is an increased risk of infection in fish.

Algal Bloom:

An abundant amount of food and waste in the aquariums will result in the excessive growth of algae. This alga not only lowers the oxygen levels in the aquarium but also destroys the aquarium ecosystem in the worst way possible.

Dirty Aquarium Gravel:

One of the common problems with overfeeding is that there is always leftover food at the bottom of the tank. Thus, your aquarium gravel is always dirty, filled with decaying food materials and excess algae.

Production of fungus and molds:

Not only algae, molds, and fungi also get benefitted from the abundant supply of food. There is exceeding the growth of harmful and toxic molds, resulting in the spread of diseases among fishes.

Blocked Filters:

Food is often stranded in the filters rendering them useful. Thus, there develops a vicious cycle of food and waste accumulation in the aquarium.

Changes In Oxygen Levels of Aquarium:

Excess production of nitrogenous waste combined with a reduction in pH with rising acidity, coupled with algae production leads to dangerously low concentration of oxygen in the aquarium.

How Often Should I Feed My Fish?

Depending on the dietary requirements, age, metabolic activity, and habitat the frequency of feeding may vary. According to most aquarists, you should feed your fish once every day.

The quantity of food fed should not exceed the amount your fish can easily consume in 2-3 minutes. If you are a beginner and you are confused about feeding timing and quantity, you should consult a fish expert and make a schedule.

You can even make small doses of food and should feed your fish at the same time daily.

How Much Should I Feed My Fish?

According to the rule of thumb, you should feed your fish enough food that lasts for 2-3 minutes at most. The quantity of food required may vary depending on the habitat, age, sex, and metabolic activity of your fish.

Such as during the mating season the female fishes usually eat tons of food that they need for all the nutritional requirements.

There is also a myth that you should your fish the same amount of food as the size of their eye. This is not true; every fish has different requirements of food both quantitatively and qualitatively.

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What Is the Best Diet for My Fish?

There is no such thing as the best diet as it may vary among different species. Every fish diet must include multiple food options to provide every essential nutrient.

Live fish food:

When it comes to selecting the best food type Live food is without a doubt the best food. It mainly includes brine shrimps, Ghost shrimps, crickets, insects, and worms especially blood worms.

Plant-based diet:

Depending on the fish type, some species prefer live plants and for such fish’s spinach, Anacharis, and other green leafy vegetables are preferable. Mostly goldfish and koi are seen feasting on peas, cucumber, and lettuce.

Store-made products:

There is a variety of store-made products available nowadays that are usually in form of pellets, grains, and flakes.

Thus, there is a different set of diets for every fish depending on the needs of your fish and their liking.

How To Prevent Overfeeding Your Fish?

The first thing you should learn about fish keeping is how to manage the diet of your fish as it plays a significant role in their health and growth. To save yourself from the hassle of treating an overfed fish it’s best if you avoid such a thing from happening.

For the general well-being of your fish and better development of the aquarium eco-system following precautions should be kept in mind.

  1. Determine the right amount of food for your fish, weigh out the proper portion. Make sure to fulfill the requirement of each fish according to their taste and needs.

  2. Try to plan and schedule things according to the best interest of your fish. Fishes living in wild are habitual of small meals throughout the day, so plan accordingly.

  3. The right form of food is really important. For goldfish vegetables and leafy stuff is better, so if they are fed with shrimps and worms, they will be left unattended at the bottom of the tank.

  4. Selecting the right food is the key to the health of your fish. For the bottom and middle dwellers, fish flakes are the worst kind of food option. Fish flakes will keep floating on the top and your fish will be starving.

  5. Using bottom cleaners is the best option to avoid the buildup of left-over food. These cleaners feed on the waste and rotting food left at the bottom of the tank.

  6. Cleaning the tank at regular intervals and removing left-over food at once can save you and your fish from lots of trouble.

  7. If you are noticing that your fish is not eating for a day or two, avoid the next few meals. This will speed up their metabolism and prevent waste buildup in an aquarium.

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The key to this problem is understanding the dietary needs of your fish and planning according to them.

How To Treat Overfed Fish?

Now coming back to the main concern, if your fish is overfed how can you treat that.

One of the simplest and most effective methods to do that is to skip the next few meals. “STOP FEEDING YOUR FISH FOR A DAY OR TWO”. There are many benefits to this therapy.

  • Firstly, it boosts up their metabolism and helps in the future.
  • It provides sufficient rest to their stomach, helping them digest the food taken in.
  • It will increase their appetite and they will automatically feel lightweight and happy.
  • Your fish will be fine after starving for a day or two.

Thus, a fishkeeper needs to understand the problem and look for a solution that is in the best interest of their fish.

How To Remove Extra Food from Aquarium?

If you notice that your fish is unable to finish the portion of food that you have provided, it’s time for you to pay attention. Left-over food at the bottom of the aquarium is a welcoming sign to many problems already mentioned above.

Thus, it is essential to discard uneaten food at the very first.

  • Food particles are often stranded among the gravel, thus use a vacuum cleaner to extract this food.
  • It is necessary to clean the aquarium filter now and then to prevent blocking their ducts and avoiding waste buildup in the aquarium.
  • Using bottom scavengers to clean up any left-over food and to eradicate waste products.
  • Regular and thorough water changes are pivotal in clearing away any uneaten food material and waste as well.


Overfeeding your fish is a common mistake committed by many fishkeepers throughout their life. What’s important is that you understand its hazards are you are mentally prepared to treat it at the right time.

As prevention is better than cure, the first thing you should focus on is to prevent such a dreadful thing from happening.

I hope this article will help you save your fish and your aquarium.

Best of luck with your fish!!!!

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