Prepared foods are those foods that are non-living and are made by the aquarist or bought already prepared for consumption for fish.
Flake food is a type of proprietary or artificially manufactured fish food consumed by a wide variety of tropical and saltwater fish and invertebrates. It is ideally suited to top dwellers and mid-water fish though numerous bottom dwelling species consume flake food once it has settled on the bottom. Flake food is baked to remove moisture, ensuring a longer shelf life. Generally the more moisture a particular example of fish food contains, the more readily it will deteriorate in quality.
Dry foods is also available as pellets, sticks, tablets, granules, and wafers, manufactured to float or sink, depending on the species they are designed to feed.
Vacation foods, also known as "food blocks" (or "weekend blocks" for smaller versions), are designed to be placed inside the aquarium to forgo feeding while the owner is absent. These blocks release small amounts of food as they dissolve. Food blocks can be a good choice for smaller tropical fish, but can pollute the water if the tank is neglected for too long.
Medicated fishfood is a safe and effective method to deliver medication to fish. One advantage is that medicated food does not contaminate the aquatic environment and also, unlike bath treatments, does not negatively affect fish, filtration and algae growth in the aquarium. The parasites will get treated spot on by medicated food, because the fish is ingesting it.
Freeze-dried and frozen fish diets
Freeze-dried and frozen fish foods were primarily developed for tropical and marine fish and are useful in providing variety to the diet or specialist feeding needs of some species. These include tubifex worms, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, water fleas along with brine shrimp.
Frozen fish food
Perishable food can be preserved by frozen storage, and is often sold in blister packs or resealable packets. These can contain a variety of ingredients such as bloodworms, Daphnia, or brine shrimp, and are commonly used to feed such fish as Discus which require a high protein diet. Often fed on beef heart fish food within the aquaculture industry, the discus fish are not the only fish which can benefit from a high quality prepared frozen mixture such as beef heart, although by far these are the fish most associated with this particular frozen food.
Live fish food include earthworms, sludge worms, water fleas, bloodworms, and feeder fish. Food for larvae and young fish include infusoria (Protozoa and other microorganisms), newly hatched brine shrimp and microworms. These are the most preferred type of food for fishes,but are difficult to get. However, freeze dried forms of earthworms, tubifex etc. are available now.
Ingredients of quality fish food
Fish food should ideally provide the fish with fat (for energy) and amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and the fish food (whether flake or pellet) must be speedily digested in order to prevent build up of intestinal gas, renal failure and infections (such as swim bladder problems and dropsy) and to avoid aquarium pollution due to excessive ammonia. Aquatic diets for carnivores must contain vegetable matter such as spirulina.