Brine shrimp are small critters that are loved by the majority of fish and that are easy to digest.
Feeding your pets with brine shrimp every day is not a great idea though. The nutritional value of this type of food drastically varies from stock to stock, and if you want your fish to be beautiful and healthy, then you would have to add a bit of variety to their menu.
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How Often Should You Feed Your Fish Brine Shrimp?
- The temperature of the water is what regulates the metabolism of the fish in the tank. In general, the higher the temperature, the faster the metabolic rate.
- Large fish can go a lot longer between meals than small creatures.
- Finally, herbivores are the kind of fish that forage throughout the whole day, while one daily ‘catch’ is going to be sufficient for carnivores.
Practically all fish that eat meat would be happy to devour brine shrimp. Simply take the size and the water temperature into consideration when feeding your friends. In the majority of cases, once a day should be sufficient.
You can choose to feed the fish pretty much whenever you want, but the majority of species feed early in the morning or at dusk in the wild.
So, treating the fish with a tasty meal around 30 minutes after the aquarium light has been switched on will work for a lot of creatures.
Before feeding the brine shrimp to your precious pets, you should:
- Thoroughly rinse baby brine shrimp.
- Temperature acclimate the food by floating it in a container in the tank. This is not a necessary step but will help make sure that the shrimps are not stunned once you place them in the aquarium.
- Turn off the powerheads and the pumps.
- Pour the shrimps throughout the tank in small intervals over the course of a few minutes.
Can You Feed Too Much Brine Shrimp?
The general guideline is quite simple – feed your fish only the amount of food that they can consume in 3-5 minutes. If the little guys were unable to devour the meal in that timeframe, then you have added way too much.
What you can do to figure out the perfect amount is add a little bit of brine shrimp at once and take note of how much time it would take the fish to consume the yumminess.
If they devoured the shrimp completely in less than 2 minutes, then you can add a tiny bit more.
Always remove the uneaten food from the tank with a net or a siphon hose. Otherwise, the leftovers will:
- Start releasing toxic ammonia and nitrite
- Lower the dissolved oxygen content
- Lower the pH by releasing carbon dioxide
- Potentially clog the filter and reduce circulation in the aquarium
- Increase algae growth
- Lead to obesity that negatively affects the kidneys, liver, and other organs
Another rule that you can follow when feeding your fish with brine shrimp – feed them until their abdomen becomes slightly rotund. You can observe the belly’s roundness from the top and the sides.
This can be difficult to understand in a naturally round fish, so you can always find a reference picture of a healthy fish and compare your pet with the one in the photo.
Of course, there is always a risk of giving too much brine shrimp to your fish. Mainly because it is so exciting to see your little friends catch and devour the food. So, you should always watch out for these signs of overfeeding:
- Uneaten food remains
- Cloudy aquarium water with a foul odor and, at times, foam on the surface
- A filter that becomes clogged way too soon (in a few days or so)
- Excessive algae growth
- Elevated levels of nitrite and ammonia
- Low pH and high nitrates
If you have noticed any of these signs, then you would have to remove excess food, vacuum the substrate, and reduce the amount of food given by up to 50%.
Can You Feed Fish Only Brine Shrimp?
Giving your fish different types of foods is a great way to mimic the creature’s natural diet. Out in the wild, fish do not consume frozen food or flake food – they hunt for living organisms, and by adding brine shrimp onto the menu, you are replicating the ocean environment.
The chances are high that practically all of the fish in your tank are going to love brine shrimp. But that doesn’t mean that this should become the only food that you’ll be giving the little guys.
A diverse menu will result in brighter colors, quicker growth, and overall better health.
As a rule of thumb, you can give your fish a staple food 2-4 times per week and then something different the rest of the days.
Brine Shrimp Nutritional Value
In the majority of cases, brine shrimp is not the most nutritious food course for your fish. There are gigantic differences in the nutritional value among different batches and sources.
The dealers usually separate the stock into four categories: premium, high-quality and low-quality aquaculture grade, and hobbyist grade. The brine shrimp available in the ‘hobby’ category is not of the best quality, and getting your hands on the premium or high-quality stuff is practically impossible for a regular aquarium owner.
If you are willing to go the extra mile, you can enrich the shrimps before feeding them into the tank.
To accomplish that, you would have to give the brine shrimp that has reached the second instar a highly unsaturated fatty acid supplement.
Brine Shrimp Enrichment
In a nutshell, you should make the baby shrimp eat the nutrients so that you can, later on, feed your fish with this ‘live bag of goodness.’
But the problem is that baby brine shrimps are extremely slow eaters; ideally, you would want to feed them for two separate 12-hour periods. Moreover, you would have to change the water between the feedings to prevent the growth of bacteria.
You can always choose to purchase live adult brine shrimp – these guys can be ‘enriched’ in as little as 1-2 hours as they are efficient feeders.
In a word, your fish might love the taste of brine shrimp, but unless you are able to manually feed the stock with a nutritional supplement, brine shrimp is not going to be an extremely healthy addition to the fish’s diet.
Even if you are willing to enrich the brine shrimp yourself, it can’t be the only food source that you are going to add to the tank.
Yes, some types of nauplii can be rich in fatty acids, while the adults can have a high protein content, but your fish need much more than just that.
So, can I feed my fish brine shrimp everyday?
You shouldn’t really do that for two main reasons:
- The nutritional benefits of brine shrimp alone are quite questionable.
- In order to give your fish all the necessary nutrients and make sure that it lives a happy and healthy life, you should opt for a diverse menu with various ‘dishes.’
Hi! I’m Praveen Ghoshal, the founder of eFishkeeping.com. Inspired by my Dad, I got interested in fishkeeping when I was a kid. Since then, I have been involved with this hobby. Currently, I have 3 fish tanks at our home, where I enjoy this hobby with my Mom, Dad, and Younger Sister. Read more about me here.