Foods for Fancy Guppies
Raising fry on live or frozen Baby Brine Shrimp,live microworms, egg yolk, etc. (see page on fry)will build them up quickly to take on an even greater variety of food when they are physically able to consume it.
While live food is known as the best food for fish, freeze-dried foods are a close second. The food is frozen, the moisture is evaporated, and the nutrients are preserved. They can be stored a indefinitely in a cool, dry place. Flakes are about as good as FD foods, and in many cases, better in my opinion when there is a good mix of ingredients and vitamins. The key to remember, though, is variety.
chopped, cleaned of fat/sinew, and grated from frozen when needed. Avoid feeding to adult fish due to it's fat content.
Live, frozen or freeze-dried, though high in fat. These are actually the larvae of the Chironomus mosquito. Avoid feeding to adults.
Mosquito Larva (Black)
Excellent source of vitamins and albumen. These are the typical larvae you see at the surface of water. You can keep them in outdoor tubs in the summer.
Drosophila (wingless fruit flies)
You can keep your own culture of these, however, they seem to start developing wings and cause a bit of a problem.
Contains high protein and fatty acids essential for health and growth; excellent colour enhancer and conditioner; very complete food. Could be difficult to grind up and needs pre-soaking.
Even though fish love these and they are considered by many to be an excellent conditioning food high in albumen, avoid feeding these live, especially without extensive rinsing! These worms live in sewage, where the water is so polluted that fish could not survive. They carry with them bacteria that often kills Guppies. They are available in Freeze-dried form, however, and these should be safe, however, feed only as a treat.
Freeze-dried Brine Shrimp
Fairly high in salt content but a great source of protein and convenient to feed fry as it crumbles easily.
You may also want to feed a shucked pea. Run a frozen pea under warm water and take off the skin. Drop it in the tank and watch the Guppies attack it! Remove what they don't finish.
Feeding crumbs of fat-free ham once in while is also helpful if you do not have beef heart.
************FLAKES, VACATION, AND OVERFEEDING************
There also a number of excellent flakes available. A flake food that details all of the ingredients is the sign of a good one.
Of course, we actually know little about the vitamins our fish get. Packaging tells little. The best we can do is to feed quality foods that list vitamins and minerals, as well as a variety, including fresh foods. Let's look at flakes.
Flakes are essential to fish keepers. A good high-protein flake should be offered to Guppies at least once a day. When you drop them in the tank, they soak up water and grow to about 3 times their original size within seconds, and this should happen before the fish eats them. If your Guppies are too quick it can give them a swollen stomach, so in this case try to soak them for a few seconds first. If flakes are bought in large quantities, freeze what you won't use in the next month and re-fill when necessary. It will help keep your flakes fresh. Vitamins will be lost with exposure to air. Minerals and trace elements, found in fishmeal from fish bones, though, have a long shelf life. All in all, deficiencies should not be problem with a good, fresh flake food.
It is important to remember that it is easy to overfeed an adult Guppy. As well, some older male Guppies will develop a "pot-belly" -- a chestiness that is very unhealthy if they were raised on a rich diet including beef heart. It does seem to help if they remain active as adults, but a fatty diet should be decreased as a fish reaches adulthood or they could die an untimely death. Guppies seem to always be hungry but quality is more important that quantity. You may want to consider fasting your adult fish once a week.
If going on a vacation for a week, it is perfectly fine to leave your Guppies without food. There are "vacation blocks" available but these are unnecessary and may cause water quality problems. Guppy fry will survive, especially with lower temperatures, but they should be fed. Perhaps a helpful neighbour will feed them, but make it painfully obvious how much your fish are to be fed. Purchase a pill dispenser with the days of the week on it and pre-portion the fish food for each day. If not, your fish could be overfed and the water polluted.
Here is a list of various flake foods and their content. Perhaps you will gain some insight as to what a quality flake is, and what some of the varieties there are in ingredients.
Big Al's Flake Food: fish meal, shrimp meal, soybean flour, kelp, plankton, algae meal, yeast, daphnia, brine shrimp, carrot, various vitamins and minerals. Contains no artificial flavour or colouring, which is great. Protein: 45% Min. This is the main staple flake for my Guppies. It can be bought in larger quantities so it is also great value.
HBH 4 Flake Frenzy: Has 4 distinct flakes in one mix: Meat Lovers Flake: with fish meal, krill, anchovy, squid, shrimp, crab, earthworm, etc. Veggie Flake: 8 vegetables including spirulina, alfalfa, zucchini, pea, spinach, lettuce, beet and carrot. Color Bright Flake: contains natural carotenoids like astaxathin, beta carotene, paprika, marigold meal, etc. Health Booster Flake: packed with chelated vitamins and minerals (such as C, E, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Biotin, Folic Acid, and Zinc.) These flakes also contain garlic, which is known to help prevent internal parasites. However, unfortunately, this food does contain two preservatives including Ethoxyquin. Protein: 42%
O.S.I. Brine Shrimp: Fish Meal, Wheat Flour, Brine Shrimp, Shrimp Meal, Fish Protein Concentrate, Carotene, Dried Yeast, Fish Oil, Natural and Artificial colours (why do they colour it?) It includes a multi-vitamin supplement. It lists Ethoxyquin as an antioxidant. The only problem I really have with these flakes is that they are coarse, must be pre-soaked, and are too difficult to grind up for fry. Protein: 48%
Avant Tropical Fish Food Flakes: Fish Meal, Plankton, shrimp meal, soy flour, algae meal, dried kelp, oat flour, irradiated dried yeast, fish liver, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Protein: 46%
Wardley Guppy Flakes: White fish meal, wheat Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate, meat and Bone Meal, liver meal, wheat gluten, shrimp meal, wheat germ, brewers dried yeast, dehydrated alfalfa, fish oil, lecithin, ground aniseed, crab meal, spirulina, xanthan gum, and it lists several different artificial colours, then vitamins and ethoxyquin Protein: 40% (low). Since ingredients are listed in the order of highest percentage to the least, I can't say I am impressed with it's content. However, this the only fish food I have seen that actually shows a Best Before Date.
HBH Fry Bites: fish meal, fish oil, blood meal, feather meal, wheat flour, brewers yeast, soy lecithin, lignon sulfonate, etc. Vitamin enriched, it contains extra fat and protein for good fry growth. Though this is not a flake food but rather tiny pellets, I wanted to include it. It is an excellent food for fry, but they need to mature a couple of weeks before they can eat it. It's protein content is not less than 47% and fat not less than 13%--that's high fat content. However, it does, as most dry fish does, contain preservatives.