Storage Of Aquarium Live Food

Feeding live food to the fish living in the aquarium is a source of enthusiasm for many aquarists and brings with it numerous advantages for the fish. There is now a huge selection of different animals that can be given to the fish. Whether red mosquito larvae, paramecia, water fleas, or others, fish love live food and it supports the natural needs of the individual fish species.

If you don’t want to breed the live food yourself, you can buy it in numerous pet shops or order it in individual online shops. The individual items are stored there in a cool place. Since the portions are usually quite large, the complete feed should not normally be fed at once. This is because, for example, mosquito larvae would not be eaten completely, which in turn would be harmful to the water parameters. For this reason, it is important that the live food for the aquarium is divided. But how should the remaining animals be stored? In this article, we give you numerous tips as well as other important and interesting information about these special delicacies.

Benefits of Aquarium Live Food

Regardless of whether it is a freshwater or a seawater tank, most aquarists like to spoil their fish with live food from time to time. This not only pleases and tastes good to the fish but also has other advantages.

The feeding of live food is particularly animal-friendly and satisfies the natural hunting instinct of the fish, which is part of the normal instincts of the animals and cannot and should not be suppressed, which in turn promotes the vitality of the animals. The natural behavior can thus be maintained and some experts are sure that fish that are spoiled with live food from time to time live longer and healthier than others. This is because live food contains many essential minerals as well as other vitamins and nutrients.

  • Satisfies the animal’s hunting instinct;
  • promotes vitality;
  • brings variety;
  • contains many important minerals;
  • rich in different vitamins;
  • contains numerous nutrients;
  • best natural food;
  • supports species-appropriate fish farming.

The storage of live food

In order for the live food to last a particularly long time, it is important to store it optimally. The individual types of food have different shelf lives and different storage requirements. It is important that the live food is only kept for as long as absolutely necessary. Food animals that are shrink-wrapped must also be removed from the packaging, then rinsed and transferred to a larger container to increase the lifespan of the small animals.

Tubifex live food

This live food consists of small red and thin worms that can reach a size of up to 6 cm. These are only rarely offered and can mainly be found at wholesalers. If these are sealed, it is important to transfer them to a container filled with fresh water. You have to make sure that the worms are still nice and red and, as soon as they are startled, pull together into a lump. It is important to water the worms a few days before feeding them. Storage in a large container and in the refrigerator can last for several days. The disadvantage of this live food lies in the fact that the Tubifex worms are very fast and like to bury themselves in the bottom of the aquarium. There they are inaccessible to the fish, can die, and would then rot, which is extremely rare, but can lead to poor water parameters.

White mosquito larvae

These are the larvae of the tufted mosquito, which is one of the less popular mosquitoes. The larvae themselves are almost transparent and can grow up to 15 mm long. If you don’t necessarily want to buy them, you can usually catch the white mosquito larvae in any normal pond or pool with a net. They should be stored cool and preferably in the dark, so a Tupperware with fresh water is particularly suitable, which is then placed in the refrigerator. Many aquarists also take the opportunity and breed the larvae in their own water butts. While they naturally survive there for a very long time, they can survive in the refrigerator for a maximum of two weeks, although only the really high-quality larvae can do that.

Red mosquito larvae

The red mosquito larvae, which aquarists also like to call muelas, are the larvae of certain midges. Depending on which midge the red mosquito larvae come from, they have a size of 2mm – 20mm. This is probably one of the most commonly fed animals for aquarium fish, which of course means that they are offered in numerous pet shops and in some online shops. Furthermore, they are at home in many different inland waters, as they can easily survive in oxygen-poor waters. Like most other products in this area, this live food should be stored in a cool and dark place. However, shrink-wrapped larvae should be used up quickly and in the short term, as they do not last particularly long and have been in the bag for a certain amount of time. Nevertheless, it is important not to add too large amounts to the aquarium, otherwise, the fish could develop digestive problems. Before feeding, it is also important to water the red mosquito larvae sufficiently and never pour the water in the bag into the tank, as this contains the animals’ droppings.


This is the copepod, which is also commonly referred to as the Hüpferling and occurs with many different genera in different waters. It reaches a size of up to 3.5 mm, which makes it particularly interesting for small aquarium fish. Since this type of crab is always on the move, the fish have to work for the food, which is clearly an advantage and satisfies the animals’ hunting instinct. They contain many vitamins and nutrients as well as minerals, so that experts like to describe the Cyclops as need-covering and they could even be used as a complete food. However, the crabs should only be fed to adult fish, as the small animals like to attack small juvenile fish and the fry. Individual crabs can be kept for several days, making sure they get enough oxygen.

Water fleas

The water fleas belong to the leaf-footed crabs, of which there are around 90 different species. In the field of aquaristics, the genus Daphnia, which aquarists like to call “Daphnia”, is fed in particular. Even if they are excellent food due to their hopping movement and satisfy the fish’s hunting instinct, they have nothing to do with fleas. Depending on which genus they belong to, water fleas reach a size of up to 6 mm, so they are also suitable for small aquarium fish. They live primarily in stagnant water, leading many aquarists to catch them in the wild rather than buy them. They are very high in fiber but have little nutritional value, so they should be used primarily as a feed supplement. With enough oxygen, they will last for several days.

Caddis fly larvae

Even if the name suggests it, the caddis fly larvae do not belong to the flies, but are most closely related to the butterflies. They live in flowing and standing water. In order to protect themselves, some larvae spin a quiver with the help of small leaves, stones or sticks, from which only the head and the legs and very rarely something of the front body protrude. This makes them particularly interesting for the aquarium fish, as they have to work out their food. To do this, the aquarium fish have to wait for the ideal time to grab the larva by the head and pull it out of the quiver, which is of course a nice activity for your fish.


This particularly popular live food consists of small brine shrimp, whose eggs can be bought in almost all pet shops with aquarium supplies, and they are now also available in numerous online shops. They are rich in vitamins, nutrients, roughage and proteins and are therefore indispensable in aquaristics. Many aquarists now have their own rearing and use Artemia as the sole food for their fish. Due to their small size, they are also suitable for small fish or as rearing food for young fish.

Food type (live food) Properties, shelf life, and storage
Artemia just in the

Breeding lasts for several weeks

ensure sufficient oxygen

store in larger containers

can be used as a sole feed

rich in vitamins

rich in nutrients

rich in proteins

Cyclops a few days, durable

ensure sufficient oxygen

need-covering live food

rich in proteins

rich in vitamins

rich in nutrients

caddis fly larvae last for several days

Best kept in a small aquarium

Feeding with foliage is very important

have high nutritional needs

provide employment for the fish

rich in proteins

rich in dietary fiber

Red mosquito larvae maximum shelf life of 2 weeks

Storage on damp newspaper

Use up shrink-wrapped muelas quickly

rich in vitamins

Tubifex maximum shelf life of 2 weeks

daily water change required

Storage in a special Tubifex box would be optimal

water before feeding

rich in vitamins

water fleas last for several days

can also be kept in a separate aquarium or the rain barrel

ensure sufficient oxygen

satisfies the urge to move and the hunting instinct of the fish

§  low nutritional value

rich in dietary fiber

only suitable as supplementary feed

White mosquito larvae lasting for several months

Store in a cool and dark area

feed in between (e.g. with Artemia)

Live food – conclusion

If you want to do something good for your fish, you should definitely include the live food in your feed and feed it at regular intervals. However, it is important to ensure that no harmful substances get into the tank with the feed, which makes watering before feeding irreplaceable. If you stick to the storage and shelf life of the different types of live food, you will always make your fish very happy and support the natural needs of the animals with species-appropriate feeding. Nevertheless, you should only store the live food for as long as is necessary and buy it in smaller quantities rather than in bulk packs.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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