Tips on Alternative Fish Feeding

There are now more and more pond owners who are starting to feed their fish alternatively, i.e. not with conventional food from the shop. Instead, native insects are used, which you can breed yourself with a little skill. Here we inform you about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of fish feeding.

Alternative Fish Feeding

So it’s about how you can feed fish – except with stick/flake or granulated food – otherwise. Here you might think of insects first: After all, many fish also feed in their natural environment on small organisms that live in or near the water and can thus be captured by them. This type of feeding is of course also possible in the garden pond, however, due to the artificial pond (border) planting, the suitable habitat for these animals is often not available. So you have to get it yourself. In the following, you will find out everything about the most famous food insects for garden pond fish.

Black Mosquito Larvae: The Young of the Mosquito

Black mosquito larvae provide a good nutrient composition and are well suited for use in your own pond. You can get them all year round in pet shops as frozen food or in a dried state. With these variants, however, the valuable nutrients are never completely preserved. That is why live feeding is ideal. This has the advantage that the fast swimming larvae challenge the fish and encourage them to move. You can find the larvae in various stagnant or slowly flowing waters during the summer months; Rain barrels or garden watering cans are also particularly economical.

Red Mosquito Larvae: the Young of the Mosquito

These mosquito larvae are also available in all three forms: live, frozen, or as dry food. You can get them all year round in pet shops or in pools. Originally, these larvae were rather controversial for fish feeding, because their foot claws and parts of the jaw apparatus are very strong and can cause injuries. In addition, they pick up pollutants from the waters they come from. This can sometimes be harmful to the fish. It is therefore ideal if you convince yourself of the quality of the water and catch the larvae yourself. They are also not excessively fatty, as is sometimes described. Rather, their fats are easy to digest. Be careful with frozen food: the quality often leaves a lot to be desired.

Water Fleas

These animals, which are also called daphnia, are also relatively well known among aquarists. It is also available in the three common variants, live feeding is recommended and, secondly, the frost variant. The dried version simply lacks valuable ingredients. The animals themselves are not particularly rich in nutrients, but they provide important fiber, which is especially important for young fish. Overfeeding is also not possible because they have an ideal nutrient content.

You can buy water fleas in specialist pet shops, but you can breed your own in-house all year round with little effort. All you need are a few water fleas, water in which algae form after a few days, dry yeast for food, and temperatures between 18 ° and 25 ° C.


These mud tubeworms are loved as food by most fish because they are also a natural part of many fish’s foods. It’s best to feed them alive. But you can also get it in stores as frozen food. There is one problem with feeding fish with Tubifex, however, and that has to do with their habitat. They live in the bottom sludge of water, but that is precisely what is often polluted. This is how the worms get to these pollutants and sometimes transport them into your pond or, worse, into your fish. Self-breeding is also an option here, but it is not as easy as with water fleas. The water tips over faster here and there is a risk of rotting, and the unpleasant smell is greater.

Water Lice

These animals, which look very similar to our house isopods, are not commercially available. They have a nutritional value that is comparable to that of Daphnia and are therefore well suited as food. They are also eaten in nature and are, for example, a frequent component of the diet of carp fish. Since you cannot buy them, only the wild catch or your own breeding remains at home.


Finally now to an animal that does not live in water. These worms, like water lice, cannot be bought in stores: you need to breed your own. This works best in a feed box because the worms live in the ground. They are mainly found in bog or forest soils. You should mimic these soil conditions for successful breeding. However, the worms should not be fed too often as they are high in fat.

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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