While some people keep minnows as bait for fishing, minnows can also be kept as pets. Since there are both freshwater and saltwater minnows, knowing how to care for them is important. Making the right food choices can make the difference between happy, healthy minnows, and those that don’t stick around for long.
What Minnows Eat in the Wild
In the wild, a fresh water minnow's diet is made of small bugs. So, if you want to feed your minnows what they eat in their natural habitat, you will probably be looking to feed them insects, such as mosquitoes and flies, as well as algae and pieces of dead plant and animal matter.
In saltwater regions, minnows will feast on brine shrimp. These are typically not things that those who have minnows want to feed, so there are some options minnows will happily eat in captivity.
Minnow Food in Captivity
A great food choice for minnows in an aquarium is freeze dried blood worms. Another option is to simply feed your minnows tropical fish flakes or even goldfish flake food. Some minnows are pickier than others, choosing not to eat the flake food. You can try feeding about 50 percent brine shrimp and 50 percent flake food until they become accustomed to it.
How to Feed Your Minnows
If you are keeping your minnows for any period of time, you should be aware that the most common cause of death for minnows in captivity is overeating. When you feed the minnows, you need to make sure the pieces are quite small. Start by feeding a little amount of food. After 5 minutes, all of the food should be gone from the top of the tank, and there should not be any floating to the bottom of the tank. If there is still food after 5 minutes, you need to cut back. If the minnows are able to eat the food in less than 2 to 3 minutes, you will need to add more.
How much you feed is really something you will need to experiment with as this will be dependent upon the size and the quantity of minnows you have in your tank. Just watch for the food floating to the bottom or lingering on the surface after the majority of minnows have eaten.
You should feed your minnows this small amount twice a day, every day. You may find that some minnows only choose to eat every 2 to 3 days, but you should attempt to feed small amounts twice daily for longevity.