Feeding fish seems like it should be simple, right? Not always! One fish may bully others away from the food. Strong water currents may suck food into the filter before the fish get to it. Shy fish may not want to dine with the others in their tank, or finicky eaters may only eat one type of food. Using a fish feeding ring can solve all those problems in one fell swoop.
What Is a Feeding Ring?
A fish feeding ring is nothing more than a ring that floats on the surface of the water, either free-floating or attached to the side of the tank. Fish food is then dropped inside the ring and violà, dinner is served. It doesn't take long for fish to learn that the ring is their new feedbag. Because the food is contained, it doesn't end up scattered all over or pulled into the filter, which allows more of it to be eaten. That does wonders to reduce waste and maintain water quality.
Giving Fish Feeding Choices
Rings also make for more choices. Using multiple rings lets fish choose where (and with whom) to feed. Bullies can't hog all the rings, so everyone gets a chance to eat in peace. It even allows the owner to feed different foods to finicky fish. If one ring is filled with food the fish will dash right over there, leaving the second ring open to drop specialty food in for those picky eaters.
Finding Feeding Rings
Feeding rings can be found at many pet shops, as well as online. However, you don't need a specially made ring. Any round plastic or rubber ring that will float is suitable.
Plastic shower curtain rings work well. Or you can slip into any teenager's room and pilfer a couple of those thin plastic wristbands they like to wear. A twist tie can be used to fix the homemade ring to a suction cup at the side of the tank. A feeding ring can also be made by using aquarium air tubing and forming a loop of the appropriate size.
Keep in mind that feeding rings at pet shops are relatively inexpensive, and come with a suction cup. If you are an ultra busy person, you may find it quicker to purchase one when you are at the pet shop buying other things.
Feeding Ring Placement
Feeding rings can be permanently placed in the aquarium with a suction cup or allowed to free float. Fixed rings have the advantage of less fuss when feeding time comes, as there is no need to find the rings and toss them into the tank. They also allow placement at specific locations in the aquarium. If you have a picky eater, he will quickly learn which ring is his feeding station.
Floating rings are most useful when one fish is a feeding bully. By having two (or more) floating rings, the bully can't hog all the food. The other fish figure out that he can only eat at one ring, and wait for him to choose his spot, leaving the other free for them.
Regardless of what kinds of feeding rings you use, or how you place them, they are worth trying out.
Aquarium Water Quality: Nitrogen Cycle. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.