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Garlic and Feeding Fish

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garlic clove

Every so often aquarium keepers find themselves in the dilemma of having a fish that just won’t eat food. This can be due to them being a new fish in the aquarium, stressed out for whatever reason, sick or recovering from a sickness, or just a finicky eater by nature. One thing to consider doing to get your fish back on track is to feed it garlic.

Garlic is a wonderful tool that I have personally used to help motivate a fish to eat once again that was under an ich outbreak. They would not eat at all and after the second day, I decided to mix its food with garlic. I simply took a clove of garlic, cut it up into pieces that would fit into the fish’s mouth, and mixed it in a small container with pellet and frozen mysis shrimp. I usually add a little aquarium water into the container so the food can “marinate” in garlic for around 10 – 15 minutes. Once the food has soaked up enough garlic juice I feed the fish little bits at a time and observe. I usually put the cloves of garlic and food in. Luckily for me, my fish decided the smell of garlic was appetizing enough and began eating again. These are great steps forward towards recovery if it’s sick and great progress if it’s a finicky eater.

Garlic has a large amount of amino acids that leak into the water when dropped in and fish love that! It is good for humans to eat and also great for fish to give them a little health boost. Garlic can be fed to perfectly healthy fish. It is rich in vitamins and amino acids that benefit both humans and aquatic life.

Some aquarists do not want to deal with the messiness of cutting garlic and having it possibly alter their water parameters if it’s not eaten. Simply using garlic juice or a garlic extract made for aquarium fish can mitigate possible elevations in nitrates or phosphates. The extract is potent! The smell leaks out of the bottle without even opening it. All it needs is 1 or 2 drops of the food and it is ready to go. It’s a powerful and effective way to try and get your fish to eat but also a good way to boost your fish’s health and immune system. 

Unfortunately, some fish are still just too stubborn to begin eating again. Feeding fish garlic or garlic-covered food is a great tool but it does not always work out. If a fish still does not show any interest in eating, attempt to mix garlic with brine shrimp. Brine shrimp is a wonderful treat to give your fish and mixed with garlic may give that extra nudge that it needs. I usually try not to feed my fish brine shrimp often because it is not as nutritious as Mysis Shrimp or other meaty foods, but when a finicky fish won’t eat I will try just about anything.

If a fish still will not eat, observe it. It may come around and begin eating on its own. This hobby requires patience and sometimes that is exactly what a fish needs. Check your water parameters, and temperature, and see if there are electric currents in your aquarium because all of this can lead to a fish not eating. Also, check if there is anything physically wrong with your fish. If there is, attempt to figure out what that problem is and treat it accordingly. Another thing to do is observe to see how other fish are interacting with your finicky eater. The non eating fish may be getting bullied or the other fish may eat the food too quickly and your finicky eater just cannot keep up.

Final Thoughts

Garlic is a wonderful tool to use to try and sway a fish into eating food. It is not always a guarantee that it will work, but it is handy in a pinch. If your fish are not eating observe and research the cause to why. Check your parameters, temperatures, possible physical issues, etc., and work from there. If the source of the problem is not fixed, the problems will persist over time.

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