What Do Minnows Eat?

Written by rebecca burt
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Whether you're keeping minnows as pets or just as bait, there's one question you've surely asked: What do minnows eat? Feeding minnows is obviously crucial to their survival. Minnows, like other fish, can eat a variety of different foods. Depending on the type of minnows you keep, food can be found anywhere from your kitchen to your backyard.

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Types of Minnows

There are many different types of small fish labelled as minnows. There are both saltwater and freshwater minnows. However, saltwater minnows are actually able to live in both environments. Fathead minnows, more recently known as rosy-red minnows, are the most common minnows kept as pets.

What Minnows Eat in the Wild

In the wild, minnows mostly eat small insects like mosquitoes. They also eat algae and different microorganisms. They eat dead and decaying materials, such as pieces of animal matter or plant matter. If they are saltwater minnows, depending on where they live, they may eat very small shrimp. Overall, they eat very small quantities in the wild.

What Minnows Eat in Captivity

You can feed your minnows Tubifex freeze-dried blood worms or any other small, live foods. You can feed them the typical tropical fish flakes you would find in a pet store. However, it may take them awhile to become accustomed to eating this. If the minnows are not eating fish flakes, you can also try frozen brine shrimp or other small frozen insects. Feed them plants or green, leafy vegetables along with the flakes. As with any kind of fish, all minnows behave differently, so you may have to experiment. If you are simply keeping minnows to use for bait, you can actually feed them breadcrumbs. It is possible for them to die if you overfeed them.

How Much Do Minnows Eat?

Make sure any food you put in the aquarium is in small enough pieces for the minnows to eat. You should feed your minnows a small amount, twice a day. Look to see how much food is left floating in the water or on the bottom of the tank in order to determine how much you should feed them regularly. If the next time you feed them there is leftover food from the prior feeding, you fed them too much. If the minnows eat all of the food immediately, you should add more. Remember, you can kill them if you overfeed them. Be careful.

Where to Find Food for Minnows

You can find Tubifex worms and tropical or goldfish flakes at any pet store. Frozen brine shrimp can be purchased online if your local pet store doesn't carry it. Other foods mentioned above can simply be found in your kitchen. This includes foods like plants, vegetables and breadcrumbs.

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