Your herbivore fish might like to munch on the naturally growing algae in your tank like filamentous algae or other micro and macro algae. Some even like the Caulerpa species. Seaweed is a natural part of the diet for them in the oceans.
Some hobbyists like to feed terrestrial veggies, like romaine lettuce and spinach. But these have to be fed with caution and rinsed well to remove any chemicals and pesticides. Since it is not part of the natural diet of fish in the oceans, it should not be used as the only source of vegetables for your fish. Many of the flake food advertised as a veggie flake actually has fish meal and fillers mixed in to create the flakes.
If you have the space for a refugium, growing some species of fresh macro algae is beneficial in many ways. First, it provides herbivore fish with a diet of fresh vegetables in their natural environment that are free of preservatives which can alter the nutritional content. Second, the refugium provides a natural home for pods, inverts, crustaceans and other forms of benthic life. Third, it provides an excellent means of nutrient export when the macros are culled.
Perhaps the best all-natural food you can get, in lieu of a refugium with macros, is Julian Sprung’s Sea Veggies. Made of 100% natural seaweed, it is the food of choice for many aquarists.
Sea Veggies come in a 3 oz. jar of “flakes” (which are still 100% seaweed that is chopped into small bits) or in sheets. While the seaweed sheets can be fed using a simple seaweed clip, the new Two Little Fishies Pouch Feeder and the Innovative Marine Gourmet Grazer are great options as it allow your tangs to graze on the seaweed slowly. The seaweed flakes are great because it can be broadcast fed to the tank like regular flake food. We prefer feeding them through a feeding ring, giving the flakes time to soak with water and allowing them to sink rather than float away into the overflow.
SeaVeggies come in 4 varieties of seaweed:
- Purple – Porphyra umbilicalis
- Red – Palmaria palmata
- Green – Porphyra yezoensis
- Mixed – Palmaria, Porphyra, and Ulva spp
We found it hard to choose between the varieties and got the mixed jar which also contains Ulva. All fish seem to enjoy this tasty treat! What do you feed the herbivores in your tank?