How to feed fish with peas: What is on the fish menu?

Is your fish struggling to swim upright?

Overeating, a poor diet, or improperly prepared foods can cause constipation. A lack of fiber in the diet can also create blockages in the digestive tract. These blockages can put weight on the swim bladder, causing erratic swimming. In severe cases, your fish could completely lose balance and swim upside down!

Fancy goldfish, such as orandas, lionheads, and fantails, are particularly prone to swim bladder problems. Sometimes particularly sensitive fish will need special diets with lots of green vegetables to prevent the dreaded swim bladder disease.

But what if your fish can’t swim? What can you do to help him?

Feed the fish peas!

Peas are very high in fiber, so they do a good job of cleaning out the digestive tract of fish. If your fish just can’t seem to stay upright and you suspect constipation, peas can be a quick fix!

Let’s learn how to prepare peas for mealtime.

  1. Pick your peas from the store. Peas come in different sizes, varieties ranging from garden peas (the most common) to snap peas. You can also buy frozen peas (my favorite), split peas (dried, peeled, and halved), and canned peas (too much sodium, I don’t recommend!).
  2. Soften your peas for mealtime. You can rinse frozen peas under hot water for 15-30 seconds. However, if you bought particularly hard peas, you may want to boil them for a minute or microwave them in a microwave-safe bowl (filled with water) on high for 30 to 60 seconds. Be careful! You don’t want to soften the peas so much that they turn to mush, but you do want the fish to be able to digest the peas.
  3. Remove skin from softened peas. You can carefully peel off the skin or squeeze the peas with your fingers. My preferred method is to make a small hole in the skin and carefully unwrap the pea. However, do not skip this step. The skin can drown your fish!
  4. Cut the fresh peas into small pieces. You want each piece to be large enough to fit in your fish’s mouth. I find that cutting my peas into four slices provides the perfect size for mature goldfish. Some fish enthusiasts even like to feed their fish whole peas, without cutting them up first. Personally, I find that my fish enjoy their food much more when they are chopped.

If your fish are suffering from constipation, I recommend feeding them one or two peas for three days. If your fish is still having trouble swimming after five days on a pea diet, your fish may not be constipated!

Fresh peas have their limits. Feeding peas to fish will not help with permanent swim bladder disorders or buoyancy problems caused by bacteria, internal parasites, or poor water quality.

So if your fish are suffering from more than just constipation, feeding them peas won’t help!

However, introducing peas to your fish’s diet every two weeks will give omnivores and vegetarians the nutrients they need for a healthy digestive system.

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