Feeding your fish only on maggots (maggot feeding) will not give them all the necessary classes of feed, especially energy needed to gain weight will be lacking. Most of the time, fish fed on maggots only will look big but will not have corresponding weight.
Fishing enthusiasts may wonder if the maggots they use as bait would be suitable to feed their aquarium fish. The answer is yes! Maggots should not be the primary food for your aquarium fish, but they make an excellent supplement.
Remember fish are sold on the basis on weight gain and not on how big they look in some areas. So, I like to discourage you feeding your fish with only maggots.
You can give maggots to your fish as often as you have access to it. However, make sure it does not substitute compound feed for them. Also, it should not be given them in a quantity that will prevent them from eating the normal compounded feed.
It should also be given as a supportive feed. Before putting maggots in your fish pond, make sure they are thoroughly washed so that no dirt that can contaminate the fish pond is introduced.
Feed is the single most expensive factor in aquaculture production and the protein component of fish diet constitutes the highest cost.
The proportion of protein in fish diets is higher than those of other cultured animals, thus making feeds very exorbitant.
Studies have shown that the African catfish, Clarias gariepinus, requires about 40% crude protein in their diet and best results have been achieved with crude protein values ranging from 35-50% for all African catfish species.
Fishermen will purchase different types of maggots based on the time of year, water conditions, and type of fish for which they are fishing. When using maggots to feed aquarium fish, the primary consideration is the size of the maggot.
White maggots (spikes): Ordinary white maggots, also called spikes, are the largest maggot sold, reaching 3/4-inch in size. They are the larvae of the blue bottle fly.
Dyed maggots: White maggots are often dyed to enhance their attractiveness to the fish. However, not all dyes are safe for fish to eat. To be on the safe side, avoid using dyed maggots as aquarium fish food.
Pinkies: Not to be confused with dyed white maggots, pinkies are naturally pink in color. They are the larvae of the green bottle fly and generally about half the size of their white counterparts.
Squats: Squats are the white-colored larvae of the common housefly and are the smallest maggot offered for sale. They are a great size for aquarium fish, but not as often found for sale as the large maggots.
Maggots are readily found at bait shops. Many areas of the country have bait shops open year-round. If you aren’t blessed with a year-round bait shop, or perhaps don’t have a bait shop nearby at all, maggots are also available online.
Often online sites will offer other products, such as wax worms and nightcrawlers, which can be safely fed to your aquarium fish as supplemental food.
It is also possible to culture your maggots. However, given the availability of maggots for sale, and the fact that they should only be used as supplemental food, it’s best to not culture them.
When purchasing maggots, they should be soft to the touch, as they age they get firmer. White maggots will have a dark spot- the larger this spot is, the younger the maggot is.
Maggots are larvae and will either die or, if fed, mature into flies in a relatively short time. This could be within just a few days or as long as two weeks, depending on the age of the maggot and the temperature they are kept at. Storing maggots in the refrigerator will extend the length of time before they mature.
Most maggots are sold in a container of sawdust or maize flour to keep them dry. Their bedding should be changed every day or two to keep them healthy until used. Very small maggots are usually sold in damp sand.
They will only keep for a few days and should be used as quickly as possible. If you find you have too many maggots to feed your fish before going bad, they may be fed to wild birds.
Maggot Feeding Frequency
Maggots are an excellent high protein supplemental food. However, they do have higher fat levels than other foods, and should not be used as the primary food source for aquarium fish.
A couple of supplemental feedings every week or two is not a problem. Maggots may also be used when conditioning breeder pairs. Keep in mind that even though many fish enjoy maggots, not all fish will eat them.
Fly larvae (or maggots) production can be achieved at low cost from various sources of organic waste (manure, decaying fruit or vegetables, oil cakes, abattoir wastes, brewery solid wastes, etc.) and can be incorporated into fish feed as a principal source of animal protein.
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