Q: How much and how often should I feed my fish?

A: This is a difficult question to answer in a general way.  Different fish species have different requirements for type and frequency of feeding.  As a general rule, feed fish an amount of food that will be consumed within two to five minutes.  Excess food very quickly leads to poor water quality and can lead to health problems.  Fish eat more frequently in warmer water.  As the water cools down feeding slows or stops altogether.  High quality fish food makes a real difference in vibrant color and health of fish.  Check with your pond fish supplier or neighborhood pet shop regarding the best quality food and feeding schedule for the species of fish you own.  If your veterinarian needs a resource regarding the health of your fish, suggest that he contact the extension veterinarian for aquatic animal medicine at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (www.vetmed.vt.edu/research/aquatic/).