Aquarium feeding rings—you might not have heard of them. But, they can be a useful utility and once you use them, you’ll probably always want to use them!
So, what exactly is a feeding ring? A feeding ring is a plastic ring (or square or other shape) that floats on the surface of your aquarium’s water. Some feeding rings are totally free floating, whereas other products come with a nice suction cup that be used to attach the ring to a particular point in the aquarium.
The point of a feeding ring is to provide food inside the ring—as you probably guessed from the name!
Understandably, you might have been keeping fish for years without ever feeling like you needed to use a feeding ring. So, in this article I’m going to challenge that and outline some of the benefits of using feeding rings.
Feeding Rings Help Build A Bond With Your Fish
If your fish learn exactly where they’re going to be fed, then they will gather at the spot to meet you when you open the lid on your aquarium. There are few things in the hobby as rewarding as your fish coming to meet you at the usual feeding spot.
Get A Good Look At Your Fish
Using a feeding ring allows careful observation of your fish while they eat. Therefore, you can use the opportunity to examine your fish for any potential issues.
- Spot any parasites or diseases early.
- Identify which fish are being bullied and not getting enough food.
- Spot a pregnant livebearer or gravid egglayer!
Feeding Rings Help Control Feeding Amount
Following on from looking for issues with your fish, a feeding ring also allows you to examine and, thereby control, how much food you feed.
Overfeeding can be an issue in aquariums. This is because uneaten food quickly breaks down and contributes to ammonia. So, without a feeding ring, excess food can be caught in the water flow from your filter or air pump. That means it can get lost among plants and behind decorations. Whereas, if you use a feeding ring, you can reduce how much food gets “lost” in your aquarium.
Feeding Rings Keep Food Out Of Your Filter
And lost food can be an even bigger problem!
This is because if it gets sucked into your filter—especially chunky pellets—it can contribute to clogging. While this won’t present an immediate problem—i.e. your filter’s motor will continue to run in the short term—in the long run it will reduce the time between filter maintenance.
Keep in mind that your filter is already going to slowly clog with fish poop and dead plant matter over time, so why put extra strain on it with errant fish food?
Feeding Rings Used With Floating Plants
Floating plants can look awesome. And because I like them so much, I’ve got a piece talking about my favorite floating plants here—check it out.
But, while floating plants do look cool, they can quickly cover the entire surface of your aquarium. This can be a big problem for some fish, especially gouramis that need to breathe at the surface of the water. Also, it can be a problem in general, because without clear space at the surface you won’t be able to feed your fish floating food.
So, what’s the solution! A feeding ring, of course. Using a feeding ring, you can exclude floating plants from inside the feeding ring and that will allow your betta, your gourami, and your paradise fish to breathe in the open area. Also, for the rest of your fish, you’ll be able to use that small open spot to feed while at the same time as keeping the cool aesthetic of a covering of water lettuce or water hyacinth.
The Best Feeding Rings On Amazon
There are a lot of aquarium feeding rings available on Amazon. I’ve tried a few of them out and had a long look at the reviews and the following are a couple of my favorites.
Alternatively, You Can Just Make Your Own!
Alternatively, you can just make your own DIY aquarium feeding ring! Check out the Greg Jones guide on YouTube for how to make your own DIY feeding ring.