I buy top quality food (no fish meal or grains, human quality whole fish and shellfish, spirulina and other algae, other things depending on the food: Earthworms, vegetables and a lot more.).
It is vacuum packed when I buy it.
I keep it in the freezer until I am ready to open it.
I keep it in a cupboard away from heat (stove or fridge) and use it up as fast as I can.
When I open it it smells like something I would want to eat: fresh caught fish (not much of an odor at all) and some vegetable sort of odor. Not rancid oils or past-dated fish.
I also feed a lot of fresh or lightly cooked vegies. Just fed them Butternut Squash this morning.
I also cringe when I see people boasting about feeding fancy colored flakes to their fish, without reading what is in there (fish meal, grains and food coloring!)
Happy fish keeping!
Therefore the opportunistic fish ..."if it fits in my mouth I will eat it" likely has the advantage. Especially if he/she is lucky to not get bitten or ill. He/she will get the nutrients they need in whatever form they can find. If I were a hungry alligator I would also eat feathers, claws, crap, and anything else that looked remotely palatable.
Our aquaria are different places entirely. It is true that WE have the responsibility to provide the clean water, protection from vicious predators, and appropriate foods. Still, I have a hard time imagining that providing a variety of meaty and plant based foods on a regular basis is anything short of "food paradise" for our fish. IF they cannot thrive in that environment, then something else is going on. Some may have specialized requirements, based on being taken from a narrow ecosystem where they have adapted over time, so are more difficult to maintain.
Feeding in the aquarium environment is problematic for a number of reasons: it is so easy to provide too much food. That, in the setting of lack of predators and a small closed system of water. As Diana alluded to, many of these same problems also apply to our furred pets.
My vet recently told me that my dog was fat. (so I guess I overfeed my fish, myself AND my dog!!)
Anyway, I am trying to "lean" us all down with a more moderate diet.
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