It is pretty hard to say why there are still a lot of people who do not use them. Maybe that is because they do not see the benefit of feeding dishes or they simply used to throw food in their aquarium. Is it because these dishes do not look good in the aquarium?
Today I will try to give you all the Pros and Cons about it. So, should you use a feeding dish or not? In my personal opinion, feeding dishes are extremely useful in shrimp breeding and everybody should use them. Now I will tell you why.
Let’s start by talking over about Pros first.
1. Food Control and Saving Money
Shrimps are definitely very messy eaters. Some aquarists even compare them with children. Which do not eat all the food you give them. They only eat the parts that they like the most and until they are full.
Feeding dish helps to prevent spillage of the food. Which can be very pricey actually. You can read more about “How and what to feed your shrimp” right here. It keeps pellets, flakes, worms and etc. in the dish, instead of dropping into the substrate or somewhere else and then swept away during maintenance in the best case scenario.
Having a feeding dish helps you to determine how much your shrimp will actually eat within a few hours. This way you can see if you are feeding them too much. If there are still some of the food left after four hours, you know that are overfeeding them.
2. Easy to Clean Substrate and Reduces Contamination
Some people can say that shrimps are scavengers and this is their job to clean the aquarium by picking up everything. This is true but only to some degree.
Without feeding dish, food debris will most likely go into the open spaces between your substrate. Keeping your substrate clean is important because food (that is left within the soil) can spoil over time, which can negatively impact your aquarium water and shrimp in the long run.
It will not happen with the feeding dish. Old food combined with shrimp waste will be in a feeding dish making it a lot easier to remove.
Your aquarium will have a significantly less chance of planarian bloom and hydra contamination. Thereby it increases the survival rate of your colony. Of course, a few shrimp might carry the food away but generally, it stays on the feeding dish.
Also, shrimp feeding dish requires very small maintenance. It is easy to wash and can be steam sterilized if it is needed. For regular cleanings, you can simply use water and soap or just siphon it.
You can clearly see the food entering the substrate where the shrimp cannot reach it. With a feeding dish, it just spreads out in the dish instead of going into the substrate. This means that your microflora will not be too overpopulated because there will be a food shortage in the substrate. Having microflora is healthy but having it too much just looks bad.
You will also have more control over things like planarian flatworm as they mostly feed on whatever they can find in your substrate.
3. Less Shrimp Aggression
The more food is on the dish (instead of getting into the substrate) the more satisfied will be your adult and baby shrimp.
4. Count your Shrimp
Feeding dish will attract most of your shrimps. Therefore, it will be the simplest way to find out about how many shrimp you have in the aquarium at this moment. It can be very useful once your colony starts increasing in numbers.
5. Looks cool
If you put it the right way, it can blend very nicely into the environment without any distraction. Some feeding dishes are even made in a decoration style.
6. The Price of Feeding Dishes
There are also some Cons.
1. One Spot is Bad
You should not leave the dish in the same spot after cleaning it. Otherwise, you are risking to get cyanobacteria or Black beard algae (BBA) and some other nasty things on the surface below the feeding dish. The easier way to avoid this kind of problem is to put the dish in another spot every time after cleaning it.
2. Algae in the Feeding Dish
Since your aquarium light normally shines at a direct angle on the feeding dish, it will start to grow green algae a lot quicker than any other place in your aquarium. As a result, the feeding dish will be covered with it quite fast. You cannot prevent it from happening and the only way to remove it is to clean it every week or two.
For the sake of your shrimp’s health, it is better if you clean the dish to avoid your shrimp setting in an ammonia generating spot that can kill them.
- You can bury the feeding dish so that the top of it is level with the substrate. In this case, shrimps can just jump in instead of going around the glass finding a way in.
- In my personal opinion, the glass works best as opposed to ceramic or stone dishes. It is easier to see when it is dirty and you do not have to worry about it leaching anything that will be dangerous to your shrimp.
- Some people complain that their shrimps grab their pieces of food and take off for the most part. The main reason is that the feeding dish is too small for your number of shrimps. If it is possible, get a bigger feeding dish than a smaller one. So that there will be more space to accommodate your shrimps during feeding. It will also help to avoid your shrimp becoming over aggressive and having to fight in a small space to get a very fair share of the food.
- It would be better to put the feeding dish in the area with the lowest flow so that the food does not get blown around and the shrimps can sit in it and eat peacefully.
- You do not have to buy the nice-looking expensive feeding dishes. Ashtrays are a lot cheaper but they just do not look as nice.
- If you do not want to buy it, there is no need to buy it. You can make the feeding dish out of any bottle! There are many Youtube videos about how to cut the glass bottle at home. Just be safe and use sandpaper to smooth the edges.
So, to sum up, should you use a feeding dish?
Yes, certainly! At first, the shrimps will be cautious but they will be fine with entering the feeding dish after a few days.
Just clean it properly every now and then and after cleaning it do not put it back in the exact same spot. Your aquarium will be a lot cleaner and you will create a safer environment for your shrimp.
Some questions about feeding dishes.
Can I Hang Feeding Dish on the Side Glass of the Aquarium?
Of course, this is one of the options, but it is not the best one. First of all, it will take more efforts for your shrimp to get to this place. Secondly, if it is hanging on the side glass, there is less space in one direction (glass). As a result, shrimps can start wrestling and running away with their booty. You do not need that. The food should stay in the feeding dish.
How do I get the food into Feeding Dish?
There are two ways.
Awkward method. You can hold food under water for a second or two and then aim for the dish.
Good method. You will not even have to touch the water. All you need to have is a feeding tube that is longer than the aquarium high (and a funnel, ideally). Aim the tube for the dish and drop pellets, flakes, etc. into it.
Can I Use a Simple Plate?
Yes, you can but there is a downside. The shape of the plates is not optimal for the shrimps. Small ones can have some problems with climbing up on the sloping surface.