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Old 02-26-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
QuoVadis
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Training a fish to hand feed


This past week I got an elephant nose fish (he is sooo cool!) and I am wondering if anyone has any tips on how to get him to hand feed. He is with some loaches so I want to make sure he is getting enough to eat, but so far if I put my hand near him he swims away and is freaked out.
P.S. he is eating, just not from my hand.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:29 PM   #2
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every fish i have ever kept will come running to the surface when its feeding time. Just like with any animal (yes even humans) positive conditioning over and over again will tell them your hand with the food is ok.

I hand feeder my angels all the time. I think they like me for it. But if you really want to feed him over time, just keep trying
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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I used to hand feed my snowflake moray all the time. When he was small he never got a chance to eat, so I started hand feeding him. As he got older, I could even pick him up without any fuss at all. It was actually pretty cool to be able to handle him(?) when he was almost 3 feet long.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:26 PM   #4
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only fish i have that run are my CPDs, they are a bit skittish... give it time and he will come to you.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:48 AM   #5
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The elephant nose fish could be hard to hand feed. They are a weird fish part of the electric fish family Mormyrids .

They like to eat at night and need dim light. I would not worry about getting him to hand feed just make sure he is feeding at all. Try Live black worms.

Most of my fish eat from my hand. My discus, tetras, silver dollars, severum, and Uaru all hand feed. Bottom dwelling fish are a bit harder to feed unless you stick your hand all the way to the bottom.

is your elephant eating?
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:55 AM   #6
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Yeah, it's hard to show a blind critter that operates using sonar that your huge, scary hand is the same one that puts food in the tank...
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:44 PM   #7
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I'm pretty sure he is eating, but he stays hidden behind a big piece of driftwood among a bunch of vals, so I'm really not sure. That uncertainty is what worries me. He is probably the coolest and most exspensive fish I own, so I don't want to lose him, plus I'd like to encourage him to come out in the open more. I guess I'll just try putting my hand near there and dropping food by him and hope that eventually he'll recognize that hand=food.They are supposed to be super smart for fish, so I'll just hope he figures it out over time. Also, he seems really confused by swimming in the vals - maybe because they are nearly blind and use electrical pulses, but he doesn't seem to realize he can just go through them. He kind of will run into one and then turn around or stop!
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:07 PM   #8
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I hand feed my red belly piranh. My discus let me pet them while I'm hand feeding them.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:54 PM   #9
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I don't even need food in my hand. They come up quickly and try to eat my hand. Doesn't hurt at all. It's tickles something crazy!

Use to hand feed silver shark, Florida eel, and Pictis Cat. That was like 20 years ago, when I owned a big tank.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:10 AM   #10
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only fish I managed to hand feed would be a Tiger Oscar.
This fish actually jumps out of the water and snaps the food from my fingers
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:00 PM   #11
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Yeah, I have had fish that I hand fed before. I used to have a natives tank and would hand feed my 9in bullhead and my green sunfish would also jump out of the water to get his food from my fingers. I guess I was just wondering if there are any ways to speed along the process or get shyer fish hand feeding...
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:50 PM   #12
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try a turkey baster, or something similar. Just slowly get it close to him and squirt out whatever food you're using. No need to actually use your hand. Baster is much less likely to freaK the fish out. And doing that might help transition into using your hand...
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuoVadis View Post
I'm pretty sure he is eating, but he stays hidden behind a big piece of driftwood among a bunch of vals, so I'm really not sure. That uncertainty is what worries me. He is probably the coolest and most exspensive fish I own, so I don't want to lose him, plus I'd like to encourage him to come out in the open more. I guess I'll just try putting my hand near there and dropping food by him and hope that eventually he'll recognize that hand=food.They are supposed to be super smart for fish, so I'll just hope he figures it out over time. Also, he seems really confused by swimming in the vals - maybe because they are nearly blind and use electrical pulses, but he doesn't seem to realize he can just go through them. He kind of will run into one and then turn around or stop!
Elephantnose (Mormyridae) fishes are schoolers/shoalers so the reason he may seem timid is that he needs buddies. Is he new to your tank? Sometimes it takes a while for fishes to adapt to a new environment. As for him by the vals, it sounds like he thinks they are impenetrable, which would make sense why he turns around.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:09 PM   #14
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I think the trick is to associate your hand with food. Keep your fingers dipped in the water for a minute or two and then put food in the water. After time they will learn fingers = food. I did this for my reef tank fish, I was able to hold a little piece of seaweed and they would come pick at it from my fingers.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:09 AM   #15
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Well I am officially not worried about Petey the Elephant Nose fish anymore. Tonight when I fed them I stuck my fingers somewhat near him and wiggled them during the time the food was thawing, and he got visibly excited, and started swimming around more. Then when I squirted in the frozen food slurry as normal (and squirted some near him) I was able to see well enough that he started eating, and even butted away some of my piggy serpae tetras and the nosey loaches, like he was saying "Get outta here! These are my bloodworms!" Afterwards I noiced a distinct little bump right around where I would guess his stomach is.
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