I swear that these things are one of the best kept secrets in fishkeeping…
Every single person who sees the empty ring floating on the surface of my fish tank will point at it and ask, “What’s that?”
It’s a fish feeding ring and, for many fishkeepers, it’s an incredibly helpful tool when feeding time rolls around.
Never heard of it?
I’m not surprised…
Today, I am going to make sure fish feeding rings get the recognition they deserve, by teaching you all about them.
What is a fish feeding ring?
A fish feeding ring is perhaps one of the simplest pieces of aquarium equipment that you will buy…
In fact, a basic fish feeding ring consists of just three parts…
1. Suction cup – Attaches to the glass of your aquarium and holds the feeding ring in place.
2. Lever – Allows the feeding ring to rise and fall with the water level.
3. Feeder ring – Floats on top of the water and holds your fish food in place.
How a fish feeding ring works is even simpler than its construction…
Simply attach the feeding ring to your aquarium glass so that the ring itself can float on the surface of the water.
Then, all that’s left to do is add your fish food…
And just like that, the ring contains all of the fish food – stopping it from floating all around your aquarium.
Obviously, this only works for fish food that sits on the surface of your aquarium, like floating pellets and flakes.
But if floating food is a major part of your fish’s diet, then a feeding ring can offer many benefits… But I will get to those in just a moment.
First, I would like to add that while the word ring implies something that is round, this isn’t the case with all fish feeding rings.
Fish feeding rings come in any shape and size, from small round rings to large squares – or any other shape!
Yep, that’s not a fish feeding square – it’s a fish feeding ring.
Note: You can also buy fish feeding rings for ponds. However, these are free-floating – you can’t attach them to anything.
Why do you need a fish feeding ring?
1. It stops food from floating away
Let’s start with the most obvious, the very thing that a fish feeding ring was designed to do…
Stop your fish food from floating away.
Are you sick of your fish flakes getting sucked up by the filter or washed out the overflow before your fish get a chance to eat them all?
A feeding ring keeps the food in place while your fish eat their fill, not only preventing waste but reducing the amount of food that is left to rot – that stuff can really mess with your water quality.
It is for this reason that a feeding ring is often paired with an automatic fish feeder – the feeder dispenses food into the water while the feeding ring holds it in place.
2. Multiple rings for multiple fish
Have a fish that loves to bully the others away at feeding time?
Set up multiple feeding rings. A bully can’t hog all the feeding rings.
But feeding rings can be used for more than just holding fish food…
3. Stop floating plants from moving around
Does your aquarium contain floating plants? You can use a feeding ring to trap them, preventing them from freely roaming around.
4. Bubble nest friendly
Okay, so this point will only benefit those of you who own fish that make bubble nests.
Fish like betta and gourami like to build bubble nests on objects that break the surface of the water, such as a plant, rock or… a fish food feeding ring.
Not only does the ring provide a calm area for your fish to create a bubble ring, it also makes it easy to scoop the nest out when you need to clean your tank.
What is the ideal location for a fish feeding ring?
The reason I like feeding rings that attach to the side of your tank is because you can permanently set them up in a calm location with minimal water movement.
This is important. While feeding rings are more than capable of keeping fish food in one place, turbulent water can cause food to escape.
Now, the perfect spot for you to set up your feeding rings will entirely depend on your aquarium setup.
As you know, the filter return, powerheads, circulation fans and a whole manner of other equipment can agitate the surface of your aquarium.
Oh, and I shouldn’t have to say it, but don’t place the feeder ring directly above an air stone – the rising bubbles will shoot the food right out of the ring.
But the good news is that once you find the ideal spot for your feeding ring, you won’t have to move it unless you rearrange or add new aquarium equipment that affects the water movement.
Best fish feeding ring
Let me make one thing perfectly clear before you rush off to buy a fish feeding ring…
You can easily make one yourself.
A shower curtain ring, hoop earring, air tubing… You would be amazed at just how many options you have to make your own fish feeding ring.
Even so, my personal preference is to buy them. While they are not as cheap as making your own, they are still very affordable.
So, let me introduce you to my top feeding ring picks!
Best all-around fish feeding ring
This is now the only fish feeding ring I use in my tank. It may be slightly pricier than the others on the market, but the build quality beats out any other feeding ring.
Rather than using a suction cup, the fish feeding ring attaches to your glass with magnets. Simply place a magnet on either side of your aquarium glass and the feeding ring will hold firmly in place.
You might have noticed that this feeding ring doesn’t have a “shelf” on the inside of the ring. I never understood why fish food feeders include this shelf – if the tank has a lot of water movement, fish food can wash up onto the shelf and get stuck. The Little Fishies MagFeeder proves that it isn’t needed, and you definitely won’t miss it.
The ring itself is also deeper than others on the market – even in a current, your fish food isn’t going anywhere. Highly recommended.
Best square feeding ring – Aquarium Equip
While it may not have the same build quality as my top pick, it can hold more food in place thanks to its large size.
With internal measurements of 3 x 3 inches (7.6 x 7.6 cm), the only way you will get a larger fish feeding ring is if you make one yourself.
An added bonus of the square shape is that it can slide neatly into the corner of your tank.
Best cheap fish feeding ring – Nutrafin Max
If all you want is a cheap fish feeding ring that floats on top of the water, then this will do the job well enough.
It may not have the bells and whistles of my top pick, but it does the job at a good price.
As you see, a fish feeding ring is a great way to stop food from floating around your tank.
There might not be much to their design, but a fish feeding ring can be an essential tool during feeding time.
Do you use a fish feeding ring in your aquarium? Let me know in the comments below!
I’ve been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it’s an addiction. I’m here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.
I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.