Predatory fish will display a wide range of interesting behaviours, especially during feeding. It is possible to train your predatory fish into accepting dead and prepared foods, but then you will miss a large part of their natural behaviours. Training predatory fish onto dead food can however sometimes be necessary due to practical reasons. If you train your predatory fish onto dead food it is still recommended to give them an occasional live treat now and then.
Predatory fish species are found all over the world and they have adapted to various environments and niches. Predatory fish belong to a wide range of different families and the anatomy differs greatly between the species. All predatory fish species have adapted to life as predators, but these adaptations can be very dissimilar. One of the most famous predatory fish species, the Piranha, is equipped with sharp teeth suitable for cutting loose pieces flesh and tearing them from the prey. The different Gar fish species will instead have needle-like teeth that are highly suitable for holding a prey. A predatory catfish will have comparatively small teeth, since they do not use their teeth to tear flesh or catch and hold a prey. Instead, they prey will be vigorously sucked into the mouth of the predatory catfish when the catfish inhales. Piranha, Gars and predatory catfish are all examples of predatory fish species that can be successfully kept in aquariums.
Predatory fish can use a vide range of senses in order to locate a suitable prey. Some predatory fish species like to toy with their prey and carefully scrutinize it before they decide to eat it. Some species will rapidly gulp down their prey and regurgitate it later if they find out that it is unsuitable. Training your predatory fish to accept dead food can be hard, since a lot of the necessary stimuli that triggers eating will be gone. Vibrations in the water will for instance be very important for many predatory fish species and their hunting instincts are triggered by movements. Scents can also play a vital role, and the scent from dead food is more likely to attract scavenging fish species than predators. It is however not impossible to train predatory fish to accept dead food since a lot of predatory fish species are happy eaters that will gladly consume almost anything. Younger fish is usually easier to train onto new food types than older specimens.
When you have just purchased your predatory fish species it is advisable to keep giving them the type of food that they are used to and allow them some time to acclimatize in their new home before your change their diet. One method of training predatory fish into accepting dead food is to give them dead food every second feeding. This can however result in a mini-hunger strike where your fish only accept food every second serving. Simulating movements and vibrations can make the dead food more appealing. Try to benefit from any strong currents in the aquarium and let the food be carried away by them.