Girls are piggies.. mine would eat within a minute of being brought home.. even jump out of the tank when I open the lid at feeding time lol
One suggestion, don't soak the food before feeding, as once the food hits the water it starts to dissolve and the nutrition is leached out.. unless the food is poor quality, the only way the pellets or freeze dried will bloat a fish is by over feeding.
2-3 pellets/bloodworms twice a day for a total of 4-6 is sufficient for them..
As for live foods, brine shrimp is excellent if you can do it live.
Also you can catch your own- if you live in the suburbs or close to the country/woods it is even easier:
Place a bucket (doesn't matter the size, but usually larger is better) outside filled with water, place some leaves in there, maybe a little dirt or a stick, grass.. etc. And let it be.. even in winter you can catch something.
You mostly will get daphnia (they will breed in winter, just remove the ice each morning) and mosquito larvae (they look like black or gray worms that hang at the surface of the water) - use a shrimp net or a small fish net to get the larvae and gently rinse them off in the sink through the net.. and feed!
Recommend not to use adult mosquito as you don't know where they have been feasting..
Earthworms have been used as well..
Grendal worms- Obtain a started culture from a breeder or fish enthusiast.
Some members may have other suggestions as to where to get starters, or possibly even get some from members.. you can ask in the breeding section or the classified section of the forums.. Keith Gregg
, unsure if he is still in business.
But for Grendal worms it's pretty simple- In a plastic shoe box (or I prefer a plastic bin that is smaller with a lid), dump in about 3"-4" of 50% peat moss and 50% fertilizer free potting soil. Sometimes potting soil will already be 50% peat moss so check the package before you spend the money.
Put in your starter culture and feed moist/wet flake food. Within weeks you will have tons of worms swarming and devouring the flake food. To collect the worms simply place a small piece of plastic or glass on top of the food. Wait a few hours and there should be worms stuck to the plastic/glass. Just brush them into the tank or jar. You can also try to pick them up with tweezers very gently.
Some of the more experienced keepers here on the forums may have more ideas.. Oldfishlady is quite good at collecting/using live foods. Just remember not to overload the tank with live foods.. as she may eat more then she should in one sitting.