The plight of first-time aquarium owners usually revolves around fish food. They walk in the neighborhood pet store and head straight to the food aisle, only to be daunted by choices between algae wafers, freeze-dried, live, pellets, and flakes.

Let me tell you right now, it shouldn’t be that nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to flake food. As a form of public service, I’ll break it down for you: flakes are ideal for top and middle feeders like guppies and tetra fish. It comes in two types: tropical and cold water. The main difference is that tropical flakes contain fewer carbs and more protein. Flake food can last for about a month once opened, but it will spoil quicker once exposed to moisture.