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    Feed Choices

    Discussion in 'General Aquaria Discussion' started by FLA, Nov 13, 2017 at 4:30 PM.

    1. FLA

      FLA MFK Members

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      Why do so many people with large tanks and fish spend so much on NLS and Massiveore pellets? You can get aquaculture feeds with equal protein for less money. If you buy in bulk you can get 50 lbs of aquamax 300 or zeigler finfish starter 2.2mm shipped to Ohio for around $2 a pound. If that is too much quantity to buy it could be split up with other fish keepers and spread the savings. It seems like a good fundraiser for a club. It just seems like a lot of you must be going through a lot of food and money.
       
    2. Allan01230

      Allan01230 MFK Members

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      because NLS is the best
       
    3. Drstrangelove

      Drstrangelove MFK Members

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      Look at the ingredients in aquamax 300 or zeigler finfish starter.

      Then ask yourself: how much of the wheat, corn, soybean, oil, and animal blood is actually being digested by the fish (given that the fish is a fish and not a cow or a pig), and then what vitamins and minerals are missing from a complete diet?

      Then ask yourself: how long will fish fed that way live as compared to those fed natural and supplemented diets (e.g., HQ pellets).


      If you can convince people that those are better foods (or even close to equal), then you should post that. Everyone's open to change and just who wouldn't want to cut food expense to make room for more tanks?
       
      #3 Drstrangelove, Nov 13, 2017 at 9:40 PM
      Last edited: Nov 13, 2017 at 9:46 PM
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    4. RD.

      RD. Crazy Canuck

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      I've looked at a LOT of commercial aquaculture feeds over the years, and most pale in comparison with the more premium brands such as NLS. One can't just compare crude protein numbers, which are typically based on a laboratory nitrogen analysis. Amino acid content of that protein and how well it can be assimilated by a fish is key. Then one has to factor the quantity, quality, and bioavailability of the rest of the raw ingredients that make up the feed, before overall quality, or true value per pound, can be calculated.

      In a commercial setting, cost of the feed can make up as much as 40-50% of total operating costs, so feed conversion ratios (FCR) are uber important, but at the same time the budget for that feed has to be weighed against the rest of the operational costs, and each facility's target profit margin.

      As a simple hobbyist with no concern about profit margins, or even operational costs per se, I still buy in bulk to save $$$, but just as I do with my dogs, I feed premium brands. Yes they cost more than buying bulk farm feed, but I am perfectly fine with that.
       
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    5. FLA

      FLA MFK Members

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      I certainly see the value in supplementing any commercial diet with other things. Especially whole fish for things like piscivores. The most important thing that may be missing in pellets could well be gut bacteria of fish they eat. In that case fillets or even frozen fish may not be the best substitute. I definitely see that the nls ingredient list is impressive, but it still includes wheat as the number 3 ingredient on the cichlid formula.

      The prices I see seem extreme. Maybe you can show me cheaper sources, but I didn't find massivore or nls for much less than $20/pound. I struggle to say it is ten times better than the commercial diets. (Personally I like aquamax but wanted more than one brand on the post.) Before silver cup got bought by skretting there were stores repackaging it as their in house premium feed. I feel like as hobbyist we tend to overthink the needs of our fish sometimes. Many large fish have been kept in the hobby for decades before we had any real idea of what nutrition they needed.

      I also see fish grow very quickly on these diets, and to large sizes. Ancistrus hitting close to 6" fed a combination of commercial high protein diets and algae wafers. Flowerhorns hitting 8 inches in a few months. Some of the people feeding commercial diets are breeding really cool stuff. It seems enough must be digestible to get that kind of growth.

      Obviously R.D.'s point gets to the heart of the question. What do you want out of the tank, and what are your cost concerns? Obviously to each his own on feeding.

      As for lifespan I assume time will tell, but I suspect it wouldn't be dramatically different. My personal experience on these diets only goes a few years at this point. I did have a friend who kept a group of black skirt tetras for 12 years on commercial diets. That is anecdotal evidence so it is hard to dwell too hard on it. However I suspect most fishkeepers are not losing their fish to nutrient deficiencies. Most are lost to inexperience, but for the experienced we usually lose fish to other things. Things like power failures, jumping, equipment failures, someone else trying to "help", water quality, or stupidity like tank mate aggression, not quarantining a fish because we "really trust" that LFS or online supplier. I think I speak for most of us on this site. If we get a fish past the first month we are looking at it living 10+ years unless we simply trade it out. Unexplained losses don't seem that common. I may be speaking out of turn here but none of us spend the money sending lost fish off for histology. If we did a fatty liver would likely show up on most of us as we probably all feed more than the fish eats in the wild. It seems people tend to post when they don't understand a loss and I don't see that many of those posts here.

      No judgement here at all. I was really interested in having this conversation and more listening than talking on my part.
       
    6. Drstrangelove

      Drstrangelove MFK Members

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      I can buy potatoes at the store for $.15 a pound, probably cheaper if I go to the supplier and buy in bulk. For just $1.05 a day, I can consume 3,000 calories and gain a great deal of weight.

      According to the nutritional data, I'll get 104% of my daily protein requirements, however, since it's incomplete protein, the real amount will be zero. I'll also get 0% of my daily needs for Vitamin A, D, E, K, B12, but 676% of my daily needs of Vitamin C and 468% of my daily needs of Vitamin B6. I'll get 0% calcium, but 364% of the potassium and copper.
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2554/2

      Needless to say, my life span will not be long. I'll have deformities and organ failures, etc. and be prone to illnesses and diseases that most people on average diets seem to avoid.

      Of course, meat, eggs, milk, cheese costs 10-20x what potatoes cost. They cost a lot more to make. The same applies to many fruits and vegetables.

      One response might be that one doesn't have to eat just potatoes. Of course not. One could add yams, dried blood, corn husks, oil and a small proportion of ground up fish meal. Which is why one needs to ask: what is the nutritional value of the food?

      Calories are not the only thing that needs to be in fish food.
       
      #6 Drstrangelove, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:25 AM
      Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 11:36 AM
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    7. dan518

      dan518 MFK Members

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      I have seen ca cichlids grow quickly, look good, fed on poor quality food and kept in substandard water but many won't live past 7 years old at most, the best cichlids I have seen have all been really old and this is where good quality food and water come in.
       
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    8. RD.

      RD. Crazy Canuck

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      Yes, the same could be said about folks who buy the cheapest dog food that Walmart carries, vs a more premium brand such as Orijen/Acana. Both will get the job done if growth is the only concern, but over the long haul clearly some feeds are far superior (nutrient wise) than others. I don't want my dogs or fish consuming corn, soybeans, or feather meal. That's not to say that one can't grow out nice looking fish that consume those types of ingredients, simply that for reasons already stated I choose not to.

      FYI - on the new NLS labels that same formula will be listed as: Whole Antarctic Krill, Whole Squid, Whole Fish, followed by Wheat, Ulva Seaweed, Chlorella Algae, Beta Carotene, Spirulina, Kelp, Garlic, Alfalfa, Scallops, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Wakame Seaweed, Spinosum Seaweed, Vitamins, Minerals, etc.

      Yes, there is still some wheat used as a binding agent, but less than what was previously used prior to the addition a few years back of the various algae and seaweed. Those raw ingredients also now help hold the pellet in a dense form which helps keep nutrients locked inside. (vs immediately swelling up with water)

      You won't find too many (or any?) farm feeds that use Antarctic Krill, Squid, and Fish, as the primary sources of protein (amino acids) and fatty acids. The reason for that is simple, the cost. Much less costly for a manufacturer to use soybean, feather meal, corn etc, and lower grades of marine protein to supply those nutrients. They are also moving to a more consumer friendly form of preservative, Naturox, vs ethoxyquin, which also adds to the basic cost of each formula.

      Just like in other pet food, you tend to get what you pay for. The bonus is that due to the quality & density of nutrients in the more premium brands, one can typically feed less, which results in less solid waste vs the lower cost farm feeds. In a closed system such as an aquarium that's always an added bonus.
       
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    9. Yoimbrian

      Yoimbrian MFK Members

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      I'm curious if fish know the taste difference too.

      My dog is not a picky eater at all, but she has clear and obvious preferences. I did some tests putting cheap and expensive dog food out for her and she very repeatedly went for the expensive stuff, and looked WAY happier.

      Can fish taste the difference? Do they care? The way I personify my fish they can :)
       
    10. RD.

      RD. Crazy Canuck

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      Yes, fish have olfactory senses, and taste, smell, texture, and even shape can make a difference in their feed reponse.
       
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