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Old 08-01-2014, 08:43 PM   #1
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Food is food, it's how we feed

I have for years gone by the assumption that frozen food was better than even high quality flake food. Rinsing the frozen food discarded inedible juices that would just turn to phosphates made good sense. Time and time again, we recommend to folks with algae outbreaks to knock off the flake foods. But then I got to thinking about my dogs.

If I fed my dogs by scattering the food all around the house, it wouldn't matter if it was frozen, fresh or dry. I would end up with a stinky mouse infested house, as even my faithful dogs noses would miss some. With them and my fish, it's about getting the food into the fish and not all over the tank. Scavengers and some corals are happy to eat this flying food, but a great deal of it gets caught in places where it deteriorates into phosphates.

In my view, while I would never depend solely on flake foods or pellets, some dried foods can provide minerals and vitamins as well as proteins. And if fed to the fish, not scattered about the tank, they should create no more phosphate than any other food, maybe less. I have developed a few techniques that seem to work in controlling the food and getting it into the fish. Pretty simple stuff.

So my dogs get a high quality dried food, mixed with can and fresh foods. In a bowl, or as we fishy folks call it, a targeted feeder. If it works on my dogs, it's good enough for the fish.

I am interested if others agree or disagree.


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Old 08-01-2014, 10:44 PM   #2
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I have never thought about it, really. Just followed the advice of more experienced reefers. But I will admit that your anology makes perfect sense. Bottom line I would say is: poop is poop, it's what doesn't get converted to poop that causes troubles.
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:21 PM   #3
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I just read a good article where it was noted all nutritious foods have phosphates. Part of the cellular process. But my thinking is still that flake foods and pellets have a role in my husbandry when I had avoided them for years. It's about getting the maximum nutritional value for the volume of food and it's inherent phosphate content.


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Old 08-02-2014, 12:03 AM   #4
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That's an excellent analogy!

I do think it's a combo of quality, quantity, and placement.

Back to the mammalian analogy ... When I fed my cats food with chicken by product meal and higher carbohydrates, they ate a lot, pooped a lot, the box was super stinky, and they got a little chubby with lots of plaque. When I fed them food without byproducts, and stuck with kitten food (higher protein and fat, less carbohydrate) ... They ate less, pooped less, the box didn't stink as much, and they were super lean with clean mouths.

Our LFS recommended cobalt, and there didn't seem to be much waste because the flakes don't really deteriorate. But NLS is a bit higher quality, and the tank was cleaner with it even though the .5mm pellets "scatter" a lot more.

Seriously, the NLS pellets end up EVERYWHERE. But I find them to equal a cleaner tank than anything else I've tried (including frozen), probably because I have an assorted clean up crew: ghost shrimp, otos, pygmy loaches, malaysian trumpet snails, and yes even pond snails. I've learned to love even the "pest" snails because the tank is so clean. My 29 gallon has 1 shrimp/oto/loach per 2 gallons, plus the snails.

Even when I go to vacuum, nothing really comes up, the snails/etc have converted it down to such teeny particles. Apparently ghost shrimp and snails sift through fish poop, breaking it up, getting what food went undigested, and scattering the rest.

So. I think it's part quality, part method, and a big big part ecosystem.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:10 AM   #5
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I strongly agree. If all food is consumed, what is left to become phosphates? Nothing really, it becomes poop which is cleaned out. Honestly, if you feed the correct amount of whichever food of your picking, there shouldnt really be a problem.
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Old 08-02-2014, 11:16 AM   #6
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I strongly agree. If all food is consumed, what is left to become phosphates? Nothing really, it becomes poop which is cleaned out. Honestly, if you feed the correct amount of whichever food of your picking, there shouldnt really be a problem.
All food contributes to phosphates whether its ingested or left to rot in the tank. It's something that can't be avoided. The only thing you can do on that front is limit the amount of uneaten food left to rot in the tank.

It always confused me why dry foods are looked at in such a poor manner. Many of the higher quality foods have a large vitamin content and are quite healthy for fish. While in the past the dry foods might have been junk that's definitely changed in the recent past. It's just a stigma that's held on over the years.
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:40 PM   #7
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Was just on another forum discussing this with somebody that has access to a marine biologist that sells and makes their own foods. He found during autopsies that many captive fish have fat livers. Not sure yet what foods cause this as I am still plowing thru the info.


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:42 PM   #8
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All food contributes to phosphates whether its ingested or left to rot in the tank. It's something that can't be avoided. The only thing you can do on that front is limit the amount of uneaten food left to rot in the tank.

It always confused me why dry foods are looked at in such a poor manner. Many of the higher quality foods have a large vitamin content and are quite healthy for fish. While in the past the dry foods might have been junk that's definitely changed in the recent past. It's just a stigma that's held on over the years.

But the premise still stands that feeding efficiently puts more food in the fish and less wasted in the tank. Every gram less of food you have to feed is that much less phosphate.


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Old 08-02-2014, 02:51 PM   #9
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But the premise still stands that feeding efficiently puts more food in the fish and less wasted in the tank. Every gram less of food you have to feed is that much less phosphate.


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Yep, exactly
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Old 08-02-2014, 05:03 PM   #10
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Interesting but pretty basic.

http://www.peteducation.com/article....+2160&aid=3401


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Old 08-04-2014, 03:28 AM   #11
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It seems that there is a wrong notion on where the phosphate really comes from in our tank. It is not only from the food we feed our fish but anything that we put in our tank such as water, salt mix, filter media and so on. When food are consumed by fish the phosphate does not disappear. Whatever the amount of phosphate in the food regardless whether they are consumed or not the same amount stays in your tank until they are absorbed by algae or filter media such as phosguard. When we talk about excess nutrients it does not only mean phosphates or nitrates but any dissolved solids. You can have excess uneaten food but the skimmer takes care of removing those unwanted stuff that can turn into nitrates. Your CUCS and beneficial bacteria also need those leftovers. The following link may help you understand more about phosphate.

Phosphates in Your Saltwater Aquarium

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Old 08-04-2014, 02:29 PM   #12
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Food is food, it's how we feed

Thank you but I think I have my poor mind around it. But I doubt I'll just start dumping food into my tank because there is no efficient way to feed in your opinion. The skimmer gets it all? You have a heck of a skimmer. I usually agree with you Jeff, but don't like the lecturing attitude much. I asked a question. Thank you for your opinion.

To refute part of your comment, phosphates and nitrates are only absorbed by a living organism, no matter the organism, thru cellular growth. Otherwise you must use a chemical binding agent or large water exchanges. Takes roughly 16 parts nitrate per one part phosphate to build a cell. This varies. As a fish grows, those cells capture nitrates and phosphates to produce flesh. Same with algae. So the idea that phosphates are not absorbed by living creatures flies in the face of algae scrubbing and the use of biological materials to remove phosphate.


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Old 08-04-2014, 11:31 PM   #13
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Long day in the emergency management world. Back to fish soon.


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Old 08-05-2014, 12:22 AM   #14
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This forum is about helping one another and share information. I don't mean to underestimate anyone's knowledge of the subject but my response is in general and not intended for a single person. Isn't lecturing a form of advice?
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Old 08-05-2014, 05:52 PM   #15
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Food is food, it's how we feed

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This forum is about helping one another and share information. I don't mean to underestimate anyone's knowledge of the subject but my response is in general and not intended for a single person. Isn't lecturing a form of advice?

Not to take sides...
It depends on the lecture. You can lecture false information, and not be giving advice, simply sounding dumb. You can lecture a kid about doing something wrong, but that's called discipline.
Either way both your information is correct, to an amount like almost anything in the world.

I saw this more as a conversation on how you can minimize phosphate input through food, not phosphate in general.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:08 PM   #16
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Yes, that's accurate. We all agree that phosphate is inevitable. No matter the food source, but some foods are lower in phosphate and not wasting food also reduces them. I don't run a big CUC and the vast majority of my corals don't eat the floating food, so I concentrate on getting the food into the fish.

When typing in responses, it is easy to either misinterpret a persons quote to be judgmental, or to just rub the wrong way. Especially me as I have a pretty high pressure job.


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Old 08-05-2014, 10:15 PM   #17
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I agree that the amount of phosphate on different food varies but I don't agree that when food is consumed by fish all the phosphates on that food is gone or completely absorbed 100% by fish. I believe most of it is excreted back to the tank by their poops. If what you feed has already negligible phosphate then what you have to worry about is over feeding that may cause high nitrate (that is if your skimmer is overwhelmed).
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:42 PM   #18
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Food is food, it's how we feed

I also agree that only a small percentage is captured by the fish, but algae is a different matter. That's why I have used a ATS for a long time. Algae is the best phosphate absorber there is IMO. Poor Lake Erie is a good example of that right now. Too bad they can't harvest it and use it for biofuel.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/algae-fuel.html


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Old 08-05-2014, 10:53 PM   #19
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Poor Lake Erie is a good example of that right now. Too bad they can't harvest it and use it for biofuel.
I'm just south of my beloved eel filled lake. I can get a bunch of strainers and nets.
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:25 PM   #20
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If not for its ugliness algae should take credit as an efficient phosphate remover. I leave them alone in my sump.
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