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Old 02-21-2012, 03:12 PM   #1
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Flake Vs. Frozen Food

WARNING: This might be long and you might be challenged!

Rather than hijack another thread that seems to be going off course located here:

Royal gramma diet?

I figured I should start a new one. The topic revolves around the belief that fish should be fed a variety of foods and that flake food was essentially something to fill in between frozen. Many would further claim that frozen foods are more natural to the fish. I'd like to challenge this line of thinking a little bit.

Many fish keepers (particularly saltwater) feed several different frozen foods. The first frozen food many of us are introduced to are brine shrimp. This is not a natural food for any fish am aware of as they are naturally only found in inland saltwater lakes, typically with a salinity in excess of that of the oceans.

The next food I see mentioned commonly is mysis shrimp. Now, some of these guys do live in the ocean, however it's the Arctic Ocean. Most of our fish don't come from here. The other species come from fresh and brackish water, so this is hardly a natural food.

How about beefheart for all you discus keepers? I loved the episode of River Monsters where they showed that voracious pack of discus devour a cow crossing the Rio Negro. Did you see that one? Me neither.

All in all, I'd guess there are really only a small handful of frozen foods commonly available comprised of one ingredient. Beyond that you have several compounded foods live Emerald Entree, VHP (if that's still around), Formula One, Formula Two, etc.

I also want to mention one fish many marine keepers would love to have if not for their dietary tendencies: the Mandarin dragonette. These fish are beautiful, but you can search these forums(and I know of one very long thread) for the issues getting them to eat. Conventional wisdom says by a captive raised one which supposedly eats pellets, and make sure that you have a thriving population of pods for it to graze upon in your tank. How much variety of species do you really think we have as far as pods go in our tanks? And in this case, we want to make sure they eat the stuff we say isn't very good for them. . .
Then come the flaze and pellet foods. What's in those, anyway? Here is the ingredient list for the saltwater flake food I've been using:

Fish meal, wheat flour, fish protein concentrate, corn meal, squid meal, oatmeal, wheat gluten meal, dried seaweed meal, dried spirulina algae, krill, salmon oil (ethoxyquin used as preservative), soy protein concentrate, soybean flour, fish liver meal, dried yeast, squid liver meal, cochineal extract, shrimp meal, hydrolyzed soy protein, wheat germ meal, vitamins (cholecalciferol, biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, inositol, niacin supplement, riboflavin-5-phosphate, calcium L-ascorbyl-2-monophosphate, vitamin A acetate, thiamine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity)), choline chloride, yeast extract, fructooligosaccharide, lecithin, citric acid, fish oil.

I've taken the liberty to boldface the somewhat "naturally" derived ingredients. So, it looks like there is fish (including salmon), squid, seaweed, spirulina (just leared that's a form of cyanobacteria), krill, and shrimp. To my mind, that means everytime I'm feeding flake food, I'm actually offering six different items.

If I mix up brands and forms (e.g. pellets), I might be offering some other stuff as well.

Next, let's look at other animals. Many of us have dogs or cats. (I'm not one, but my parents had dogs growing up and I worked in a full line pet shop.) In my experience, most vets do NOT recommend mixing up brands of dog food or supplementing with food from the table. They do recommend that you select a premium food and stick with it. Why is variety not as important here? One reason I'll point iut is that when it comes to the domesticated dog, we're keeping one species whther it be a Jack Russell or a great Dane. Looking at the label of one very popular dog food, the "naturally" derived ingredients come from corn, chicken, animal fat (source not specified), beets, soybeans, and egg. Now, I can imagine a feral dog going after a chicken or other small animal, and maybe even eating eggs. I've never known a dog to crave beets, corn, or soybeans.

The point of all this? Please don't be quick to condemn someone for feeding flakes or pellets (even to marine fish) based on the traditional wisdom. I do beleive there are merits to variety, particularly when we have several different species occupying the same space. In many instances, we are forced by the organism to feed a particular item and hope and pray it's enough to sustain it.

for reading. I welcome your thoughts and reasoning.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:41 PM   #2
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IMO, what they are fed isn't an issue as long as they eat it. The issue that I have commonly stumbled upon with flakes/pellets is that people feed to much which results in issues in the tank. Of course, feeding to much of anything will cause this issue! But, I know in my case that it is alot easier to thaw and rinse some mysis, toss 4-5 in for the fish, target feed my 2 duncans a piece for each head, and then a couple more in for the fish (my chalk bass is slow to the frenzy).

My coral isn't eating flakes and it is more likely that fish will miss small chunks of flake floating around. I could go on, but mysis fits my needs. In terms of any coral owner, it doesn't make sense to use flake. I have other frozen foods like krill, but I am just speaking on mysis as it is the common "go to". But the same applies to krill or other frozens.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sniperhank View Post
I could go on, but mysis fits my needs. In terms of any coral owner, it doesn't make sense to use flake.
What I'm seeing here is that mysis is generally convenient for you. If you fish are eating it and doing well and it's not spoiling in your tank. It's good for you. You are also target feeding a duncan coral. (BTW, do you feel it is necessary to feed duncans? I have a 8-headed frag, but have not fed it.) Most of my corals (acans, favia, birdsnest, zoas, yellow polyps, snake polyps) do not need to be target fed in any case. So the logic of feeding frozen over flake for the corals' benefit doesn't apply (with the possible exception of the duncans). I can tell you that my corals do extend their feeding tentacles when flake food is introduced, but I think chunk of mysis would be far too large for my non-duncans to consume.

Also, you indicated that the fish are likely to miss small pieces of flakes vs. chunks of mysis. That might be true, but that ensures my hermit crabs and other clean up crew members have something to eat and don't starve.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
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I feed my duncan only because i like to. It is the greatest part of my tank. And as for food dor the cuc...i have so much algae on the back of my tank they dont need more. I have hermits crawling up my glass, 2 emeralds cleaning my rocks, snails in my sand, and my massive giant green star snail. If your dog's bowl is full, do you pile more ontop just because its dinner time?
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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If your dog's bowl is full, do you pile more ontop just because its dinner time?

Dogs shed, make me sneeze, and it smells worse when they make a mess on the carpet than when I spill water from the aquarium. This and I worked in a full line pet shop and had dogs and cats growing up! No wonder I like stuff that likes in boxes as opposed to the furry critters.

In all seriousness, though. I'm fortunate that I don't have all that much algae in my 37 at all. My 75 needs a little bigger clean up crew to keep the algae in check, but it's not too bad. I have some hair algae on the spraybar (I've been battling this since before I even had any livestock) and grow some stuff on the glass that isn't apparent until I scrape it and you realize the tank is a lot clearer than it looked a second ago.

thanks for your opinion on the duncans by the way. I think I need to move mine as they don't seem to appreciate the flow where they're at.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:15 PM   #6
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#1) Rather than hijack another thread that seems to be going off course located here: Royal gramma diet? I figured I should start a new one.

#2) but you can search these forums(and I know of one very long thread) for the issues getting them to eat.

#3) I've never known a dog to crave beets, corn, or soybeans.
#1) Is it really necessary to insult another member's thread? Maybe it's just me, but your reference seemed belittling.

#2) Again, why insult another member's thread?

#3) My dogs will choose broccoli, carrots, banana, apples, blueberries, celery and other fruits and vegetables over their quality dry food any day of the week.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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My dog brought me a deer skull amd ate deer poop today. She also loves doritos. Not natural, but in moderation its just fine. Backs up my beliefs that if it aint broke dont fix it.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LyndaB View Post
#1) Is it really necessary to insult another member's thread? Maybe it's just me, but your reference seemed belittling.

#2) Again, why insult another member's thread?

#3) My dogs will choose broccoli, carrots, banana, apples, blueberries, celery and other fruits and vegetables over their quality dry food any day of the week.
  1. I actually did not want the original thread which was about what to feed a royal gramma to devolve into a debate about flake food and its benefits or limitations. I thought it was respectful to the OP on that thread to have the discussion on the merits and limitations on flake food elsewhere rather than contributing to his thread being hijacked.
  2. I was only interating that there is one particular species that many people (myself included) would like to keep and the issue with that species is that it commonly will not consume prepared food. I pointed in general to the community and ambiguously to a certain thread. I have no quarrel with that OP whatsoever. I'm not sure if you equated my comment that there was a very long thread about keeping Mandarins with me insulting the individual who started that thread or what. I's like to point out my disclaimer as the OP that this thread (and indeed my first post on it) could go long.
  3. Your dogs are weird, but then so am I! I tend to think that your dogs are unique. Nonetheless, I notice you did not enumerate beets, corn or soybeans on your list of your dogs' preferred foods.
I apologize to anyone I offended as it was NEVER my intention. However, I do want to challenge those that advocate against flake and pellet foods to reconsider why they feel that way.
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