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?
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:
, wheat flour, fish protein concentrate
, corn meal, squid meal
, oatmeal, wheat gluten meal, dried seaweed meal
, dried spirulina algae
, 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.