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Old 02-21-2005, 01:17 PM   #1
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What is "high quality" flake food?

In reading, that phrase comes up a lot. Are most flake foods sold in the store (brands like TetraMin) "high quality"? Or is this a reference to something else?

Been bugging me a while, I just always forget to ask. But as I am getting near the bottom of the jar of my current stuff, I figure if I ought to be buying something else now is the time to know.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:40 PM   #2
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Yeah, Tetramin is.
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:01 PM   #3
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Ditto - Nutrafin is another.
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:09 PM   #4
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ok, thank you! One less thing to worry about now.
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:26 PM   #5
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Look on the label at the ingredients.

High quality flake foods (for omnivores) list a wide variety of fresh seafoods first (salmon, halibut, cod, krill, rockfish, shrimp, squid, clams, and octopus). Minimum crude protein and fat content should be at least 45% and 10% respectively.
Lesser-quality foods often list fish meal as the primary ingredient. Fish meal is basically powdered, ground-up fish parts - often including heads, guts, bones, and scales. A large proportion of it is either poorly nutritious, or simply indigestible.

All foods contain fillers and binders like wheat gluten and feather meal - you guessed it, ground up bird feathers. In high quality foods, these are found further down the list of ingredients because they are present in smaller amounts. Look for foods with an ash content of less than 10%.

I try to buy the smallest container that will last me for six months. It's much more expensive on a price-per-pound basis, but all fish foods lose nutritional value and absorb moisture over time. They just don't store well once opened.

Even the best, most expensive high quality flake food will not completely replicate the diet fish eat in the wild. It's important to vary the diet and offer fresh veggies, frozen, and live foods once in a while. Also, try to get foods that are supplemented with vitamins and trace minerals.
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Old 02-21-2005, 03:10 PM   #6
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TetraMin is not high quality, first ingredient listed is fishmeal. IMHO, nothing beats Omega One.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:38 PM   #7
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Hmm, very informative.

The good news is, I do realize the importance of varied diet. At least once a week I try to give my fish something live--either brine shrimp or bloodworms. And a couple times a week I will feed them spirulina algae flakes, just for a change of pace. (I especially like to use those for the feeding immediately after a dose of live food...I figure if they eat lots of "animal" protein at one meal, it will help them if they get an extra dose of veggies at the next.)

Next time I am at my lfs I will start reading the labels on these flake foods.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:48 PM   #8
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P.S. Some research on different flake foods I have around here (some were free sampler packets)...

TetraMin Tropical Flakes -- 48% min. protein, 8% min. fat, 2% max fiber, 6% max moisture
first five ingredients: fish meal, dried yeast, ground brown rice, shrimp meal, wheat gluten

TetraColor Color Enhancer Flakes -- 49% min. protein, 9% min. fat, 2% max fiber, 6% max moisture
first five ingredients: same as for TetraMin flakes

TopFin Tropical Flakes -- 44% min. protein, 10% min. fat, 2% max fiber, 6% max moisture
first five ingredients: fish meal, ground brown rice, dried yeast, shrimp meal, wheat gluten

NutraFin Spirulina Algae Flakes -- 44% min. protein, 5% min. fat, 4% max fiber, 7% max moisture
first five ingredients: Spirulina pacifica, fish meal, oat flour, pre-digested plankton, soy flour
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:34 PM   #9
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Good idea, JohnPaul!

Here's what I have around the apartment:

Omega One Freshwater Flakes--Crude Protein (min) 48%, Crude Fat (min) 14%, Crude Fiber (max) 2.0%, Moisture (max) 8.5%, Ash (max) 8%
First five ingredients: Whole Salmon, Halibut, Black Cod, Seafood Mix (including Krill, Rockfish, Shrimp, Squid, Clams, and Octopus), Wheat Flour

Ocean Nutrition Omni Formula--Crude Protein (min) 53%, Crude Fat (min) 12%, Crude Fiber (max) 1.0%, Moisture (max) 8.8%, Ash (max) 6.5%
First five ingredients: Salmon fillets, Pacifica plankton, squid, salmon eggs and/or salmon egg oil, Superba plankton and/or krillhydrolysate

Marineland BioBlend Tropical ----Crude Protein (min) 42%, Crude Fat (min) 8%, Crude Fiber (max) 3.0%, Moisture (max) 12%, Ash (max) 7%
First five ingredients: Fish meal, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, soybean meal, dried krill

Hikari sinking wafers--Crude Protein (min) 32%, Crude Fat (min) 4%, Crude Fiber (max) 5.0%, Moisture (max) 10%, Ash (max) 12%
First five ingredients: white fish meal, shrimp meal, wheat germ meal, wheat flour, soybean meal

Wardley Spirulina Plus--Crude Protein (min) 40%, Crude Fat (min) 6%, Crude Fiber (max) 7.0%, Moisture (max) 8%, Ash (max) no data
First five ingredients: Spirulina, Wheat Flour, Soy protein, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten meal,

Wardley Shrimp Pellets--Crude Protein (min) 30%, Crude Fat (min) 3%, Crude Fiber (max) 10%, Moisture (max) 10%, Ash (max) no data
First five ingredients: Shrimp meal, ground wheat, fish meal, animal fat, salt

I also have freeze-dried brine shrimp, frozen baby brine shrimp, and frozen krill
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:44 PM   #10
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Omega One and Marinland Are Extremly high quality foods i recoomed them ot anyone.

JMHO
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:52 PM   #11
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Gotta tell you, from what I am reading so far "fish meal" just seems to be a substitute for listing out individual types of fish used. Look at the ingredients above -- anywhere it says "fish meal" it does not bother listing out what fishes those are. I suspect it is a bit of a con on the part of Omega One -- reading the ingredients like that makes you feel like you're getting more bang for the buck. The same reason Pizza Hut does not carry a size Small. The same reason prices often end with 99cents. The same reason a gallon of gas's price actually ends with 9/1000ths ($1.809).
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Old 03-23-2005, 03:06 PM   #12
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Somebody said it earlier and I'm inclined to agree - meal isn't the actual ingredients. As per a web definition:

Fish Meal: the clean, dried, ground tissue of un-decomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil

This could be all the junk parts and not the actual nutritional pieces. Hence, it costs more to get a chicken breast than it does chicken nuggets. We won't even go into hot dogs

Although without a manufacturer owning up, I don't know how far we can go with this It is interesting to see how diff. labels list the ingredients. I don't know if those companies are held to the same restrictions as food for human consumption.

BTW, I'll ask another question since we're talking about diets... what do you folks feed your fish when you speak of "live" food? I have nothing exotic in the tank - standard tropical fare - and am wondering what folks feed these type fish.

Currently, I mix flake with frozen blood worms, frozen skeeter larvea and frozen brine shrimp. I just drop a cube into the tank and they tear it up. What are others doing?
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Old 03-23-2005, 03:13 PM   #13
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Foods that I would classify as 'high-quality':

TetraPro
Omega One
New Life Spectrum
Sera

Plus a few of the newest specialised flakes that Nutrafin is offering, such as the mysis shrimp and earthworm flakes.
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:09 PM   #14
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Hmm I have been using Tetramin, but I think I am going to have to purchase some Omega One. When you think about how long fish food generally lasts apaying a little more for quality is really negligable especially bareing in mind how much we all spend on our befinned pals....
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:14 PM   #15
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...and it will last better, longer, if you seal the lion's share our what you buy into good-quality, airtight freezer baggies and pop it into the freezer until you need more.
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Old 03-24-2005, 12:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black udder
BTW, I'll ask another question since we're talking about diets... what do you folks feed your fish when you speak of "live" food? I have nothing exotic in the tank - standard tropical fare - and am wondering what folks feed these type fish.

Currently, I mix flake with frozen blood worms, frozen skeeter larvea and frozen brine shrimp. I just drop a cube into the tank and they tear it up. What are others doing?
I just started giving my fish and frogs live blackworms and they love them. I give my fish flakes, freeze-dried brine shrimp a few times a week, frozen bloodworms once in awhile, algae wafers, shrimp pellets and carnivore pellets for plecs & cats (other fish nibble at 'em too).
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Old 03-24-2005, 01:56 PM   #17
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What a great thread on something we have to deal with on a daily basis with our fish! I'll look at the labels much closer now.

I carry about 3-4 different types of foods varying from very small pellets so my Neons can fit in their mouths, to larger pellets for my Rosey barbs, staple "flake" food and sinking algae wafers (I break em up) so my cory cats can get in on the action. Slow sinking food sometimes never makes it to the gravel cause my Rosey barbs are literally pigs... and neons will catch any slow sinking food as long as they can fit it in their mouths. So those fast sinking ones are important for my cats. I also have frozen brine shrimp as a "weekly treat".

I think I categorize "high quality" food as the foods my fish respond to. I watch them closely at feeding and I've noticed in the past some fish don't respond to certain flakes... then I'll stop with those flakes and drop in an alternate being sure they eat it. If some fish will eat those flakes that others didn't... then I feed at least 2 or types of food at once... making sure all the fish eat.
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:32 PM   #18
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So what is the average shelf life of flake food, anyways? I've been wondering if I can't just use the half a huge can that I inherited with my tank. . . I'm sure it's over a year (or more!) old as it is!
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:03 AM   #19
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:11 AM   #20
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I only use live foods when I have to. (just grosses me out, sorry) freeze dried or frozen I have no problem with. I feed primarily with Hikari, Ocean Omega, Grand Sumo, and ShoGold. The last 2 are kind of expensive, but worth it. I also include many different tetra foods as well. all of my fish get a more varied diet than I do
cJw, flake food doesn't stay fresh very long. its also prone to moisture. I know some people freeze their flake food.
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