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How do I get my fish to try new food?   3/10/13
Hi all.  I'm wondering if one of you wonderful experts here can give me a hint on how to get my fish to eat a variety of food.  I've had a flame Hawkfish for a year now, and all he eats is krill and Mysis.  I've tried tempting him with New Life Spectrum pellets, which most of my other fish love, and even capelin eggs, which drive some of my other fish into a feeding frenzy.  Nothing.  He just watches the food drop by.  And I don't think he even sees flake food floating on the top.  I'd love to vary his diet, as nothing but krill and Mysis can't be healthy over the long term. 
I've even tried starving him for a few days to make him good and hungry, but no luck.  Any thoughts on this?  Thanks!
<Yes; slowly (over weeks time) but steadily, mix all foods together before offering, decreasing the favored items, and substituting the pellets. Have seen all Cirrhitid species kept in captivity accept NLS. Bob Fenner>
Re: How do I get my fish to try new food?   3/10/13

Bob - Great idea!  Thanks!  I can stuff a pellet or two into a piece of krill, and progress to just marinating the pellets in mashed krill.  Will do!
<Cheers! BobF>

Re: Pellet feeding - at what point do I stop the fast?     3/1/13
Hi Bob, sorry to bother...wanted to see if you received this message...
<Mmm, no; hadn't seen on incoming WWM webmail>
Pellet feeding - at what point do I stop the fast?    3/2/13

Recently I exchanged emails with you on my puffer health, which lead to my re-read of the WWM article on Thiaminase (after a first read years ago).
Prior to this, I had tried to mix in NLS pellets on occasion, trying various tactics (soak with their food of choice, with garlic, short duration fast, etc). I decided to take a more drastic path after reading your article.
I have previously read the WWM articles on feeding, and decided to try a composite path of what others have done. I am on day 12 of this path...close to quitting frozen/freeze dried cold turkey except I have had intermittent feedings of their prior staples (e.g. 1 daily meal every 3rd or 4th day) . I have had mixed results...and while none who are trained seem "thrilled" and vigorous at feeding as they did with their old foods...I have a report by fish below. Do you suggest I stay the course, or discontinue and try again after a few weeks (i.e., to break up the fast)? Or suggest some other path?
<I'd keep mixing, alternating between the NLS and frozen/defrosted foods>
Harlequin Tusk: Most readily eating pellets...and lots...interestingly, from previous trials, I thought this fish would be the hardest to train.
Bluehead Wrasse, Red Coris Wrasse Engineer Goby: Also full move to pellet fed.
Volitans: Has inhaled pellets (mostly on accident), sometimes spitting them out, now generally doesn't have any interest.
<Have seen Pteroines that would not eat pellets, others that would>
Puffer and Goatfish: Ditto to volitans, except has always spit out and never ingested. Moved from 3 full meals daily to maybe 3 full meals in 12 days (i.e., have only eaten when I've fed their old foods.
<Not surprising. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pellet feeding - at what point do I stop the fast?    3/3/13

Bob, thanks for this feedback. To clarify per your question - I did fear that my puffer was showing symptoms of Thiaminase, as per our prior emailing, which is what lead me to try a cold-turkey cut over to pellets.
I stopped that trial after reading your message, and gave them a rest from the fast. They ate their prior staples today.
I see that Cyclop-eeze seems to be a popular/endorsed product. However, I don't see many accounts of attempted feedings with such large fish as mine (puffer, lion, wrasses, goats, etc). Do you think I should attempt the Cyclop-eeze wafers?
<Don't think they'll take to these, but you can try>
I have a 16 day trip to China coming up soon, and had hoped to see these fish move to pellet/flake food prior to my departure. This is the reason beyond Thiaminase concern that I am trying to train.
Thank you, Dave
<Welcome. BobF>

Wasted food  11/24/10
Hey guys and gals,
<Hey Shel, I mean Scott>
On odd question, perhaps, but here goes: Is there a safe way of preserving flake and pellet food? I ask because I am about to throw away three-quarters of a can of New Life Spectrum. It seems that the smallest can available is much, much more than my three marine fish can eat before it goes stale. Considering I still like to feed them a variety of foods, I have a couple half-full packages of other foods I have to get rid of as well. Can I open a package and separate it, maybe even store a portion in the freezer or another sealed container?
<In the fridge or freezer... less air the better>
On a similar note, I am about to discard half a package of frozen food, because at a half a cube once or twice a week, it seems like it's been hanging around way too long as well. Luckily, I was able to sweet-talk my LFS into selling me half a package this time. In all, I probably have to get rid of about $20 worth of food and start over. Seems like an awful waste. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
<Welcome! BobF>

Marine Tropicals Exclusively on Dry Food? 5-31-2010
Dear WWM Crew,
<Evening, Mike here after a hiatus - I do come and go, don't I>
Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all of you!
<Thank you very much, and to you as well>
Here is my question....
<Alrighty then>
I have been working very hard at getting my 85 gallon reef inhabitants to take Spectrum Thera-A .5 mm pellets as their primary fare. After much researching and reading, I felt comfortable with the Spectrum philosophy of feeding Spectrum exclusively to my fish. I have six of them, a Joculator Pygmy Angel, a Flame Hawkfish, 2 Black and White Ocellaris Clownfish, a Golden
Sailfin Blenny, and a Yellow Clown Goby.
<I hope by primary fare you don't mean sole fare...>
Well, I fed the Spectrum Pellets exclusively for one week. The Flame Hawkfish, Yellow Sailfin Blenny, and the Yellow Clown Goby were the non-takers.
Once every few feedings I would catch the Hawkfish taking a pellet, but that was it. The clowns and the Joculator were voracious with the pellets.
I even did a two day fast at the end of the one week period to try to get the remaining fish on the pellets. I had luck with the Hawkfish after this, not the blenny or the clown goby.
<To be expected from fish more accustomed to feeding off rock substrate lower in the water column>
Then I decided, on a lark, just to try the Spectrum Optimum Salt H20 Flakes instead of the pellets. Success! Everyone ate these. However, now I am concerned flake food will not provide as much nutrition as pellets. The Spectrum Flakes actually have a warning on the label that specifically states "although all flake food can maintain small fish, it will not produce
long term vigorous growth and health for large fish due to insufficient food intake. For better results feed New Life Spectrum pellets exclusively.
This is worrying me, even though my largest fish, the Joculator Pygmy Angel maxes out at 3.5 inches. I was so hoping to be able to put a small pinch of food in twice a day and not have it get complicated! Am I o.k. on Spectrum flakes only, or is this going to present a problem long term?
<Feeding any fish solely on one type of food, especially a dry food, is asking for a greatly limited lifespan. Liver problems and other health issues could arise inside 3-5 years from feeding exclusively dry foods. A variety is always recommended - frozen formulas, frozen whole mysids, and other fares should be offered at least twice weekly>
Thanks in advance for your advice and recommendations.
Laura Garmizo
<Mike Maddox> 

Flake Food Question   9/17/06 Gentlemen, <And some ladies...>               I have been having trouble getting my Coral Beauty and my Tomato Clown to eat anything other than "Omega One Marine Flakes", and "Marine Plankton Gel".  The fish turn their noses up at Mysis shrimp, "Nutrafin Max morsels", and "Angel Formula". <Interesting> My question is, is this enough? <Nutritionally... likely so... If you have live rock in/with these fishes I would not be concerned> I originally had four damsels in the tank left over from the cycling, but I have since removed them due to aggressiveness.  They were pretty, but not so nice.  Well, when the damsels were in the tank, the clownfish would eat the shrimp, but now, not so much. <Ahh!> Both the clown and angel seem healthy and active.  My tank is a 55g FO, sg 1.022, ammonia, nitrites both 0.0, nitrate around 5.0, pH 8.3.  I am running an Emperor 400, plus an 75gal wet/dry with skimmer.  I think my parameters are O.K.  My problem is not that they won't eat, but that they seem very finicky.        You guys have a great website, I could (and have) spent hours going over all the info presented. Thank you, Drew    <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Dried fish foods    4/4/06 In the past, I have fed primarily frozen and fresh foods, and some flakes. I have a large queen angel who has decided her favorite fare is pellet food - really only picks at anything else. I have been through a number of major brands, and now that I'm using a significant volume, I'm noticing that it really doesn't assimilate well - there is a lot of residue accumulating in the tank and in the prefilters, and its not from anything uneaten. <Yes> Some brands are worse than others, more "fillers" I guess; I've found Hikari to be the "cleanest", so far; any thoughts on this? Thanks, Steve. <Do look into the Spectrum line... about as "clean" and almost totally nutritious and very palatable to a huge range of fishes. Bob Fenner>

Feeding questions Good evening, <And thou> I have a few questions on feeding. I have a 30 gal tank, it consists of two percula clownfish, male/female(?) <Eventually, likely> they get along great 2" and 1 1/2", a 1" yellow damsel, a 2" Hawkfish, four turbo snails, and a couple hermits. That the Hawkfish hasn't found yet) The plan is to add two Featherdusters next week. <Mmm, a thirty is a bit small for all this life in a long-er time frame> Their diet consists of flake in the morning, a alternation of ocean nutrition formula one, and tetra marine color flakes, lunch snack every other day consist of freeze dried plankton, and evenings I feed frozen bloodworms. Guess the question "Is it varied enough?  <Likely so... I would alternate the dried prepared food brands... HBH, Spectrum, Omega Sea...> Just started the formula one to get more algae into their diet, I think I read in the FAQs that brine shrimp (?) was nutrition less. <Variable in food value> And it got me thinking if blood worms was a proper frozen selection.  <Occasional use recommended> Some on the site recommend formula one frozen. (should I look to switch if the LPS carries?) I also read on your site about Selcon and was planning on starting this vitamin supplement. Good idea? <Yes> For the Featherdusters (think Anthony replied to my question last week) was going to go with the clam juice and periodically go with the raw clams and shrimp done up in the handy chopper. (baster feed the dusters and larger scraps to the fish). (is minced can clams acceptable? <Yes, just use conservatively> I worry about additives) And for a late night shot I planned on ordering (along with the Selcon) DTs phytoplankton to feed the live rock and dusters a bit. To much? To little? <Variety is fine... amount, frequency need to be monitored> I've always tried to vary the diet between flakes and frozen, not sure if it's the proper variation? or if I should add the vitamin supplements? <Think of your own nutrition... formats, content are important to consider... if you suspect your own diet is nutrient-limited or limiting due to food sources, health-state (more vitamin C for me when I drink alcohol for instance), it may well be worthwhile to supplement.> Just have to say great site, It's funny though, all that is recommended by the crew masters or readers, my LPS has never heard of. <Corals of LFS as in store likely. An opportunity here to make a comment re shops, personnel therein. Many folks seem to be "under the impression" or of the attitude that people who own, work in fish retail are able to know, relate all needed, pertinent information re any given subject, organism, group to be found in such establishments. This is assuredly not the case (nor is it possible here btw, though we have the advantage of taking our time, consulting with each other, references... and not the time taken up scrubbing tanks!). Understand that the field doesn't pay well, attracts newer "growing" consumers who learn as they go by and large... and hence all that is offered by LFS should be "taken with a 50 gal. bag of salt (or bucket if you can heft it), as "input"... no greater, lesser valid than what we, magazines, BB's, even books can/may offer... There is no defensible argument for not becoming/being a good consumer in our hobbyist fields... In other words, arm yourself with an open, educated mind and attitude whenever you encounter information.> Thank you kindly, (and my fish thank you). Dave <You're all quite welcome. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Flake food Hello, I hope all is well. I would like your input on one of my "ponderings". First, let me tell you about my live stock. I have 4 fish ( Blue Tang, Foxface Lo, False Perc and a Kaldron Cardinal.<nice variety> I feed, for the most part, flake food every other day. I find flake food seems to have a better guaranteed analysis.<depends, I prefer feeding a mixed variety of foodstuff.. such as krill, silversides, Nori, Mysis shrimp and lifeline green (herbivore) and I add vitamins to the food to ensure that my fish get the nutrition that they need> I alternate food soaks between Selcon, VitaChem and a little garlic on occasion.<good> I give the Cardinal some fresh shrimp every now and then but he seems to enjoy the flake food just the same.<ok> They also receive Nori about 2 times a week.<good> I'm glad to report that I have had these fish for a long time and they are and have always been in perfect health. I have lots of bristle worms and tube worms growing on rocks and powerheads and everywhere else. Water quality is perfect, all parameters.<good> Now I know these guys come from excess nutrients in the water and are able to maintain high populations through excess food not being consumed. I have a protein skimmer (before you ask) that works good, not great, but good.<at least you have one lol> I think the problem is the flakes particle size.<probably so> When soaking flakes, they do not hold up well, or when I get close to the bottom of the jar, its just very small particulate flakes for the most part. I notice that they just don't go for it, and allot of it hits the rocks and sand, going uneaten. My fish just don't go for the smaller stuff, but rather swimming around looking for larger flakes.<as expected> I've tried using sinking pellets but even the small ones are too big for my False Perc and Foxface Lo (they just have a small mouth). What alternatives would you suggest? Again, nutrition is my top priority.<I suggest that you purchase Life Line (green) frozen food for your fish, (if your LFS carries it. I live in CFL and all of the stores around here do so hopefully they also carry it in your area). My 2 Vlamingi tangs, chevron tang, and golden pygmy angelfish love this stuff, Good luck, IanB> Thanks,

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