Dear Crew I have few Question on CR6 & CR8... Searching for
color-enhancing ingredients in fish food 9/16/13
I am a discus lover and hobbyist. I have question on CR6 & CR8. those
product manufactured by White Crane Aqua Thailand.
<Can't make out much that's useful on their site re:
But I want to know what Basic Color enhancer they use in those two
<They might tell you if you contact them; but I don't see MSDS sheets or
such re their lines>
Carophyll Red & Carophyll Yellow these two Color enhancing Substance
they used in their product or any other chemicalized formula or Hormone.
<Claim these are sex hormone free. Likely so... as powders... expensive>
Please let me know about the Product composition. And if there is any
Other color enhancing elliment expt ASTAXANTHIN. CAROPHYLL. please let
me know pn that too.
<Sorry; you'll have to contact the manufacturer re. Or better time
spent, search (computer) out your own bibliography. Some notes re how
<I would search for Symphysodon color enhancers, foods>
Food for Live bearers et al.
<Hi there John>
We have a product here called Tetra Veggie, which is recommended for
live bearers and gold fish. It does have 48% protein and Spirulina 108
G/KG. It is great for the two platies, but I am wondering if it is ok
for the five zebra Danios in there also?? Is it ok for the Danios
because of the protein or is it a live bearer food? Thank you!!
<This product is fine for all the fish types/species you list. Bob
Aquamax and Silvercup Fish Food - 4/1/10
Thank you for your website. I have found it very very helpful.
<Good to know.>
A local farm supply store ordered in four 50 pound bags of Purina
Aquamax 600 (a year ago). The person never picked it up. They have
offered it to me for $15.00 a bag. They were asking $30 but when I
discussed the loss of nutritional value with them they cut the price in
half. My question is twofold:
Would it be safe to feed year old fish pellets? I realize they may not
be as nutritious as when packaged, but would it harm my fish? If it
would not harm them, can I run them through my magic bullet to make the
pellets smaller pieces?
<Provided the fats haven't gone rancid, no, it's unlikely
"old" pellets will be dangerous. Most fish foods should have
a use-by date on them somewhere, and assuming the cartons haven't
been opened, that should apply here. Obviously once a carton has been
opened to the air, then moisture gets in and the food goes stale and
The size they are as manufactured I would consider feeding to my large
Oscars, jack Dempseys, Aztecs and Koi. If I can process them down to a
smaller size I would like to feed them to my cichlids. (Brichardi,
Christmas Fulu, Hongi, Electric Yellows, Electric Blues, Chocolate
Cichlids, Red Empress, Jewels, Kribs [and no, they are not all in one
tank, I maintain 20 tanks and they are either species tanks with just
one species or with some compatibles and a big enough tank a Malawi,
Tanganyikan, Victorian, South American tank.
Here is information on the ingredients, etc:
Purina Mills Aquamax Grower 600 50-lb Bag 9/32 7.1 mm Extruded Floating
Protein: 41% Fat 12% Fiber 4%
Product Description: Aqua Max Fish Diet is a floating feed Complete for
Catfish, Tilapia, Trout, Hybrid Striped Bass Yellow Perch and Red
Ingredients: Fish Meal, Soybean Meal, Ground Corn, Poultry Meal, Fish
Oil, Wheat Middlings, Hydrolyzed Poultry Feathers, Corn Gluten Meal,
Blood Meal, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Dimethyl pyrimidinol
Bisulfate, Choline Chloride, Calcium Pantothenate,
L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphoshate (source of Vitamin C), Thiamin Mononitrate,
Biotin, Folic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Riboflavin, nicotinic Acid,
Di-Alpha Tocopheryl Acertate, Vitamin A Acetate, Ethoxyquin (A
Preservative), Zinc Oxide, Cyanocobalamin, Dl-Motioning, Manganous
Oxide, Ferrous Carbonate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Iodate,
Calcium Carbonate, Cobalt Carbonate.
I am a little concerned about Hydrolyzed Poultry Feathers in the
formula, wondering if that can hurt my cichlids?
<No. All this means is that these are battery hen carcasses that
have been stripped of sellable meat (breasts, legs, perhaps wings) and
then mechanically processed into protein powder. It's much the same
stuff that ends up in cheap chicken products like chicken nuggets.
Hydrolysis is the process whereby the proteins are broken down in
various ways, releasing water (i.e., hydro + lysis).>
They also have one fresh bag of:
Purina Mills Aquamax Fry Starter 100 50 lb bag 1/32 .08mm Crumble
Sinking Protein: 50% Fat 17% Fiber 3%
I was thinking of trying this for my smaller fish, guppies, swordtails,
<Again, should be safe if unopened and within the use-by
I have been feeding Nelson's Silvercup Scientific #3 and my fish
have done very well on it. But with the cost of shipping, it is $100
for a 50 pound bag. I will be needing to order food soon (I have 20
tanks) I also make my own frozen vegetable based food, raise red
wrigglers and culture white worms, microworms, banana worms, water
worms, wingless flies, confused flour beetles. I like to offer my fish
a varied diet and they seem to like their conditions as they spawn
frequently and raise healthy fry. I do not overcrowd my fish and am
very careful to only keep species together that are compatible and are
in the same area in the wild. I do 10 percent water changes two to
three times per week.
I hope this is not too lengthy, but I wanted to give you sufficient
information for my query.
<No a problem!>
Thank you for your time.
Below is info from the Purina Aquamax website.
According to the Purina website, the shelf life is 12 months...it has
been stored in the feed store's warehouse, unheated..so it has been
below freezing for at least the last five months.
Q: What is the shelf life of Purina fish feed?
A: Purina fish feed will stay fresh for up to 12 months, providing you
store it properly. Be sure to store your feed in a cool, dry area that
has good ventilation to prevent mold, vitamin loss and contamination by
disease carrying insects or rodents. When properly stored, the vitamin
availability in Purina feeds is guaranteed for 12 months.
However, we recognize that high relative humidity in certain regions of
the country may reduce the shelf life of the fish feed. When it is not
possible to store feed in a dry and cool area, the shelf life may be
reduced and should be taken into consideration.
<Correct. The freshness statement is more a legal obligation that
anything else, and will depend on environmental conditions. If kept
cool, dark and dry, dried foods should stay useful (i.e.,
nutrient-rich) for the quoted length of time. Realistically, under
those favourable conditions they probably remain useful for
considerably longer. But under poor conditions fats go rancid quickly,
and vitamins quickly break down. So while the calories may still be
there, the other nutrients won't be. My advice here would be to use
"old" foods sparingly, perhaps no more than 50% of the total
diet, and be sure to use other, definitely vitamin-rich foods the rest
of the time. Cheers, Neale.>
Response to Neale Monks comments... FW fish (et al.)
foods/Spectrum (RMF, feel free to chime in)
With regards to .....
Re: Picky Eaters, N. Am. Natives
(comments on Bob's PowerPoint show about fish foods) 4/16/09
With all due respect to Neale Monks, not only will many North American
natives eat pellet food (specifically New Life Spectrum food) many
owners of these native species (such as myself) feed this food
<At least one of the species listed by the querier, Enneacanthus
gloriosus, is notoriously fussy, and really does need live food (if my
experience of Enneacanthus chaetodon is anything to go by).>
I'm at a complete loss as to why Neale would state; "Even if
they do, it shouldn't be the staple".
<Multiple reasons, but the main is simply my maintaining a variety
of foods, you avoid fish either becoming bored of one thing.>
My Lepomis megalotis (Longear Sunfish) are fed New Life Spectrum food
exclusively, and I seriously doubt that one could find healthier
specimens swimming in the wild.
<Indeed. Not arguing that some fish can do perfectly well on pellet
foods. But I personally don't recommend it. If nothing else,
providing some fresh green foods in the diet avoids problems with
constipation, which if you look over the messages we get here at WWM,
is a fairly common problem.>
Pellet foods such as New Life Spectrum are far more nutritionally
complete than any of the foods that Neale mentioned,
<Yes, but that's true about the food we humans eat too: no
single food is complete. I do stress VARIETY, for example augmenting
pellets with earthworms, brine shrimps, spinach, cooked peas,
bloodworms, chopped seafood, etc. While any one of these fresh or live
foods might lack something, the mixture balancing out in the end. In
other words, precisely what medics tell us we should do with out own
diet: a little bit of everything, and everything in moderation. Very
few medics recommend people take vitamins; instead, they stress people
have a healthy, varied, diet. I do have some ethical issues with pellet
foods to do with the use of fish meal and chicken meal, but we'll
put that to one side for now.>
and while every native species may not be successfully trained to eat
pellets or flakes, those that do have amazing color, superb health, and
will breed on a continuous basis.
<No doubt. But not all the species listed by the questioner fall
into that category.>
With regards to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/foodsppt4.htm , I would
suggest that perhaps you ask Bob what argument he was attempting to
make, as I'm rather certain it had nothing to do with "general
fishkeeping", as Neale
<I cannot speak for Bob.>
Bob Fenner has seen the results first hand of feeding New Life Spectrum
exclusively, and with species of fish that make keeping most North
American native species seem like mere child's play. (ask Bob about
<<Seeing is indeed believing, and I have fed my own fishes
(African Cichlids and Fancy Goldfishes, Corydoras, Odd Livebearers...
Spectrum almost exclusively... since there was such product.
<Not arguing that either of these gentlemen should keep their fish
Merely offering advice to that particular querier.>
Whether a fish is wild, or what that a fish eats in the wild, seems to
make little difference once that fish ends up in a glass cage in
it is fed a well balanced nutrient dense food such as NLS.
<Actually, I'm not sure that this is true. Fibre and ash content
are very important, and these aspects are often overlooked in dried
foods. Marine fish are often carnivores, but many, perhaps most,
freshwater fish are omnivores, so some plant material is important.
Barbs, livebearers, most cichlids, Synodontis, Plecs, Corydoras are all
examples of fish that feed extensively on algae and decaying plant
matter in the wild. I think that's important to acknowledge.
I'd argue much the same holds for herbivorous marines such as
Angels and Surgeonfish, and I cannot image keeping either of those
without at least some plant matter in their diet, regardless of how
"complete" the flake food offered might be.>
<<Neale, if you have occasion, visit the London Aquarium... they
feed Spectrum to almost all their marines... The product is
nutritionally complete and amazingly palatable... yes, even for
Whether that fish eats tunicates in the wild (such as Moorish Idol),
sponge (such as Majestic Angel) coral (such as Parrotfish), algae (such
as Clown Surgeonfish), or fish, (such as Volitans Lionfish) .... the
single common denominator amongst all those species is, that in
captivity they will all thrive on an exclusive diet of New Life
Spectrum fish food.
<I'd argue this in the case of Surgeonfish, which in my
experience do immensely better when given access to suitable green
foods. But I'm not holding myself out as a marine authority since
that side of the hobby doesn't interest me very much. I write here
on the topic of feeding freshwater fish.>
Is Spectrum unique in this? I would have to say yes. I know of no other
commercial pellet or flake food on the market that will keep fish such
as some of the marine species previously mentioned thriving for
"years" in captivity.
<It's not a brand I've used, so I can't comment on its
quality. I will accept that some foods, like Tetra and Hikari foods,
are highly palatable to a wide range of fish, and seem to keep them in
Kieron Dodds, from Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine wrote an article on
the Moorish Idol in 2008, titled; "Still Impossible After All
These Years - Keeping Moorish Idol". He clearly admits that the
main intent of his article was to discourage anyone from acquiring this
species, as he feels that Moorish Idol have almost no chance in being
kept alive in captivity beyond a very short duration.
At one point in the article he states "Pablo Tepoot is perhaps the
single individual who has had the most success with this species"
- unfortunately Pablo lost his last group of Moorish Idol to an
electrical failure during a hurricane, at that point Pablo had kept
them thriving in captivity for 5 years. Something that most people
would have considered impossible 15 or 20 yrs ago.
<I'm sorry to hear of this incident. A remarkable
<<One of many I can relate. I've been to Pablo (and
Carol's) home a few times in Homestead, Fla... and seen the
"plant" where the foods are made, packaged... used the food/s
extensively for years, seen them in use in dozens of countries around
the world. Like a few other brands in our interest (e.g. PolyFilter),
this food is "the real thing". I rarely "do" such
"endorsements" but I will state that Spectrum brand is
If feeding the same pellet day in and day out equates to my being a
"casual fishkeeper", as Neale Monks suggests, then I guess
that places me along side some pretty good company!
<Nope, you're misunderstanding me. A "casual
fishkeeper" is someone who considers their fish just a pet, not a
passion. Someone who buys a few colourful fish from the shop, and does
their best to keep them alive.
That's my audience. For the most part, aquarists keeping a
community of Platies, Corydoras, Danios and a Plec catfish will do best
offering a mix of a good quality flake, some wet-frozen foods like
bloodworms and Artemia,
and some suitable green foods such as blanched lettuce or cooked peas.
Hope this clarifies things. Cheers, Neale.>
<<I thank you for both your comments. BobF>>
Re: Response to Neale Monks comments (RMF, feel free to chime
in) - 2/8/10
I believe that part of the problem is that you are not at all familiar
with New Life Spectrum products.
<I don't have shares in the company, no, and I've not used
them. Honestly, I use hardly any dried foods. Perhaps a pot or two a
year. Almost all my fish foods come from the grocery store, my back
garden, or the freezer.>
I am not advocating that fish should not be consuming plant matter in
their diet. All NLS products do in fact contain kelp, seaweed,
Spirulina, several micro-algaes, along with a plant & vegetable
<Ah, well, "extract" does mean fibre; indeed, usually
means the reverse.>
Personally I shy away from vegetables sourced from terrestrial matter
due to the anti-nutritional factors involved, especially those that are
in a raw uncooked state - such as peas, but that's a whole
<And irrelevant to freshwater fish, which is what I'm talking
about. Most plant material in freshwater ecosystems comes from
terrestrial sources: bog plants, forest leaves, fruits, seeds,
Your argument about fish becoming "bored" is a rather weak
one, especially if your target audience is the casual fishkeeper, such
as you stated in your response.
In captivity, many marine Butterflyfish that only consume coral polyps
in the wild, would rather starve to death than switch food. Harlequin
Shrimp eat only the feet of the Starfish, Monarch Butterflies
(caterpillar) only eat milkweed, and Koala Bears typically only eat
Eucalyptus leaves. Are they all dying from boredom?
<Actually, specialists like these are the minority situation. Most
animals most of the time feed on a great variety of things. Do spend a
little on Fishbase reviewing "Food Items" for
I think not.
At 50+ yrs of age I can't say that I have ever seen Platies,
Corydoras, Danios, or Plecos (even wild caught specimens) become bored
with their diet, if it is in fact a nutritionally complete diet.
<Perhaps not. But at the same time, including green foods in their
diet is a good thing. I think we're at cross purposes here. I'm
not saying you can't keep fish feeding them nothing by Goldie Fish
Flakes every day, but at the same time, there's nothing to be lost
by offering a variety. And it may do some good. Costs nothing, so
what's to lose? Besides, my Pufferfish aren't that impressed
with flake! And things like Panaque need wood. So there are plenty of
(or any species of fish that the "casual fishkeeper" would be
inclined to keep)
<If you say so.>
Did Robert T. Rickett's Figure 8 (Tetraodon biocellatus) puffers
get bored from eating nothing but snails for 10-15 years? Hmmmmm.
<"Snails" is a class, Gastropoda, not a single
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that fish do require a varied diet, but if
one single food is made from a *wide variety* of high quality raw
ingredients, the varied diet that you speak of can indeed be found in
one single formula of fish food.
<But without fibre, which is important. Few "complete"
diets include fibre
in adequate quantities, which is why we see so many constipated
Look, each to their own. I'm not saying everyone should keep fish
my particular way. But I am saying that way I was describing works, is
safe, and is inexpensive. You and I are (I'm assuming) reasonably
expert fishkeepers, so we've no doubt developed our own habits,
good and bad.>
If I took all of the various raw ingredients found in your typical
*wide variety* of fish foods, and created a food that contained all of
these various ingredients in a proper ratio and balance, would it not
be the same as feeding all of these foods separately?
<Perhaps, but fibre for the herbivores, shell for the puffers, wood
for the Panaque -- all these things are more easily provided fresh.
Plus, hand feeding my puffers and pike characins little strips of
tilapia fillet and prawn is simply more fun than throwing in some
pellets. As I say, each to their own.>
If only high quality premium ingredients are being used, in many cases
that single food might actually be much better for the fish. (as
everything is fed in a controlled balance)
<May well be.>
You are looking at this all wrong, this isn't just one single food
stuff, it's a single formula of food, made up from numerous raw
ingredients - my fish are eating every bit of the nutrition that your
fish are, I simply discovered an easier way to get the job done! No
constipation, and no diarrhea!
<If you say so.>
You now state that you can't speak for Bob, yet that is precisely
what you did when you inferred that Bob's PP presentation on fish
nutrition, and New Life Spectrum, was an argument made in regards to
I can assure you that there are hundreds of species of fish being fed
New Life Spectrum, many exclusively, that fall FAR from the scope of
general fishkeeping, or are kept by casual fishkeepers. Some of these
fish can fetch hundreds/thousand+ dollars, for a single specimen!
<Good for them.>
A recent comment posted by Bob with regards to New Life Spectrum
NLS Pelletized Food FYI 1/6/2010
Was reading one of the posts today re a gent feeding NLS pellets to his
fish. I really cannot say enough about the product. All my fish are
eating the NLS pellets and they are certainly more colorful and
healthier looking than I've ever seen them. This is the only food I
feed now and was reluctant to do this as I believe in variety, but the
results certainly eased my mind as well as my wallet. I may add variety
down the road, but so far it certainly appears the nutrition level is
<I do hope that folks reading this will realize our sincerity...
This product is... amazing. Fully nutritious, and obviously...
delicious... to fishes (watch out Longfellow). Have seen it in use, and
used it almost exclusively myself for years. BobF>
I'll let Bob explain to you how Surgeonfish do after being raised
exclusively on New Life Spectrum for over a decade.
You stated; "It's not a brand I've used, so I can't
comment on its quality."
...... which is the only real point that I am attempting to drive
As a long time reader of Bob Fenner's, and the entire WetWebMedia
site, NLS fish food is one of the few commercial products out there
that is constantly been endorsed by the WetWebMedia crew. There's a
reason for that, and considering the fact that you've never used
it, you might not want to knock it, until you have given it a proper
<Fair comment. But at the same time, I'm not feeling the loss,
In my humble opinion, suggesting that someone keeping native Sunfish
shouldn't feed NLS as that species staple food, certainly
wasn't doing them any favours.
<Or any harm, either. Moreover, good luck trying to get Enneacanthus
to eat any kind of flake food.>
Just a little something to keep in mind ....... much of the scientific
wisdom today, began as the heresies of another time.
<Nordrhein Westfalen? Cheers, Neale.>
<<Again, I thank you both for your civil discourse here. And I DO
encourage Neale to seek out, try Spectrum... of appropriate size
pellets et al. with his fish stocks. It has been my experience that in
a remarkably short number of trials, ALL fishes take this food.
Re: Response to Neale Monks comments (RMF, feel free to
chime in) 2/9/10
I take no issue with you feeding your fish whatever you desire, I only
question why you would recommend to someone that is already feeding a
high quality food to their fish (Sunfish), one that the fish are
already readily accepting & eating, and one that is highly
recommended on this site by most of the various crew members, that it
shouldn't be that persons staple food for that species of fish?
<I offer advice on the basis of personal experience rather than by
channeling the opinions of other people. In this case, both my personal
experience, and my training as a zoologist, leads be to be prejudiced
towards offering a variety of different foods rather than one single
food. I'm willing to be convinced that a single dried food can be
worthwhile; I'm just not convinced yet. If I can offer an analogy,
it's the argument that a single pellet feed is better for farmed
chickens than allowing them to peck about the farmyard on whatever they
want. In simple terms of feeding behaviour, yes, battery chickens will
eat constantly, and yes, they grow very quickly. But there's a
difference in the taste of farmyard chickens compared to battery
chickens, which would seem to imply that their bodies react differently
to mixed foods versus complete foods.>
I can understand offering alternative food stuffs, especially
considering the Enneacanthus, but to simply discount alternatives due
to your personal beliefs and/or feeding methods seems a bit over the
top to me.
<Fair enough. But as I say, my approach is to tell people what's
worked for me, not what someone else has told me. If you can convince
me one particular brand of dried food is a perfect food for aquarium
fish, then so much the better. I will bear that in mind.>
I'm not attempting to tell you or anyone else how to keep their
fish, and as a forum advisor I personally find it rather cavalier that
you would take it upon yourself to judge the quality, or discount the
use of a pellet food that you yourself have never even tried.
<Not cavalier at all; quite the reverse. As I've said
repeatedly, my aim is to tell people what I know works most of the
time. It would be hypocritical of me to recommend people do certain
things if I have no idea how good or bad that advice might be.>
Taking that attitude is only going to leave the hundreds/thousands of
hobbyists that DO feed pellets and/or flake food as their fishes staple
rather confused, and believing that they are doing something less than
ideal for their fish, which couldn't be further from the truth.
<In your opinion.>
The vast majority of freshwater fishkeepers are simply not going to
provide their fish with bog plants, forest leaves, fruits, seeds, etc,
nor do they need to in order to keep their fish thriving in captivity.
To state otherwise is downright ridiculous.
<I didn't say you need to feed your Severums leaves flown in
from the tropical rainforests of South America! But I do believe you
need to provide them with some green foods, whether tinned peas, cooked
spinach, or whatever.>
I don't need to spend any time on Fishbase to have a solid grasp as
to the nutritional requirements of freshwater fish, but thanks anyway.
<sigh> I have already covered the *wide variety* concept, and how
that can be fulfilled by a single product. (by using a *wide variety*
of ingredients) I have also kept goldfish, numerous species, and fed
them New Life Spectrum exclusively without a single constipation
<Good for you.>
NLS contains fibre, and obviously in adequate quantity or myself &
many other goldfish keepers would have had issues with their diet long
<And yet me get lots of messages from people keeping constipated
Goldfish, and in turn I recommend they feed them some cheap aquarium
plants or cooked peas. I make no apologies for that. It's a
workable solution that's easy to understand and doesn't demand
people buy one particular brand of food.>
I've fed the same food to some of the most herbivorous cichlid
species on the planet, such as Tropheus moorii, and Tropheops
macrophthalmus. These fish are known to get bloat by even looking at
them the wrong way, yet never a single gastointestinal issue in mine or
my associates tanks. i.e.. No Constipation!
The reason that many commercial foods cause gastrointestinal issues in
certain herbivorous species is due to excessive amounts of poorly
digestible grains & grain by-products, not from a lack of fibre.
Take a closer read of some of the ingredients used by the 2 brand names
you mentioned, to a can of NLS. Ingredients such as corn flakes, dried
bakery products, potato protein, soybean meal, ground rice, feeding oat
meal, and MSG, will certainly never be found in a jar of New Life
<I'm glad to hear it.>
<<"Snails" is a class, Gastropoda, not a single
TouchÃ© Neale, but I'm rather certain that within the
various species used & fed in captivity by Robert Rickett's to
his puffers (if in fact more than one species was indeed fed), the
basic nutritional content (amino acids, lipids, etc) would have been
near exactly the same. If I'm not mistaken one of his Figure
8's survived 16 years in captivity on that diet, and that diet
<I don't think he only fed them snails, and 16 years is very
unusual for this species, just as humans living to 120 is pretty
uncommon! Most don't live that long, and it's not because
they're necessarily kept badly, any more than the fact most humans
don't get to be 120 isn't because they live bad lives.>
You keep mentioning Panaque, as though these fish won't survive in
captivity without wood. Are you certain of that?
<The science is debated, but Jay Nelson and Hiro Nonogaki have
performed experiments where Panaque put on weight when fed nothing but
wood, while Hypostomus fed just wood lose weight. Wild Panaque have
guts filled with wood chips, and there's some evidence their guts
contain bacteria that break down wood. Nonogaki further observes that
Panaque in captivity are short-lived if given a high-protein diet.
He's looked at a large number of specimens that died relatively
young under aquarium conditions, and a common thread is fat deposits
around the internal organs lacking in wild fish. He recommends a low
protein diet, primarily wood and vegetables. Certainly, my own specimen
mostly gets plant-based foods including wood, and she's 16 years
old now and seemingly in good health. On the other hand, there are
other researchers who argue than Nelson and Nonogaki are mistaken.
Donovan German argues that Panaque are simply detritivores, and that
the experiments performed by Nelson and Nonogaki weren't
Can you provide any research papers that prove this to be the case?
<I'd encourage you do to the research yourself. The names of the
researchers are above. I long ago added some references to the
Wikipedia article on Panaque, so that's a starting point.>
While many Plecos may be able to readily consume wood, I believe that
what they are really after is the microfilm that is found growing on
the wood, and not the wood itself.
<Perhaps not in the case of Panaque.>
If you feel this to be a life threatening issue for the fish, the easy
work-around to that is simply keep some bog wood in the tank.
The gut analysis of Tropheus moorii in some studies will show large
amounts of sand & detritus, yet just as a wood eating Panaque, I
think it's safe to assume that this is nothing more than a
by-product while this genus scrape the Aufwuchs from sun up to sun
<In Panaque is apparently is wood chips, not detritus. Their unusual
teeth do seem more heavy duty than the rasping teeth of
I'm quite certain that if one was to keep a colony of Tropheus in
captivity in a tank with a sand substrate, and offered them nothing
more than algae, and the waste produced from that diet, you'd soon
find out that Tropheus require far more than algae, sand, and detritus
to keep them in optimum health.
Studies of SA stingrays have shown these freshwater fish to contain
plant litter when their stomach contents have been examined, which was
concluded to be related to the "accidental ingestion" of
these items while using suction to capture their prey. I don't know
of a single freshwater stingray owner (and I know quite a few,
including several breeders) that feed their rays leaf litter, etc, in
order to mimic their "natural" diet in the wild.
<Actually, the "accidental ingestion" of plant material is
extremely important to carnivores. It's widely observed that the
chyme, the partially digested plant matter in herbivore guts, is eaten
rather than rejected by carnivores. Indeed, carnivores tend to eat the
guts before they eat the meat. If you keep cats, and your cats catch
birds, you'll find the birds are eviscerated and the wing muscles
-- the white meat -- is often left untouched.>
Please do not take this discussion as my way is better than your way,
that is not my intention. I am merely pointing out that like most
things in this hobby there are many ways to get the same end
In the future you might want to consider that before slamming the door
on something that others choose to use or do, especially when you have
personally never given that method or product a fair evaluation in your
own set ups.
<As I say, I prefer to quote from personal experience. Should
someone send me a sample of a particular brand of flake food, I'd
be happy to try it out.>
And with regards to "feeling the loss", it's difficult to
miss something that you have never experienced. :)
<Would encourage you to frame your argument in favour of dried foods
via an article, perhaps for Conscientious Aquarist. As editor, I'd
be more than happy to run such a piece. Cheers, Neale.>
Feeding New Life Spectrum Exclusively?
I feel obliged to shed my lurker status and chime in on the New Life
Spectrum debate. While I have no doubt NLS is a fine food, (I feed it
to my Cichlids, but do augment with a wide variety of wet-frozen and
I must side with Neale here.
One of the reasons given by the inventor, Pablo Tepoot, of this food,
is that pet dogs and cats are often fed dried food, usually a single
brand, exclusively. I subscribed to this theory as well, feeding my two
cats the premium (most expensive) brand available at my
veterinarian's office, and heeding the dire warnings on the
cat-food packages against switching foods suddenly. During the final
years of my cats' lives, they succumbed to a series of intestinal
maladies, including cancer, which finally claimed them.
My vet confided, during their illness, that she no longer recommended
feeding dried foods exclusively (even though we were surrounded by vast
quantities of the stuff), and recommended a mixed diet of mostly meat,
certain vegetables, and canned food.
<Indeed, this is true. Especially for older cats. But one vet friend
of mine explained it thus. We give pet cats and dogs far more
digestible protein than they'd get in the wild. Instead of a mix of
fur, feathers, meat, and guts, we just give them the meat. So their
kidneys have to work much harder to process all the surplus urea, and
effectively their kidneys wear out faster. That's why failing
kidneys and eventually renal failure is so incredibly common in old
cats. Ideally, we'd cut down the protein in their diet
dramatically. It sounds gruesome, but serving up a whole mouse,
like you'd do for a pet snake, would actually be better. With dogs
at least it's pretty easy to add pasta, carrots, and other such
things to their diet, since dogs are omnivores, like us, and can digest
all sorts of things. But cats are really, really fussy.>
I was grateful for her honesty, for this new diet did indeed help
(projectile vomiting is not one of the more fun aspects of cat
I realize that this anecdote is hardly a scientific study; my point is
that some veterinarians are now recommending *against* the exclusive
dried-food diet for pets, even though they make a tidy profit from
<I suspect your vet is not in a minority position here.>
If a single dried-food diet was feasible, why has nothing been invented
for humans? Precisely for the reasons Neale stated: fibre, and the
safety net that a varied diet offers in terms of vitamins and other
intangibles we have yet to discover (plus, humans wouldn't stand
<Yes, I agree.>
Sure, it's easy to drop in a bunch of pellets, and my fish do love
the NLS food, but I will continue to feed them a varied diet. And the
new cats that I'll be getting from the shelter in a month or so
will see a lot of variety as well.
<Good luck with your new cats! I'm quite a fan of cats, and have
been owned by various Siamese, Burmese, and ginger moggies over the
<Thanks for writing in. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Response to Neale Monks comments (RMF, feel free to
chime in) 2/9/10
I see, so your position is to sway anyone that is already successfully
feeding their fish (whatever) - to your method of feeding. At least
we've cleared that up. Meanwhile back at the ranch my Lepomis
megalotis are thriving on the very food that you scoffed at (as a
staple part of their diet) in the original comment. Hence my reason for
joining this discussion, to offer another point of view & let the
reader/s draw their own conclusions.
The problem with your chicken analogy is that I'm not talking about
a generic farm feed, no chicken farmer (or commercial fish farmer) on
the planet could afford to feed the quality of pellets that I feed my
fish. Not even the creator of New Life Spectrum can afford to feed his
farm fish his premium line of food in all of his ponds & vats. (the
commercial portion of his operation) Commercial farms are in business
to move product, and make money, not to feed millions of hungry mouths
the most optimum diet for overall health & longevity. Feed costs on
a commercial farm can equate to as much as 60-70% of the total
operational costs. The majority of casual fishkeepers need not be
overly concerned with the same logistics, and can provide highly
nutritious feed without breaking the bank.
My goal is not to convince you that one way is better then the next, it
seems clear to me that we are well beyond the point of no return in
that matter, but to suggest to the readers such as you have, that a
species of fish such as L. megalotis (that is pretty much bullet-proof)
should not eat a high quality pellet food as its staple, I personally
find ludicrous. While you may have a degree in zoology, your target
audience, the casual fish keeper, typically does not, and generally do
not understand how complex their fishes nutritional needs truly are.
(see more on this below)
Your advice is based on sound reasoning, that being feeding a
"wide variety" reduces the chance of the fish not receiving
certain nutrients, such as if one fed a single food stuff.
My advice is based on the exact same principle, but in a much more
controlled manner, especially for the casual fish keeper. My way
removes most of the guess work for the casual fish keeper as well as
for the advanced fish keeper) who does not have a solid understanding
of amino acids, lipids, fibre, vitamins, trace minerals, etc. Note that
I have never suggested that one cannot, or even should not supplement a
pellet food with fresh/frozen if they feel the need. Having said that,
IMHO solely feeding a "wide variety" of fresh/frozen foods is
in many cases nothing more than hit & miss for most hobbyists.
Whilst amino acid & fatty acid requirements are typically easy to
meet (and obvious as the hobbyist will notice growth in the fish),
ensuring that the rest of the fishes nutritional requirements (and in
the proper balance) are met is not so easy, and in many cases a lack
thereof is not so easy to spot, especially for the casual fishkeeper.
As an example, if one was to feed too much mussels (a food that you
personally suggested) this could lead to a B1 deficiency, as certain
sp. of mussels are known to contain thiaminase. Tubifex have the
potential to harbor numerous pathogens, and is a food that I personally
would avoid at all cost. Even earthworms have the potential to contain
toxins and should never be used unless one is 100% certain that they
come from a source where pollution, herbicides, pesticides, etc are not
found. While I'm sure none of this is news to you, as you have
stated previously here on this site that "all live foods come with
some degree of risk", this may not be common knowledge amongst all
casual fish keepers.
<By the same token, an open carton of dried food runs the risk of
oxidisation, moisture damage, vitamins decomposing, and fats becoming
rancid. Nothing is risk-free.>
When I initially questioned your reason for poo-pooing the idea of
feeding New Life Spectrum as the main staple for the OP's Sunfish,
you stated the main reason being that by maintaining a variety of
foods, you avoid fish becoming bored of one thing. With regards to
Robert Rickett's longevity trials on his F8 puffers, he has stated
publicly that all of those puffers were >95% snail-fed to keep
consistency through the trials. All of the fish were fed in-house
tank-raised common pond or Ramshorn snails, with the F8's kept in
brackish conditions living 12-18+ yrs. My point was simply that for the
casual fish keeper, having a fish become bored of a nutritionally sound
food, that appeals to both their olfactory senses and taste buds, will
be a very rare thing. That's not just an opinion, but a fact.
<If you say so.>
Your comment about Panaques simply proves my point, the science is
debated, with no clear conclusion to anything, yet you boldly state;
"things like Panaque need wood". I would also argue
Nonogaki's conclusion that Panaque in captivity are short lived if
given a high protein diet, at least with regards to the protein causing
<That's something to take up with that research group.>
In aquarium raised fish, fat deposits found in & around internal
organs are typically caused by excessive lipids &/or carbs, not
from excess protein, which is typically simply excreted by the
<Surplus protein can become fat too.>
Again, his conclusions aren't based on science, unless you want to
hang our hat on junk science.
<He has a PhD, and has published his research. It isn't
"junk" science. May be wrong, but then so was Newton.
Doesn't make Newton junk science either.>
I'm certainly not saying that a high protein diet is ideal for a
Panaque, only that there is no hard data that proves they require wood
as part of their diet.
<There's little hard data on anything in ecology. It's
mostly broad brush stuff, with some probabilities thrown in.>
The pellet I feed (NLS) contains ample algae/greens, so again, this
becomes a non issue, and if one keeps drift wood in the tank even the
Nonogaki's of the world should be able to rest easy.
<<Actually, the "accidental ingestion" of plant
material is extremely important to carnivores. It's widely observed
that the chyme, the partially digested plant matter in herbivore guts,
is eaten rather than rejected by carnivores.>>
I never argued that point, but you seem to be repeatedly missing mine.
That being that if a pellet food contains a *wide variety* of plant
matter, there is no need to feed additional plant mater.
<No flake food will have the sheer bulk of fibre that fresh plant
material has. This is like saying apple juice has the same fibre
content as a whole apple.>
What you are arguing about, I'm already doing, and have been for
many years. (as have many other advanced aquarists world-wide) I'm
simply supplying that plant matter in a different manner than you are.
(sans the water!)
<Even if you dried out the plant food, it'd still be more bulky,
and less protein rich, than the equivalent volume of flake food,
With regards to writing an article, there's already one posted here
on Bob's site that covers everything that I could say, and
FAQs on Foods & Feeding, Nutrition for Freshwater Systems
Related Articles: Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Basic Fish
Nutrition by Pablo Tepoot
<May well be a fine article.>
BTW Neale, after reading the following response I'm a bit confused
as to your sudden stance against pellets and/or flakes?
... Hi, which worms are nutritious and cheap? FW fdg.... 12/5/07
<Contradiction in terms. Nutritious, safe food by definition is more
expensive than useless, disease-risky food. If you're talking about
all-round value for money, it's hard to argue with (wet) frozen
bloodworms. Most fish love them. All live foods come with some degree
of risk, with the possible exception of brine shrimp, but essentially
they're a gimmick for 95% of the freshwater fish sold. We use them
because it's fun, not because the fish need them. So if money is an
issue, skip live food and concentrate on nutritious frozen and prepared
About how much are they?
<Over here in England, around Â£2-3 per package.>
Also, how many and how often should I feed my fishes?
<I use one block (about a tablespoon of worms, I guess, when thawed
out) for a busy 180 litre community tank PLUS two lightly stocked 30
litre tanks. Per day. In other words, not much food is required. Far
less than inexperienced aquarists often suppose.>
I have 5 Danios, 2 swordtails, 1 platy, 2 balloon platy, 3 loaches, and
1 Bristlenose Pleco that live in a 50 gallon tank.
<None of these fish *need* bloodworms. Flake plus pellets will do
for all of them, and the Platies, Plec, and Loaches will further
appreciate (REQUIRE!) algae-based foods for good health, such as Algae
Last, how do I take care of the worms and is it easy to breed them
without having to buy another 50 gallon or so tank?
Thanks for your advice and tips.
<Not at all sure what you're getting at here. I've often
written that frozen brine shrimp are nutrient-poor, though fibre-rich,
and shouldn't be used exclusively. But mixed with some other food
items, they're useful and readily taken by many types of fish. As
for the comment about flakes and pellets, I've written hundreds if
not thousands of replies here, and I really can't pretend to be
100% consistent. If it makes you feel better you tripped me up on my
own web of illogic, then great, well done you.>
P.S. If your feeding recommendations of various frozen/live foods is
simply based on "having fun", you might want to mention that
in future responses.
<If you think so.>
<Thanks for writing, whoever you are (perhaps it's just me, but
I find it hard to warm to people who write long letters but don't
share their name!). I think it's great you consider certain brands
of fish food complete and perfect for all types of fish. And maybe
I'm wrong about being cool about that idea. But all I can do is
tell people what I've learned and experience myself, and if I'm
wrong about this one thing, I can live with that. It's not like
I'm telling anyone anything dangerous to their fish by recommending
a variety of foods, so if it's that one message about Lepomis that
got up your nose, then fine, you're right, I'm wrong, and you
get to walk away and say you beat me. In the meantime, I'm done
with this discussion, and with the limited time I have to spend here at
WWM -- I volunteer for around an hour a day helping Bob take care of
the freshwater queries -- please forgive me if I decide to concentrate
on the sick Bettas, Goldfish and other such things that come my way.
I'm just a nice guy trying to help out. If you think Bob should
revoke my credentials, then go ahead and "speak to my
supervisor". Cheers, Neale.>
>Heeee! Thanks Neale. RMF<
Re: Response to Neale Monks comments (RMF, feel free to chime
No worries Neale, I'm a nice guy too, and trust me if I posted my
full name, it wouldn't ring any bells for you.
I don't have any formal training, schooling, or letters following
my name. In the grand scheme of things I'm "Joe Nobody",
just someone with perhaps an above average passion for the fish that I
Having spent thousands of countless hours doing exactly what you do
here, I can relate to time being a factor, and I do appreciate the time
you spend helping Bob, as I'm sure countless others do as well.
<I certainly do>
I was merely attempting to make a point, which I believe that I have
<Oh! And if you should find yourself w/ spare energy, time... Please
consider joining us, the WWM Crew. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
New Life Spectrum Foods 2/10/10
Just a vote of support to my fellow crewmember Neale Monks here, as I
feel his logic is inescapable. Of course many people have had some
success feeding just this one food, but to provide a varied diet to
fishes and animals in general really is hard to argue against, and
whoever the querior was seemed to me to have an 'axe to grind'
about something. Personally, even with all the recommendations, I will
always feed my fishes a varied diet, that includes a decent pellet as
part of it. This just seems logical to me, and over a 20-30 year
lifespan of many fishes this has been proven by mother nature herself
to work a thousand times over. I wonder how many of the fishes fed
exclusively on this food have lived that long yet for us to see the
Just my 'two penneth worth'
<Thank you for your input Simon. BobF>
Re: Feeding New Life Spectrum Exclusively? -
Again I feel compelled to de-lurk here. If "NRW" could assure
us that he does not have a financial interest in New Life Products, his
arguments would have more credence. (I find it a bit odd that an
aquarist with no financial interest would debate with such vehemence
and have such in-depth knowledge of the product. Reminds me of big
companies sponsoring their own studies; it's important to know who
is behind the claims). After re-reading the label on the New Life
Spectrum pellets that I feed my Cichlids, I see that the third
ingredient is wheat flour; NRW states that "Ingredients such as
corn flakes, dried bakery products, potato protein, soybean meal,
ground rice, feeding oat
meal, and MSG, will certainly never be found in a jar of New Life
Spectrum." Wheat flour seems to fall in that category
Soybean isolate is also on the ingredients list. The label also states
"For best results, feed New Life Spectrum exclusively."
I'm always a bit nervous when I'm told by a company to use
their product exclusively.
I'm going to go and be rebellious now and feed my Cichlids some
peas or maybe even some (gasp!) Hikari Cichlid Excel pellets. Hope the
NLS police aren't watching!
<Thank you for chiming in here Judy. Your intelligent remarks are
appreciated. I will state that though the co. owner/mgr. Pablo Tepoot
and I are friends, I have no financial interest (the co. is solely
owned by Pablo) in the business, but do "endorse" (use and
spout off) re the food. I have found it first hand, and through
observing several others use, to be excellent. Cheers, Bob