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FAQs on DIY Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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Related FAQs: Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 2, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 3Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 4, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 5, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 5, Brine ShrimpAlgae as Food, VitaminsNutritional DiseaseFrozen Foods, Coral Feeding, Anemone Feeding, Growing Reef CoralsCulturing Food OrganismsButterflyfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

            I thought it would be an interesting experiment to try and make my own fish food for my aquarium inhabitants. I know there are many commercial products available, but I have some large prized angelfish and would like to be able to completely control what they are eating. Have you had experience doing this before, and if so what kind of food that can be locally bought would you put in the mix? And of course I don't want the fish to be eating better than me, so I would rather keep lobster off the menu!
Neil Sharples  

DIY foods can make a lot of sense'¦ in terms of knowing, getting exactly what you want as ingredients, as well as substantial cost savings over commercial brands. On the downside, and this can be a big issue, is the mess involved!
            You don't mention which species of Pomacanthid you have, but should know that there is quite a wide range in the food habits of this marine family. Many of the small and large species of angels consume a large amount of sponge (Poriferan) material in their natural diet, and there have been attempts at adding this component in trade feeds. You may find that you can also purchase this material at an oriental food store'¦ along with another important group, algae. Red and green macrophytes make up a considerable (tens of percent) of these fishes diets as well'¦ and marine sources (Nori, Kombu and much more) are far superior to terrestrial greens for nutrition and palatability.
            You mention omitting expensive ingredients like langusto! Do check your local markets for 'frutti de mar''¦ Often in a few formats, kinds of mixes, this is a catch all label for prepared frozen seafoods (shrimps, scallops, cockle meat, fish'¦) et al. that is generally 'ready to go' in your food processor/grinder as is, without further tedious cleaning.
            Now, the only other ingredients I'd add are a vitamin preparation like Selcon or Micro-Vit'¦ and a binder'¦ emulsifier to aid in keeping all the bits discrete (together) so your aquatic charges can find and consume them. I prefer the use of alginates over gelatins, as these last can have undesirable effects in captive systems (binding the gravel, causing algal proliferation), but you'll have to search, perhaps on-line, to find the polysaccharides that are algin-based.
            Most folks blend, grind all ingredients, add enough water to cover and freeze these blends in either small plastic ice-cube trays or sturdy, fold-flat polythene bags (of good thickness'¦ like 4 plus mil). Allowing the food to either be popped out or small chunks broken off a bar to defrost ahead of offering.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that whatever components are used, and the process employed to make your DIY foods, there is a learning curve for both you and your livestock'¦ so, start small, try mixing your food/s with what they already readily accept, and keep reducing the store-bought till they're fully up to speed.

Feeding and Nutrition. DIY SW foods      8/5/14
Hello Bob and Crew!
I have a question regarding food and nutrition. I would really like to increase the variety of foods I offer my fish by creating a homemade seafood mix.
<Easy (w/ tools, patience!), cost-effective, even fun to do>
However, I am VERY concerned about introducing pathogens from doing this (Cryptocaryon, worms, bacteria, pollutants/toxins).
<Mmm; not to worry. Freezing kills most all>
My aquarium is in my science classroom and the students are quite attached to the fish. It would be a big bummer if they got sick! I read in Bob's PowerPoint that frozen foods are safe if kept frozen.
How long must the foods be in a frozen state to kill all pathogens if this is so?
<Moments to minutes would be my guess/assumption. Some folks (TMC e.g.) even Gamma ray expose foods... Yikes!>

Currently I feed Seachem nutridiet flakes (which have proteinated vitamins/minerals so easier for fish to absorb, I have read), dried seaweed, and Mysis shrimp soaked in Selcon and VitaChem. I'm a little concerned that my lyretail Anthias and copperband butterfly are only eating the soaked Mysis. Will they be alright on this diet (the copperband doesn't like anything else)?
<Mmm; likely for a good long while... though I too would expand this diet.
Please do see WWM re Anthiine and Chelmon foods/feeding/nutrition (FAQs files)>
Also, what procedure do you recommend to kill all pathogens in the seafood mix if I make one?
<Simple freezing is all I would do>

Thank you very much for your help yet again! Brielle Kemis (Lil Bri)
P.S. I deleted my Facebook profile Bob, but feel free to email me anytime!
Also please tell me if you know anyone who might be interested in talking to my students via FaceTime/Google chat/classroom visit about biology (ecology, genetics, etc.) I'm always looking for people who can talk to students about life science careers and inspire them!
<Am going to BCC Neale Monks here in the hope that he has time to lend. An excellent person,
scientist, exemplary individual>
Re: Feeding and Nutrition
As always, your advice is much appreciated! I'm going to try my hand at being a seafood chef tomorrow and continue my reading in the archives to find suitable ingredients:) Hope you're having a wonderful summer and thank you for the networking help as well!
-Lil Bri
<Ah yes; do start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/diyfoodfaqs.htm

and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: Feeding and Nutrition
Greetings to both of you. On my holidays so not entirely keeping up with WWM mail!
But, in brief, freezing DOES NOT kill pathogens. It would probably kill most multicellular parasites to be sure, but not bacteria. This is why freezing is not considered sterilisation in the food industries, and why frozen food “goes off” after a certain period of time. Freezing slows down the growth rate of bacteria, extending the life of food, but that’s it.
With this said, your (human) food supplier will have taken care to avoid contaminating foods in the first place, so if you start with seafood/fish suitable for human use, it will surely be safe for pet fish. Another rule of thumb is that freshwater parasites are unlikely to infect marine fish, and vice versa. So if you had a marine aquarium, basing your food mix on, for example, tilapia, would be an excellent way to avoid parasitic infections. Similarly terrestrial foods (such as insects) are even less likely to introduce parasites.
this helps, Neale

DIY fish/reef food, comm. baby food addn.      7/28/13
Hi all- it has been quite awhile since I last wrote the Guru’s @ WWM, lol – hope all are doing well.
Question is: in attempting to make my own fish/reef food- how beneficial/harmful would you suggest adding jarred baby food to the mix would be?
Example-Beechnut does not add any additives/preservatives that I am aware- and have read it in use for freshwater aquarium fish- nothing found on marine, though.
I would like your opinion. I was thinking the sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, peas/carrots. (not all at once, of course, lol ).. all are pureed, and thinking it would serve as a vitamin/color enhancer..
to be added to my mix of raw foods/Nori/etc-then frozen. Thinking also as it breaks off into the water column... it would feed the coral, since it would be so small size wise. Or am I way off in my thought?
<Worth trying... as you state below: In small quantities>
Of course I would do small amounts so as not to cloud/jeopardize water quality.
I have read here : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diyfoodfaqs.htm but do not see anything regarding the addition of jarred/pureed baby food.
Any thoughts from anyone on the Crew?
Thank you in advance... Michelle Yingst
<Worth trying... as a small percentage as a trial. Bob Fenner>
Re: DIY fish/reef food     7/29/13

Thanks Bob- I will update as to how the fish/coral react.
Have a great day.
<And you, BobF>

Questions about the DIY fish food in your book      6/8/13
It's me from Tamilnadu. My spectrum fish food is almost getting over. So before purchasing a new batch i wanted to try out your diy fish food. So first i converted the oz to gm.s. Then i bought the shrimp, spinach (could not get Nori) and multivitamin. As usual i have some questions.
1. Since i can't get any clams will it be alright if i just use peeled shrimps or do i have to add a substitute?
2.The liquid multivitamin is given for babies(human). It has a sweetener in it so will the fish( clowns) reject it?
<No; they will accept it/this. No problem... and not an issue for your tank, water>
Also if possible could give a video of it's preparation (will be a lot useful).
<Insert this string...  "video do it yourself marine fish food"... In Google>
I also came across this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAQDDMlHXR4 .
<... infomercial>
The fish look really healthy and they like it after so many years. Where to get it in India?
<Ah, don't know>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Questions about the DIY fish food in your book     6/9/13

Sorry for being dumb. But the answer for question 1 is not clear. Should i add another 2 oz of shrimp to the already 4 oz. Or should i substitute it with something else.
<If you can find a source of "mixed seafood" (frozen, small pieces); that's what I'd use>
Also i wanted a of video of your recipe done by your crew. I did search it with that string all i get are videos done by others which is also good.
Thanks for the quick reply
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Crabs and inverts found at beach, collecting for SW food        5/11/13
I live in Massachusetts and often go to the beach, by the jetty there are always crabs, mussels, ect. I am just curious to know if I can catch these and feed them to my tusk, trigger, and puffer to supplement their diet.
Thank you
<I would freeze these for a few days ahead of using... to discount transferring unwanted life. Do collect in clean/er water. Bob Fenner>

Florida blue, too much stress?     1/12/13
Hello, Sylvi here!
<Hello Sylvi,>
I have a major problem with my female, Orion. She came to me with one claw smaller, obviously slowly regrowing.
<Correct, and may never reach full size. Crustaceans don't moult to order. They moult periodically as they grow. They moult frequently when young; infrequently when sexually mature. Eventually they all but stop moulting altogether. So, if your crayfish is fully grown, it may moult only every few months, in which case the claw will always be relatively small.>
I noticed her carrying a bundle of eggs a few days ago (I'm not sure how fast the laying process is, I was very surprised to suddenly see "her" with eggs). Last night, my large male Boris was really restless and constantly trying to invade Orion's safety cave, even though his regular cave was empty along with two other caves. This morning I found Orion cowering in a corner, her regular claw ripped off, by Boris of course.
<Hmm… confused here. Why are you keeping them altogether? Standard operating practise is to keep crayfish one to a tank. If you keep multiple specimens in one large aquarium, then don't go naming any of them -- because their lives are likely to be short and brutal. What more to say? Understand that crayfish aren't sociable animals, and keep them accordingly. Kept in solitary, 5-10 gallons per specimen, and such intraspecific aggression, even cannibalism, will be avoided. Simple.>
I separated her from the other two large males, leaving only a two inch female, and a one incher, with a few fish to keep the balance. My concern is, with only a smaller regrowing claw, carrying eggs, and having a claw ripped off, will she survive this trauma along with her eggs??
<Wouldn't put money on it. Crayfish are largely herbivorous in the wild, but they are completely opportunistic as well, so anything dead or weak is on the menu. Being nocturnal, we rarely see them doing much, which is why people often say things like "my crayfish is completely peaceful, it ignores all its tankmates". People can say that, but it isn't true, and unless you're watching your crayfish with night-vision goggles, you really don't have any idea what your crayfish are doing.>
I've been trying to feed her some greens, bloodworms, defrosted feeding fish, and brine shrimp, but i haven't seen her eating yet....so I'm very worried right now. Please tell me what I can do to make her as comfortable as possible and have her eating again! Thank you so much!
<Easy. Keep her on her own. Problem solved. Once in such an aquarium, she will recover if not too far gone, damaged.>
PS: The two inch "female" Rorschach started carrying eggs about 10 days ago, but I noticed her reaching back and snacking on her own eggs as if they were M&M's, and currently she only has about 5 eggs left, but they are a strange light brown color. Is this why she ate them? Or the other way around?
<Stress causes female animals to do all sorts of apparently odd things. But in terms of biology, eating your young makes complete sense if you are so stressed you know for sure your young won't survive. By recycling the energy put into those eggs, that female can conserve that energy for another occasion. Again, keep crayfish singly. This has been gone into over and over again, and yet people do try to re-invent the wheel when it comes to crayfish keeping. They just aren't trustworthy, sociable animals. If you keep a group, expect fatalities, and don't be surprised if you end up with a single, big male. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Florida blue, too much stress?     1/12/13

I should add, I was keeping the 2 inch female Rorschach, 3 inch female Orion, 4 inch Boris, and 4 inch Godfather all in a 10 gallon tank, along with a 3 inch Chinese algae eater male, Bobby, who stands up to the large male crayfish like a large black Spanish bull, also a 1.5" playful yoyo Botia, who strangely befriends everyone and takes turns sharing caves with the crayfish and Bobby, plus 6 zebra danios. Soooo yes, a bit too much for one tank, but everyone lived in peace.
<So far…>
I keep the temp 65F - 75F, have a pump and bubble stones, lots of caves to go around, and do 50% water changes every week. I treat the water weekly with conditioner and Cycle, as well as aquarium salt. Water check hasn't been done in a few weeks, my bad. Iodine I just found out about reading through your website. I now have a 25 gallon beside the 10 gallon making sure there is no overcrowding. I use coral/gravel for the bottom, but do not have live plants. (I am also wondering if it is safe to buy potted indoor thick bamboo, let it root out in the gravel with some waste/food in the aquarium water, and then add it to my aquarium.
<Has been done, yes. But beware "bug sprays" used on houseplants -- these can be lethal to fish.>
I see thick bamboo in closed off small decor aquariums with small fish and African dwarf frogs, the waste keeping the bamboo alive, the bamboo adding necessary nutrients to the water, which keeps the water clean and the critters happy…strange.
<And also unlikely. Bamboo doesn't add anything to the water that's helpful and while plants can remove ammonia from the water, whether they actually "clean" the water is debatable in most aquaria. For that to happen the ratio of plants to fish has to be very high, and the plants have to be growing very fast, by which I mean you're cropping back the plants (i.e., pruning) once a week.>
So back to the bamboo question...safe or not?) The aquarium diet consists of tropical flakes, chopped small fish, brine shrimp, bloodworms, frozen green peas, cucumber, and zucchini to keep everyone happy. Sinking pellets didn't work well since they dissolved too quickly and sunk into the gravel if my crayfish weren't hungry at the time, same with sinking crayfish pellets. I will do water tests, add iodine, sushi Nori asap, but for now my main concern is the wellbeing of Orion with her eggs, lack of appetite, left with only her small claw, suffering great trauma last night. Thank you so much!
<Sylvi, it's time to do some reading. Start here:
Crayfish shouldn't be kept together if you want more than one specimen to do well/survive, and crayfish shouldn't be mixed with fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Florida blue, too much stress?     1/12/13

Thank you for all of the help Neale/crew, and the very quick response!
I'm making major changes currently, and I guess I have to give Orion a few days to see if she starts eating, as obviously the stress has been great on her. The reason I kept all my crayfish together was because they were given to me by a friend who has had them in large communities, constantly reproducing for years in a 40 gallon cube tank, along with some tropical fish.
<Ah yes, often happens. And it a big tank, you can get lucky. But crayfish aren't reliably sociable or peaceful, so I'd never recommend them as such.
To be fair, there are one or two exceptions, species of crayfish that seem "better" than others.>
And of course LFS staff are not helpful at all. I heard everything from "peaceful community crayfish" to "two per 10 gallon tank can thrive for up to 20 years".
<I see.>
When reading up on the Florida Blues, that was when I realized I will need a bigger/more tanks to house them all. They seem to have a wolf-pack system though. The largest male was the "Godfather" until the other male Boris took over the role after a battle, which thankfully only resulted in Boris losing an inch of his left antenna, and Godfather having a small piece clipped off of his right claw.
<Sounds about right.>
I wonder if maybe I've been lucky so far which no cannibalism due to the conditions they lived in at my friend's 40 gallon aquarium holding about 40 crays?
<Can be. Overstocking tanks is interesting. While it causes problems in terms of water quality, it does prevent any one fish (or crayfish) getting the chance to establish a territory. Any individual who tries will have to constantly fight all the other crayfish, and he'd never make any progress because all the others are doing the same thing to, and there's no peaceful cave or corner he can defend consistently. Kind of like how when people are on board a crowded subway train the usual rules for personal space are ignored. Anyway, if you have a large group in a reasonably big aquarium with adequate filtration, a sort of status quo is maintained where none of the crayfish becomes dominant. Take five of those crayfish and put them in their own tank and suddenly the rules change. There's now a chance for the strongest specimens to become the boss because he will be able to claim his corner and manage his aggression adequately well, only having to fight the few other crayfish occasionally.>
As for the fish, I added them to the tank in a span of two weeks before the crayfish arrived, with Bobby, the aggressive Chinese Algae Eater protecting his territory, which seemed to work. He stands up for himself and for his new mate, another Chinese about the same size.
<Do read up on Chinese Algae Eaters, which are not from China and don't eat much algae. Properly known as Gyrinocheilus aymonieri if you want to look online about them, they're big fish (20-30 cm/8-12 inches within a year or so) and as adults can be extremely aggressive.>
He also is very protective of Nighthawk, the playful Yoyo Botia, scaring off any of the crayfish that wander too close to their caves.
<I doubt he's actually protecting the loach. They may have common cause at the moment, but long term the chances aren't good they'll get along.
Interesting, the Yoyo Loach (Botia almorhae) is a good community species, and a social one, so you'd be better off keeping 5 of them in a tank upwards of 150 l/30 US gal.>
I have had them in the 10 gallon with the Zebra Danios for about 6 weeks, only having one Zebra killed, and one injured.
<That's actually not a very good track record, one dead fish, one injured fish, and various crayfish injuries.>
So, I think my tank has been installed with some Luck o' the Irish!
<No such thing as luck. At least, look at it the other way. Playing Russian Roulette once and surviving doesn't make it a safe game.>
But now I think I will be safer with 30 gallons for the 5 crayfish, two of which are still adolescent. If I have luck and have hatchlings, I already have a LFS who has a hard time shipping in Florida Electric Blue Crayfish, willing to buy all the surviving hatchlings once they are 3/4" in size. So, I am happy they will have a home to go to.
So, I think I have taken the right steps and am now prepared to keep a safer environment for my tankmates. Last step will be the Iodine on my next stop to the LFS. On a final note, when cleaning the tanks, I do a full hand/arm sterilization as I was required in science/medical labs, and gently usher the crays into my cupped hands to transfer them to the temporary bucket.
<Good personal hygiene/safety when working with aquaria is always a good idea.>
They seem to be fine with this, and I am confident that with the thorough scrub down/wash of my arms and hands, I provide no potential harm or infection to them.
<To be fair, the risk is mostly the other way. Aquaria are commonly infested with things like Salmonella wherever bits of food can decay in warm, moist areas. The only real risk going the other way is if your arms are soapy and that soap gets into the water as that can cause serious harm.
As a general rule, it's also a good idea to clean nets, buckets, etc. or at least let them dry out thoroughly as/when taken from one aquarium to another, as wet objects can carry parasites (like Whitespot) from an infected tank to a clean one.>
Also, I feel that this is a safer transportation method then the net or the pinching in the middle, as this way there is no danger of a struggle ending up in an injury. Does this seem safe enough for the Crayfish?
<Likely so. These animals aren't delicate at all.>
Once again thank you so much for the time and energy you and your staff put into helping out all these hobbyists, and I sincerely apologize for not doing enough research on my part, and for the many badly written and very brief emails and texts you and your crew receive. I can only imagine how irritating this must be on your part. Thank you very much Neale, for all your help and useful information, it is much appreciated! And I hope your weekend goes well, and you have a chance to sit back with friends and enjoy a cold one or two at a nice pub or at home!
<I hope so too! Good luck, Neale.>

Fresh Water Fish Roe as Food for Salt Water Fish  /RMF   7/19/11
Is fresh water fish roe a bad thing to feed to the inhabitants of a reef?
<In general no; it's fine; though there are some toxic species...>
I ask because I want to start making my own fish/reef food and since I like to fish, I would hate to waste the roe of fresh water fish that I catch.
Chuck Furr
<If you/d eat it, it's fine for your marine fishes. Bob Fenner>
Fresh Water Fish Roe as Food for Salt Water Fish  /Neale   7/19/11
Is fresh water fish roe a bad thing to feed to the inhabitants of a reef? I ask because I want to start making my own fish/reef food and since I like to fish, I would hate to waste the roe of fresh water fish that I catch.
<As an occasional addition it's unlikely to do harm and should provide useful fats and proteins in particular. Certainly, feeding marine roe to freshwater fish does no harm at all. But at a broader level, do understand that many freshwater fish contain Thiaminase, and that makes them best used as occasional rather than regular additions to the diet, and furthermore, there's a subtly distinct nutrient make-up in freshwater animals when compared to saltwater ones. While freshwater animals seem to be extremely
adaptable, many marine animals seem to depend on specific nutrients they receive directly or indirectly from marine plankton, so foods with a marine origin are crucial to the long-term success of marine livestock. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Beach Crabs as >fish< food   4/23/2011
Hi there.
I have looked over your site and found various references to feeding live Crabs as a food source.
<Hmm'¦ surprised by this! Maybe over on the marine side of things. Crabs are certainly prey for puffers and triggers, as well as some of the morays, wrasses, cichlids, etc But crabs are quite well armed and armoured, so they're not really "easy" prey.>
I live close to a beach in the UK and do have the means to collect my own. Is this risky due to parasites?
<Can be. Crabs, as you presumably know, are scavengers that live close to the substrate and often consume mud to remove organic debris. They also have a tendency to accumulate heavy metals in their gills and shells. There's also a risk they'll accumulate pesticides. There's quite a good literature on these issues, in part because of how important crabs and prawns are to fisheries.>
If this is a plausible idea, could these be fed live or better to freeze first?
<Provided you offer suitably sized crabs, the predatory fish should be able to tackle it live, though inexperienced predators can be damaged, perhaps seriously, by trying to tackle a live crab. You will probably prefer to humanely kill the crab (a swift crush with a mallet will do!) and then let the pufferfish use its beak to crack open the legs and extract the meat. There's no real point to feeding live food if dead food will do, and offering live food does sometimes promote bad (aggressive) behaviour in captive fish, which is why it's rarely if ever done by professional aquarists at zoos and aquaria. Another issue is that Carcinus maenas for example can live indefinitely in tropical aquaria where it can do tremendous damage, and is also sufficiently amphibious to be able to climb out of tanks and end up rotting behind the sofa. Killing the crab first will prevent both of these problems. You can also ration the food more carefully: serve half the crab today, and freeze the remainder for use tomorrow or the next day.>
These would be used weekly to help with my Puffers teeth.
<Certainly can work. Have done this using very small Shore Crabs (Carcinus maenas), and at university such crabs were the staple diet of the Eledone octopuses kept in the labs. But you need to be careful where you collect them. Check your local shore or estuary is clean enough to collect food for human consumption. If it isn't, why bother risking your fish?>
On a completely different note, and as a personal matter of interest... Are all Lionfish commonly found in the hobby equally as venomous as each other?
<There is some variation, even between specimens it seems, some people reporting stings as like bad bee stings, others as agonising pain. None should be treated with anything other than extreme respect.>
Thanks for your time and commitment to the hobby. We all appreciate it.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
<Happy Easter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Beach Crabs as food   4/23/2011
Thanks Neale. The crabs were going to be for Marine Puffers and Triggers although I do now have a GSP after the help and advice I received from you a while back about dead Live rock to cycle the tank. Thanks also for this as it worked a treat. I may keep the crabs a couple of days in clean salt water to clean them up a bit, then freeze, defrost and crush.
Thanks for all advice given and Happy Easter. Dave
<Hello Dave, and happy Easter. I would not freeze live crabs. Is questionably humane for one thing. But it also won't help clean the crabs.
Instead, kill the crabs by using a hammer or an awl, pick out the gills (they're big, grey, feathery things inside the lower part of the shell, and then divide into quarters. Freeze those in tin foil. You can then defrost cleaned portions as necessary. Because heavy metals collect inside the tissues in an irreversible way, simply rinsing for a couple of days in clean water will have no benefit. Likewise toxins. Best to remove the gills -- the most toxic part of crabs. Cheers, Neale.>

DIY food  `12/27/10
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
<What we're here for... in this context, construct>
I am going to make my own food for mostly tangs, I am looking to add a vitamin supplement that I
take for myself. It taste nasty so it has to be good for you its from GNC called Super Foods Supreme. I am attaching a file of the label I just wanting to see if its really worth it, or should I just go the liquid vitamin route. There may be no real value in it.
Thank you very much
<From the label I'd say this is a very worthwhile supplement, for you and the proposed food. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Food DIY   5/27/10
Hi Crew,
There are many recipes for making you own food. Generally they include combinations of shrimp, squid etc. I suppose the idea is to provide a variety so that all the required nutrients are accounted for. Is there any information related to a priority of nutritional values for the ingredients. For instance, based on the Crews responses, brine shrimp would probably be at the end of the list. How about fish that are being toted as good for people, like Salmon, are they good for fish or corals.
<Salmon and the HUFAs touted for humans are indeed useful for the invertebrates and fishes we keep as aquarists... White fish meal over brown... There is a huge assemblage of data on animal nutrition. I do encourage you to take a trip or two to a large college library with a life science section, get some help w/ a reference librarian, search the topic... AND write up your findings for pulp and electronic spread. Please see here re:
Make it known if I may be of assistance. BobF>

Sand And Clams From Galveston Beach/Foods/Feeding 1/24/10
Hi there,
<Hello Sabrina>
I am getting a Dogface Puffer this week and wanted to ask a few questions.
My first question is about feeding.
Galveston beach is kind of dirty as we have days when people aren't allowed to swim do <due> to bacteria in the water.
1. Would feeding my Puffer clams from Galveston be toxic?
<Leave the clams where they are. You may introduce bacteria or an unwanted disease into your system.
Read here and related articles/FAQ's as to feeding puffers.
2. Would gathering the clams and putting them in a new tank with clean water and allowing them to filter feed for a while (a month or more) help lower any toxicity in the clam?
<Best to buy frozen sea foods from the supermarket or prepared foods for this purpose.>
Also I was thinking about getting sand from the beach to renew my existing sand and wondered if Galveston sand would be toxic to my fish.
<Would not do this as well for aforementioned reasons.>
3. Will adding sand to an already set up tank cause the tank to recycle?
<Use packaged coral sand for this purpose, no beach sand, and no problems.>
If so regular water changes would be in order but I wanted to ask so I would be prepared.
Thank you for your time. It is greatly appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Sabrina Roschbach

Fish food ingredient suppliers    8/8/08 I am looking to experiment with fish/coral foods and looking for suppliers of ingredients such as zooplankton, phytoplankton, freeze dried copepods, Mysis, etc...can you recommend any suppliers of such ingredients? I am looking for bulk quantities. <Mmm, the best, bar none that I'm aware of is Argent Labs: http://www.argent-labs.com/ Bob Fenner>

Homemade food question 02/25/2008 Crew, <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> Thank you in advance for your response. I would like to make my own frozen food recipe for my tank mates. I purchased something I found in the frozen food section of my grocery store and want to make sure it's okay. It is a package that contains; raw octopus, raw cuttlefish, raw squid, raw shrimp and cooked clams or mussels. My questions are these. Should I take out the cooked clams or mussels? <<Yes, please do. All foods used in making your own homemade prep's should be raw>> I have to thaw this bag in order to put it in the blender then I re-freeze the finished product. I've always heard re-freezing is bad but aren't all shrimp etc. "previously frozen? Bob's recipe in his book has raw shrimp as one of the ingredients and any raw shrimp I can get is "previously frozen" and then I will be re-freezing. Is this okay? <<Where ever possible, its best to visit your local fish monger, fish department at a local super market and buy the seafood from there. This way, its not already frozen, its fresh. I am very finicky about re-freezing foods after its been thawed, so, I would not do this>> The full recipe will contain the following in addition to whatever you say I should add from the above: Prime Reef flakes, Formula One gel pack, Cyclopeeze flake, Garlic clove, Selcon & dried seaweed/algae sheets. Thank You! <<All of them additions sound fine to me>> Ben <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Maintaining Calcium, Alkalinity, & PH + Homemade Fish Food -12/19/2007 Hello WetWebMedia, <Hi, sorry for the delay...> I am currently using B-Ionics Part A & B to maintain alkalinity at 8.3 dKH, calcium at 340 ppm, and PH daytime 8.27 nighttime 8.37. <It rises at night? Huh. Usually the opposite is the case.> I would like to house hard corals at some point, but I believe my calcium needs to be much higher. <It depends on what type of stony corals. 400ppm is enough for the slower-growing "LPS" corals and such.> Not certain how to make that happen. I have a 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump. I add 20 cc's of part A and 50 cc's of part B each morning to maintain these levels. <Two part solutions are great for smaller tanks, but they're not so helpful in larger systems. You're likely going to have to start dosing Kalk and/or calcium chloride and baking soda (more likely some combination of all those).> I wonder if there is another means by which I can increase calcium without adversely affecting my alkalinity and PH. I am almost out of B-Ionics. Would you suggest I continue to use B-Ionics (which isn't cheap), <No, because, like you said, it's not cheap (thus good for small systems where you don't need much, but unreasonably expensive to use for larger systems).> or would it be better and more cost effective if I switch to Kalkwasser? You can either switch to Kalk or start using Kalk in addition to the two-part solution. It's up to you. Try different things (slowly), always measuring your calcium and alkalinity. Don't change anything too fast.> Just as an aside, I can't afford a calcium reactor. <You don't need one.> Also, I'm thinking of making my own fish food because my LFS does not always have what I need in stock. In addition to adding shrimp, sea fish (any recommendations?), clam, squid, clams/mussels, flake food; I was think about adding Green Food Feast powder. Here is a list of ingredients: Spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa leaf, nettles leaf, dandelion leaf, cilantro leaf, bladderwrack, kelp, Irish moss, wheat grass, barley grass, oat grass, rose hips, broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, red clover blossoms, bee pollen, acerola berry extract, cranberries, licorice root, and ginger root <I'm not sure about all the terrestrial vegetation you got here. When I make "veggie" food I only use seaweeds (typically sold in Asian food markets or those high-end new-age places like Whole Foods). For some tips/info on making your own food: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm and here http://www.asira.org/feedingyourtanks> Is there anything listed that would be harmful to my tank inhabitants? <It's hard to say... I think you have some things in there that are "untested"/"un-researched" for use as marine pet fish foods. There's nothing that stands out to me as obviously potentially toxic (though I could be wrong). But in any case, why use things like bee pollen?> I have a Yellow Tang, Kole Tang, Royal Gramma, Engineer Goby, Pink Spotted Goby, Coris Wrasse, Dispar Anthias, BTA, Rock Anemone, Star Polyp, Torch Coral, Candy Cane Coral, Mushrooms, Xenia, Cleaner Shrimp, Fire Shrimp, Coral Banded Shrimp, Emerald Crab, Sally Lightfoot Crab, Red Fromia Star, Brittle Star, hermit crabs, and snails. Thanks, Jackie <De nada, Sara M.>

Making food with baby vitamins 12/15/2007 Hi, I found out you can sometimes use baby vitamins for reef aquariums and was wondering if liquid poly-vi-sol multivitamin for infants would work. here is a link so you can see ingredients. http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100149&navAction=jump&navCount=1&skuid=sku303489&id=prod3489#nutrition <Yes, this would be fine... though there are more complete formulations, products> If not could you give me a brand name that you would suggest? <Most all human-intended are fine... the ones with "more 100% of daily requirement" mixes are better> Also, how can I apply it directly (safely) to a 45 gallon tank with 2 clowns and full of soft and hard corals. <Can be simply dropped in> How much should I use to make a batch of homemade food say per/pound? <Mmm, 10-20 drops per pound of mix is fine> Also I found this website showing the vitamins fish need. http://www2.hawaii.edu/~delbeek/delb16.html#table1 it gives examples of vitamins like A, C, D, E, B1-B6, B12 and others. Do you know of any application where you buy these vitamins at a pharmacy and grind them up for use? <Try the "health food stores"... online or brick and mortar... I would just use liquid prep.s> Maybe a recipe to make sure not to overdose. <Very hard to do... only the "carriers" in the fat soluble (e.g. D and E) are really problematical... for coating the water surface area... and with good skimming, circulation, not even these are problematical> I just thought that by doing this you could make sure and get all the vitamins you think necessary and none that you don't. Thanks so much for all the help! <Mmm, okay... and welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Making Food With Baby Vitamins, addended, Copper Preservative Concern 12/16/07
<Hi, Pufferpunk here with you tonight.> Thanks for the fast reply and I'm sorry to bother you again. I was searching for a human multivitamin and noticed that the ones I looked at had copper in them and thought that might not be a good choice. <Correct. Copper is deadly to your inverts & leeches into your rock & sand. You definitely don't want that in your tank.> <<Actually, the concentration, amount of copper here is miniscule... a preservative of no consequence... and Copper is indeed a micro-nutrient... for most life, including our own. Do not be concerned re its consequences here. Bob Fenner>> Also some had alcohol in them and thought I should probably avoid those as well. <<Also not a worry. RMF>> <Agreed!> I looked at GNC pharmacy. Am I not looking in the right place? Also as far as adding them to the tank directly how many drops per gallon do you suggest and how often? Thanks always! <Personally, I would not skimp when it comes to your reef tank. Marine vitamins are not that expensive & are extremely concentrated. Make the leap & purchase some for your inhabitants. Try Selcon or Zoa vitamins. Soak their food (prepared frozen mix, frozen Mysis, etc. I also add other foods in the mix, including oyster eggs & DT's phytoplankton) overnight & spot-feed your LPS with a turkey baster & any other meaty corals, including your Palys. Your fish will thank you too! I also feed my marine fish daily, alternating pellets & frozen foods. ~PP>

Squid- making fish food 11/09/07 Hi WWM, I recently found some squid on sale at my local supermarket. It was frozen then thawed and put on sale. I put the whole thing into a food processor and it came out really messy, slimy and with too large pieces. <lol And kind of sticky too... purple goo, right?> I froze the "thing" and then re-processed it with a bit of Garlic Guard by Seachem. Same slimy result but smaller sized. I froze the whole thing and fed it to my reef, mixed with some bloodworms, brine shrimps, Mysis shrimps, Cyclopeeze, formula 1 and 2 pellets... all soaking in a mixture of Garlic Guard and tank water. <Next time, don't use any water.> I noticed that my Torch coral seems to react to the slime of the squid. It closes up. <Are you sure it's the squid slime and not something else in the mix?> Some of my fish will eat the squid pieces (mainly my Flame hawk and Exquisite Wrasse). Questions : Do you put all the squid in there e.g. the head part with tentacles, or do you only put the white tube like portion of it? Are the head and tentacles responsible for the slime? Is there a way to remove the slime without losing the small particles of squid? <Well, you should always thoroughly rinse seafood before you start to make food out of it. But I'm not sure the squid slime is your problem. I would worry more about the phosphates in all this food (if you didn't rinse it first).> Oh... and I also noticed that the squid has a tendency to float, probably due to some air trapped in the slime or the slime itself, I don't know. <Hmmm, my guess is that the ice (from the water you used) might be causing some of the pieces to float. Please see here for some general info on making your own food: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm> Thanks in advance! Frank <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: Squid... in DIY foods Hi Sara, Thanks for your answer. Nope, it's not purple, more light pink, if anything. Also, I did not use any water to prepare the squid, just a bit of G.G. At feeding time, I take everything out of the freezer and take so pieces out and put them in a plastic glass. Everything is separately frozen and kept in separate bags. I do not rinse any of my food, never had. The torch coral is not reacting like that normally. Only when I use some squid "moosh" that I made. <Huh, strange. I suppose there must be something in this squid that is making the coral react this way... but I honestly don't know what that could be.> My skimmer (H&S 1 Eheim pump) has a lot of "fun" when I restart the circulation pumps. I have discontinued the use of squid for a few days now and my torch is back to its old self again. Phosphate was not a problem in the past but I will check it again to make sure that it is not present in my tank. If need be, I will address the problem. I've heard that you should rinse all your frozen food prior to feeding. Just how do you do that with frozen Mysis shrimps and brine shrimps? They are much too small to use a kitchen strainer, and the use of a coffee filter would be...well, not very practical. Any tips? <There are smaller mesh strainers you can get at places that sell kitchen supplies which should work. If not, you could always use a brine shrimp net.> Frank <Best, Sara M.>

Sodium tripolyphosphate; Is supermarket shrimp safe for marine fish?  4/5/07 Is the sodium tripolyphosphate found in supermarket frozen raw shrimp safe for marine fish?<I wouldn't use anything with it in it. Depending on what livestock you're feeding, I'd go with frozen krill, or similar, available through your local fish/pet store. Sodium tripolyphosphate, or STPP, is a chemical preservative that has the added merchant bonus of increasing the sellable weight of a product. It also makes seafood taste funny! We don't need it and neither do our little fishy friends!>Thank you for your time.<You're welcome! -Lynn>

DIY Food  3/23/07 Hi Bob. <Hello Brandon in Bob's stead.> I have been making my own DIY food. <Cool.> I have put in sliced and fresh jellyfish in it. <Hmmm.  What kind of grocery store do you have in town?> Blend it with all the other food. Some said that jellyfish is not in the diet of fish and corals so I was wondering if it will cause any harm. <This is sort of true.  There are fish that will eat them such as the Banner Fish, Arrow Crabs have bee known to eat them as well as certain other fish and snails.> I only considered the addition of jellyfish after looking up for its nutritional value. It is part of the diet of sea turtle. <This is true.> Is it all right to have jellyfish as part of the diet for fish and corals? <I would not be concerned with the addition.  I would watch the fishes after I fed it to them looking for abnormal behavior.  Brandon.> Small Octopus as fresh food  7/18/06 Hello WWM crew!   I have been able to catch some baby octopus in my area which i froze, intending to use them for bait, but i never ended up using them. Do you think these would be a safe food to feed my fish? My fish are 1 flame hawk, 4 Nemos, 1 eibli angel, and 1 Bluering angel. <Should be fine. I might cut out the beak and ink gland first, cut into bite-sized pieces, give them a rinse ahead of time. Bob Fenner> Feeding the Reef Tank   7/4/06 Hi there....sorry for asking 2 questions in one day. <No worries.>   I'll make this short.   <Awesome.> What product do you recommend as food for SPS corals? <Large refugia is great, other than that variety...specifically?; Read this: http://forum.marinedepot.com/Topic20086-9-1.aspx .> Or personally, what product have you used for SPS food and have had great results?   <Google: Eric "Hugo" Borneman Recipe.> Thank you <Adam J.>

CSS125 (skimmer) crazy for clam   6/11/06 Hello again oh wise Wet Ones, <Ahh, Grasshoppahfish> Another query for you:  I have a 75 gallon FOWLR that I occasionally feed cherrystone clams. I buy them at the supermarket, freeze them for 3 days, thaw them in the fridge and then feed the tank by cracking open the shell and dropping the whole thing in. I later remove the empty shell.  Every time I do this (feed the tank with the clam) my skimmer (Coralife Super Skimmer 125) goes nuts. <Yep. To be expected...> The collection cup fills up in less than an hour and if I don't empty it it will proceed to overflow.  The skimmate is a watery green as opposed to the usual brown muck it pulls out.  Am I doing something wrong or is this normal? Thanks again, Eric <Is "normal"... from added surfactant with the clam... I'd just empty the cup in time... Bob Fenner>

Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat  - 3/1/2006 Hi Bob and Crew....hope you're all keeping well. <I am, thanks> I acquired a Double Saddle Butterfly last weekend for my 55 Gall FOWLR. <... a small world for this species> I made sure I acclimated him properly and added him to the tank on Saturday afternoon. Only other inhabitants are a couple of Green Chromis. <Can be bullies in such a sized system, tankmate> I was told by my LFS that he would eat pretty much anything..... <Mmm, when in good health, adjusted... yes> I'd done some research on your site first and found out that he is one of the easier to keep butterflies. Anyways after he'd been in the tank for around 5 hours, I added some Mysis for my Chromis and he seemed to have a bit of a go at it as well (I'm not sure if he actually ate any of it because the lights were out). <Not likely to feed the first day or two> Day 2 I gave more Mysis and as soon as it hit the water he was up looking for it, but turned his nose up at it when he saw what it was. Next day I tried again, but added some Garlic Extreme before feeding. He went into a frenzy but again never took any (I also added some very finely chopped Mussel). Day 3 (today) and same...he was actually at the front of the tank looking for food when I came home from work. <Mmm, might have damaged mouth... very common... from capture, transport, bagging...> I'm not overly concerned, because he looks a really healthy specimen. He's about 3 inches and acting fine. I'm off to my LFS tomorrow to pick up some live Brine Shrimp (does this sound OK?) <For periodic use, yes> ....can you suggest anything else to get him eating? <Posted... on WWM...> I've noticed he has a pick at the LR so hopefully he's getting some goodness out of that for now. Thanks in advance Phil P <I do hope/trust you have healthy live rock in abundance as well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat - Part II    3/2/06
Bob, thanks for the quick reply.... <Welcome> I got the Live Brine shrimp on my way home and added it to the tank. He takes the food in his mouth but then spits it back out. It's as if he wants something else instead (but I don't know what!!). His mouth looks perfectly healthy (no signs of any reddening at all, or obvious damage). <Good> There's plenty of Live Rock in there (about 60lbs, I'm adding another few pounds of cured at the weekend) <Also good> I'm a bit confused over your comment re the bullying in the tank. Do you mean the Chromis might be a bully, or the Butterfly? <The Chromis... though rare for the genus in general (in comparison to many other Pomacentrids), in such a small volume (four feet long is not much running room), even relatively "peaceful" damsels can pester easily-disturbed fishes like most all Butterflies to the point of non-feeding. This being said, it is not uncommon for new Chaetodonts to not feed for a few days after arrival. I would just keep offering an assortment of small meaty foods and observing this specimen. Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat - Part III  - 03/05/06
Bob, <Phil> Thought I'd give you an update. The DSB has been eating happily for the last two days now. I concocted a finely chopped mix of Mysis, Cockle and Lancefish tails and added two drops of extreme garlic per teaspoonful. I feed about 1/4 teaspoon in one go. He takes some of it in the water column and then picks the rest off the LR for a while later. The Chromis seems to like it too. Hope this helps anyone else who is looking for advice. Many Thanks Phil P <Ah, outstanding. Congratulations on your success... will post. Bob Fenner>

D.I.Y. Fish food     I have found several recipes for homemade or DIY fish food for saltwater/reef tanks on the internet and in books.  Some suggest using canned oysters/clams/crab meat etc, but says to watch for preservatives.  They seem to fail to mention what preservatives to watch for or should they be avoided in all instances? <Mmm, better to find/use fresh... or frozen/defrosted> I used the search but didn't find anything relating to this subject.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.           Thank You! <Most seafoods are "preserved" with sterile techniques, possibly extra salt... can be simply rinsed in freshwater if these are used... fresher are better. Bob Fenner> Reef Chili? Hi Bob, < Bob at IMAC, Blundell here. > Are you familiar with Reef Chili, a zooplankton/phytoplankton formula for coral feeding? < Yep. > It comes in a very, very fine powder-like form which is to be shaken seriously with tank water (a blender would work well) before feeding (includes a tiny spoon for precise measuring).  I believe this product was originally available in a frozen formula but the expense of shipping drove it to the "powder" formula.  The feeding response appears to be good, but it's obviously difficult to determine actual consumption. < Indeed, be careful to not overfeed as small particles can become trapped in filters and breakdown. >   Others appear to have had good results (daughter colonies on LPS's, etc.)  Care to opine? < I think it is great food.  Nothing bad to say about it.  However, I think you can get better food, or cheaper food, or just make your own.  But as for convenience and small size it is great.  I'd probably also use golden pearls (brineshrimpdirect.com) or Cyclop-eeze or rotifers and things like that as well. > Thanks. <  Blundell  >

Disease from fish food? Hello Crew. I have a quick question for you regarding disease from a food mixture that I made. I took an oyster, several clams and several mussels and ground them up in a blender, and then froze the mixture for maybe 12 hours before feeding some to my tank. I know freezing is supposed to kill parasites, but my coral beauty angel fish has a dusty looking rash on his face the day after feeding. My other fish look fine. I was wondering if I should have allowed the mixture to be frozen longer than 12 hours to assure that there were no parasites or disease in the mixture. It has been 2-3 weeks now and besides the rash there is no heavy breathing or other sick behavior by the angel.  Thanks for your help. I know if anyone can help me you guys can, and I really appreciate all the help you give all of us who read your web site. Cord. <Half a day should've been long enough to kill all pathogens... Perhaps the food influenced your water quality negatively... Or could be entirely unrelated... Am tempted to write that you could try an experiment with another tank, feeding this food to see if there are similar results... Good observations, writing. Bob Fenner>

Use of a fresh clam for Marine fish Would it be advisable to use a clam every time bringing home a fish? Specifically, a Butterfly, Tang, or Angel? <You could if you wanted>  Or do I run the risk of spoiling the fish with this treat from the get-go? <Not likely, but depends on the species>  Also, after freezing the clam for a day, do I then let it thaw in salt water before dropping it in the tank? <Countertop, microwave, however :) Just be aware of the biological concerns when handling raw meat, as always>  Thanks again, Michael!  <No problem>  Daniel

Clam Questions (4/8/2004) Hello everyone, <Hi, Michael here this morning> thank you so much for your site, and your time for questions! <You're welcome> With regards to using a fresh clam to entice finicky eaters, are you guys talking about going to the local market, <yep> and buying a clam from their seafood section?  Any clam? <Any clan fit for human consumption.  Make sure you freeze it for a day or so to help kill off any pathogens> Thank you very much! <Anytime> Daniel <M. Maddox>

Trick to dicing Squid/meaty fish foods 3/28/04 Hello Crew! <whassup> Thanks again for a wonderful site full of great information!  I am wondering if the crew knows of an trick or technique to help me out.  Per your recommendations, I have added fresh squid to the feeding routine for my minireef.  I rotate through Formula one, Brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp (both soaked in Vita-Chem), and Bio-Blend.   <please do reconsider using brine shrimp even soaked... it really is a hollow food (very poor nutritionally). Use most any other ocean meats instead: Pacifica plankton, diced krill, fish roe, etc... or Cyclops-Eeze (frozen or freeze-dried)> OK, what is the best way to cut/grind the rubbery squid up so it is in small enough pieces for my fish (perculas, damsel, gobies) to eat without me having to do a fishy Heimlich on??  It currently takes me 10 minutes with a razor blade trying to cut it up and it is frustrating!  ARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!  There HAS to be a better way! <yes... a very simple/easy trick: cut ocean meats while frozen or nearly so (food processor or cutting by hand with knife). A breeze> Thanks and guys rule! <rock on my salty brother. Anthony>

Cooked foods Hi WWM crew! <Hi Jonathan> I feed my porcupine puffer a variety of meaty foods (krill, shelled shrimp, octopus, squid, scallops, mussels and clams) and would like to feed him some crab legs to ensure his teeth are getting a good grinding.  My grocery store only sells pre-cooked crab legs and I was wondering if this is ok to feed him, or if I should go to an Asian market and get live crabs.  I also noticed in the FAQs that some people were feeding their puffers canned seafood.  Aren't canned foods cooked? <The biggest problem is what they are cooked with. So you need to check the ingredients closely, I don't think they need things like butter etc.>  My main concern is if feeding cooked foods can cause health problems. <Just check for what they are cooked with and make sure they are pretty much clean. Rinse them if necessary. Good luck, MacL> Thanks, Jonathan

Shrimp for food Bob, <Steve Allen tonight> I have read in a book that you can buy shrimp for your local grocery store. Freeze it. Shave it. Feed it. Is this true? <Yes> If so I would think that this would be a fresher method for vs. the prepared frozen foods. <Not necessarily better, but a good part of a balanced diet.> I have -Damsels -Tomato Clowns -False Clowns -Anemones (Long Hair) -Button Polyp -Yellow Polyp -Hairy Mushroom coral -Mushroom coral -Numerous inverts (emerald, arrow, Sandsifter, snails) Would any of these species benefit from this type of feeding within the rotation? <All fish certainly benefit from a varied diet, just like we do. I rotate 4 kinds of dry food, 5 or 6 frozen and some fresh in my tank. Bob's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarium" has his great recipe for homemade fish food. I by a disgusting "seafood gumbo" mix at Albertson's (shrimp/octopus/squid/mussel/fake crab) and use that. The fish gobble it up. Soaking foods in HUFAs & maybe vitamins is also a good idea.> Thanks <You're welcome> -CPN

Human food? <Hello, Ananda answering the puffer questions tonight...> Well, I'm happy to say that this is the first time that I'm sending an email without sickness or a fishy funeral pending. In fact, everything is going just fine except that my fridge went out, <Gack!> so all of the meaty stuff that I feed my porcupine puffer is no good, and I don't want to make him subsist on Spirulina flakes until the repair and restock can occur (2 more days). <While he may not be thrilled with Spirulina flakes, he would be okay for a day or three. But I completely understand the desire to feed your fish the good stuff.> So, what other human food can he eat?  Fruits, nuts?  Canned tuna, sardines, clams? <You could stop at the grocery store or deli and get a small package of frozen shrimp, or one of those "krab" sticks. I think I would avoid the oily canned fish (sardines, any oil-packed fish). Perhaps canned shrimp or crab -- rinse well to get rid of any added salt. If you live in any of the northern states, you might be able to use your car as a temporary refrigerator for the opened food container. Regarding fruit, I have heard of one porcupine puffer who loved bananas!> Or should I just go for sushi tonight and bring him home a treat from the sushi bar? <Ah, sushi is such a wonderful thing....I would go to my favorite sushi place and ask the sushi chefs if they have any day-old "leftovers", or scraps that are cosmetically unsuitable for sushi. Those would probably be fine for your puffer.> <Hopefully this reaches you in time for your sushi excursion... Regards, Ananda>
Human food?
Well, I'm happy to say that this is the first time that I'm sending an email without sickness or a fishy funeral pending.  In fact, everything is going just fine except that my fridge went out, so all of the meaty stuff that I feed my porcupine puffer is no good, and I don't want to make him subsist on Spirulina flakes until the repair and restock can occur (2 more days). <If it's not too "stinky" can likely be refrozen, saved, fed> So, what other human food can he eat?  Fruits, nuts?  Canned tuna, sardines, clams? <Clams of all these> Or should I just go for sushi tonight and bring him home a treat from the sushi bar? <To heck with the puffer, I'm coming right over! Actually, I would hold off for the two days if necessary, or proffer freeze-dried krill (one of their faves). No problem. Bob Fenner>
Re: Human food?
Actually, he loves the Spirulina flakes from O.S.I. <Ah, I was hoping it was those...they have a good percentage of shrimp, which is probably why the puffer likes them.> I just know that there's no way to fill him up on them when he's used to frozen krill or frozen marine blend, which I rotate.  And yes, I already do the sushi scrap trick when I go out...they must think that we're nuts. <Many people would say that we are. :-) > Bananas huh?  I've always thought that he'd like stuff like that, or dried apricots and apples, but they're all so high in sugar that I didn't think it would be very healthy for him. Besides, you never know what weird allergy they might have. Do they even have allergies to foods? <I have never heard of that happening. Dried fruits are always higher in sugar on a per-weight basis than fresh fruits, so I wouldn't recommend dried fruit. But an occasional bit of banana shouldn't hurt.>   Anyway, hopefully the repair guy will get the right parts tomorrow.  Till then, the frozen stuff was actually saved, but it's across town at my girlfriends place.  Here in gusty SoCal. <Glad to hear you were able to keep the frozen stuff safe.> Thanks for your help...y'all are the best! <You're quite welcome...and thank you. --Ananda>

The Real Bob Sneaks In... for Gelatin Bob, I read on your Foods/feeding/nutrition FAQs that you recommend "alginates" as a substitute for gelatin on food preparation. You also mention that the alginates are not necessarily too easy to find, that you need to order them from chemical companies. <Yes> I was wondering if you ever heard of this... Though I don't remember the name, I remember buying it at the natural foods store, a gelatin substitute, made out of a seaweed. <Yes... "these are them"> I remember it being some colorless flakes that you would mix with fruit juice or whatever it was you wanted to have gelatinized. I thought it was worth mentioning, unless you already know about it and I am just trying to re-invent the wheel. David <Thank you much... the company "Kelco" here in town (Used to belong to Merck) makes a few tons of these glucoproteins a day for beer foam (yum), emulsifiers for ice creams, cosmetics... many more products. Bob Fenner>

DIY Selcon? Sorry if my previous e-mail finds its way to you and this is a repost. <Haven't seen it> I found this recipe for DIY Selcon on a message board. Is this comparable to the brand name? If not, is it safe as an additive to frozen/dry foods? <Mmm, yes to the latter. Not exactly the same components, formulation.> 125ml pure cod liver - menhaden oil (or a mixture of omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA/EPA) add 12 ml lecithin 2 grams Spirulina powder (20 microns) and 100 ml RO water. Blend all this until its like a pudding consistency. Thanks in advance. Ted <Bob Fenner>

Bob's Recipe Bob, I have been using your fish food recipe for years. It has been incredible for me. I have a couple of questions because of something that has popped up in a local discussion. <Okay> Fatty acids - Omega 3 being more important than protein in fish food.. <Not more important, but a group of essential nutrients. Both are important, necessary for fish health, growth, reproduction.> This led me to wonder about your recipe. Is the gelatin there to bind the oil, as well as keep the puree in some larger chunks for the fish ? <Both actually. Bob Fenner> Deb Hadford

Gelatin-based foods - 2/12/03 Greetings Krewe!!! <whassup G-money?> I continue to have algae problems in my 20 Gallon mini-reef. My water parameters are good - 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrates, 0 Nitrites, 8.2 Ph. I'm changing about 3 gallons per week with pre-mixed and aerated water. <all good> The only abnormal parameter is low Calcium. Will/can increasing Calcium in tank help with algae? <the calcium does not per se (other than long term support of desirable calcifying algae that can out-compete nuisance forms)... however, some calcium like Kalkwasser can precipitate phosphates and raise pH which both immediately inhibit some nuisance algae> What's the best method for this size tank? <likely bigger water changes actually> I have been doing my best to reduce nutrient import. I feed twice weekly with a mix of Formula 1, Formula 2, and Mysis. <The Formula foods are good... but messy> Export is via Remora Pro skimmer and macro algae in hang-on refugium. <awesome> Today's FAQ's have a reply from Anthony in reply to draining frozen food: "Gelatin based foods cannot be treated this way... of course, gelatin based foods are also catch-22 and arguably not the best fare either. Best regards, Anthony" I am doing my best to drain my food, but I'm still having trouble. Are the Formula brand foods gelatin-based? <yep> Am I suffering from gelatin-based food syndrome?? <likely not for the fine skimmer you have can temper it... there is some other nutrient issue at hand IMO. Does the skimmer work well (several cups of skimmate weekly in this case?)> One more quick question - I'm having trouble finding a good method to block large pieces of algae and bubbles from flowing back into the tank while still allowing copepods and other small organisms to return to the main tank. Thoughts, ideas? <not sure... is this an upstream or downstream refugium? Assumedly upstream? At any rate, neither the bubbles or algae should exist... we need to stop them at the source. I fear that your algae is Caulerpa or some other easily fragmented form (even the fine Gracilaria). Do consider a more stable macro in this case like Chaetomorpha> Thanks! -Jeremy <best regards, Anthony>

Home-made frozen foods Bob, I'm interested in putting together some frozen foods at home for my tangs,  French Angel and trigger. What will work as a gel binder? Is it a good  idea to make these foods at home or is it better just to buy them already  made? Are there any good articles on the subject? Thanks, Tony >> Good idea... very high cost savings per unit.. and fun to do. The best binder in my opinion are alginates (derived from marine algae)... they are completely digestible by microbes and bigger livestock... Down from there is... nothing! Just blending and freezing your components in little blocks (we, including a few commercial fish food manufacturers, used to do this using "egg-crate", aka Louver that you can buy at large home improvement centers... for overhead lighting... with 1/4" gaps... Lastly, the use of gelatins for human use... some of these are of a dubious destiny in a captive aquatic system... mostly removed by skimmers, and periodic vacuuming of the substrate. There are a few old articles on this subject, as well as a mention in Stephen Spotte's works (see Fish and Invertebrate Culture in Closed Systems), or my Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Bob Fenner

Sourcing Alginate Binders Question: Hi....I noticed in FAQ #104 you mention alginates as the best binder for creating your own frozen foods. Where can you find alginates? >> These common emulsifying agents may have to be special ordered through a chemical supply house. If it were me, I'd first take a look through your local "Yellow Pages" directory under the term "Chemicals", and call them for sodium alginate (most commonly used form as food binder). If there is no local source, try a larger) college (the biochemistry, biology departments) and ask them if they have some, can give you their source. Next, I would try the inserting the name: biological supply and alginates in your computers search engines... and following the sources it leads you to. Bob Fenner

So what are you saying re gelatin use in foods? < Jules wrote to Jim > >>did you say that the Prime Reef food had a gelatin base? Fenner  >>says at P 131 that Gelatin Based frozen foods should never be  >>used.<< Bob, correct me if I am wrong but most Ocean Nutrition frozen foods do contain gelatin as a binder ? if so why the negative comment towards gelatin ? did you and Chris Turk have a falling out ? Jim Stime Aquarium Design http://www.aquarium-design.com <Hey Jim, nah to any falling out, but haven't chatted with Chris in months. On this issue, he did/has at times used other binding/emulsifying agents (principally alginates... made here in San Diego BTW), but we/I do have a disagreement with the continuous use of gelatin in fish foods... but all else being equal (which it never is), if folks have decent maintenance protocols (water changes, vacuuming, skimmers...), there's little chance of "gelatin deaths". Bob Fenner>
So what are you saying ?
>From: "Robert Fenner" <by Bob Fenner> >there's little chance of "gelatin deaths". < Bob, I pondered about your message a bit more..... so is gelatin a resulting maintenance issue or a ( lack of ) nutritional issue ? <Much more a maintenance issue... not much useful as a nutrient to fishes, other aquatic life... but gloms the substrate together... Bob Fenner> * sending this message as I look in my freezer full of Ocean Nutrition frozen foods * < lol > Jim, Aquarium Design
Re: so what are you saying ?
>From: "Robert Fenner" <by Bob Fenner> >Much more a maintenance issue... not much useful as a nutrient to  >fishes, other aquatic life... but gloms the substrate together... >Bob Fenner> Bob, that makes sense. I have another customer who uses the ON Frozen foods quite a bit and it explains why her gravel is always got lots of stuff that clumps it together. <Yes... it's the gelatin> so, what frozen food do you like ? <Lines? You know this situation/game Jim... because these msg.s go who knows where am leery of unintentional endorsements... The best are those imported ones from TMC that are irradiated... but most any/all that don't involve gelatins are fine...> Jim, Aquarium Design <Bob Fenner, WWM>

Re: unidentified Algae, BGA Thank you for your reply Bob.  I spoke with Boyd Enterprises regarding their product Chemi-Clean. <Very nice boys... I knew their father, Dick Boyd... a real innovator>   Would you recommend I try this product in my reef to rid the Cyano that is very present as "red slime" in my fuge and as the "blue-green Cyano" you recently identified from the reef pics I sent you?  They claim this product will have no adverse effects on the reef nor will it create any phosphate problems.  Do you agree and is it worth a try? <Mmm, not entirely. Try as I might, I have not been able to find what this product is... other than that it does not contain Erythromycin...> By the way, Boyd himself (son) also made a few recommendations to me.  He suggested I switch from Oceanic Salt mix to Tropic Marin. <A good idea> My Calcium is high 500 and has been as high as 550+ with no addition of Calcium.  He claims that when testing Oceanic, many batches contained very high Calcium levels 700+. <Yikes!> I am going to test the calcium on the batch I am currently using. He also recommended that I stray away from feeding my reef the delicious frozen concoction 3X per week made basically of Eric H. Borneman's recipe and try "Phycopure" made by AlgaGen and perhaps some "Cyclops Eeze".  <Another worthy suggestion> It was also recommended to continue to feed my fish pellets/Nori as I have been on alternate days. He felt my frozen cube recipe was just blowing too many nutrients around the reef.  Your thoughts would be appreciated. <All sound good. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. Paul Maresca

Trick to dicing Squid/meaty fish foods 3/28/04 Hello Crew! <whassup> Thanks again for a wonderful site full of great information!  I am wondering if the crew knows of an trick or technique to help me out.  Per your recommendations, I have added fresh squid to the feeding routine for my minireef.  I rotate through Formula one, Brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp (both soaked in Vita-Chem), and Bio-Blend.   <please do reconsider using brine shrimp even soaked... it really is a hollow food (very poor nutritionally). Use most any other ocean meats instead: Pacifica plankton, diced krill, fish roe, etc... or Cyclops-Eeze (frozen or freeze-dried)> OK, what is the best way to cut/grind the rubbery squid up so it is in small enough pieces for my fish (perculas, damsel, gobies) to eat without me having to do a fishy Heimlich on??  It currently takes me 10 minutes with a razor blade trying to cut it up and it is frustrating!  ARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!  There HAS to be a better way! <yes... a very simple/easy trick: cut ocean meats while frozen or nearly so (food processor or cutting by hand with knife). A breeze> Thanks and guys rule! <rock on my salty brother. Anthony>

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