What are you feeding your fish?
With all the controversy regarding the recent dog and cat food poisonings, it's no surprise that many pond owners have been concerned about their fishy friends and whether or not they're getting the right nutrition. Doc Johnson has the right advice when it comes to choosing fish food.
Dr. Erik Johnson of Aquascape believes there are a few things to look at when purchasing fish food. Here are his recommendations:
· Protein source - Look for blood meal, fish meal, shrimp meal, herring meal, or other aquaculture protein as first ingredients.
· Purpose of plant material - If you find a food with fishmeal as the first ingredient and then wheat germ meal or similar, they are using the plant ingredient for protein AND energy, letting the fishmeal carry the bulk of the protein requirement, which is as it should be.
· Protein percent - Because of the simplicity and shortness of the tract, koi can't digest more than 32 to 36 percent protein in one pass. Feeding more than that isn't necessarily a bad thing because fish will simply pass what they don't digest - it's just expensive to pay for.
· Fat content - Find a food with between three to 10 percent crude fat.
· Ascorbic acid - Make sure ascorbic acid, or L-Ascorbyl-2-Phosphate is on the label among the trailing ingredients.
· Immune boosters - Some foods are made with immune boosters. Look for any combination of the following supposed immune-boosting ingredients: Optimun, Aquagen, Nucleotides, Torula Yeast, Brewer's Yeast, Bee Propolis, Colostrum, Aspergillus Niger, Beta Carotene, Lactoferrin.
· Color enhancers - Are there color enhancers in the diet? Look for terms like spirulina, Bio-Red, beta carotene, canthaxanthin, marigold petals, xanthins, shrimp oil, synthetic and non-synthetic carotenoids, or color enhancers on the label. Shrimp oil is the most expensive and performs as well or better than the synthetic carotenoids, but either is acceptable. No color enhancer can replace the irrefutable contribution of genetics and sunlight.
· Ash content (if stated) - Ash is what's left behind when you incinerate (or the fish digests) the food. It's almost all carbon and mineral.
Reprinted from Aquascape.com.
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