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Let's Talk About ~Foods~

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NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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It's that time again - a new topic for discussion! This topic will be on foods - what we feed and its effect on our systems.

With aquariums/closed systems, we always seem to be walking a fine line of excess nutrients, which leads to nusiance algae growth. It is rather easy for us to skew the tank environment to one that promotes algae growth - too much here and there will add up.

Food is a big input, and it is needed to sustain life. Whether the food is for the fish, invertebrates, or both....by introducing food on a regular basis, we are adding extra nutrients in our systems. I also think we need to understand our inhabitants needs, and feed to meet and not exceed those requirements.

Let's start out with: What types of food you feed your tank? How much and how often? Have you ever had a particular type of food that created an algae issue?
 

Ed Hahn

Life is A Highway...
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Jan 27, 2004
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Kennewick, Wa
I feed Mysis shrimp and Nori. I am as simple as can be. I do not feed that often. I like the fish to live off natural food in Tank. My mandarin eats pods, my Anthias eats pods, My tangs are always picking at the rock. :)
Ed
 

wrightme43

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bowling green ky
I feed new life spectrum marine, thera-a, and dried seaweed as my main diet. I usually feed the corals and anemones and zebra moray every 3-4 days as many freeze dried krill (because they are differnt sizes) as they will eat. I soak the freeze dried in vita chem, and once a week put it on my dry food for every body. I feed marine supreme, and maybe once a week never more often I feed cyclopsezze to corals and anmeones, the fish and shrimp get what ever is left over from target feeding with a syringe. I use the garlic extreme in the frozen and on the dry when i put vita chem on it. I belive varity helps my fish to stay healthy. I used to feed hth flake and then as I learned more and saw the difference in the fish my friend using new life had. I switched and have been extremly satisfied. One other thing I do that may sound wierd is not feed my fish on sunday. I think in the wild they have to do with out food sometimes and it helps their guts to clean out. Just my opinions. Steve
 

Beckmola24

Hawkfish
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Mar 17, 2004
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Columbus, OH
I feed mysis, cyclopeeze, Formula 1 and 2 and some pellet food that my fish love. I've found that if care isn't taken with the cyclopeeze, (frozen bar) nusiance algae will bloom. Other than that, the stuff is great and my fish love it. Great thread. I've always had questions about feeding 15 or 20 different types of food. Do fish eat that much of a variety in their natural habitats?? I know it's good to have a balance, but where is the fine line between balance and overboard? Just a few of my questions... :)
 

MzWeazelle

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Jan 11, 2004
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WA State
Hmm ... as with a lot of people I have to assume I'm over-feeding my tanks. I feed a little New Life Spectrum every morning, and some sort of meaty frozen food about every other night. I know all the tanks have a lot of pods and mysis shrimp in them, but other than my mandarin I don't know if any of the inhabitants eat them. I don't seem to have nitrate problem and we are successful with most everthing in the tank. Interested in hearing more.
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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I think the balance and overload question will be individualized based on your tanks ability to process left over food. Well directed flow would play a part in keeping left over food in the water column to be removed by filtration (i.e. skimmer, filter socks, etc). How do you decide how much is too much food? How do you judge the amount you put in? Becky - with the different varieties of food you feed, do you feed them all at once/same time or do you rotate?
 

MzWeazelle

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Jan 11, 2004
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WA State
Exactly! How to decide how much is too much? The fish can't tell you when they're hungry, and they'll always ACT hungry when you put food in, so it's a tough call. :)
 

reedman

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Jun 30, 2003
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Mukilteo, WA
If your getting an algae bloom and your largest source of nutrient imput is food, you are probably overfeeding. If you aren't having this problem, but there is left over food floating around in the tank after 3-5 minutes of the feeding, you might be overfeeding (at least for one sitting). It is a very tough call as some fish like several small meals throughout a day while others can simply hog down a large platter and be happy. You need to understand the eating habits of the fish you keep and cater to them as best you can.

I am now feeding my own blender mush based on several recipes given on this site. I had a huge algae bloom at first since I wasn't used to the higher concentration of food, but now that I am....the fish love it, the water quality is better and the corals look happier. I highlyt recommend making your own food. We agonize over what chemicals we add and what's in them, then we throw in some food that is labeled the best. I am now a firm believer in making your own food so you know exactly what's in it.
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
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Nov 20, 2003
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2,203
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St. Louis, MO
I don't know about you guys but my fish ALWAYS say they are hungry. My first tank was a little Eclipse bowfront nano. Because this was my first tank, my fish easily trained me to feed them whenever they acted like they were hungry. Because I let my fish bully me, I had quite a few algae problems with my first nano. Where did my algae come from? I bought food that was labeled as being, "Phosphate-Free". LOL

I really have to agree with Reed. There is a food in my LFS's (and probably yours too) that indicates it helps prevent ich and other parasites. If you read the ingredients, IT CONTAINS COPPER!!! YIKES!!! I truly don't know how much copper it takes before inverts start dieing but I'm not buying that food. Does it take 6 months for the copper to accumulate to dangerous proportions or does it take 6 years? I don't know so I'm not risking it. I guess what I'm saying here is that I know not everyone is willing to make blender mush. If you are getting processed foods from your LFS, ignore the "claims" and read the ingredients.
 

Beckmola24

Hawkfish
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Mar 17, 2004
Messages
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Columbus, OH
Nikki, I rotate the foods. I sometimes make up a mush, but usually rotate them. I am a careful feeder. Since I only have 2 fish, I feed with a toothpick and make sure that every piece gets eaten and doesn't pollute my water. I will let a few pieces stray for my shrimp and the little guys. Curt, that's interesting about the food with copper in it.... I wonder how many aquarists just grab food off of the shelf w/o reading its contents. I've started reading the back of foods just to make sure it isn't chuck full of phosphates. I would like to know about how each ingredient plays a role in fish health. I really don't know what all of the stuff in foods is for. Maybe someone with a bit more knowledge can go into what we all should be looking for in food. This may sound funny, but I don't feed my dog 20 different types of food or my cats. My vet said the variety really isn't good for them, so why is the variety so important in fish?? JMO
 

wrightme43

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Jul 1, 2004
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bowling green ky
Very good question Becky, I had never thought of it that way. And Thera-A sure as heck has copper sulfate in it. Thats not cool. I will stop feeding to my reef. Thanks for the heads up. I will contact them and find out what they say. Great post Nikki. Glad you thought of it. Steve
 

wrightme43

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bowling green ky
I sent them a e-mail at newlife. I will post their reply. I think because I use poly filters and they absorb copper and turn blue when they do. I should be ok. But what about the food that falls on anmones and the shrimp eat?
 

DonW

R.I.P.
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Dec 15, 2003
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Tacoma, WA
I'll throw in my 2 pennies. Fish are the easy part, they will eat just about anything you throw in the tank. My goal is to keep the fish fat and the P low, so I use blender mush. At first I would feed my fish every day at the same time. It was cool the fish would recognize the feeding dish as I prepared it. They looked like a pack of hungry dogs. It was very amusing to tease them with the empty bowl. Then I got into reef keeping and soon figured out that corals feed at different times in the photo period and at different light levels. You cannot train corals to my knowledge. When we feed the fish the coral use the poop for food. When we feed our fish, nature calls shortly afterwards especially Tangs. For this reason I feed with no regularity, different times and different amounts. Its all completely random, never more than once per day and never less than every other day.

Don
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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Wow - you guys are coming up with some great questions. I will share my thoughts and opinions (when don't I? lol).

I think Reed has a great point:

Reedman said:
You need to understand the eating habits of the fish you keep and cater to them as best you can.
Becky, when you are talking about dogs and cats - you are feeding each separately. Cats have different requirements than dogs, so for your cat you will want their diet to include things like arachidonic acid (there are a couple others, but you get the point) - which is essential to their well being. Cat food manufacturers would be sure to include this in the product, but a Dog food may not contain what is necessary for a cat to be at full health. Whew, where am I going with this...ah yes...fish.....by knowing what your fishes eating habits are and nutritional requirements, then you will be able to make better choices in food. By feeding a varied diet, you are more likely to meet the requirements of the different species in a tank. Also, we need to be careful about generalizing food - not everyone has the same mix of fish and invertebrates. My system will be different than Becky's, which is different than Curt's, etc.

I would like to know about how each ingredient plays a role in fish health.
I'll make an attempt at this. Fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, some trace elements are needed for good health. I would think that each species of fish might have different requirements as far as protein and carbohydrate needs (i.e. Lionfish vs. Tang). If a fish is continually fed the same food without variety, and there is something missing in that food, then disease susceptibility, malnutrition, or other issues may arise. We need to find a mix that would meet the majority of nutritional needs, and keep our stock healthy and growing. But, as was mentioned, too much of a good thing will foul our water quality, leading to algae issues. Since our tanks are all different, it would be up to the individual to note the health of livestock....their appearance, attitude, behavior. So, how do we make sure each individual in our tanks (not just fish) is getting what they need?? I feel that answer is making our own food to supply variety, soak in RO/DI to remove the phosphate coating on seafood (and yes, I did make my little ones food when she was a baby). How about soaking in Selcon, too? I'm sure prepared fish food bought at the LFS is alot like dog and cat foods....there are some high quality foods, and some definate crap. Amazing that copper is in a food source - I wonder how that works, and if the amount would even do anything. Certainly if it is "reef safe" it wouldn't be high enough to work? I don't know, and I agree....don't want to find out. We previously discussed the addition of Ethoxyquin in Cyclop-eeze, wondered if the amount would matter to the fish and invertebrate health. I believe the answer was, ethoxyquin is no longer in the frozen variety. People have great results from cyclop-eeze, but I was hesitant because of this additive.

Most of us probably overfeed, and I find it difficult to imagine underfeeding a problem in the majority of tanks (I suppose depends on species).
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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8,568
DonW said:
When we feed the fish the coral use the poop for food. When we feed our fish, nature calls shortly afterwards especially Tangs. For this reason I feed with no regularity, different times and different amounts. Its all completely random
Good point, Don. Corals do use poop for food, and the blender mush may also serve to feed certain corals (i.e. large LPS) that do need a little something extra. I think feeding without a routine is a good idea, too.
 

wrightme43

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Jul 1, 2004
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bowling green ky
New Life responded that the copper sulfate in our food is there as a trace element, also that you can find copper sulfate in the ocean and in most food item in the ocean that the fish and corals eat. Says it will not cause harm. Says it is not there to kill parisites, it is there because the animals use it in there systems. I take 2mg a day in my theragram m but, I'm not a invertabrate. Anybody with any thoughts I sure would like to hear them. Steve
 

Craig Manoukian

McKosker's Wrasse
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Messages
237
I feed mysis shrimp, frozen cyclopeze, and plankton one time per day.

Mysis shrimp for my fish and ornamental shrimp five times weekly. Every third day I add Zoe vitamins.

Twice per week I treat the tank with cyclopeze for the fish and soft corals.

Twice per week I feed the tank phytoplankton for my clam and other filter feeders.

No algea blooms over the last few months since adding my sump/refugium. :D
 
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