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Designing the Perfect Fish Food

Whip up a tasty, nutritious treat for your aquatic charges, and enjoy the fun.

By Michael Hardman

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In my September 2008 FAMA article, titled “ABC’s of Fish Nutrition,” I explained that protein is required for growth, repair, reproduction and how it can also be used to make energy. As well as protein, fishes use both fats and oils as their main sources of energy, but feeding animal fat to fishes can lead to health problems. While carbohydrates are rare in the aquatic environment, fishes can and do use simple sugars to make energy. Vitamins are essential to good health and must be included in the diet, but fishes can absorb most of the minerals and trace elements they need from the water.

In this article, I’m going to discuss some of the things that we should keep in mind when designing and feeding a food specific to the mutual needs of us and our fishes. In my case, I designed a food for suckermouth catfishes (Loricariidae) that is nutritionally balanced, palatable and can be attached to objects for the benefit of scrapers or placed directly in the aquarium. Although it was designed for loricariids, I feed it to all my other catfishes, tetras and a growing family of discus. I believe most other fishes would thrive on it, too.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the July 2009 issue of Aquarium Fish International, or subscribe to get 12 months of articles just like this.

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