Fish food is pretty cheap if you are buying it for a single fish tank and you don't care what is in your fish food. However, this food isn't necessarily good for your fish. You can make a good fish food for your fish. It will take a little bit of time every few months, but in the end it is really worth the work because your fish will be healthier, live longer, and even look better.
What's wrong with commercial fish food?
Food is picked up from the store for a few dollars a can. This food often looks pretty and is available in a wide range of colors. However, most of it is made with a variety of poor quality foods. The first is fish meal. This is made from leftover parts that can't be used for human consummation and most of it isn't very great for the fish either. Whole fish meal is what is really good for your fish because it is made with the entire fish. Many fish foods don't use it. Plant based foods are also on the rise in fish foods because they are cheap. Some are good for your fish, but many aren't something your fish can digest. Buying a higher quality food is expensive and in the end it is worth it if you aren't interested in making your own. However, you can save money (especially if you have a large tank or a number of tanks by making your own).
The first ingredient in your fish food is going to be your meats. You have several choices and what you choose is going to be what you like, what's available, and how much you are willing to spend. From your local fish store you can choose a variety of frozen options that are there. These include brine shrimp, krill, and blood worms. You are welcome to choose some of these to add to your food, but your food shouldn't be made up of any of these solely.
At the super market you can get a variety of fish, shrimp, and shellfish. Some make their fish foods by using just salmon or just shrimp. My personal opinion is that adding variety is a good thing and will only be healthier for your fish.
Others choose to add some fish oil for added benefits and some choose to add hard boiled egg. These are also options that can increase your fish food nutrition.
When you look at what fish eat in the wild you will see three groups of fish. You will see carnivores (meat eaters), herbivores (plant eaters), and omnivores (eaters of bits of everything). Most fish are omnivores. However, even carnivores consume plant matter in the wild because they eat the whole body of fish, shellfish, and other creatures that have plant matter in their digestive track. Because of this you should make sure that you are offering meat and vegetable matter because these are ingredients that most fish need in various amounts. Your plant eaters will eat only the plants, but with them in there you can feed everyone in one large sweep.
There are a wide variety of options. Many people include seaweed (available at some health food stores, sushi shops, and oriental stores). However you can also include spinach, zucchini, broccoli, peas, carrots, leaks, and green beans. Others also put some fruits in there like oranges and apples. Whatever you put in there it is a good idea to make sure that you are putting in a variety. Hard vegetables should be par-boiled a bit before they are used in your food.
Small amounts of wheat germ, baby oatmeal, and other meals can be added as well, but this should be used in moderation. You will also need corn starch to help dehydrate the food and turn it into a flake food.
In addition to meat and vegetables you should also add some vitamins. In many cases there are liquid choices that work wonderful. Adding one or two capfuls can boost your nutrition. You should also add a tablespoon or two of spirulina power. Both of these are expensive, but a little goes a long way and it will make lots of batches of fish food before you run out. Plus the nutritional value is the best you can offer your fish! Another thing that should be added is garlic because the fish love the taste, it has good nutrition, and it is supposed to help prevent diseases and parasites. You can use Garlic Guard (a liquid product that can be added to any food) or you can chop 1 or 2 cloves and add it to your food.
Chop, blend, and mix.
Now you will need to take all your ingredients and turn them into food for fish. This will take some time, but it won't be that bad.
- Mince up your fish. Many blend them in the blender, but you want to make sure that they don't get to fine. For small fish freezing them a bit before blending can help a lot.
- Remove clams or other shellfish from their shells and chop or blend them up as well.
- Blend shrimp and crab legs in their shells (they are good for the fish!).
- Parboil your vegetables or heat them as they thaw (if using frozen). Then blend them up as well.
- Mix it all together and add vitamins, spirulina power, and garlic. Mix it good and gently heat it up with a little and then add corn starch till it makes a thick paste.
- Spread it on aluminum foil (or wax paper if your dehydrator doesn't get too hot) and dehydrate.
- Scrap the food off and break it up to the size that you need for your fish.
You can provide superior nutrition to your fish and save money while doing it. One batch of this food is likely to last for months. It is a good idea to freeze all but a small portion. Pull it out of the freezer as you need to. This will keep your food fresh longer and give your fish the best! They will definitely give it back to you by looking better, being more active, breeding better (if you are breeding any of them), and living longer. What fish keeper could ask for more than that?