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Couple of food questions

204 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  somewhatshocked
I have been doing a lot of reading lately on feeding regimens and realize that I don't really have one for my daughters 30 gallon community tank. Typically we have been feeding a mix of Fluvals Bug Bites Tropical Formula Flakes, Omega Ones Frozen Brine Shrimp and Frozen Daphnia and San Francisco Emerald Entrée. I don't really have a rhyme or reason to what I feed and when I feed it. We currently have one Molli, one diamond tetra and 10-12 emerald tetras, we are planning on adding another couple of Mollis and a couple more diamonds in the next month or two as well to fish out the stocking. They all seem to be doing really well other than loosing a few of the emeralds I am guessing due to over feeding, but I want to make sure that I am giving them a good balanced diet and enough variety to keep them happy. I do plan on going to a better flake once what we have is gone. Any suggestions on a feeding plan?

Also over the next couple of years my job is going to keep me away from home a decent amount and I would like to make it easy on my wife and daughter when it comes to feeding. I was thinking about trying to make up a bunch of frozen cubes with a good mix of food that they can grab and drop into the tank on feeding days so they don't have to think about what to feed and when. Would it be wise or even worth my time to take a bunch of frozen daphnia, bs, some sort of veggie mix, thaw them and mix them all together with some high quality flake food or other powder additives (like the stuff you can get from Kens) and divide it all out into some sort of ice cube try or candy tray and freeze it so that all they have to do is drop a piece or two into the tank and have everything taken care of in one shot?
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The problem with having so many foods at the same time is that I would be willing to bet most of them are quite old. And by quite old, I mean more then 2 months.

You can solve most food problems with fish if you buy new food every month or 2 at the most. If you want to feed a variety, then every time you go to buy new food, buy a different one. Feed that new one for a month, then switch etc.

Why?

Well as it turns out fish need vitamins and minerals in their diet. All fish foods that are considered staple diets (as opposed to treats) will have added vitamins and minerals to keep fish healthy. But those vitamins and minerals are volatile, some more then others. Certainly within a month the levels of those vitamins have dropped dramatically and will no longer be giving enough nutrition to the fish. Within 2 months some of them will essentially be gone from the food entirely. This volatility can be slowed by a freezer but not stopped. So the best thing to do is buy the small bottle of food, and replace it every month. I have noticed far fewer 'mysterious' fish deaths since I switched to feeding new food every month.
 

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Certainly within a month the levels of those vitamins have dropped dramatically and will no longer be giving enough nutrition to the fish. Within 2 months some of them will essentially be gone from the food entirely.
As someone who makes their own food and feeds a lot of critters, I don't find this to be the case most of the time.

Most commercial flake foods can last for at least 3-4 years. At that point, it's not that vitamins or minerals have oxidized but that they've become too brittle to be useful. Available nutrient and mineral content remain, just as they would in human-grade dehydrated foods. Most pelletized foods have an even longer shelf life if one avoids heat and humidity. Omega, Cobalt, Hikari, Sera, et al, produce products that will last for easily 5-6 years, if not longer. Fortunately, most people go through containers of food much more quickly than a year and there's never any issue.

Some cheaper/low-end foods can even be a couple years old by the time they're packaged and arrive on store shelves. Some large brands buy from OEMs in massive bulk and it can take months to get things processed and packaged into smaller containers. But even those shouldn't go bad within a few months once opened.

The only common issues I see are with moist or oily foods. Many of them need to be tossed after 5-6 months and some after just a few weeks, circumstances depending.

Freezing some types of foods can lead to quicker breakdown if temperatures aren't kept constant and humidity levels controlled. Once ice crystals form in a dry food, they tend to go bad within a week or two of being thawed. Freezing in portions you'd use in a few days or a week can help on that front.

Moisture, humidity and warmth are the enemy when it comes to food storage. As long as you keep your dry foods in a dark, cool-ish area with no/low humidity, there should rarely be a problem. But if you want to be extra-safe, it's often a good idea to use food-grade silica packs to help mitigate moisture issues.
 
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