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Aquarium Fish Feeding

Aquarium Fish Feeding

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Aquarium fish hobbyists can enjoy an impressive range of species, whose number is increasing every year.
Aquarium fish hobbyists can enjoy an impressive range of species, whose number is increasing every year.

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Published by: International Aquafeed magazine on Nov 18, 2011
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International Aquafeed is published five times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies,the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published.©Copyright 2009 Perendale Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any formor by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1464-0058
November | December 2011Feature title: Aquarium Fish Feeding
F: Aquarium fish
quarium fish hobbyists canenjoy an impressive rangeof species, whose number isincreasing every year.
In response to the growing aquarists’ needsmanufacturers introduce foods with more andmore sophisticated formulas. However, dataconcerning dietary habits of wild specimensare rudimentary and extremely hard to obtain.The knowledge about fish’s needs comes fromobservation rather than rigorous research.Therefore, the common practice is touse research carried out on fish for humanconsumption instead despite the fact that itis not possible to create and maintain naturalnetwork of feeding relations in aquarium andmany species-typical behavior patterns aresimply not observed.No wonder that a diet of aquarium fish isbecoming more universal.In the wild fish feed on insects, molluscs,crustaceans, fish, plants, algae, etc. These foodsdiffer in terms of quality and quantity of nutrients.In addition, fish’s diets vary throughout theyear, as food availability varies depending onthe season. In the absence of their primaryfood, fish are forced to resort to less palatablealternatives, which they have declined so far.It’s not possible to imitate natural livingconditions of wild fish but you can composea diet based on products with nutrient-richcompositions to diversify their diet, henceprevent nutritional deficiencies and numerousmedical disorders. The most vulnerable is thehatch. Any deficiencies it experiences duringthis period can lead to deformities and devel-opmental disorders.For instance, Artemia nauplii, commonlyused for rearing fry, lead to the decalcificationof bones and reduction of the survival rate, if not supplemented by other foods.
Nutritional requirements
In terms of their nutritional requirementsornamental fish can be divided into herbivores,omnivores and carnivores.Prepared foods for herbivorous fish shouldbe characterised with high content of plantmaterial, including spirulina, chlorella, Kelp algae,spinach, nettle, etc. They should also be fed withfresh or frozen plants, mostly spinach, broccoli,zucchini, carrots, etc.For carnivorous fish, which in the wild feedon fish, roe, fry and invertebrates, there’s achoice of frozen foods (krill, shrimps, fish fillets,squid, Daphnia pulex, Artemia, bloodworms,Tubifex etc.) and live foods (fish, Daphnia,Artemia, bloodworms, Tubifex, glassworm etc.)and multi-ingredient and high-protein preparedfoods.
Prepared foods foraquarium fish
Prepared foods available on the pet marketcan be divided into: multi-ingredient univer-sal foods, used in feeding of most popularaquarium fish species and specialist foods,dedicated to particular species or groups of fish with sophisticated dietary demands, suchas Tropheus cichlids, Malawi cichlids of mbunagroup which feed on periphyton, breedingdiscus, goldfish, red parrots and algae-eatersfrom Loricariidae family etc.A special group of foods areproducts enriched with variousnatural resources that improvefish’s health, enhance their colora-tion and increase their resistanceto diseases.The diversity of formulasis accompanied by a variety of forms in which prepared foodsare available, so you can chooseproduct perfectly adjusted to thesize of your fish’s mouth and theirway of feeding (from the surfaceof the water, its middle layers orfrom the bottom - see Figure 1).The best feeding solution forbottom-feeders are granules andtablets. Fish feeding in the middle layers of thetank or at the bottom prefer slowly sinkinggranules, which turn out particularly effectivein multi-species tanks with fish eating in variousparts of the aquarium.Fish with small mouth eating under thesurface of water will choose flakes, which provehighly effective in tanks where intraspecificcompetition takes place and weaker fish havea limited access to food. Flakes, floating all overthe tank, are easily accessible even for smallerand weaker fish.Tablets are recommended for timid fish,as they can be placed in fish’s favourite hidingplaces and for feeding the fry, due to the smallparticles that make up the tablet.
Immunity enhancingcomponents
Prevention in fish is more effective thanmedical treatment. Well-nourished fish with astrong natural resistance to diseases is morelikely to cope with stress (transport from farmsto wholesalers, store, the customer’s home)and pathogens. In prepared foods for orna-mental fish one can find numerous substancesand resources, whose components enhancethe immune system, for example stabilised
26 | IntnatInal
| november-December 2011-
vitamin C, beta-glucan, unsaturated fatty acids,spirulina, Kelp algae, chlorella, etc.Stabilised vitamin C is a L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate resistant to high temperatures.Vitamin C reduces stress, stimulates theimmune system, strengthens blood vessel’swalls and accelerates wound healing.Unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs), includinglong-chain fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6,accelerate the regeneration of tissues, includingskin, improving its function as a protectivebarrier.Moreover, they are a building materialof hormone-like cellular messengers - pros-taglandins and reproductive cells. Part of thedemand for Omega-3 and Omega-6 fish coverthemselves by producing them from simpleUFAs, which they obtain from food.However, carnivorous and marine fishshould be supplied with Omega-3 fatty acids,because their ability to process them fromsimple UFAs is small.Beta-1.3/1.6-glucan - a polysaccharidederived from yeast’s cell walls - is a naturalimmune stimulator that directly affects mac-rophages, increasing their capacity for phago-cytosis of alien cells and their own cancer cells.Extremely valuable components of foodsfor aquarium fish are algae and spirulina(Arthrospira platensis).The share of the latter in fish feed dependson, inter alia, a very high protein content (55-70percent) characterised by a high digestibility(90 percent).In addition, protein of Spirulina containsmost essential amino acids for fish (if not all).The cell’s walls of this cyanobacterium arecomposed of mucopolysaccharides, whichact as immunostimulators. In the cells of spirulina one should find three times morechlorophyll than in plants. Chlorophyll reducesthe number of putrefactive bacteria in thegastrointestinal tract. The high content of carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, makesfoods with spirulina intensify coloration in fish,which is essential in case of colourful breedingforms. Thanks to so many different substancesspirulina enhances vitality and encourages theimmune system.Other relatively common algae supple-ments of aquafeed are chlorella and Kelp algae.Chlorella is known for its high concentra-tion of chlorophyll (seven percent in the drymatter) and large protein content(50 percent in the dry matter), richin essential amino acids.Health benefits are attributed toChlorella Growth Factor, rich innucleic acids. Kelp algae is a mixtureof marine seaweed belonging tothe brown algae, which are rich inminerals, including well-assimilableorganic iodine compounds, UFAs,and vitamins. Their addition has abeneficial effect on metabolism andgeneral condition of the fish.
Herbs in the aquarium
Not only have the herbs been applied totreat people, they are also commonly used asa dietary supplement in feeds for livestock anddomestic pets. Herbs enhance food palatability,stimulate animals’ appetite, aid digestion andimprove overall health.They also act as an anti-inflammatory,antidiarrheal andbacteriostaticagents.Herbs arealso present inthe aquarium.They play animportant role inthe preparationof water and areused as a com-ponent of bothprepared foodsand those pro-duced in houseconditions.In Europethere are 25species of basicherbal rawmaterials, includ-ing garlic andcommon nettle,which are usedin foods forornamental fish.To manu-facture pre-pared food pro-ducers also useplants rich in theso called fitamins,which act on thebody in a manner similar to vitamins. But unlikethe vitamins, they do not have to be deliveredeach day. Fitamins are present in vegetableand herbal plants. They regulate metabolicprocesses, detoxicate body and enhance over-all condition. Fitamins include among others:polyphenols (flavonoids and phenolic acids),sulfur compounds (such as allin in garlic), tan-nins and carotenoids. The exceptional sourcesof fitamins in foods for fish are garlic, spinach,spirulina and Kelp algae.Garlic (Allium sativum) is a well-knownspice and herbal plant. Its cloves are composedof sulphur-containing compounds, inter alia,allin which becomes allicin when garlic iscrushed. This is allicin to which garlic owes
by Aleksandra Kwaśniak-Placheta
 and Leszek Moscicki
Tropical - Tadeusz Ogrodnik, 25Opolska Street, 41-507 Chorzow,Poland
Lublin University of Life Sciences,44 Doświadczalna Street, 20-280Lublin, Poland
-november-December 2011 | IntnatInal
| 27
F: Aquarium fish
However, usingTubifex from pollutedenvironment can leadto poisoning of fish.Tubifex and chirono-mids are both addedto prepared foods andsubjected to freeze-drying process.Daphnia is a sourceof protein and fat(including UFAs).However, it containsa small number of highlyunsaturated fatty acids:EPA and DHA. Proteincontent (20-25 percent)and fat content (2.4-20percent) vary widelydepending on the feedbase of the tank, wherecrustaceans live and onthe season.The composi-tion of Daphniaresembles freshwatershrimp: Gammaruspulex, which containssimilar amount of valu-able protein. It is a goodsource of unsaturatedfatty acids, including n-3acids, and carotenoids.One kilogram of dry matter of Gammaruspulex contains about 700-800mg of carote-noids (with astaxanthin share of 40 percent).Artemia salina (Artemia sp.) is a popularfood for ornamental fish. It is used in its larvalform (also independently hatched in houseconditions), frozen or freeze-dried adult forms,or as an additive to prepared foods. Newlyhatched larvae of Artemia contain 89 percentwater, 6.7 percent crude protein, 2.1 percentfat, 1.1 percent ash and after drying � 58 per-cent protein, 20 percent fat and 10 percent ash.Adult Artemia contains 60 percent protein,13 percent fat and 12 percent ash in the drymatter.When composing a diet for your fish, followthe basic nutritional principles, taking intoaccount the nutritional value of main nutrients.Compacted information concerning this issueis shown in Figures 2 and 3.When composing a diet for your fish,take into account the proportions of multi-ingredient, vegetable and high-protein foods inthe diagrams shown on Figure 3.
Conclusive remarks
Manufacture of aquaristic feeds which meethigh quality standards require an extensiveknow-how, the accuracy of processing and theand smell of the food. This is of particularimportance in case of feeding wild caughtspecimens and commercial farming fish, whicharen’t used to eat prepared foods and needencouragement. Apart from valuable pro-tein Krill provides fish with unsaturated fattyacids, out of which 40 percent are PUFAs(polyunsaturated fatty acids), including 14.7percent EPA and 8.3 percent DHA. Krill isalso a great source of carotenoids � naturalpigments that enhance fish’s coloration.Chironomids – red mosquito larvae – constitute a high-protein food, which con-tains around 60 percent crude protein and10 percent fat in the dry matter. Due tothe low content of unsaturated fatty acids(approximately 14 percent) and high content of saturated fatty acids (approximately 28 percentof palmitic acid) the food cannot be used toooften, because it can cause fatty degenerationsand deficiency of PUFAs. Due to its high pro-tein content it is a perfect food for spawnersand fish weakened by illness or long transport,especially that fish take it very eagerly.Tubifex (Tubifex tubifex) lives in bottomsediments, where they feed on organicmatter, algae and bacteria that live in them.These organisms are very resistant to vari-ous pollutants that can accumulate in them.its strong antiseptic prop-erties and its characteristicflavour. Garlic also containsflavonoids, pectins, mucilages,several vitamins and traceelements.Before it started to bewidely used in preparedfoods for fish, it had beenadded by fish enthusiasts tomixtures they had preparedin their homes, especially theones for the discus, oftentargeted by gastrointestinalparasites.Foods for ornamentalfish also utilise nettle (Urticadioica). The active substanc-es in this plant are organicacids, flavonoids, carotenoids,tannins and others. Thanksto them, nettle regulatesdigestion. As a food sup-plement it has a beneficialinfluence on digestion andprovides a number of fitamins, vitamins and traceelements.
Invertebratesused in feeding ofornamental fish
Before fish enthusiastscould take advantage of convenient and easy-to-store prepared foods, they had had touse natural foods, which they fished or bredthemselves.Despite many advantages the use of livingorganisms in the aquarium has one fundamen-tal flaw – the organisms derived from naturecan be a source of dangerous pathogens. Toavoid this threat you can chose frozen, driedand freeze-dried products. Invertebrates havealso become the essential ingredient of pre-pared foods (see Table 1).Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba) is asource of easily-digestible protein, rich inessential amino acids. It is readily consumedby fish, especially in its processed form as anadditive in flakes, granules and tablets. It is alsocharacterized by a high palatability, resultingfrom the presence of amino acids (glycine, pro-line), nucleic acids and TMAO (trimethylamineoxide). These substancesaffect thetaste
28 | IntnatInal
| november-December 2011-
F: Aquarium fish
Opuszyński K., (1979), Podstawy biologii ryb (in Polish),PWR i L, Warszawa;Sushchik N.N. et al., (2003), Comparison of fatty acid composition in major lipid classes of thedominant benthic invertebrates of the Yenisei river,Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B134, 111–122;Tacon A.G.J., (1987), The nutrition and feedingof farmed fish and shrimp - a training manual2. Nutrient sources and composition, A reportprepared for the FAO Trust Fund GCP/RLA/075/ITA Project Support to the Regional AquacultureActivities for Latin America and the Caribbean,Food And Agriculture Organization Of TheUnited Nations, Brazil;Ciferri O., (1983), Spirulina, the ediblemicroorganism, Microbiological Reviews,December, 551-578;Clifford Chan, (2003), Exotic Discus of the World, Clean Ace Printing Press, Singapur;Floreto E.A.T; Brown P.B.; Bayer R.C., (2001),The efects of krill hydrolysate-supplementedsoya-bean based diets on the growth,colouration, amino and fatty acid profiles.;Aquaculture Nutrition 7; 33-43;Gaillard M.et al.,(2004),Carotenoids of twofreshwater amphipod species (Gammarus pulexand G.roeseli) and their common acanthocephalanparasite Polymorphus minutus,ComparativeBiochemistry and Physiology,Part B 139,129–136;Ghioni C., Bell J.G., Sargent J.R., (1996),Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Neutral Lipids andPhospholipids of Some Freshwater Insects, Comp.Biochem. Physiol. Vol. l14B, No. 2, pp. 161-170;Hasik J., (2001), Usprawnienia dietetyczne procesówmetabolicznych. Co to sń fitaminy?, (in Polish), Postńpy Fitoterapii nr 6, (2-3);Kibria G.et al.,(1999),Utilization of wastewater-grownzooplankton:Nutritional quality of zooplankton andperformance of silver perch Bidyanus fed on wastewater-grown zooplankton,Aquaculture Nutrition 5,221-227;Lutomski J., (2001), Znaczenie ziół w terapii i dietetyce(in Polish), Postńpy Fitoterapii 6, 2-3;
use of a modern and sophisticated technologi-cal equipment.It is much more complicated than theproduction of aquafeed for fish farming.The quality of aquarium foods is immediate-ly visible after the application,in the literal sense.Aquarist will immediately notice the loss of every single fish or the contamination of waterin the tank caused by the dust from crumbledfood,quickly decaying wastes or colorants.Despite the wide range of various foods onthe market, only few of the offered productsmeet the highest nutritional criteria, can guar-antee safety of feeding and do not contaminatethe aquatic environment.The form and functionality of the packagingunits are equally important. The expectationsof the customers in this aspect are justifi-ably high as the options are impressive: con-tainers acting as feeders, helping keep food insterile conditions, transparent, but at the sametime protected from ultraviolet radiation (seeFigure 4). These challenges can be met only byfew companies.
Bernard J.B., (1997), Feeding captive insectivorousanimals: nutritional aspects of insects as food, NutritionAdvisory Group Handbook, Fact Sheet 003;
Table 1:
The content of crude protein, crude fat and ash inselected aquatic invertebrates (% of the dry matter)
Raw materialCrudeproteinCrudefat  Ash
Artemia - adult form60,013,012,0Artemia larvae - nauplii58,020,010,0krill70,010,412.6Chironomidae60,010,011,0Daphnia50,0 2,419,0Tubifex47,820,1 4,5
-november-December 2011 | IntnatInal
| 29
F: Aquarium fish

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