Supply Your Own Fish Food
Why Make your own fish food?
Some of the reasons for creating your own fish food can be as simple as being in control of the whole process, especially if you’re growing fish to eat.
Although much more time consuming and often quite complex many people prefer to create their own fish feed over simply ordering in.
For some it is just like it is with humans’ home made food versus take out.
Some people consider it far superior to know exactly what is being supplied to the fish you eat and where those supplies came from and that the feed is produced in a fashion of your liking.
For those that grow fish for eating the idea of being independent of outside sources can be very appealing. The concept of a whole of process from feed to table without outside reliance can be very uplifting.
What is in fish food?
When making fish food of your own you have much more control of the additional additives that can be present in manufactured fish feeds, both the desirable and the undesirable.
With a little knowledge and some experience fish owners can make their own high nutrition fish food, often saving money in the process as well. this is more true for small Aquarium keepers than for Aquaponics.
Nutrients needed to maintain healthy fish and a good growth rate are essentially the same as for any other animal. These include proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
In addition to those you will if you are feeding fish used in Aquaponics need to add trace elements to promote plant growth.
First thing you need to do is to determine what fish it will be that you will be raising as the feed requirements differ from fish to fish and whether the fish are herbivorous, carnivorous or omnivorous. Your preferred mixture will differ depending on what type of fish you will be feeding.
Most fish reared in captivity can be taught to take pellets. You will also need to decide whether or not the feed you are preparing is a whole of diet food or just a supplement. If you have a steady supply of Black solder fly larvae, worms or even house fly larvae then you can use a supplement feed that is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates. Other supplemental feeds frequently used are duck weed and algae.
A Typical fish feed consists of, between 18 % to 50% of protein (at least 10 essential amino acids), Fat Between 4% to 28% (lipid), Carbohydrates between 15% and 20%, Minerals Between 1% to 2.5%(multi mineral supplement), Vitamins Between 1% to 2.5% (Multi vitamins supplement)
The proportions will need to be consistent with the fish dietary needs, depending on what type of fish you intend to raise.
For Instance: Protein levels of 28-32% for catfish, 32-38% for Tilapia. Protein requirements usually are lower for herbivorous fish and omnivorous fish than they are for carnivorous fish, and are higher for fish reared in high density (Aquaponics) than low density (pond aquaculture) systems.
Fish are capable of using a high protein diet, but as much as 65% of the protein may be lost to the environment. Most nitrogen is excreted as ammonia (NH3) by the gills of fish, and only 10% is lost as solid wastes. Nutrient enrichment of water due to excess nitrogen from fish effluents is a major water benefit for Aquaponics as it is the main source or often the only source of nutrients for the plants.
You can find Proteins and amino acids in:
Fish meal, soy bean meal, skim milk powder, legumes, and wheat gluten are excellent sources of protein. Additionally, the building blocks of proteins (free amino acids) such as lysine and methionine are commercially available to supplement the diet.
If you don’t want to purchase ready-made supplements don’t let the names fool you.
Lysine can be found in:
Meat (specifically red meat, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly parmesan), certain fish (such as cod and sardines), nuts, eggs, soy beans particularly tofu, spirulina, and fenugreek seed.
Methionine can be found in:
Eggs, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, fish, meats and some other plant seeds.
You can find Fats (Lipids) in:
Marine fish and vegetable oils, canola, sunflower, and linseed oil are excellent sources of lipids with omega 3 and 6 being required to promote healthy growth in fish.
Lipids supply about twice the energy as proteins and carbohydrates. Lipids typically comprise about 15% of fish diets they supply essential fatty acids (EFA) and serve as transporters for fat-soluble vitamins. Although increasing dietary lipids can help reduce the costs of fish food by partially substituting protein in the feed, problems such as excessive fat deposition in the liver can decrease the health and quality of fish.
Carbohydrates Consist of:
Cooked carbohydrates, from flour from corn, Wheat or other “breakfast” cereals, are relatively inexpensive sources of energy that may reduce the amount of protein (which is more expensive) from being used as an energy source. Cooking the carbohydrates is essential to make it more digestible to the fish. Carbohydrates also help with the binding of the food into pellets and help it to float and to not break-up easily and foul the water.
Vitamins are organic compounds necessary in the diet for normal fish growth and health. They often are not synthesized by fish, and must be supplied in the diet. As such, and due to complexity they are often purchased ready-made as a supplement to add to the feed
The two groups of vitamins are water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored by the body. Since they are eliminated in urine and require a continuous daily supply. These vitamins are easily destroyed or washed out during preparation or food storage, hence these are often added just before the completion of the pellet making process. They can also easily leech from the pellets if they are left floating in the tank for too long.
These vitamins include: the B vitamins, Choline, inositol, folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Vitamin C probably is the most important as it is a powerful antioxidant and helps the immune system in fish.
Biological Functions of Water Soluble Vitamins
Thiamine (B1), help with growth, digestion, fertility, nervous system, carbohydrate metabolism and oxidation of glucose
Thiamine is mostly found in whole-grain and enriched grain products like bread, pasta, rice, and fortified cereals. Cereals are often artificially enriched because the vitamin is lost during processing. Pork, liver, and other organ meats are naturally high in thiamine.
Riboflavin (B2), help with vision, enzyme functioning, energy metabolism, respiration of poorly vascularised tissues, metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Riboflavin is found in eggs, nuts, dairy products, meats, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, Brussel sprouts, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms, soybeans, green leafy vegetables it can also be found in whole-grain and enriched grain products like bread, pasta, rice, and fortified cereals
Pyridoxine (B6), helps with enzyme secretion, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
Pyridoxine can be found in Fortified ready-to-eat cereal, Chicken, Turkey, Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp, Beef liver, Milk, Cheese, Lentils, Beans, Spinach, Carrots, Brown rice, Bran, Sunflower seeds, Wheat germ, Bananas, Whole-grain flour
Pantothenic Acid (B5), helps with adrenal functioning, cholesterol production, normal physiology and metabolism,
Pantothenic Acid can be found in brewer’s yeast, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, beef (especially organ meats such as liver and kidney), turkey, duck, chicken, milk, split peas, peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, whole-grain breads and cereals, lobster, and wheat germ
Nicotinic Acid (niacin, B3) lipid, protein and amino acid metabolism
Niacin can be found in many foods including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains.
Biotin (H), enzyme secretion, purine and lipid synthesis, oxidation of lipids and carbohydrates,
Biotin can be found in meat and fish: Liver and kidney are considered to be among the best, beef, chicken, and fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna are some. Eggs and dairy
Folic Acid (M), blood cell formation, blood glucose regulation and various metabolisms
Folic Acid can be found in Dark leafy vegetables, Asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, avocado, okra, Brussels sprout seeds, nuts, cauliflower, beets, corn celery, carrots, squash
Cyanocobalamin (B12), enzyme systems, cholesterol metabolism
Cyanocobalamin can be found in lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Fish and red meat, poultry
Inositol helps with cell membrane permeability, structural component of skeletal, heart and brain tissue, growth of liver and bone marrow cells, liver lipid (cholesterol) transport, and synthesis of RNA.
Inositol can be found in lecithin (from sunflower seeds, soy, and eggs), brewer’s yeast, unrefined molasses, bananas, cantaloupe, blackberries, kiwi, citrus fruits , peaches, pears, nectarines, raisins, legumes (peas, beans, and peanuts), cabbage, okra, artichokes, collards, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, whole grains (brown rice, oats, wheat bran and germ), fish, organ meats,
Choline creates better growth and FCR, maintenance of cell structure and the transmission of nerve impulses, transport of lipid within the body.
Choline can be found in eggs, beef liver, legumes (beans, lintels), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, poultry, and fish
Vitamin C improves immune system function, increases absorption and utilization of iron, and acting as an antioxidant and balances the immune system for fish also reducing the effects of toxic chemicals in water and prevents negative effects of water temperature fluctuations.
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, fresh insects
The fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat before they are absorbed in the bloodstream to carry out their functions and include:
A vitamins, retinols (responsible for vision); the D vitamins, cholecalciferols (bone integrity); E vitamins, the tocopherols (antioxidants); and K vitamins such as menadione (blood clotting, skin integrity). Vitamin E has an important role as an antioxidant. Deficiency of vitamins presents themselves with specific symptoms most notably reduced growth.
Excesses of these vitamins are stored in the liver, and are not needed every day in the diet.
Recipe to a degree
(check your ratios of protein, carbs etc to match what type of fish you will be feeding)
Eggs 2 complete with shell.
Beef heart 500 gm ( cut off fat from Beef heart cut back to just the meat)
Fish 500 gm (you can get this from your local bait shop.)
Green Peas 250 gm
Spirulina 2 table spoons
Greens, blanch first to soften.
Spinach, Blanche first to soften.
Garlic helps the feed store for longer and is believed to act as a natural anti bacteria agent.
Blend into puree.
Combine all ingredients with a thickener I often use “wheat bricks (bix)” which is a breakfast cereal common here in Australia, as they have the additional vitamins you need and combines the puree very well.
Roll out like a pasty if you can, run through a pasta machine for consistent thickness then run through the spaghetti cutters cut to a short pellet size pieces, then boil the pieces as you would pasta .
Don’t forget that your are using meat, fish and maybe their by products, therefore you will need to cook you recipe to at least 65 degrees C to make sure you have destroyed any pathogens or parasites in your source food.
Extracted from the eBook “Guide to supplying your own fish food”
You can get the in depth information about what makes up the ingredients of what you are using to make your food and other tit bits and handy knowledge.