What’s in your fish food? How do you know you’re getting what you paid for? I’ll tell you an easy, cheap, instant test.

Just last week, I came across a brand of fish food with a proximate analysis stating a relatively high protein content of 33%.

Let me tell you the very quick, simple and free test you can do.

Most fish foods with protein content 30% or greater will have a fragrant fishy smell. And the reason for the fishy smell is that the major protein source is fish meal. A quick sniff of the product suggested the food is not quite what I expected. It instead, had a bread-like smell.

Most fish foods will list the ingredients. But this product does not provide a list. Why the omission?

I’ve seen and smelt fish food similar to this, and instead of fish meal as the major protein source, it listed soy and other plant proteins. Could fish meal have been substituted with plant protein? How good is plant protein for fish? Are terrestrial-sourced plant proteins as nutritious? Quite possibly not…

On further reading of the label, it states that it should NOT be fed to any ruminants since it contains restricted animal material.

What is this restricted animal material? Since the outbreak of mad cow disease in the UK that was linked to feeding ruminant protein back to ruminants, such practices are now banned. For a restriction like this to be on this fish food’s label suggests that there must be elements of ruminant protein. Is there a problem with feeding your fish terrestrial animal protein?

It is generally accepted that terrestrial animal proteins (and fats) are not ideal for fish as it is poorly utilised. Chronic health problems may arise as a result. But what will become more obvious in the short to medium term, is that the poorly assimilated foods will produce more wastes. More wastes will mean that you’ll be in a constant battle with severe algae problems.

So, next time you feed your fish, go ahead and do the Litmus test, smell the food… and I dare you to taste it too 😛

Are you getting what you’ve paid for?

Is it good enough for your fish?


Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology) Murdoch, MANZCVS (Aquatics& Pathobiology), CertAqV, CMAVA, NATA Signatory.
THE FISH VET, Perth, Western Australia.
Veterinary Medicine for fish.
W: http://www.thefishvet.com.au
E: thefishvet
P: +61 (0)421 822 383

President WAVMA.org

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