Are Organic, Natural, and Live Foods a Gimmick or a Smarter Way To Feed Your Fish and Corals?
Everyone's excited about natural and organic food these days, and with good reason.
Dietary research is showing that fresh minimally processed foods retain more of their original nutritional value that go beyond taste. Essential vitamins, enzymes, anti-oxidants, flavonoids and other nutritional components work best when they are consumed in their natural ratios and original forms. It seems the best foods are natural, organic to minimize traces of pesticides and hormones, and elimination of non-food additives like colors, flavors and preservatives.
This trend has extended into the realm of fish and coral foods and it is more than a gimmick.
Fish and coral health hinges on good water quality, lighting, and nutrition. We can monitor and adjust water conditions. High-quality lighting is available in LED and traditional fixtures. But until now, we've had to feed mostly manufactured and artificially formulated feed products.
But that is changing.
We're excited to see food manufacturers roll out new innovative foods with less additives or more natural ingredients. Take a look at these new foods for fish and reef aquariums.
New Life Spectrum fish foods are known for high-quality ingredients. A recent change in the formulation led to the introduction of the Naturox series of fish foods. Formulated without soybean meal, artificial colors and flavors, NLS foods contain only natural food ingredients. You may not know it but many pelleted foods use starches to "puff up" the pellets, making them expand with air. You get a container-full of pellets but it can be a lot of "cheese puff" air space in each pellet, not nutrition. Pellets need a binder to hold the ingredients together in the pelleting process. A tiny amount of bentonite clay is added to bind the pellets. The clay passes through the fish and studies indicate it can reduce ammonia production by the fish. NLS foods are denser than many puffed pellets. Each pellet is loaded with nutrition, not air. The other big news is NLS does not use the preservative ethoxyquin. Many pet foods are eliminating this controversial chemical and opting for natural preservatives. Naturox is an anti-oxidant preservative based on tocopherols (vitamin E). Naturox protects against degradation of the nutritional qualities of the food without using synthetic preservatives. NLS foods also have squid in addition to krill protein sources, providing all the amino acids required for fish health and vitality.
NYOS, known for German reef-keeping ingenuity, has introduced three very unique marine foods. Wild Goji Organic Fish Food is a 100% certified organic food for ornamental saltwater fish. The medium-sized pelleted food has a soft texture that appeals to tangs, damsels, angels, blennies and clownfish. Made with fish meal, soja cake, wheat, sunflower oil, and hempseed oil and other natural ingredients, the pellets have a bright red appearance from goji berries! Goji berries contains vitamins and color-enhancing carotenes. True Algae Organic Fish Food is a blend of organic high-quality wakame, chlorella, spirulina algae formed into a soft medium-sized pellet. Other ingredients include fish meal, wheat, sunflower oil, aloe vera juice, pumpkin seed oil and vitamin E, zinc, A, D3. NYOS foods contain no artificial colors or flavors and are free of GMO ingredients and pesticides. We recently created a video series all about NYOS foods that we definitely encourage you to watch if you're interested in learning more about their entire lineup and how to feed them to your wet pets.
Live foods have always been considered the ideal food source for reef tanks. Live marine zooplankton are perfect for corals and small reef fish, but raising plankton cultures at home is not practical for many aquarists. Fortunately, AlgaGen provides live cultures of Tisbe copepods and zooxanthellae algae. Reef Pods reanimate once placed in your aquarium. They'll graze on algae and serve as a nutritious live food for fish, corals and other filter feeders. ReefPods are the go-to food for pipefish, blennies, gobies and seahorses. Rich in essential fatty acids and enzymes, they boost the adsorption of nutrients and stimulate growth. PhycoPure zooxanthellae are the same algae that live in the tissue of numerous corals, clams and certain jellyfish, providing oxygen and carbohydrates to their host. The algae also create the various colors we see in corals and other invertebrates. Under stressful conditions these invertebrates expel their algae. To survive, live zooxanthellae must be reintroduced into their tissue. Use PhycoPure zooxanthellae to restore and maintain corals and other invertebrates that rely on this symbiotic algae for survival.
Frozen foods have been around a long time but not all are the same. Behind the "far out" packaging is a serious guy who makes frozen foods he would want to feed his own fish and corals. Instead of using "junk fish" leftovers from processing plants, Rod's foods contain only whole animal, high-quality ingredients. He believes frozen foods should be 100% food, so he skips the gels and other unneeded binders your fish and inverts don't need. We like that all of Rod's Food are made with care in his US facility where he keeps an eye on ingredients and freshness. There are 13 varieties of Rod's Food to choose from ranging from coral foods to fish-only predator blends. Rod's Food are the coolest frozen foods! Be sure to read our interview with Rod Buehler, owner of Rod's Food, about the gourmet ingredients in his foods, clownfish breeding, coral farming, philanthropy, education, and the cool retro design of his product packaging!
Feed Your Fish and Corals The Very Best
There's no question that natural, organic, live, and fresh-frozen foods have better nutritional value compared to highly processed, artificial food products. Proper nutrition is a key component in keeping captive fish, corals and other marine life in aquariums.
If you want to give your tank the very best in care, be sure to try out these new organic, preservative-free fish and coral diets. You're sure to see the difference they make!