DIY Fish Food
Have you considered making your own frozen food for fish and corals? It is a great way to save money or come up with a custom recipe if you are looking to feed animals with hard to find nutritional requirements.
Cost Savings of Home-Made Food
Typically an 8oz package of frozen food can range from $10-$20 at a the local fish store. That translates to about $20-$40 per pound. Unless you are making fish food from something like 100% sea bass and lobster, it would be difficult to find ingredients at a local market this expensive. Most sea food is well under $20/lb. and the ingredients shown in the video above are under $5/lb.
The other factor to consider is not everything in a package of frozen food is actually fresh sea food. Sometimes there are binders added to affect the consistency of the product as well as added water content. This makes sense because when you are trying to make a commercial product, as it is important to consider shelf life so stores aren’t stuck with a product that goes bad after a week or so.
Also, some of the herbivore blends contain terrestrial vegetables like carrots, garlic, or broccoli. I’m sure these are fine ingredients but again, consider that you are paying a premium for these ingredients.
Having said that, there is something to be said for convenience and practicality. 8oz of food lasts quite a long time in smaller aquariums. Months even depending on how often one feeds. For those hobbyists, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to make 10 lbs of food to save a few dollars.
Cost aside, being able to customize the food for your specific tank inhabitants is also an advantage. For example, some fish like copper band butterflies do not do well long term in home aquariums because they are bought to take care of aiptasia and once they clean a tank they run out of food sources. It turns out they really like eating a variety of worms, so if you have a butterfly, you could incorporate some different worms into the mix. In general, it is nice to know exactly what is going into the food and that you are able to use fresh ingredients.
This blend we made mainly of fish and shrimp purchased at the local market. In the future, I plan on incorporating some mysis and krill. Those are super healthy for the animals, and can be purchased in bulk online. I’m not as big a fan of brine shrimp because from what I understand they have almost no nutritional value.
Meat Grinder vs. Food Processor
To turn all this into fish food we used a 1 HP #22 meat grinder. You can use a blender or food processor as well for smaller batches. In the past, I made the food using a food processor but found it to be very messy and slow. The nice thing about a meat grinder like this is it processes the food just about as fast as you can feed it down the tube. The step in the process that takes the longest is just preparing the food before you turn on the machine.
One thing I learned from doing a couple batches is I like to feed the food though the machine twice to get the consistency I want. The first pass is just a little too chunky for my liking.
Have you tried making your own sea food mix for your aquarium? If so, please share your favorite recipe!