Blog 2017 – 9: Food, Floating, Fry, and Future by Gary Hater


Ryukins, above need high protein, high fat pellets once they get 2-2.5”, breeders must also push the pellet size to 1.0mm-1.5mm. Without maximizing the size, the fish never get optimum in size and shape

We established in the previous blog, the key categories for measuring food contents by major subgroups; protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, ash and moisture. We also discussed that lower quality or vegetable proteins may require amino acid supplements. Seems easy until you figure out the better the protein quality the more the ingredient costs and the lower protein quality feeds may have too much fat or ash. Another point that is key is understanding that at different stages in life different amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and perhaps ash (the minerals).

As I am writing this I am thinking size also matters, I open my Facebook account, and a fellow goldfish keeper and breeder “Ranchu Jeff” is feeding his young Ranchu with a battery-operated pepper mill, grinding specialty Ranchu food for wen growth to his youngsters. I show it to my wife, here on the kitchen table, which is  The Goldfish Council corporate office and she says, “you guys, are all nuts”. She didn’t believe me when I told her I had to have that small volume pepper mill last year. So anyway, pellet size is coming up in a future blog.

I want to mention that TGC board members cannot endorse products or vendors ever. My personal choices are not disclosed and even purposely confused as I have a sample container or two that supplier have awarded me when I bought some equipment. My advice, learn to read the labels.

I went down to the fish room and then out to the garage for the storage refrigerator for libations and fish food and picked up some labels. I like to think of my pellets in two categories; baby or rearing foods and sub adult/adult foods. Below are some tables including most of the ten or so brands of pellet food I currently use. I have only listed the top four ingredients. Note, my adult fish get a staple food. These are supplemented with various specialty foods like color enhancing and conditioning foods.

Foods used by the author, by percent by category:

Fish Size Protein Fat Fiber Ash Comment
Fry 55 15 12 1.2 Key sizes
Baby 62 14 5 9 Color/growth
Baby 55 18 3 nl Brine transition
Sub Adult 35 5 6 nl
Sub Adult 47 15.5 2 8 growth
Adult 42 11 2 8 color
Adult 45 7 3 20* Color/probiotic

*This food is famous; I wonder if the high ash content is important because of the calcium and phosphorus it brings or it is just filler?

nl = not listed

When it comes to fish food you could have many goals in consideration; growing a wen, putting a hump on a Ryukin, getting fish deep red indoors, making Thai Black Ranchu Black, or to prevent floating of young fish. With all of these things to keep in mind you must choose food wisely. Here are some thoughts for food selection that affect what many people call grooming;

Enhanced trait or prevention Foods that are critical
Growing a wen Blood worms, plus an imported Ranchu food
Adding a hump to Ryukin at 1.5-2.5” High protein/high fat Krill pellet
Making black fish black indoors Constant light and color enhancing food
Prevent floating in telescopes at 1-2.5” Small pellets in small quantities that are low fat
End live brine shrimp feeding Start with 60 micron feed the first week of feeding live brine shrimp in small quantities, gradually move to 100 -200 micron (um)
Building thick peduncles High protein feed with lots of space.
Earthworm Pellets Perfect for getting reluctant fish to breed.

What ingredients are used in the foods you use? Once you label shop, you are often disturbed that your food maybe wrong or at least overpriced. If we take the same food products in the initial above table, here are the five primary ingredients.

Key thing for you to know is that ingredients are listed in order of the weight percent in the food formulation. If the fish ingredient is bread or offal/hydrolysate, you might ask why it costs whatever they are charging.

Description Ingredient










Fry marine fish/krill fish roe soy lecithin/yeast micro algae fish gelatin
Baby fish meal fish oil wheat gluten wheat flour krill meal
Baby fish meal fish oil crustacean meal algae Corn starch
Sub Adult green peas Fish meal Herring meal Kelp meal Shrimp meal
Sub Adult fish meal krill meal fish oil wheat blood meal
Adult whole salmon halibut seafood mix wheat flour wheat gluten
Adult fish meal wheat germ soy bean meal dried brewer’s yeast wheat starch

The above listing is incomplete. Putting all the goodies in this table is too tedious for a blog. My intentions are to help you decide if you should spend $10 a pound or $30 a pound for food. I buy an adult staple product that is similar to food number six on the table. Find an everyday nutritious food you can afford and buy specialty foods for growth and conditioning. I believe that all prepared foods have fillers to equalize the price pound and in many cases, soak up the juicy ingredients (oils and fish guts) prior to extrusion so they can get a stable non-crumbling pellet. I have read a lot about gluten, not sure it is digestible, but it is necessary for keeping pellets together.

Below is a sample label of a typical commercial food label. The Brand is removed, check out the additives, these are important. Trace nutrients, color enhancers, and preservatives guarantee that the foods are not stale.

Min. Crude Protein……………….……42% Ingredients: Whole Salmon, Halibut, Seafood Mix (including Krill, Rockfish, & Shrimp), Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Fresh Kelp, Astaxanthin, Zeaxanthin, Lecithin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Phosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Natural and Artificial Colors, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement,   Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Choline Chloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Inositol, Tocopherol (Preservative), Ethoxyquin (Preservative)
Min. Crude Fat………………………….11%
Max. Crude Fiber…………………..2%
Max. Moisture…………………………8.5%
Max. Ash……………………………………….8%
Min. Phosphorus…………………….0.5%
Min. Omega 3…………………………….1%
Min. Omega 6………………………….0.5%

This is a nice description of what you are buying. Sorry for the cut and paste, just trying to treat all vendors the same.

Next time we are going to discuss optimizing size and growth. I hope you find this helpful and the tables didn’t make your head hurt. Breeding season is in full throttle for the indoor culturists.

Many thanks for reading!