Nathan Hill checks out an interesting new range of dried insects and flake foods for fish...
Even if it’s unusual for fish to get bored of the same foods, I know we feel better for spicing things up for our livestock.
Natures Grub is a superb selection of dried insects and flake foods for fish, even if I am hijacking a few examples from their ranges intended for some other animals.
As well as individual treats, like dried maggots or crickets, I’m taken by the tropical fish insect mix, which is a blend of Gammarus, Daphnia, Tubifex, krill, bloodworm, brineshrimp and waterfly.
Having a protein level of 52% you’d want to be quite sparing, but for insectivorous and omnivorous fishes this stuff just gets guzzled down. The floating nature of the food makes it ideal for surface dwellers too, like hatchets, but mid-water swimmers get the idea soon enough — as they do with flake foods.
There’s a mix of food sizes in the pot, making it great for the community, but if you have mouths of specific sizes you might invest in one of the specific lines.
The dried maggots are an ideal size for medium to large tetra, as well as dwarf cichlids, and, after a hesitant start, they soon indulge.
As they’re dried they’re much smaller than live maggots, which are big for smaller mouths. These would need to be an occasional treat, though, as at 25% fat (almost ten times the amount of one branded flake food) fish can easily cram on the grams.
For larger insect eaters such as young arowana, there are dried crickets, but, again, at a protein level of almost 60% they could put strain on biological filters if over used. I like the way that the crickets are whole, not dust as I’ve seen in the past with other attempts at this food.
Dried fish are available, comprising a medley of species I struggle to identify. My only concern here is the inconsistency of size, with as many tiny 1cm/0.4" fish as there are 5cm/2" beasts. This is great if you have a mix of fish sizes to feed, but not so for a single specimen.
I’m particularly keen to explore the use of waterfly, which seems to have drifted over from the bird feed market. Their size, at about 5-6mm, lends them perfectly to smaller cichlids, like the maggots, but with a protein of 49% and a fat content at 11%, they have potential for aquarists trying to get fish into spawning condition. I’ll be trying them out to this effect in the near future.
The range also includes flake and stick blends, with a greener option containing 6% Spirulina, a krill flake, and a mixture for cichlids – although whether these are for carnivorous or herbivorous cichlids isn’t clarified.
The range is definitely worth a look, especially if you have troublesome feeders.
My only reservation is the use of clear pots for the foods, which can be problematic regarding vitamin depletion. I’d store these foods in a cool and dark place.
The whole range is blasted with gamma radiation, like some frozen foods, and so there’s no chance of pathogenic contamination through feeding.
If you’re like me and prone to experimenting then you’ll adore the range. They’re cheap across the board and if I’m worried about the pots being clear then I can stick them in a different tub.
Prices: These vary widely, but examples include 60g dried maggots at £2.54, 60g tropical fish insect mix at £4.68 and 90g waterfly at £3.67.
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