Tetra Holiday Blocks launched
Tetra has cured one of many retailers' pet hates in producing its latest food - it's produced a holiday food that doesn't pollute the tank and isn't based on Plaster-of-Paris.
Most of the competing holiday foods on the market contain dried pellet or flake foods inside a Plaster-of-Paris block which is added to the aquarium or pond and slowly dissolves to release food into the water to keep the fish well-fed while you are away from home. At least, that's the idea.
In practise, the Plaster-of-Paris blocks leave a messy residue in the aquarium, alter the chemistry of the water and provide little or no nutrition for the fish. As a result, they're more or less universally hated by fishkeeping experts and even many of the retailers who sell them, who typically recommend an automatic feeder instead.
Tetra's new and patented Holiday Blocks, look a little like expensive pots of cat food and come in gold foil containers on a display card. Inside is a firm, dark brown gel-based food which is designed to be added to the aquarium whole, allowing the fish to graze while you are on holiday.
Rupert Bridges of Tetra told Practical Fishkeeping: "We wanted something that was suitable for up to two weeks that wasn't a plaster block. The Plaster blocks alter the water chemistry, and quite frankly, there's no nutritional value to them. We tasked R&D with coming up with a product that would last two weeks, wouldn't alter the water chemistry and was completely edible.
"What you've got is a product that's not a million miles away from Tetra FreshDelica, being gel-based. The gel contains Daphnia, with various added vitamins. And the idea is that they can eat all of it, and if they don't eat it, it's not going to pollute the water or anything. It's not too nutrient dense. It's not a complete diet, as it only contains Daphnia, but it's enough to see them through two weeks."
Bridges says that he doesn't believe the new food is particularly prone to fungus or decomposition within the aquarium, and certainly not to the extent of its Holiday Sticks, which even come with a warning explaining this on the packet. And, because the food is based on Daphnia, which has a protein content of just 3%, it's unlikely to pollute the aquarium.
Tetra says that some retailers are already using the product to provide a food source for loricariids, which allows them to graze slowly as they would in nature. The foods come in a tropical and coldwater version and will retail from around 2.95 per pot.