Review: A la Carte tinned fish foods from Aquarium Systems

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Not freeze dried fish foods, but proper wet foods, in a tin!

Nathan Hill tries out these tinned alternatives to frozen fish foods, and gets a pleasant surprise.


I completely misjudged what was going to be in these tins, and how good it all was. At a glance, I expected some kind of dry food, freeze dried inverts, maybe. 

Then I spied the fork on top of each tin, and my mind turned to tuna lunch kits from supermarkets — those premium tins they offer that nobody ever seems to buy. 

Opening up the tins was like uncovering some ancient secret. Inside each one is densely packed, perfectly preserved wet food. 

Let me dwell on the quality here, because it’s exceptional. My biggest gripe with frozen foods is that they become damaged in storage. When I get a blister pack of, say, Artemia, there’ll be bits of shell, torn off legs, stray heads and so on. Once defrosted and in the tank, it’s making a mess.

With the tinned equivalent, there is zero transport and preservation damage. I imagine I could go through the whole 100g with tweezers, extracting one brine shrimp at a time, and each one would be perfectly formed. 

As well as being perfectly formed, they’re perfectly coloured too. There’s nothing anaemic about the way the contents have been stored. 

They all smell great too. There’s nothing pungent or ‘dead’ emanating from the tins. To all intents and purposes, they could all be asleep and not dead, they look that fresh. 

To be sure, it isn’t all plain sailing. Aquarium Systems makes a curious claim with the packaging. ‘Double the quality of frozen food’ is how it’s worded, and after brooding on it, on and off for a week, I’ve still no idea what that means. How do we quantify quality? 

Another claim is ‘will not cloud aquarium water’, which just sounds like a challenge to me. Give me ten tubs of it, a nano tank, hold my drink and watch what I can do…

However, they can claim a somewhat exclusive take on sterilising the food, using their ‘heat steam technology’ as an alternative to the radiation favoured by some other
brands’ foods. 

Out of the tin, Aquarium Systems assures food that is virus, fungus, bacteria and parasite free — so you’re feeding something as nutritious as live food with zero associated risk. 

Each tin is 100g, but it looks a lot more once you open it up and start using it. It’s like noodles from a Chinese takeaway — the more you consume, the more it seems to grow. 

You can reseal the lids with a plastic preserver (supplied) and keep it in a fridge after opening, but for the life of me I cannot remember what the active life is once the airtight seal is broken — I shared mine with a fellow fishkeeper and between us we nailed all tins inside a week. 

Value wise, that makes each tin slightly pricier than an equivalent packet of quality frozen food, But personally I prefer the consistency of this by a long way. Whereas my frozen foods always feel mulchy once defrosted, these are as firm as it gets. 

The only thing I would say is that the bloodworm are huge things, compared to most of the flimsy, skinny things I get sold. I watched some mid-sized Corydoras try to eat them, and eventually give up because they couldn’t fit them in their mouths. Perfect for bigger cichlids though.

Verdict

If you use a lot of fresh foods but struggle with the availability of live, then stock up on these. Your fish will thoroughly enjoy them.

Price: 100g tins currently retailing at £3.49 each. 

More info: www.arcadia-aquatic.com