Want to know how the products on sale really perform? We put them through their paces so you can sort the good from the bad.
Product: Gel diet range
Tester: Steve Baker
Test duration: 7 months
RRP: £13.99 for 85g pack
More info: fangpet.com
In my opinion, gel foods should be far more popular in the aquatics hobby than they are.
Yes, there’s more work involved than just unscrewing a lid and dropping some pellets or flakes in your tank, but I think the bonuses well out-way the preparation time.
I’ve been using a range of gel foods from American nutrition business – Fang – from April to October. Not exclusively, but for the vast bulk of my feeding and it’s cost me a whacking three minutes per week to make up a new batch.
To be fair, feeding Fang foods has occupied more than six minutes of my time each week. Not because of preparation time but because feeding time is more fun, and because I like to mess about with different ways of feeding/preparing. That’s one reason I really enjoy gel foods – they’re highly adaptive. I’ve been mixing the diets, toying with the mixture ratio, smearing it on different objects and mixing it with substrate for fish that naturally sift a mouthful of sand when chowing down.
More importantly, gel foods avoid the manufacturing processes of flake and pellet foods. Avoiding the pressures and draw-out heating of dry diet manufacture means nutrients are far less compromised. Spirulina is particularly delicate in this sense and its inclusion in these gel foods make much more sense than in dried foods - even cold extruded foods.
There’s also a bonus for the environment here because a small pack of mix makes a much larger batch of ready to eat food – so transporting the product is more efficient.
So that’s my case for getting in to gel foods, but why Fang?
Well they’ve certainly hit the market at the right level. Compared to other gel foods you can find you’ll be paying near enough the same money per gram. And remember, when you purchase a 85g pouch of mix, it’s going to make up 450g of food.
There’s a good selection of diets including Tropical omnivore, Pleco, Cichlid diet and Marine omnivore for us fishy lot (they also offer Aquatic turtle, Bearded dragon and Feeder insect diets) and I’m told there are a lot more varieties in the pipeline.
The ingredients listed for each diet are great. Black soldier fly larvae isn’t a rare ingredient in modern, prepared fish foods but it is highly desirable and quality can be variable. Fang have sourced a high grade of fly larvae – fed on human grade waste foods – and they’ve used it as the main protein source in three of the four fish diets, supported by Menhaden fish meal and freeze dried Krill.
It’s the inclusion of items like sun dried Alfalfa meal, Dandelion leaves, kelp and marigold flowers that interests me the most. It also seems to interest and agree with my fish. Immediately all my fish showed enthusiasm – not surprising as most are well used to different types of prepared foods. However, for some very young Golden Rudd this was the first time they actually ate after being moved from a mature pond to an aquarium for a short period. That includes trying them on different frozen foods for several days beforehand.
Some great information came my way once I had contacted Brent Seggars, Master of sciences and research biologist for Fang. Asking after the nutritional values of a few included ingredients, I was well informed of the reasons and the biological benefits of each, and thoroughly convinced of the ‘no filers’ marketing label.
My fish have shown great health and vitality while being fed largely on Fang foods. Levels of waste have been very low and there has been no clouding of the water at all (except when toying with texture and getting it wrong). I’ve been feeding a mixture of 50/50 Marine omnivore and pleco for my omnivorous fish that naturally sway to the vegetation side of things. I like this ability, to hone the diet mix for particular species but Fang themselves will be doing that further for us soon, given that more diet mixes are on the way…
I’ve enjoyed using the Fang gel foods. My fish are in great health and have been fed in more interesting ways than is possible with pellets, granules or flakes. Compared directly with established, top quality gel foods – Fang diets hold up admirably.
Ease of use: 3/5