Weekly Update July 11, 2015

What happened to my fish feed!?!?!?!
I used to buy Aqua Max 4000 dense culture feed which was perfect for growing warm water omnivorous fish in recirculating aquaculture systems (complete feed with minimal problems of excess indigestible residues.) Well it was perfect except for the fact that it was definitely NOT organic and not always on the shelf.
Actually the “not always on the shelf” is actually a good thing so long as your feed store can put in an order for it with their normal weekly order and get it with the next delivery, usually that same week. You don’t actually want your fish food sitting on the shelf of a feed store warehouse for long because fish feed, being high in fish meal will go rancid faster than the other land animal feeds that are normally carried by feed stores. You want to be fairly certain the fish feed will be fresh.
Things have been going well for me the past 6 years picking up my fish feed from normally the same feed store. And now that aquaponics has become pretty popular around central Florida, they actually usually had it in stock so I didn’t even need to do the call a week ahead in order to make sure they would have some for me (though again that sometimes worried me.) But this past week we called to check, they only had one bag but told us they were unable to get more, so we picked up the one bag and I’m now searching for the cause of this change.
As noted, I usually get the Aqua Max 4000 Dense culture feed.
I’ve been to the Aqua Max Web site (It is a Purina Mills product.)
It looks like perhaps they have changed the name, from Dense Culture Feed to
Pond Fish though some of their charts may be out of date.
I see one chart that lists
Pond 2000
Pond Plus 3000
Dense 4000

And another list that goes
Pond Fish 2000
Pond Fish 4000

It looks like the 2000 has larger pellets than the 3000 and 4000. While the 2000 is 32% protein and the 3000 and 4000 are 36% protein.

32% protein is actually fine for channel catfish, amazingly enough tilapia actually need the higher protein level. And again the mostly grown channel catfish can also handle the larger pellets so I’m gonna have to call the feed store back and see if it is ALL the aquamax they are having trouble getting or if they could get the 2000 or 3000 while we wait and see what happened with the 4000 dense culture feed.

I am also searching for more “organic” fish feeds but so far all the options I’ve seen are WAY too expensive (I can’t pay 4 times as much per pound for the fish feed than I will be paid for the fish flesh once grown out.) And the one I tested out years ago had huge pellets that swelled up, broke apart and sank before my fish would eat it so wasn’t worth using anyway.

Now I’m wondering if I can come up with an efficient enough method of harvesting small encrustations to feed the catfish so I could skip the commercial feed all together, but then again, the complete commercial fish feed is also where the plant nutrients come from so I have to have something to go into the system if I want to see stuff come out.

2 comments to Weekly Update July 11, 2015

  • roy noblin

    i tried the 4000 but cost to much and no shelf life–SPORTSMAN’S CHOICE TROPHYFISH FEED in 25lb bag 36% 14.00 and tilapia, blue gill and shell cracker love it.
    i feed YFS Spirulina Flakes to fry until about 3 months then both for another month or two.

    • TCLynx

      I’ve not had a problem with the shelf life of the 4000 dense culture feed but I’ve always gotten it from a source where it was fresh and kept it in air tight bins. Granted for the past three years I’ve usually been going through one to three 50# bags a month so it doesn’t stick around long here. (by the cost you list for your feed, the 4000 that I’ve been getting isn’t that much more expensive though the price fluctuates greatly, over the years I’ve paid as little as $28 for a bag and as much as $48 depending on feed prices at the time and which feed store I get it from.)
      I’ve tried a few other feeds. The Aquamax 400 did not keep (it is meant for small fingerlings and is a starter/grower feed) and I didn’t really like it, I don’t think the higher protein % was actually digestible to the fish. I’ve used the pond diet from tractor supply but it really wasn’t appropriate to recirculating systems, it is just meant as a supplement to fish in a natural pond. And I used another game fish feed once when they were out of the 4000 but wasn’t that impressed by that either (again, probably meant as a supplement for fish in a natural pond.)

      When I have small fingerlings I’ll feed them a tropical fish flake food 46% protein until they are able to handle the pellets. They will spend some time getting crushed pellets mixed with the flake while I transition them over to just crushed pellets and whole pellets. Since I’m doing catfish, I am not hatching my own fry, I buy fingerlings from a local traditional fish farm.

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