Tips for Growing or Making your Own Tank Food
A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist's readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication. This month's Hot Tip theme is "Christmas Wishlist and Why You Want and/or Need It."
Hot Tips: Tips for Growing or Making your Own Tank Food
Here is one way to make your own food for your reef tank.
- ~2 c. Uncooked, de-shelled fresh shrimp
- ~1/2 c. Uncooked, frozen "white" fish (any type of non-fatty, white ocean fish is good... flounder, whitefish, etc)
- ~1/2 c. Uncooked, fresh mussel or clam or oyster or combination
- 1 full sheet Nori (unsalted, unspiced, dried)
- 1 tsp Selcon (Selco)
- 1 tsp lemon juice (to preserve and provide vitamin C)
- Many other items can be thrown in for variety. A mixture of prepared retail foods is common, brine shrimp, greenwater, vitamins, etc. Just be certain to use high quality foods.
To prepare the food, keep out ~1/2 c of the shrimp, combine all others except nori in a blender. Add fresh saltwater (or microwave (to boiling) some tank water to use) and blend until smooth. Add nori, chop, but don't completely blend into oblivion. Chop remaining shrimp into small pieces by hand, ~1-4mm in size, add to the mash and combine, but don't blend thoroughly. If the blend is too thick, add more salt water. Another option is to add concentrated phytoplankton (such as DTs).
Spoon/pour the mash into individual ziplock baggies (usually 4-6 of them) and lay flat in the freezer (I use a baking pan until they are semi-solid to prevent them from being really thick in spots). Be careful not to make it too thick in the baggies as its hard to break apart later. This keeps it in a few batches that should last if well sealed.
To use the food: Break off (typically can snip off pieces, if its not too thick, by hand) and defrost the food in a cupful of tank water. You can either leave it whole and let the fish tear it apart or do as I do and create a snowstorm out of it by allowing it to defrost and then using a turkey baster to break it all apart in the cup. All of the various particle sizes allow all of your animals (corals and detritivores) to feed.
Submitted by: Wade