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Home Cooking Your Own Frozen Fishfood

by Martin Thoene last modified Sep 02, 2007 09:42 PM
By: Martin Thoene
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Why make my own Fish-Food?

My reason for making my own fish-food is one of economics. I have a lot of fish and my Clown Loaches particularly are large enough that the 10 of them consume a lot of food. This gets expensive. A large flat of Frozen Bloodworm costs me around $24 CDN by the time the government has taxed me to death. So I ration the amount I feed which means that I have to substitute other expensive foods. Their love for Hikari Sinking Carnivour Pellets sees a bulk-bought tub of these costing $20 CDN disappear in about a month, plus other food such as Hikari Algae Wafers.

So I was looking for a way of saving money whilst still providing my fish with a healthy diet containing multiple nutrients. Years ago, I discovered this recipe in a copy of Tropical Fish Hobbyist. A guy was bringing Congo Tetras into breeding condition on it, but he discovered that all his various fish species loved the food.

I have modified the original recipe to bring in a few other ingredients, but the basics are the same. The thing to remember is that there's nothing particularly exotic in this mix and it is all human food bought from Supermarkets. A lot of it came from a really cheap Thai Supermarket, but careful shopping can get you the ingredients at reasonable prices.

Here are the Ingredients

Bamboo cane, horizontal (no leaves)

I have included the cost of the blender because at the juncture I made this batch I needed to buy one anyway. It astronomically increases the total cost of this batch of food, but when you look at the broken down cost it actually still looks a very attractive deal.

Preparing Frozen Food 1

I'm including the cost of the blender in this batch. At the end I'll do a cost breakdown per flat of food produced. If you own a blender already this cost is not one you will have.

1) Black & Decker BL 4900.............................$79.77

2) 0.9 lb of Clam meat.................................. $3.99  (I have used Snail flesh too)

3) 1.56 lb of Pollock Fillet (or other White Fish)....$2.48

4) 2 packets of Gelatin to set the mixture.
@ $2.39 for 4 sachets, we'll use 6, so...........$3.58

5) 1 can of original V8 juice...........................$0.99

6) 2 340g packs of cooked Cocktail Shrimp.....$5.00

7) 300g chopped, frozen Spinach....................$0.97

8 ) 1/2 tsp of garlic paste (not including this price...negligible)

9) 1 Banana..................................................$0.17

10) 0.9 lb of Beef Liver...................................$0.91

TOTAL COST..................................................$97.86

Less Blender cost...........................................$18.09

If you already own a blender obviously that cost is not part of the equation, but even with it included here I got 9 flats of food from this batch and that means each cost me only $10.87 CDN.

Without the blender cost that works out to $2.01 CDN per flat!

Makes the Bloodworm look ridiculously expensive.

Method of Preparation

Bamboo cane, horizontal (no leaves)

First make sure that all ingredients are fully defrosted. Use the liquid contained in the bags as extra liquid is required and this contains lots of goodness from the contents.

You need a large saucepan to contain all the ingredients.

First, liquidize the cooked shrimp in the blender. Add some of the packaging liquid to ease mixing. This will give you something like this. It is probably at about this stage that those with weak stomachs should look away.

Preparing Frozen Food 2

Next, liquidize the White Fish.

Preparing Frozen Food 3

Then pop the Beef Liver into the blender with a little V8 juice and liquidize. Right now you have something like a Dracula Cocktail.

Preparing Frozen Food 4

And pour into the saucepan with the other liquid ingredients.

Preparing Frozen Food 5

You will find that it is very heavy and sinks to the bottom.

Next, liquidize the Clam or Snail flesh.

Preparing Frozen Food 6

And pour into the saucepan with the other liquid ingredients (YUMMY!)

Preparing Frozen Food 7

Add some V8 to the Spinach and liquidize.

Preparing Frozen Food 8

Comes out very green.

Preparing Frozen Food 9

Break up the Banana, add and liquidize.

Preparing Frozen Food 10

Add this mix to the saucepan.

Preparing Frozen Food 11

Starting to fill up. At this stage, add a half teaspoon of either crushed garlic or paste.

Garlic is a strong attractant.

Now working from the bottom, blend all the ingredients together. Because the Liver settled at the bottom, its strong red color gives a good guide to how well your mixing is working. Ensure that the mix has an even color and texture.

Preparing Frozen Food 12

Place on a low heat and, stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. The mixture will subtlly change color as the White fish and Liver cook. It is important that the Liver cooks thoroughly as it may easily foul aquarium water if not fully cooked.

Preparing Frozen Food 13

Boil at least 2 cups of water and dissolve the 6 sachets of Gelatin. Pour into mixture and blend in very thoroughly. It is important to get an even mixing or areas of the mix may not set correctly.

Let the boiled mixture stand for a while to cool. You will be touching the mixture through a bag, so avoid burns.

For packaging and ease of use I use these Ziploc bags that self seal and unlock. This makes operation when frozen easy.

Preparing Frozen Food 14

Fill the bag this amount with hot mixture. I find that 6 large serving spoons is the right amount. Partially close the bag.

Preparing Frozen Food 15

Lay the bag on a flat work-surface and spread the mixture with the side of your hand up to the dotted line level. Evacuate any air from the bag, then zip shut. Then you can further spread the mixture to fill the bag.

Preparing Frozen Food 16

You are looking for a fairly even thickness like this.

Preparing Frozen Food 17

I got 9 bags out of this batch. Lay them on a flat surface to cool.

Preparing Frozen Food 18

Once cooled to room temperature, place all the bags onto a flat supporting surface that will fit in your freezer. I use a glass cutting board, but any flat cutting board or baking sheet will work. I lay them alternately.

Preparing Frozen Food 19

Place the bags on the flat surface in a supported horizontal position in the freezer.

Preparing Frozen Food 20

Once frozen, they may be removed from the flat support and stored vertically. That way they do not take up a lot of room.

To use this food.

Bamboo cane, horizontal (no leaves)

If you do not make the thickness of the mixture within the bag too great it is quite easy to break off a chunk. I generally hold the frozen piece under water in the aquarium I am feeding till it thaws. The Gelatin keeps the mixture together when thawed and it sinks once defrosted so it is ideal for bottom-feeders

My fish took to this food really well when I first made it. Some fish may take a little while to get used to it. All my fish go absolutely crazy for the stuff now. I feed it to Botiine loaches, Hillstream Loaches, Schistura species, Cichlids, Corydoras.....they all love it.

Martin Thoene

Bamboo cane, horizontal (no leaves)

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