Hobbyists who have multiple tanks or multiple fish, often fret about the costs of raising fish, both freshwater and marine, due to the steadily increasing costs of fish food.
Purchasing fish food in bulk is the most economical way to raise aquarium fish, especially exotics, but before you go and buy your next batch of fish food it is important to know if fish food expires, how to keep it fresh and get answers to more related questions. Continue reading to know more.
Does Fish Food Expire?Just like other semi-perishable products, fish food expires as well. Most packets of fish food, have both a batch number and an expiry date on the packet. The expiry date also known as the shelf life, is the amount of time the food can be used safely without having to worry about it losing its nutritional value.
While most new hobbyists believe that the expiry date has to be followed to the letter, in reality this isn’t necessarily the case.
Most avid hobbyists, who have experience in keeping fish, don’t throw out the food on the exact expiry date, instead they use the expiry date of the food as an approximate estimate to know how to store the food before hand so that it retains its freshness and doesn’t develop moisture up to 3 months after expiry.
Using sealed food packets after they have expired is also safe as long as you haven’t crossed the 3 month mark and the packet hasn’t been damaged in any way during storing.
If in case insects have gotten into the food while storing, then it would be advisable to throw out the food rather than using it. The same rule applies for mold and other moisture related organisms that might have reduced the efficiency of sealed or opened foods after the expiry date.
While fish food can be used for up to 3 months post the date of expiry, the levels of effectiveness might reduce after 2 months of expiry. Always try and buy food with a later expiry date, especially when buying in bulk.
How To Keep Fish Food Fresh For Longer Periods?
Using air tight containers (link to amazon) that can be fitted on tightly or screwed on securely, zip lock bags(link to amazon) and storing the food in cool, dark places that are devoid of moisture can help in maintaining the freshness of pellet based foods. Remembering to always tightly fasten the lid of the container after every feeding is a good action plan as well.
For frozen foods, such as cubes of bloodworms, using zip lock bags is the best way to go. Frozen foods should preferably be fed by the expiry date or soon after that.
For homemade foods a simple thumb rule to follow is to finish the food within 2 weeks of making it, provided it has been frozen and not merely refrigerated.
Can Silica Packets Be Used To Ensure Fish Food Stays Fresh For Longer Periods Of Time?
Most fish food manufacturers insert one silica packet into the food packets before sealing it and sending it out for sales. This is done to ensure a longer shelf life and that the food doesn’t get spoiled before the expiry date. If the silica packets are sealed and intact then yes these can be used to prevent a build up of moisture in the fish food.
You can also buy your own silica gel packets(link to amazon) to ensure that fish food bought in bulk stays fresh for a longer period of time. Using 1-2 extra silica packets per 2 pounds of fish food should do the trick.
Remember that silica packets can only be used to store pellet based foods and not frozen foods and bloodworms, or other meaty treats. Garlic extract can be used in frozen foods to increase the shelf life of frozen homemade foods.
Does Koi and Goldfish Food Expire?
Yes, just like other fish foods, koi and goldfish pellet based foods expire as well. Brands such as Hikari Saki and Hikari Wheat Germ, usually come in larger packs, are more economical but have a later expiry date. If you are planning to buy Koi and Goldfish food in bulk especially online, then consider speaking to the seller to know the expiry date. Storing and preserving the food in a cool, dark environment in air tight containers can help.
An interesting fact about Hikari Wheat Germ Pellets for Kois is that the wheat germ kernel contains higher levels of added vitamins and minerals which ensures enhanced levels of nutrition. This can in turn lead to an excellent benefit of your koi having a stronger immune system and suffering from lesser immune system health related infections.
A good trick to store large amounts of koi food is to, use multiple containers to ensure that majority of the food that isn’t being used at the moment retains its freshness and moisture and only put in a week or two’s quantity in a small box that will be opened on a daily basis.
Are There Any Tips and Tricks To Use Left Over Fish Food?
If you don’t want to waste left over fish food that is close to the expiry date then you can make a batch of home made fish food, using pellets, vegetables such as peas, carrots and any seafood like prawns and fish.
Remember that beef, goat and other non-seafood hearts are not recommended for freshwater and marine fish. Using a bit of water as well as Vitamin C tablets and Garlic extract can make your home made food both palatable and nutritious for your beloved aquarium fish.
Which Is The Most Nutritious Brand Of Fish Food For Flowerhorns?
Experts often use a simple formula for the best results. The main diet should consist of a base amount of 75% pellets, 25% meaty treats. The pellet base diet should consist of 2 types of pellets, usually one to enhance pearls and colors, the other to speed up overall development.
A high protein diet while preferred by most hobbyists, isn’t safe in the long run. A high protein diet can lead to expedited growth and progress but often takes a toll on the flowerhorn’s health after a while, where in the organs start failing and the kok drops especially when the protein intake is reduced.
A balance diet that consists of medium protein pellets, enhancing pellets with natural ingredients such as Spirulina and Anasthaxin can help with steady progress. Hikari Cichlid Excel has spirulina which helps with the pearl growth and shine of flowerhorns, Hikari Blood Red Parrot Pellets has Marigold and Anasthaxin for enhanced colours, and Hikari Cichlid Bio Gold Plus has the right protein count for both your flowerhorn and most types of cichlids. JBL Cichlid Novo Sticks food is also a good staple pellet brand for flowerhorns and other cichlids.
Are There Any Pellets To Boost The Immunity Of Fish?
Yes! New Life Spectrum Thera A + A Pellets have an ingredient list that consists of digestible krill, herring, Beta Carotene, Spirulina, Vegetable and Fruit Extract, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement and squid protein as well as garlic extract to enhance digestion and overall immunity. The colour enhancing formula is also hormone free, all natural and helps with overall development.
The garlic extract in this food acts as a de-worming ingredient, which is all natural and also ensures a later expiry date compared to other foods.
While this food cannot be used as a medication to treat digestive issues, it can certainly be used as a preventive measure to help your cichlids and other fish digest food easily and have a parasite-free digestive track. This formula is usually used for freshwater fish, but can also be used for many types of marine fish.
Starving your fish for one day a week can also help them clear their digestive track and keep many digestive issues at bay.