-Protein is what your cells are made of. If it’s a cell, it is made of protein. The most numerous cells that are made of, and thus supply the most protein are muscle cells. But one must also remember that red blood cells and infection fighting white cells are also made of protein. People forget that these red and white cells have a finite life span in the blood stream and must be remade. How does the fish replace these cells in winter when it’s not eating? Very difficult. This is one reason why Spring is often fraught with disease.
Protein is the “stuff” of muscles and so is harvested from animals in their muscle. When we eat protein in the form of beef, well, you get the idea. Beef muscle. ‘Kay.
Studies have been done which compared the digestion and assimilation of protein in fish. They tested chicken protein, fish protein, plant protein, beef protein, pork, etc. And you will NOT be surprised to know that fish proteins were the BEST digested and assimilated. Fish eat fish. This makes sense because the incidence of fish leaping onto shore and eating cows is very, very low to non-existent. Fish are adapted to the consumption of others in their food chain. So fish proteins are the best for fish. Cool.
So when you look at a bag of food and the first ingredient is “Wheat”. Again, you get the picture. Wheat is not equal to fish protein. So keep looking. You should look for fish or aquacultural proteins as the first ingredient in a decent diet for your Koi and Goldfish.
Fish can DIGEST corn. But they do not ASSIMILATE it as well as fish proteins, in fact they might not assimilate it AT ALL if an amino acid is missing from the protein in the food. So companies which have stooped to talk glowingly about corn being “DIGESTABLE” while omitting fair representation of corn’s comparatively poor assimilation are being misleading.
These are certainly harmless and they may very well perform as promised depending on what we’re talking about.
Look for any combination of following putative immune-boosting ingredients like: Optimun, Aquagen, Nucleotides, Torula Yeast, Brewer’s Yeast, Bee Propolis, Colostrum, Aspergillus niger, beta carotene, lactoferrin. Don’t hang your hat on any particular ingredient as a miracle supplement or life saver – okay? …but recognize that the addition of these items represents the manufacturer as a little more attentive and knowledgeable, and the food worth a little extra money.
Fat is important in a diet to carry energy and at-soluble vitamins to the fish. Fat supplies a dense energy source. However, fat is a dangerous component in foods because when it gets too high, it can cause the food to spoil more easily, and can even function as “moisture” for the growth of certain moulds. So manufacturers are VERY careful about the fat and moisture content of foods. Fat content of 3-9 % are safe, reasonable levels.
Carbohydrates are the immediate energy source for the fish. Due to their carnivorous nature of the eons, fish tend to be poor at utilizing carbohydrate (Trout are utterly diabetic) so they may store it in the muscle or discharge it in the waste. This doesn’t change the fact that it’s important. It’s usually not listed as a percentage on most fish food labels. I am not attaching too much significance to it in this article.
Much discussion exists about the mineral requirements of fish. I personally recommend that if a food for Koi contains some extra calcium, and contains a low phosphorous, it could be considered “better” than a food that pays no attention to the Calcium and Phosphorus.
Look for terms like Spirulina, Bio-Red, BetaCarotene, Canthaxanthin, Marigold petals, Xanthins, Shrimp Oil, Synthetic and Non Synthetic Carotenoids, Color Enhancers…On the label. Generally, the shrimp oil is the most expensive. It performs as well or better than the synthetic carotenoids but either is acceptable. Spirulina cannot push color unless the fish are exposed to sunlight. None of these color enhancers are hazardous to fish but can make a fish with a yellow head YELLOWER and so they say: a fish with a tendency towards pink pinker. No color enhancer can replace the irrefutable contribution of genetics and sunlight to color.
Au contrare! There are three common purposes for plant material in the food. Fiber, protein, and energy (carbohydrate) are all functions of plant proteins. When a company puts corn in a diet just for protein, it’s sort of sad. Sad for them (who’s doing their research?) and sad for the consumer.
Proteins can be lopsided.
But often, wheat, soy or corn meals are used *IN ADDITION TO AQUACULTURAL PROTEINS* to provide SOME protein and SOME energy. When used this way, it’s a ‘Good Thing’ because proteins in corn, soy or wheat are very different from proteins in a feed ingredient like shrimp or blood meal.
Corn protein may be VERY heavy in Leucine or Lysine. While shrimp meal may be heavy in sulfur containing amino acids and very low in Lysine. Therefore, these plant proteins can BALANCE an amino acid profile to ensure that all essential amino acids are represented and make it complete. At the same time, plant proteins can contribute needed energy in the form of carbohydrates. They may also bring fiber to the equation.
So, you might see Fishmeal as the first ingredient in a diet. Then lower on the list you might see Wheat germ, or soybean meal, or corn gluten meal. Don’t be put off by these dual-purpose ingredients.
Important ones seem to be fat soluble A,D,E and K – and vitamin C.
-Vitamin deficiencies from missing vitamins are comparatively rare in the last two decades. This is because vitamin premixes exist in the processing of fish food that have eliminated most of the mystery and a lot of the onerous expense. Vitamins A,D,E and K when deficient result in lesions of the skin, eyes, and nervous system. Vitamin K contributes to blood clotting. How much this bears on fish is vague at best.
Vitamin C is not so mysterious. Addition of Vitamin C to the diet of Koi and Goldfish is a “Good Thing” for several reasons. First, it’s essential to the fish and contributes majorly to disease resistance. Second, food processing degrades Vitamin C so that enough of this has to be added to the food to where a surplus survives the processing of the food. Inattention on the part of the feed manufacturer to this could result in food too low in Vitamin C. Finally, if available over 180 milligrams per kilogram, some research supports that the immune system is not only supported, but dramatically enhanced.
What is BETAINE?
“Betaine” is a quarternary ammonium compound that was first discovered in the juice of sugar beets (Beta vulgaris)
Betaine aids digestion and helps protect against fatty infiltration of the liver. The osmoprotective effect of betaine has been found to protect fish from the physiological stress induced by the transfer from fresh water to salt water, which Koi will encounter when ponds and quarantine systems are medicated with salt.
What are Spirulina and Canthaxanthin / Asthaxanthin?
Spirulina, a primordial algae rich in carotenoids has been around more than 3 billion years, and is known as one of the world’s best natural color enhancers.
Astaxanthin is an optimal carotenoid for the proper pigmentation of the red/pink colours in fish.