Backyard Aquaponics

DIY: How to make your own fish food
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Author:  Argentum [ Dec 25th, '15, 07:19 ]
Post subject:  DIY: How to make your own fish food

Hello everyone,

I am going to explain in this thread step by step process to creat your own fish food. But first allow me to introduce myself as i am new to the byap forum.

My name is Amgad an Egyptian living in KSA atm. I work as a chemist and i am new to Aquaponics but not new to raising fish. I am now specialized in breeding and raising Discus.

I have been making my discus food myself for several years now and i learned how to formulate fish food better every time. When i started my AP system i started to think of the ingredients i am going to include in my tilapia food and my approach was to make it as cheap as possible for it to be economical without sacrificing nutrition.

Basically to make your food complete you have to provide in it all the nutrients your fish needs. These can be categorized in to Protein, Fats, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.

Proteins can be of animal or plant origins and are the mass builders for fish

Fats are important as they provide higher energy than protein but only unsaturated fats can be used by fish. Providing a source of unsaturated fatty acids such as omega3 will allow the fish to use it for energy, thus saving the protein for growth.

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the fish vitality and body functions

Carbohydrates, are not really important in fish nutrition and most fish cant digest it.

In addition to the above there are feed enrichments and these IMO make all the difference.

Let me start explaining the preparation process and explain what enrichments do i use and how are they beneficial.

I will start by listing the ingredient list:

White fish fillet 300g
Shrimps. 130g
Frozen Minced beef. 100g
Frozen minced chicken 150g
Spinach. 400g
Peas and carrots 200g
Crushed soy bean 100g
Crushed corn. 100g
Yeast. 70 g
Multivitamins minerals & amino acid. 30g
Spirulina 1tsp
Paracoccus bacteria 1 tsp
Brown bread flour

Here you can see all the meat components cleaned, de-shelled and chopped

Frozen peas and carrots

First i start by blending the vegetables and i do so in batches, it is important to do this instead of mixing everything together in a food processor at one because this will leave big chunks or stems and will make the mix less homogenous

Here is how the spinach, peas and carrots looked like after blending

These are the spirulina, paracoccus, vitamins, minerals and amino acid mix. The amino acids included are lysine and methoniene as those are usually the first limiting essential amino acids

In a bowl i will sprinkle the above mentioned enrichments to the meaty parts and mix them well, at this stage i decided to add a bit of paprika and garlic powder.

This is how it looked like after mixing them well, a small amount of spirulina goes a long way. You can see how its green color dominated

Now i will add in the veggies to the bowl and mix them well with hand, this order and way is important to make sure the enrichments are distributed well in the mix

Now i will blend the mix in a food processor

Here are the soybean, corn and yeast. I will place the blended mix in a bowl pour these on it and start mixing

Then i will add the brown bread flour as a binder and mix until it is close to a dough feeling. ( a better alternative is wheat gluten as it is a better binder and a protein food as well)

In the end it should look close to this

I then weigh from 100-110 g portions into 17x20 ziplock bags this will give me aprox less than 3mm thickness. This is important so it can thaw directly after placed in the water.

After that just place the stack of ziplock bags in the freezer, then snap of pieces when its feeding time and place it directly for the fish. The low thickness will allow it to thaw instantly, at least in our warm weather. If thats not the case for you thaw the food before feeding.

In a previous mix i took this daw then used a manual mincer to make them into pellet shape and sun dried then, this way you can convert it to your DIY fish pellets.

Thats it, i hope someone would benefit from this thread.

Thanks for reading.

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Author:  Colum Black-Byron [ Dec 25th, '15, 12:37 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Excellent first post!

I though it was going to be a thread asking how to make it!

I'm not sure how it is direct to thw fish, but have you though about adding some of the stuff for the plants? Like adding iron direct to the feed? Although, I have no idea how the fish go with that.

Author:  Argentum [ Dec 25th, '15, 18:37 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Spinach is rich in iron, in fact i am going to use only spinach as vegetable part in my next mix, but for now i had these remaining from my previous attempt.

Adding liver will also add the iron content.

Fish and shrimps contain phosphorus, specially the shrimps.

About thawing, making it a thin sheet is what makes it thaw fast.

One thing i would change is the meat/fish to vegetables ratio to make it more palatable to 60% flesh part.

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Author:  abdul [ Dec 28th, '15, 04:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Ya salam Habibi!

Author:  Argentum [ Dec 29th, '15, 05:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

abdul wrote:
Ya salam Habibi!

Ya salam alaik enta!


Author:  abdul [ Dec 30th, '15, 02:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Ahlain va sahlain fee dunya al aquaponic

:] Kaif al jau fee mumlikat as saudia? Hina fee bakistan vallahi ajeeb, har va barid har va barid.

Author:  Bodgy [ Jan 2nd, '16, 10:55 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

I just googled Paracoccus bacteria since I'd never heard of it.
Do you include it to help reduce nitrates in the water for fish health?
Thanks for sharing your recipe and method, much appreciated.

Author:  Argentum [ Jan 3rd, '16, 03:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

I add it as a dried powder so its dead at that time.

The type i add is a specie that is rich in carotinoides and specially asthaxinthin.

It is a strong antioxidant and helps in showing natural colors

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Author:  PoweredByFish [ Jan 5th, '16, 03:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Really appreciate all the information!

Just curious, how much food did this end up producing? How much would you say this cost compared to buying a commercial product?

Thanks again!

Author:  Argentum [ Jan 5th, '16, 06:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

On a quick but not exact calculation i think a Kg of my mix will cost around 10$

But this is rough figure i will calculate actual cost tomorrow

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Author:  scotty435 [ Jan 5th, '16, 08:00 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

This is an interesting thread and looks like a good way to make fish food. I have to put in my two cents worth on one of your statements as a clarification Argentum.

Argentum wrote:
Carbohydrates, are not really important in fish nutrition and most fish cant digest it.

Even though there may not be any nutritional requirement for carbohydrates, they do provide energy and often can make up a large percentage of commercial feed. Fish run the whole range from carnivore to omnivore and from what I've read are highly variable in their diets and what they can digest. Catfish for example seem to use long chain carbohydrates like starch pretty well and carbohydrates can make up more than a quarter of commercial catfish feeds. Burning carbohydrates and to a lesser extent fat helps prevent using proteins for energy - This is called "the protein sparing effect of carbohydrates". My understanding is that if you were to omit the carbohydrates, even with the fats present you would see more proteins being burned for energy and probably some loss of muscle tissue.

Having said this, your feed has plenty of carbohydrates from the veggies and the flour used as a binder. I can't say whether these would be usable by the fish though, the form and amount of the carbohydrate, the salinity of the water, and the species of fish are important :dontknow: (probably a few other factors too). This seems to be an area where the jury is still out (parts of carbohydrate metabolism are still a gray area even in humans, where a lot more research has been done)

Author:  Argentum [ Jan 5th, '16, 14:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Hello Scotty,

Thansk for your comments.
I based my statment based on the following paragraph from an article of Virginia state uni.

"Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) are the most economical and inexpensive sources of energy for fish diets. Although not essential, carbohydrates are included in aquaculture diets to reduce feed costs and for their binding activity during feed manufacturing. Dietary starches are useful in the extrusion manufacture of floating feeds. Cooking starch during the extrusion process makes it more biologically available to fish.

In fish, carbohydrates are stored as glycogen that can be mobilized to satisfy energy demands. They are a major energy source for mammals, but are not used efficiently by fish. For example, mammals can extract about 4 kcal of energy from 1 gram of carbohydrate, whereas fish can only extract about 1.6 kcal from the same amount of carbohydrate. Up to about 20% of dietary carbohydrates can be used by fish."

From the above statments -which mostly agree with what you said- in industry they add carbohydrates mostly in form of starch and flour to reduce the cost and make it easy to process.

It is important when formulating feeds to research the specific requirments of the fish itself being fed. There are a lot of publications on fish feed optimization specially for tilapia and cat fish.

From this trial and as I expected the fish\meat part of the feed needs to be increased a bit to enhance the platability. my tilapias are eating it but not "attacking it". I usually add Omega 3 fish oil to my mizes but that was not available when I made the mix, thie fish oil will enhance the taste, platability and available energy to spare proteins (they provide twicw the energy provided by carbohydrates and proteins).

Author:  scotty435 [ Jan 5th, '16, 17:12 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Thanks for the reply and the link Argentum. In looking at this and other publications, I can see where fish might be useful in understanding diabetes because of their carbohydrate metabolism quirks.

I don't know if you've seen this but since you're growing Tilapia and making your own feed there might be something you can use in this -


Author:  Argentum [ Jan 6th, '16, 02:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

Thanks for sharing this link it will be very useful to formulate a better mix next time

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Author:  Argentum [ Jan 6th, '16, 02:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: DIY: How to make your own fish food

When i do that i will share it

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