veggie mix DIY

cup

Retired Staff
May 6, 2009
183
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16
Berkeley, CA
Header/Title: Loricariid Vegetable Mix Recipe
Name of author: Cup
Topic: feeding
Website of origin: plecofanatics.com

The following is a pictorial guide to (hopefully) aid you in your emulation of a basic food recipe for herbivorously inclined (as there are no true obligate plant eaters in the family that I am aware of) loricariids. Natural limnivores and specialized algae eaters will certainly enjoy it, including baryancistrus, ancistrus, otocinclids, dekeyseria, chaetostoma, elongated loricariines, etc., as well as sand sifters (peudohemion, squaliforma, etc.). Even protein-affinite fish such as leporacanthicus, peckoltia, and hypancistrus should relish it to some degree--mine certainly do. It is also great, depending on the ground size of the mix, for loricariids fry, especially tricky whiptail species. Anyways, without further ado...

I started with twice par-boiled de-shelled peas. I have found very few loricariids will feed on the tough outer skin, and when included, I usually end up with an aquarium full of floating shell remnants. Not a joy to clean up, that's for sure. Broad beans (fava), I've noticed, tend to attract the attention of those fishes whose preferences lie towards meaty foods. So these can be replaced or mixed with the aforementioned if feeding, say, a pseudacanthicus tank.




Why peas? Well, firstly, they bear a fine, smooth texture perfect for fishes of all sizes, and are easily vacuumed up, catering to the interests of many specialist loricariids. Also, they bear an inherently greater amount of protein than most other sources of dietary fiber, allowing for rapid weight gain. Frankly, any other relatively soft bean should do, but, via much experimentation, I've noticed that many conventional foods of this nature (mung, reds, what have you) tend to go unnoticed.

Mash them depending on what clientèle you're working with. I prefer mine ground finely, ensuring that there is very little chunkage left--of course, some of the adjoining fibers can never be fully ground up, but do your best. This can be accomplished any which way you'd like; perhaps a food mill, or my personal preference; grinding the crap out of it with a big honkin' cleaver.



The finished product is shown below:



Next, we introduce a source of protein. Easily obtainable and suitable meats include small crustaceans (high in cholesterol, though to what effect that has on fish, who really knows?), shellfish (may amass organic pollutants in flesh, due to a largely sedentary, filter feeding lifestyle--also, check for sand and grit) or, my personal favorite, farmed, white meat, freshwater fish. The latter is great due to quality control of environment, grain based feeds, and low fat content. Tilapia, trout, and catfish work very well. You can always go hog wild, though, and add some flair with critters such as farmed earthworms, brine shrimp, bloodworms, mysis--I've even heard of individuals adding food grade escargo to their very similar tropheus vegetable mixes (though this is not really all that different from say, whelk or some other marine gastropod. Mince finely--enough so that it can be reasonably incorporated with the aforementioned pea mixture. Here, I chose Ecuadorian white shrimp because they were in my pantry.



Remember, this mix caters to all pallets, so adjust the pea to protein ratio accordingly. For limnivores and the like, a 4:1 sounds good. Here's a visual approximation:



Now add the shrimp (or whatever) to the pea mash. Afterwards, I like to add a good handful (palmful is more accurate) of high quality vegetable flake along with another good dose of carnivore (shrimp) flake, along with a few (here I used ten) powdered carnivore pellets. Cichlid pellets, shrimp pellets, and even goldfish food, once crushed, work well. These are added as a buffer of sorts--those essential nutrients that may fluctuate from batch to batch due to the less that scrupulous measurements taken here are supplemented by any stable, commercially prepared fish food. Vitamin additions can also help in this respect. Some recommend grinding up encapsulated supplements such as centrum, but I would be wary of this. My personal favorite method is much simpler; just add a few dashes of regular V8 (that is, vegetable juice, salt, and citric acid only).

Finally, par-boil some of your fishes' favorite soft, leafy green, and once again, attempt to mash it into a fine paste. Here, I used broad leaf spinach, but anything relatively soft is fine. This provides added dietary fiber.



At this point, you may add enough gelatin saturated water to just cover the mixture, but I prefer it a-naturale, as the fine specks of organic matter is the effect I'm looking for here. If you fear your filtration might not be able to keep up with all the crud that will float around in the tank, by all means, go for the gelatin.

Here's a picture of some of the finished product--about 3 servings worth, depending on your fish load.




Feeding pictures and customer satisfaction:

 

Scat38

Member
Aug 4, 2009
40
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6
W.Australia
Excellent recipe Cup !

Ive read somewhere you have also done a recipe on more a protien rich shrimp mix intended for ominvore & carnivore plecs ?

If so i would really love to see that also.

Cheers
Craig
 

Doodles

Retired Staff
Apr 8, 2009
8,786
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Excellent recipe Cup !

Ive read somewhere you have also done a recipe on more a protien rich shrimp mix intended for ominvore & carnivore plecs ?

If so i would really love to see that also.

Cheers
Craig
yup, me too:yes:
 

cup

Retired Staff
May 6, 2009
183
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16
Berkeley, CA
You really just change the ratio of meat to vegetable. You don't want to cook the animal protein portion of the meal, as it makes it a stringy mess. Catfish fillets (usually some sort of ictalurid) would be my rec. It's mushy and has very little texture to it, so it is easy to mash up. That, an egg white or two, some flake food, a bit of spirulina extract, and tie it up with some gelatin. Makes for a good carnivore meal.

There are a few things I've changed in recent years, which have, imo, vastly improved this recipe:

I no longer use mashed peas. Instead, I use baby food (bananas, peas, and carrots). It's already preground, so you don't need to concern yourself with deshelling and crap like that, and there are many varieties of vegetables available.

I use farmed freshwater fish instead of shrimp, which is stringier, and an all around pain to deal with.

barley extract and spirulina powder are now used as well.

I always bind with gelatin now. If you use one pack of gelatin with 1.5x the concentration of water used in the recipe, i have found it keeps the mix solid while it softens in the water column, but is loose enough to dissolve into a thick mush once it hits the gravel for a minute or two.
 

andyj

Member
Apr 25, 2009
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6
Derby
Cup, how long does your mixture last for before going 'off'?

Can you freeze it in small quantities to preserve it's life span?

Thansk<
Andy
 

blondeyny

Member
Mar 21, 2010
63
0
6
FL
So this could be made, put in an ice cube tray to create cubes/shapes, then frozen? Then just pop one out and toss it in the tank? Or would you let it thaw a bit first? I'm a little confused on the consistency with the gelatin, thinking then that it wouldn't be frozen, but you mentioned it could be frozen. I just got a bn pleco and would love to make some of this so I know he's getting all his vits and mins.
 

Doodles

Retired Staff
Apr 8, 2009
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I had a look on the web about freezing gelatin, i think you are able to freeze it but when its thawed best done in the fridge:dk:
 

blondeyny

Member
Mar 21, 2010
63
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6
FL
So then I should make the mix with the gelatin, put it in ice cube trays, and pop in the freezer. Then when I need one, should I thaw it in the fridge or will the temp of the tank water do it for me?
 

blondeyny

Member
Mar 21, 2010
63
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6
FL
Gelatine will freeze but NOT as hard as an ice cube,
So do you think it would be able to be cut in half in the cube tray after freezing? (sorry don't use gelatin that much to be familiar with it) I just think the size of an entire cube is too big for one serving. I have shredded zucchini in my freezer that I've been trying to figure out what to do with it. I can't wait to make this for my bn!!!
 

blondeyny

Member
Mar 21, 2010
63
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6
FL
Just made the veg "blocks" like in the recipe. I used green beans, sweet peas,yellow squash, zucchini, algae wafers, fish flakes and knox gelatin. I am hoping he will like them since it made 3 ice cube trays worth! LOL Right now they are in the fridge waiting to set. Then I'll move them to the freezer to keep.
How long do you think they will last frozen before they go bad?
Is this something I can use every other night in place of his veg, opposite of the nights he gets a wafer?