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Hikari Cichlid Bio-Gold+ Review

There are few products on the market I can endorse and recommend as much as Hikari Bio-Gold Plus. This is my food of choice. Unlike most foods, the marketing actually understates the benefits.

This is a quality food, with quality ingredients, that my fish love, with added benefits of probiotics not offered by any other foods.

What makes this product unique is the “Hikari-Germ”, which is a specific strain of Bacillus bacteria. This bacteria proliferates inside the intestines of the fish resulting in increased rate of digestion and reduced waste.

Pros:
Availability: I can’t recall a pet store that I’ve walked into that had fish, but not Hikari fish food. This stuff is everywhere, including this “top-of-the-line” Hikari product. However, I buy this product online at substantial savings over an LFS.

Quality: This is a top of the line Hikari product, decades in development, with the beneficial micro-organisms originally being developed for use in Koi feed. Hikari does not purchase ingredients from other locations (such as China) in order to ensure the quality of their product.

Reduced Waste: This is a huge benefit that is understated by Hikari marketing. I’ve experienced as much as a 50% reduction in waste accumulation within filters and the substrate. This is a byproduct of the “Hikari Germ”, which results in improved digestion of the food while ensuring subsequent waste is almost of a powdery consistency. In addition, the “Hikari-Germ” continues to break down the waste even in the fish’s poo. Think about it, if you can achieve a 50% reduction in waste by feeding this food, your filters can go twice as long between cleanings and the biomedia is less likely to become clogged over time. I consider this food an intregal part of my overall fish keeping philosophy of managing waste, reducing heterotrophic bacteria populations, and maintaining clean biomedia.

Reduced Risk of Bloat:Fish fed a primarily dry diet are at an increased risk of developing constipation which can lead to bloat. This food minimizes that concern as the “Hikari-Germ” aids in the break down of the food once it is in the fish’s intestines.

Growth and Coloration:I’ve had no foods pack on the growth quite like this one does. This is a result of the quality ingredients and improved digestion. NLS does a better job of improving coloration but I consider the trade-off to be more than acceptable. I’ve fed this food to everything from Discus, to Angelfish, to Convicts, to Oscars (of course), to firemouths, to community fish. It works.

Does not contain Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a fat preservative found in almost all pet foods that contain fish meal. It’s hard to escape as it is required by law to be included in any imported fish meals. Regardless, despite USDA guarantees of it’s safety (they say the unhealthy affects are “dose dependent”), Ethoxyquin is widely accepted to be a cause of numerous pet ailments (cancer, liver failure, birth defects, and infertility) and has subsequently been banned for inclusion in human foods. No Hikari foods contain ethoxyquin (although they do use MSG as a preservative).
Cons:
Cost: This food can be expensive, especially if purchased in an LFS. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Wink

Pellet Size: Many consider the largest Hikari Bio-Gold+ Pellet to be too small for large cichlids such as an adult oscar. I actually consider this the perfect pellet size as there is no “waste” shot out of the gills during consumption. The fish just consumes the pellets as they are small enough to be consumed without a major crunching.

Pellet Shelf Life and Storage:Care must be taken in the care and storage of the pellet. The “Hikari-Germ” is considered “viable” in that it is in a dormant state until the pellet reaches the fish’s gut. But my experience is that the “Hikari-Germ” can become non-viable, in that the primary benefit of this food is no longer achieved if the product is improperly stored. I keep the bag sealed in a cool dark location, only opening it once a week to dump pellets from the bag into an empty Tetra flake food container. The bag is then resealed and stored while I feed during the week from the Tetra Flake Food container. You don’t want sunlight hitting this food, keep it free from temperature extremes, and, more so than other foods, you want to keep it moisture free. I keep those little desiccant capsules found in medicine bottles in both the sealed bag and the Flake food container I feed from.

New Life Spectrum: Community Fish Formula Review

New Life Spectrum has an excellent variety to choose from. The great thing about these products is they are specialized exactly for their label (community fish, discus, cichlids, etc.). I’ve only been using the New Life Spectrum foods for 3 years or so, but I can already tell you that they are a great product. I use the Community fish formula for obviously, my community aquarium. Fish like tetras, barbs, danios, loaches, small catfish, and small cichlids really do well with this food. It’s very small, and it sinks. It’s devoured by all fish, and thus far it has given my fish great growth and great color. NLS also makes Pellets for larger fish that do well for young and juvie oscars but finding larger NLS pellets for adult Oscars can be difficult.

This is a highly recommend food, considered amongst the best available

Pros:
Results: This food will give you results. It boasts “horomone free” color enhancing properties and ingredients that will boost immune system function. When compared to other foods I’ve tried, NLS does produce better coloration.

A marketing statement from the manufacturer that I find to be true.

Feed New Life Spectrum® fish food exclusively for 10 days

.

You will begin to notice enhancement in color and vitality of your fish or we will simply refund your money. Please Note: your fish will continue to improve in color and overall health over the next 30 days.

Taste: All of my fish love this food. I’ve even seen my plecostomus try to eat it!

Cleanliness: This is a clean food. It doesn’t crumble or cloud like flake foods.

Ingredients: The NLS ingredient list is outstanding, perhaps the best availble. Instead of “Fish Meal”, which usually indicates the meal is developed from leftovers unusable elsewhere (scales, skin, bones), “Whole Krill Meal” and “Whole Herring Meal” make up a majority of the food, which means they used the whole animal, not just the leftovers. Since “meals” are used, the order in which ingredients are listed can be trusted as they are listed at their dry weight. Nor does NLS utilize the questionable practice of “product splitting” with “Wheat Flour” being the only wheat product listed. Again, an indication that the ingredient order can be trusted as accurate, with the content of meat products far out weighing the fillers. The inclusion of spirulinia, as well as fruit and vegitable extract, in combination with krill being the most used ingredient, results in a pellet food that fullfils an Oscar fish’s dietary requirements, closely simulating the natural diet of a wild Oscar.
Cons:
Pellet Size: Some types of this food are so small that unless you have a sand substrate, uneaten pellets will fall and find its way into the substrate. On the other side of the spectrum (pun intended) they really do not make a pellet size large enough for large fish such as cichlids (if they do, it’s hard to find). The “Large Fish Formula” pellet is fine for fish the size of convicts but it a little too small for adult Oscars. (Kmuda Note: I was in PetCo 09/10/2011 and noticed an NLS “Jumbo Fish Formula” that is of sufficient size for even the largest Cichlid, so it appears NLS finally got the message, although it’s a sinking pellet and I prefer a floating pellet).

Availability: Many New Life Spectrum foods are specialized, therefore they may not be available at every pet store you go to. You may have to order it online. (Kmuda Note: PetCo is now carrying NLS, as is BigAlsOnline.Com)

Product Confusion: There are so many NLS pellets, finding the “exact one” can be difficult. There are pellets for multiple species, floating pellets, sinking pellets, slow sinking pellets, garlic pellets, with many in three to four sizes.

Use of Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a fat preservative found in almost all pet foods that contain fish meal. It’s hard to escape as it is required by law to be included in any imported fish meals. Despite USDA guarantees of it’s safety (they say the unhealthy affects are dose dependent and classify the product as “GRAS” – Generally Recognized as Safe), Ethoxyquin is widely accepted to be a cause of numerous pet ailments (cancer, liver failure, birth defects, and infertility). The maximum allowable concentration of Ethoxyquin in human grade foods is 0.5ppm. The maximum allowable concentration in pet foods is 150ppm. While not listed in their ingredients, further research identifies that NLS uses imported fish meals and since all imported fish meals must contain, by law, Ethoxyquin, NLS will contain this chemical.

Hikari Cichlid Gold/Staple Review

I have been feeding my cichlids Hikari Cichlid Gold, and Hikari Cichlid Staple for several years. I have been very pleased with this product. Hikari is a mainstream name in the Fish Food market. They have been around for decades and offer food for Koi, Cichlids, Marine fish, and even Reptiles. This is a solid product. The Cichlid Gold is a color enhancing pellet which consists mainly of protein (40% crude protein). The Cichlid Staple is health food. It contains a boosted amount of Vitamin C which promotes a healthy immune system. Both can be fed as a daily food source, though a varied diet is important.

Pros:
Availability: I can’t recall a petstore that I’ve walked into that had fish, but not Hikari fish food. This stuff is everywhere.

Taste: I’ve only had a handful of cichlids that ever turned down Hikari foods. Most of them refused to eat the Hikari Cichlid Staple, but still ate the Hikari Cichlid Gold.

Quality: Hikari is a good product. You can’t go wrong with either of these foods in my opinion.

Cost: Comparitively low cost on the Hikari Gold with Hikari Staple qualifying as “low cost”.

Does not contain Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a fat preservative found in almost all pet foods that contain fish meal. It’s hard to escape as it is required by law to be included in any imported fish meals. Regardless, despite USDA guarantees of it’s safety (they say the unhealthy affects are “dose dependent”), Ethoxyquin is widely accepted to be a cause of numerous pet ailments (cancer, liver failure, birth defects, and infertility) and has subsequently been banned for inclusion in human foods. No Hikari foods contain ethoxyquin (although they do use MSG as a preservative).
Cons:
I’ve found that for some juvenile cichlids, the Hikari Cichlid Gold/Staple pellets are difficult to chew (for lack of a better term.) I found this especially true for the Mini sized pellets. For young juveniles who’s palates are not quite fully developed it may be hard for them to chew the Mini pellets because they are quite hard.

Omega One Veggie Rounds Review

Before reading this review, stop, go back and read the ingredient list identified above. What more needs to be said?

While there are many “Veggie” wafers on the market, look at their ingredient list. Almost exclusively, the first ingredient in these foods is “Fish Meal”. Since the first ingredient is the primary content of the food, how can these be labeled as “Veggie”? Not this one. Omega One Veggie Rounds are a true “Veggie Wafer” with the primary ingredients being “Whole Kelp” and Spirulina. Even with these foods listed at their wet weight, combined with the other primary ingredients, you can be confident you are getting a food with more quality ingredients than fillers.

Omega One is a trusted name in foods with perhaps the highest quality ingredients of any fish foods on the market. As their marketing identifies, their initial ingredients are of human consumption quality.

This is one of those foods that makes you feel good that you are feeding it to your fish.

This is the preferred food for my Pleco but my Kissing Gourami also gets his share. I’ll also drop a wafer into my livebearer tank to let them nibble on it through the day.

In addition, my Oscar consumes these with relish (he spits out Hikari Algae Wafers). As a supplemental food for Oscars, these provide a (probably missing) veggie component of their diet. In the wild, a significant percentage of an Oscar’s nutrition comes from the gut contents of the crayfish, insects, and other fish they consume. Since their pray are primarily herbivores, they get a significant amount of algae and “veggie” matter in their diet. Use of Omega One Veggie Rounds as a supplemental food for your Oscar helps provide the same nutritional benefits.

Pros:
Quality: Omega One is a quality brand and this product is no exception, using all fresh, home-grown ingredients, not meals imported from China.

Ingredients: The ingredients are what makes Omega One. As mentioned before, Omega One’s ingredients may be of the highest quality available in any fish food. Nuff’ said.

Wafer Size: Other wafers, while of proper size for Plecos, are too large for Oscars. This is a smaller wafer. I find my Oscar consumes them without spewing excess from his gills.

Cons:
Availability: I purchase most of my fish supplies from FosterandSmithAquatics.Com and they have never carried Omega One products. Nor has my secondary online store of preference (BigAlsOnline.Com), until recently. Big Al’s has started carrying some Omega One products but not this one. However, there has been a recent push by Omega One to make their products more available and I am noticing them in many local fish stores. My PetCo is now carrying them.

Cost: At about $6.63 for a 4.2 Oz container, these veggie wafers are more expensive than products such as Hikari Algae Wafers. But sometimes you get what you pay for. This is no exception. Review the ingredient list between the two products and you’ll see why you’ll want to spend an extra few dollars.

Use of Ethoxyquin: Ethoxyquin is a fat preservative found in almost all pet foods that contain fish meal. It’s hard to escape as it is required by law to be included in any imported fish meals. I’m not really sure why it is found in Omega One products as its ingredients are not imported so therefore is not required. But it is an indication that Omega One products are not as “fresh” as their marketing implies. Regardless, despite USDA guarantees of it’s safety (they say the unhealthy affects are dose dependent), Ethoxyquin is widely accepted to be a cause of numerous pet ailments (cancer, liver failure, birth defects, and infertility).

 

 

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