THE BALD TAX BLOG
Welcome!! You are reading the inaugural installment of The Bald Tax Blog!! I hope to update this at the beginning of each month, day job permitting. Selfishly, I intend on using this blog as a vehicle to journal my experiences with the fish I keep. Over the last few years, I have somewhat used the GCCA Forum as a means to this end, but I thought with the new online application our club has built-out, I would try and take advantage of documenting more.
The other intent for this blog is (hopefully) to pass along my experiences to you, to help you set and reach your goals with this hobby and to avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls I have encountered. But please note, I do not consider myself a fish-keeping expert in any regard, but just an avid hobbyist who loves cichlids. Ten years does not sound like a long time with any hobby, but with keeping cichlids, or any fish, you encounter many different situations and events as you progress with a species, and those situations and events add up very quickly.
Who am I? My name is Scott Womack and I have been a member of the GCCA for 9 years. I am a simple tax accountant who discovered cichlids in 2001. I kept community fish as a kid and once had a55 gallontank in my firstChicagoarea apartment. But then I got married, we bought a house, had a couple of kids, and every now and then I found myself drawn back to fish-keeping. When we bought our house in 1996, my priority was a basement, thinking I wanted the space for “something.” A fish tank was one strong possibility that I considered. I sometimes wonder whether I would have been keeping cichlids if we had bought a house with no basement.
I've been using Aquarian Flake Food for years. Unfortunately, about a year ago, Mars Pet Products stopped marketing Aquarian Flake Food in the United States. I heard that it had to do with regulatory issues.
Finding a good replacement food hasn't been easy. So, what am I looking for?
- Large flakes size for my larger fish, but easy enough to crush for fry
- Readily accepted by both fry and adult fish (they want to eat it)
- Available in bulk for lower price
- Vitamin Fortified
- Good grow-out rates for fry
- No bloat or other problems (obviously)
At this year's American Cichlid Association Convention, I picked up a couple of cans of food that I had not seen before: New Life Spectrum Optimum Fresh H20 Flakes. I was already familiar with New Life Spectrum Foods and have been using their pellets on and off throughout the years. Their pellet foods are so popular that many hobbyists generically use the term NLS to refer to the product.
At first glance, I wasn't sure this would be a great cichlid food as the primary ingredients are heavily based on protein rather than vegetable products and the protein content of this food is a whopping 49%. That said, I primarily use flake for fry and juvenile cichlids and for my livebearers. Young cichlids can tolerate higher levels of protein in their diet. In addition, I generally vary what I feed my fish, rotating in a good spirulina flake.
NLS Optimum Fresh H20 flake contains garlic which helps to prevent intestinal parasites and is a color enhancing flake. It even has ginseng as an ingredient. This food has a fiber content of 4% which is about on par with most other brands of non-vegetarian flakes.
Ingredients and Nutritional Breakdown
Crude Protein (min) ......49%
Crude Fat (min) ......8%
Crude Fiber (max) .....4%
Moisture (max) ......9%
Ash (max) ......10%
Vitamin A (min) ......8000IU/kg
Vitamin D (min) ......2500IU/kg
Vitamin E (min) ....200IU/kg
Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, Whole Herring Meal, Wheat Flour, Whole Squid Meal, Mussel Meal, Algae Meal, Garlic, Soybean Isolate, Beta Carotene, Spirulina, Vegetable and Fruit Extract (Spinach, Broccoli, Red Pepper, Zucchini, Tomato, Pea, Red and Green Cabbage, Apple, Apricot, Mango, Kiwi, Papaya, Peach, Pear), Ginseng, Vitamin A Acetate D-Activated Animal Sterol (D3), Vitamin B 12 supplement , Thiamine, Biotin, DL-Alphatocophero (E), Riboflavin Supplement , Niacin, Folic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, L-Ascorby-2-polyphosphate (Stable C), Choline Chloride Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Cobalt Sulfate , Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate.
How does it work?
NLS Optimum Fresh H20 flake has worked very well for me. I've seen great growth rates for my cichlid fry. It can be a real challenge to migrate fry from baby brine shrimp to flake, but this food is so appealing it hasn't been a problem. My livebearers seem to have shown the greatest benefit. I've seen increased spawning from mollies and goodeids and superior color.
I liked the food so much I bought a 1.76 pound tub from Jehmco. I keep the large tub in the freezer and only take out what I need each week to feed my fish. A complaint about the bulk packaging is that it is really hard to open, especially when cold out of the freezer. I transferred the flake to another container with a screw-top lid.
HD Underwater video and images of wild cichlids in Lake Tanganyika, taken by Alex Jordan during a research trip in August-December 2011. One or two of the photos taken by Stefan Fischer. For more information about the research side of things, please visit www.alexjordan.org
The latest list of GCCA Meetings, Swaps, Picnics, Auctions and Classic.