Storage of flake foods?
Properly packed, unopened food stored in a cool place, would probably be fine through its expiration date, and perhaps quite some time beyond.
However, I believe, once you open any food the timer starts immediately. You've exposed the food to air and moisture and the food will degrade. In my experience, it becomes less palatable to the fish and I believe nutrients are lost.
When Doug Sweet, the former curator of the Belle Isle Zoo spoke at a Classic a few years back, he said that 50% of nutrients are lost within one week of opening a package food.
In the short term, I don't think that's too much of an issue since the manufacturers add an abundance of vitamins. Some manufacturers also include chemicals which help prevent oxidation.
So, to be on the safe side . . .
I buy food in a bulk and keep it in the freezer. I only take out enough to feed my fish for about a week. I use screw-top Rubbermaid containers for the food and also add a desiccant pack to keep it nice and dry.
Desiccant is often shipped inside of fish foods (e.g. Dainichi) to absorb moisture.
Your friendly, neighborhood Forum Admin
Donna Landry Office Manager at Headquarters of NLS asked their folks and the over all opinion is-
"Using dry and cool storage NLS flakes will remain completely stable in regards to product nutrition
for 3+ years. "
Most people use their food within 2 years of their purchase, so time frame is not a problem - as long as the food is not moldy. If the container is sealed (never been opened), very little oxidation is taking place, so theoretically it could last as long as 5 years.
followed by the following quote:
If stored in a cool, dry environment, there should be no need to freeze the main pail for the first 12 months of storage.
After 12 months it wouldn't hurt to store the remaining food in the freezer. Either way nutrient loss should be fairly minimal.
ANY natural food source deteriorates over time. Freezing slows the process, but does not stop it.
I once cleared out an on line seller of all of his Dainichi food (similar to NLS - high quality) that had passed its expiration date. I used it for 2 years past that date and no fish appeared to suffer a negative impact.
If a big bucket is too much for you - ask a fellow fishkeeper to share it with you.
I am on the last portion of flake food that I purchased about 18 months ago and kept within a freezer. I just made a 4lb order of various flake food from Wet Thumb that I'm sure will last me about the same length of time, if not longer. My "data," for what its worth.
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