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Unread 08/09/2000, 12:48 PM   #1
Steve Richardson
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So... you want to make your own Reef Food?

I think we’ve all done it. Yesterday, I went to the store to get some fish food – looked down at the $5.99 price tag on a little 3.5 oz package of named brand ‘minicubes’, and thought… wow, that’s about $27 a pound. Not only that, the ingredients looked readily available, and you might even be able to add a few things to make it better...

So, after reading recently about people making their own food, here is a recipe I used, along with approximate cost of ingredients. For example, a 2oz package of Wakame seaweed costs about $3.50 (you can probably find for much less) and the package would make perhaps 10 batches of this food, hence the ‘$0.35’ price for it. This recipe is a variation from Eric Borneman’s brew found at: .

This was a test and I wanted to start small, so this recipe will make enough to fill 2 large sandwich sized ziplock bags. Freeze into flattened patties, and break off what you need to feed. Just ramp up the recipe if you want to make more.

A few comments:
· If you use dried seaweeds, read the packages and avoid any that are cooked.
· FWIW, 15 mls = 1 Tablespoon
· Variety is fun… don’t follow the recipe, use it as a guideline, and add what you have! Add fresh Mussels, Oysters, Lobster roe, other seaweed such as Hijiki or Ano, etc..
· I didn’t think that ‘golden pearls’ or flake would work well, as they might only become a paste, but again... whatever works for you.


Fresh or Live:
¼ lb Small Scallops $1.49
¼ lb Shrimp, whole $1.49
¼ lb Squid, whole $1.49
¼ lb Chowder scraps / Fish $.99
5 oz Chopped sea clams $2.50
1 batch Brine nauplii (1/2g cysts) $.25 (just hatched)

5 cubes Sea Urchin $.50
5 cubes Brine Shrimp $.50

¼ oz Wakame $.35
¼ oz Nori $.35
¼ oz Kelp $.35
¼ oz Dulse $.35
1 T. Spirulina powder $.55
(seaweed from Whole Foods or Asian Markets)

2 T. Daphnia (Sweetwater Zooplankton) $1.50
2 t. SELCO concentrate, or Selcon $.95
1 T. Vita-Chem, or vitamin suppliment $.40

Total Cost: $13.91 (for almost 2 Lbs I guess of relatively low moisture, dense food)


First, let the seaweed soak in a little tank water for 30 seconds which makes it much easier to cut up. Then, finely chop it and set aside. Mince all fresh ingredients (Except nauplii). Mix together with seaweed. Pulverize in food processor, blender, etc (leave a little out if you want some big chunks to remain) to form a rough, gritty looking mess.

(I think you might get a nicer consistency if you mince everything first.. so you dont have to blend as much of it onto oblivion, but whatever you like)

Add Brine nauplii, SELCO, Daphnia, Vita Chem, thawed frozen stuff, & Stir well.

Pit mixture into old ‘formula 1’ blister packs, ice cube trays, or into sandwich sized ziplocks which should be frozen thin & flat – break/cut off chunks as needed.

-Steve R

[This message has been edited by Steve Richardson (edited 08-09-2000).]

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Unread 08/09/2000, 01:05 PM   #2
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FWIW, squid becomes a gummy mess when you try to blend it. I tried it once & had a hell of a time getting it out of the blender blades. Never again. Other then that, it sounds great.

Nice post, thanks Steve!

Jim Fox

In the sea of life, you're just a live your life insecure...

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Unread 08/09/2000, 04:17 PM   #3
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For our July meeting of MARSH, Eric made the reciepe and it was a great meeting. We had an assemble line giving Eric what he called out to add next. He was centered in the middle of the meeting place and it was our biggest turnout yet. Everyone got to take home a sample and my fish and everything benefitted. I'm going to see if several members want to go in and make another batch.I agree, this is an excellant topic. Oh, I might leave the squid out then.

[This message has been edited by SueT (edited 08-09-2000).]

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Unread 08/09/2000, 04:40 PM   #4
Steve Richardson
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Noooo! Dont leave out the SQUID!

I think if you chop it up/mince it like I did first, then you dont have to really kill it in the food processor.

I used a small hand powered (crank on top - razor blades inside...) food processor thingy, which worked well. It might get too stiff for a blender, and the speed is low so it wont turn into the contents into glue/paste.


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Unread 08/09/2000, 07:03 PM   #5
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Squid is much easier to chop/mince if you freeze it first. I agree, it's hell trying to untangle gooey tentacles from the blender.
You can also buy mixed chopped raw seafood at Asian supermarkets. Ditto on seaweed and such. You can even get fish roe there.


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Unread 08/09/2000, 07:58 PM   #6
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mmm.... calamari... hook me up! I'm working too long today without food... I've been here 14 hours and haven't eaten in 9! (sorry to disrupt the great thread but you got my stomach rumbling)

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Unread 08/09/2000, 08:25 PM   #7
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Cool thread.I have a question that might seem stupid but if you puree this stuff up how it still possible to feed the fish when it thaws?Wouldn't the food particles be too small and liquidy and whats not eaten add needless nutrients to the tank?


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Unread 08/09/2000, 09:21 PM   #8
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I thought the samething. $4 for 3.5 oz what a rip. Various seafoods,+ I got spinulia&kelp flake ,decapulated brine eggs and other stuff from brineshrimp which is enriched with vit. added frozen veg like peas its much cheaper and fresher. it really doesn't matter what you use but I wouldn't leave out spinuilia or decapulated brine eggs.=hufa part of the food.

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Unread 08/09/2000, 10:53 PM   #9
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Tagged for the archives

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Unread 08/10/2000, 02:11 AM   #10
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I have also tried squid once. I freezed it, minced it, and threw it into the blender, but it is still so thick and pasty which was very troublesome. Even then, the blender didn't quite do a good job of blending it with the rest of other ingredient.

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Unread 08/10/2000, 05:06 AM   #11
Steve Richardson
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reefmanic -

Again, I think if you just start blending bug chunks together, you might get a higher percentage of 'paste'.

I minced/chopped everything fine first, then processed a little at a time, so as not to wind up with a smooth puree at the bottom, and still giant chunks on top.

I think if you do a little more by hand, and then dont force too much into the processor/blender/mill/etc... it comes out great.

planoi - yup. I didnt use a blender but could see that. A blender has a small blade area so would get clogged up real quick unless you are quite careful or thin the mixture out. I hear one of those Braun hand mixer/processor things might work O.K. too.


[This message has been edited by Steve Richardson (edited 08-10-2000).]

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Unread 08/10/2000, 07:51 AM   #12
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But what do your margaritas taste like after this?


Visit My Reef Tank

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Unread 08/10/2000, 09:15 AM   #13
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Steve - The recipe I used was a little different but lots of the same stuff and my fish and corals have never looked better. The corals really respond and the fish just gobble it up. There are plenty of larger chunks for them. I added some DTs phytoplankton to mine so with every feeding my corals are getting some of that.

Coralhound was over on Sunday when we were feeding it and he was amazed at the response. This stuff is easy, cheap, and good for your tank. Kind of reminds me of making my own fresh baby food when Fishkid was little.


Ouch, what's that burning sensation in my finger tips? Is it nematocysts? Is it electricity? NOOO! It's...PAPERCUTS!!!

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Unread 08/10/2000, 10:01 PM   #14
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Another thing that I noticed when I add the home made mix was that it tends to float... is this the case with you people?

may be I need to blend it a little further?

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Unread 08/10/2000, 10:54 PM   #15
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Excellent thread. I'll ask Eric if he'll do
it again at the Western Marine Conference next April in Monterey, CA.


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