Besides providing your goldfish with a healthy environment to live in, it is also important to feed them with quality food that satisfy their nutrients requirement. There are a lot of off-the-shelf fish food in the market nowadays, but do you know what to look for?
Well, the good news is that most of these fish food carry the information on their packaging. This is in the form of a fish food nutrients label, which is usually printed at the back of the packaging.
Let’s find out what kind of nutrients information is on this label and how that will affect your goldfish.
Fish Food Nutrients Label
The nutritional standards for pet food is established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and all pet food companies are responsible to formulate their products accordingly.
Based on these standards, there should be a “Guaranteed Analysis” printed on the packaging. A “Guaranteed Analysis” is basically the information of the product’s nutrient content. So for fish food, this is what we called as the fish food nutrients label.
An example of the label:
At a minimum, the “Guaranteed Analysis” label should include the following information of the product’s nutrients:
- minimum percentages of crude protein
- minimum percentages of crude fat
- maximum percentages of crude fiber
- maximum percentages of moisture
“Crude” here refers to the method of analysis.
Some fish food companies include guarantees of other nutrients in their product besides the 4 mandatory ones mentioned earlier. If a product claims to be high in this or low in that nutrient, supporting guarantees will need to be included in the packaging.
Alright, so now that you know the kind of information provided by a fish food nutrients label (or “Guaranteed Analysis”), let’s take a look at the 7 main nutrients that are in your goldfish food and why they are important.
The 7 main nutrients in your goldfish food
Goldfish require protein in their diet to grow. Besides that, protein is also a source of energy. However the requirement for protein differs depending on the growth stage of your goldfish.
For a younger goldfish that is still growing, 40-60% of protein are required in their diet. For an older goldfish, protein is used more for maintenance, so it requires less of it at 30-40%.
So what happens if you feed too little or too much protein?
Well, too little protein will slow down or stunt the goldfish’s growth, and too much protein will lead to higher ammonia and undigested protein wastes. It may also impact the goldfish’s kidney.
Fats are another source of energy for goldfish. They are stored in the body for future use. Besides that, they are also the building blocks for cell membranes, nerve cells and hormones.
Although some of these fatty acids are generated naturally, some of them can only be acquired through food. So that is why you must make sure that they are getting at least 1% of fats in their food.
The amount of fiber in the diet affects the amount of wastes produced by the goldfish. The lower it is, the less wastes your goldfish produce. This is good because it basically means that the water quality of your fish tank will not deteriorate as fast.
Fiber, along with protein and fats are assessed to determine the quality of a fish food product. A good quality fish food should have these 3 nutrients within the following range:
- Crude Protein at 36-42%
- Crude Fat: 6-15%
- Crude Fiber: 3-5%
Moisture content affects how well the “freshness” of the fish food can be preserved. The lower moisture content will mean that the fish food can last longer at room temperature. Generally, fish food that are available in dry pellets contain 13% of moisture or less.
Ash is basically a term used to lump together mineral contents such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. These minerals play a big part in helping with bones formation, buoyancy control, gas exchange, muscle activity, cell membranes, etc. A good ash content of dry fish food is between 7% to 12%.
Goldfish can only get phosphorus from their diet. They need this mineral along with calcium to build and repair bones, teeth and scales. The lack of phosphorus will cause slow growth rate and bone deformities.
Although your goldfish can produce vitamins naturally, there are some which can only be acquired through diet. These vitamins are crucial for the immune system.
So there you go. Now you know what kind of information you can get from a fish food nutrients label, and the 7 main nutrients that should exist in your goldfish food.
Anyhow, it is always advisable to feed your goldfish with a variety of food besides the processed ones. This is to ensure that they get all the nutrients that they need.
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