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best food? info required


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food with added hormones like white crane will colour up all fish, even females. however, this does not have a good effect on the fish, making some fish sterile and generally not recommended.

as above, nls cichlid formula 1mm is great, or johns new fish focus food is less than half the price and just as good

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i feed dry food, and occasionally brine shrimp or peas, just to mix it up because the dry food is protein heavy and i've read that its better for their digestion and overall health to have a varied died, but if your fish are unwell i'd stick to just dry foods til they get better because the other alternatives mess up the water too much

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The more variety the better dont believe the one food does all bs. Mix between brands as well. Mine get a good diversion of frozen, freeze dried, live and prepared foods. It is seriously the only way to go.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The easily best food, dry commercial food that is, is NLS. It is still the only food on the market that can be feed exclusively, that is, you don't need to feed a variety, as it has all that already. Just read the labels, or search this site for past ....discussions.

Use NLS as the only dry food, feed frozen foods or live as you want, but feeding NLS and another dry food will lower the overall quality of dry food that is consumed.


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Well guys, there will be an alternative to NLS very soon. It is called New-Era and will be arriving very shortly. Made in the UK it is a soft extruded pellet made at low temperatures to retain most of the nutrients! :) Melbourne Aquarium is looking to replace their wet diet (prepared fresh fish) with this because of the nutritional content and low waste. The Dubai Mall Aquarium does this and the curators and vets there were very impressed with this food. Melbourne Aquarium will also look to use this pellet to sell to public to feed their main aquarium. At present they sell a small tub at about $5 so that you can feed one of their big tanks!

If anyone wants to give it a go, PM me and I'll see if I can send you a small sample. Unfortunately, since Christmas is fast approaching, stores will have stock in the new year.



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i had a look at their web site. I wouldnt mind trying some if it becaomes available.

They dont seem to have a lot of info about the ingredients, but there is a nutritional info PDF which I cant download. The info could be there.

I also found this info on the net

New Era now supplies more than 60 public aquaria in the UK, Europe, Australia, North America and New Zealand and signed 15 new contracts across Europe, Australia and the UAE. In addition, 25 more distributors have been appointed throughout Europe, the UAE, North America, the Far East, South East Asia and South Africa.

Sounds like an interesting food.

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Well guys, there will be an alternative to NLS very soon. It is called New-Era and will be arriving very shortly.

Geeze Arj, it seems like only yesterday that you were promoting NLS in the same fashion, even referring to one of the curators of the Melbourne Aquarium, and their success when feeding the NLS TherA formula. Of course many public aquariums also feed NLS, some for over a decade now. :)

I find it a bit comical that every time a new product hits the market, it's always compared to NLS.

Perhaps that alone speaks volumes? ;)

Arj, Perhaps you can post a pic/pics of of the labels showing the ingredients etc that are on some of the jars for the members here to see?

Josh ....... I have the full pdf document from the distributor in the USA, scroll down for the spec sheet for the marine pellet, which is almost identical to the CA/SA cichlid formula, which for some reason they have classified as being a carnivorous feed.

I understand that some folks might not consider me to be an unbiased source of information when it comes to fish food, but if you consider the information in my following comments closely, I think you'll find that I am in no way bashing this "new" food. If anyone reading this feels that New Era has something that NLS doesn't have, feel free to use it. I have no issues with that, just like everyone else I am always looking for improvements within this industry.

IMO some of the Pros & Cons are as follows.


1. far less carbohydrate than found in many tropical fish foods, which is a good thing as most species of fish can only assimilate so much carbohydrate, especially terrestrial based plant matter such as corn, soybean, etc.

2.Better vitamin/mineral supplementation than a lot of the commercial foods out there.

3. A "soft & moist" food with a water content of approx 20% which equates to being more palatable to some fussy eaters. This also makes feeding easier for those that don't have the skills or patience to pellet train more finicky fish with more dense/dry pellets. I have never had any issues with this, but I realize that some people do.


1. Limited ingredients in many of the formulas. As an example, the Central/South American formula contains no aquatic plant matter, which is odd, as most of the CA/SA species would consume at least some plant matter on a regular basis, even those classified as being carnivorous. (via the stomach content of their prey) Apparently New Era's work-around for this is to feed several of their formulas on a rotation basis. I'm not too sure that the vast majority of consumers are going to want to follow that type of feeding regime, but hey, what do I know - I'm a nutrition nerd, not a marketing genius.

2. Very high Ash content, quite frankly the highest that I have ever seen, even when including some of the cheapest foods that come out of Asia. Approx 20% Ash content across the board in all of their formulas. Part of this would be due to utilizing less starch/carbs in their formulas, which tends to push up all of the other numbers, the rest I can only assume comes from the fish/shrimp ingredients. As an example, when ingredients such as fish meal are derived from processing plant waste (which is very common in the fish food industry) it typically has a very high ash content due to the fish meal being mostly comprised of heads, bones, and scales. Essentially the leftover "racks" of the fish, vs a fish meal such as Herring meal which is comprised of the "whole" fish. The same would apply if one was using leftover shrimp parts, vs whole krill.

3. High moisture content. This can definitely be a pro when training fish to eat a pellet as soft food is generally more palatable. The downside is that the consumer is paying for that water (anyone can pre-soak their own pellets if they feel the need), and if the food isn't stored properly it has the potential to go off much easier. With higher moisture content there is a higher risk of mold, and rancidity of fat, unless that food contains a significant amount of synthetic preservatives, such as ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, etc. I see no preservatives listed in the New Era specs, so perhaps Arj could explain exactly how that works. The shelf life is listed as 2 years, so something beyond just vitamn C & E must be allowing a shelf life of 2 years.

The entire "low temp" cooking process is questionable, as any company could state they use low temps. There is no industry standard with regards to low temp extrusion in pet foods. I've seen commercial pet foods cooked at 90C referred to as "low temp". When I enquired about New Era's extrusion temps, here's what a New Era rep sent to me. I believe that Andy is one of their top reps in the UK.

Hi Neil

Sorry for the late reply in this message!

Afraid I can't give away the exact temperatures, however the pellets receive no direct heat whatsoever during the process. because of the high quality items we use such as the fish meal there are natural fibres in the product, which when extruded create friction and generate their own heat. This then binds the pellets.

The Flakes are made in a unique way which means they are exposed to heat for a short period of time and then removed, the latent heat here then evaporates the water from the slurry mix to produce the flake.

Hope that's OK for you, it just means that we can be sure that by not cooking the foods that all the vitamins and minerals we add to the diets get into the fish, rather than a dry product soaking up water and then hydrophillic elements such as vitamin C leaving the food for the water.

Thanks for the enquiry and I hope that you have good success using the diets!

All the best


That would probably all sound very impressive to the average consumer, but the reality is that the extrusion process creates friction, and pressure, which creates heat. ALL commercial foods are cooked, there's no one selling pellets comprised of raw uncooked material, AU wouldn't even consider such a product to enter their country. No one within the industry knows what temps are being used by their competitors, or how long the raw ingredients are exposed to those temps. In other words, anyone could say pretty much anything, unless they are willing to supply actual numbers supplied from a 3rd party non-biased accredited institution, which due to proprietary information, most aren't willing to do. Fair enough, but then one shouldn't go pointing fingers at every other manufacturer on the planet as though they are baking the b'jesus out of their food. That type of logic defies logic.

As far as the extrusion process causing vitamins to be destroyed........

As long as a manufacturer takes into account that a certain percentage of some vitamins will be lost during the cooking process, and formulates their vitamin supplementation with this in mind, adjusting the ratios accordingly, this is a non issue.

"Amino acids, several vitamins, and inorganic nutrients are relatively stable to heat, moisture, and oxidation that occur under normal processing and storage conditions. Some of the vitamins are subject to some loss, however, and should be used in excess of the requirement." (NRC Nutrient Requirements of Fish 1993)

"If high quality, stable forms of vitamins are added at concentrations sufficient to compensate for manufacturing and storage losses, and the feed is stored under cool, dry conditions, manufactured diets can be stored for several months." (Coehlo, 1996)

Think of it this way, if one poaches an egg in water, does that mean that the amino acid (protein) of that egg has no value? Of course not, cooking the egg may change the structure of those amino acids, but those amino acids are certainly still bio-available. I don't know anyone that eats raw eggs, usually due to the fact that uncooked eggs can carry certain pathogens.

While I agree with Andy that "some" foods (low-quality foods, that have high starch/carb content) can soak up water and allow certain water soluble vitamins to quickly leach out of the food once it enters the aquarium, this is a non issue with premium foods, especially if one is feeding a nutrient dense pellet. Also, a 20% moisture content doesn't equate to it not being a dry food, it's simply less dry than one that has lower moisture content.

If all it took to create a superior food was extruding at low temps, every one would be doing it, as the processing costs are greatly reduced as FAR less power is consumed in this type of extrusion process. I don't know of any commercial feed mills that wouldn't JUMP at the opportunity to reduce production costs in their feed. Think about it. New Era isn't the first company to come out with a "soft & moist" food, nor do I imagine they will be the last.



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I didn't see Neil in his pros and cons section, compare or refer to NLS. He was detailing nutrition and manufacturing etc information. I've just gone back and looked again, and if I missed a NLS reference, shoot me (-;

Neil is completely and wholly sold on NLS, and most definitely biased. But that does not mean his information is incorrect, or contains misinformation. Personally I don't know anyone who knows fish nutrition and the fish food manufacturing industry like Neil does. Least wise, he's the only guy who'll go online and spend his time putting down his knowledge. It makes no difference to him if no NLS or a shipload is sold in Australia, so he doesn't sprook on these pages for his benifit as his NLS sales are Canadian based.

People should just read the different fish food labels, I certainly don't have the knowledge that Neil does, but I can read a label, as we do when we go shopping for food for human consumption. Read the label of NLS and brand X food, and make a purchasing decision. Be wary of information that is saying this or that food is the best, there are many people like Neil who have vested interests, but keep them hidden, or misinform for their advantage, and who don't have Neil's knowledge base and ability to communicate as well and honestly as he does. NLS has proved itself with years of use with fish such as delicate marine exotics, and our tough cichlids etc. so if you know it works, why change to the next flavour of the month?

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