Hot Tips: Reef Food Recipes

by | Oct 15, 2004 | 0 comments

A selection of useful tidbits of information for the aquarist. Readers are encouraged to send their tips to [email protected] or to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the General Reefkeeping Discussion forum for possible publication. Next month’s Hot Tip theme will be “Refugium Tips“.


Reef Food Recipes:

My basic food recipe.

The seafood put it right in the freezer when I get home from the store, and when I am ready to make the food I let it sit on the counter for a little while so it gets partially thawed, I find it works better in the food processor that way. The seafood I get from the grocery store.

Add to food processor equal parts (about a small handful) of:

  • Raw shrimp (peel most of the shell off as my fish won’t eat that, I used to try and make them eat it by blending it in but it makes the food extra gooey and the shells still make a mess in the tank)
  • Raw squid. This MUST be partially frozen, it will not chop for me in the cuisanart if fully thawed.
  • Raw salmon, about equal part to the other seafoods, cut into cubes.

Pulse the food processor until you have a mash with little chunks dispersed within.

Add one sheet of nori, torn into little pieces, a quarter teaspoon of golden pearls, and a squirt of Selcon, then pulse a few more times.

Spoon into small ziplock baggies, and squash flat and thin, squeezing any air out. Freeze flat. If you do not squash the bags thin enough it will be tough to break off an appropriate size piece.

— “Laura D”

Here is my list of ingredients and recipe:

  • One large fish fillet. I personally don’t use salmon as I find it fatty.
  • 10-15 very large raw saltwater shrimps pealed
  • One large packet of thawed krill. Drain the water before adding.
  • 1-3 larger packets of thawed mysid shrimp. Drain the water before adding.
  • Large amounts of 2-3 different flake foods.
  • 4-8 oz of frozen cyclopeeze.
  • 3-4 large sheets fo nori
  • 3-4 table spoons of minced garlic
  • A few squirts of children’s multivitamins
  • A few squirts of selcon
  • A few frozen food packets like squid, bloodworms etc. Thawed and drained.

Mix in a blender until it is like thick mud. Then, pour in smaller ziplock bags and freeze it while flat. When I feed, I take parts of the block and thaw it by itself (no added water). Then, I add the chunks to the tank.

What I have learned:

  • I don’t add the water from the frozen foods because it tends to make the mix too watery.
  • I don’t add pellet foods because it tends to make the mix very powdery and wastefull when feeding.
  • I don’t add mollusks like clams, mussels, oysters, etc because I find them to have a larger content of heavy metals.
  • This food is incredibly concentrated and should be treated as such. You can pollute the heck out of a tank with it if not feed appropriately. Start slow and with very little and work your way up. Only add what the fish will actually eat.
  • Your blender will only last 1-2 sittings of this food. I guarantee you it will die on you.

— “dgasmd”

Wade’s Homemade Mash Recipe

(from the Library)

  • ~2 c. Uncooked, de-shelled fresh shrimp
  • ~1/2 c. Uncooked, frozen “white” fish (any type of non-fatty, white ocean fish is good… flounder, whitefish, etc)
  • ~1/2 c. Uncooked, fresh mussel or clam or oyster or combination
  • 1 full sheet Nori (unsalted, unspiced, dried)
  • 1 tsp Selcon (Selco)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (to preserve and provide vitamin C)
  • Many other items can be thrown in for variety. A mixture of prepared retail foods is common, brine shrimp, greenwater, vitamins, etc. Just be certain to use high quality foods.

To prepare the food, keep out 1/2 c of the shrimp, combine all others except nori in a blender. Add fresh saltwater (or microwave (to boiling) some tank water to use) and blend until smooth. Add nori, chop, but don’t completely blend into oblivion. Chop remaining shrimp into small pieces by hand, 1-4mm in size, add to the mash and combine, but don’t blend thoroughly.

If the blend is too thick, add more salt water. Another option is to add concentrated phytoplankton (such as DTs).

Spoon/pour the mash into individual ziplock baggies (usually 4-6 of them) and lay flat in the freezer (I use a baking pan until they are semi-solid to prevent them from being really thick in spots). Be careful not to make it too thick in the baggies as its hard to break apart later. This keeps it in a few batches that should last if well sealed.

To use the food: Break off (typically can snip off pieces, if its not too thick, by hand) and defrost the food in a cupful of tank water. You can either leave it whole and let the fish tear it apart or do as I do and create a snowstorm out of it by allowing it to defrost and then using a turkey baster to break it all apart in the cup. All of the various particle sizes allow all of your animals (corals and detritivores) to feed.

— D. Wade Lehmann


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