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#459633 - 11/28/16 08:40 PM optimal feed inconsistent
scott69 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 1075
Loc: Chambers county(Valley), alaba...
i just received 2 new bags of optimal bg feed. when i went to pour it into the feeder on top of what was left in there i noticed these pellets were smaller in diameter and a good bit darker. however it wasn't as small and dark as i have seen in the past. do any of you all notice any difference from time to time?

also notice it has a stronger smell from time to time.


Edited by scott69 (11/30/16 01:29 PM)
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#459651 - 11/29/16 08:29 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 973
Loc: West Central Missouri
Is it possible that the feed changes ever so lightly over the life of the bag. I notice that my dog's food will be much stronger smelling as I open a new bag. The dogs can tell too. They always seem eager to get the first dish of a freshly opened bag. Not so much as the bag nears empty. I can not help to think that the color could change somewhat over the course of a month or so due to the constant humidity changes and the evaporation of the food's moisture content. It might even swell up with high humidity and not quite shrink back down to it's original size leaving the older feed in a larger state.
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#459655 - 11/29/16 10:30 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12742
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Fish food as with any food product will change over time which is why it should be used timely and not stored over 9-12 months. Ingredients purchased by the manufacturer can be variable which can lead to noticable color differences of different batches of food. The food formula or blending process can be tweeked occasionally to hopefully improve the final product. This summer I had a local pond owner store a newly opened bag of fish food in tightly sealed buckets. The food molded while the food in opened and unopened bags over the same time period did not develop mold. The fish food brand was Zeigler-Silver (40-10).


Edited by Bill Cody (11/30/16 12:18 PM)
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#459657 - 11/29/16 10:39 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
RC51 Offline
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Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 4237
Loc: Arkansas
I've noticed with my AQ 600 that the pellet size is always about the same but the shape can be very different. Sometimes their round, sometimes their kinda oblong and some can look more like the old Chiclet Gum and kinda flat for a lack of better description... lol

RC
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#459661 - 11/29/16 11:52 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
optimalfishfood Offline


Registered: 07/15/16
Posts: 27
Loc: SD
Now this is a thread I can certainly contribute to!

I have personally extruded almost all of the Optimal released in 2016. I can absolutely guarantee the formulation has not changed a bit over the course of the year (enter dads "if it aint broke dont fix it" quote). Just to quell any concerns, inconsistancies are absolutely not do to any formulation changes.

That being said, I do believe there might be some inconsistancies between bags... especially if purchased a month or so apart. Traditional feed mills have giant extruders that can pump out 10+ tons of feed per hour. Generally, they will produce a bunch of feed based on forcasts and then ship it out and wait for it to sell. Because it was all produced at the same time, it should all look nearly identical.

In our mission to produce the freshest and highest quality feeds available, we take a different approach. We have a small mill that produces around 1000 pounds per hour. Instead of making 6 months worth of feed at one time...we make fresh batches of feed quite regularly.

Extrusion is a very dynamic process. Running an extruder is less like operating a microwave and more like making pottery. Little changes can alter the size, shape, float, color, and even the smell of the feeds. Those nuances might be noticable when comparing a batch side by side, but I am confident the performance remains the same.

Historically, there has been a rift between feed suppliers and feed users. Feed suppliers just made feed with their ultimate focus being more on margins than the end-user's feedback. Optimal Fish Food is trying to heal that divide. Formats (like Pond Boss) allow a great opportunity to work together to create feed that not only works, but helps create all those special moments that make this Pond Boss community special. We truely want people to smile when they throw feed out to their eager fish boiling the surface of the water.

I cannot help much with how to create a pond, or how many fish to stock, or what all these crazy acronyms mean (i did find a handy guide;)...but I will happily answer questions on extruding fish feed, assessing feed performance, or anything Optimal!

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#459680 - 11/29/16 07:35 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
NEDOC Offline
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Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 853
Loc: SC Nebraska
Great response. Thanks very much.
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#459686 - 11/29/16 08:02 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2142
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Thanks for making the Optimal Jr! I hope you continue to make it. My small BG are still feeding on it, although the CC have stopped. It is the only small floating food that I can easily obtain. Around here, the Grower 400 is a month or more lead time. I guess the remainder of my bag will easily store until feeding resumes in March, provided we get some much needed rain during the winter.

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#459745 - 11/30/16 12:13 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12742
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Excellent! It is great to get a personalized response from someone who actually makes fish food. Optimal is an exceptional product and is achieving more believers all the time. The members thank you for participating on Pond Boss Forum.


Edited by Bill Cody (11/30/16 12:16 PM)
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#459751 - 11/30/16 01:32 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
scott69 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 1075
Loc: Chambers county(Valley), alaba...
thanks for the reply optimal, it wasn't a complaint, just an observation. sure would like to see you all make a pellet about twice the size of your bass pellet that you make now. my bluegill can eat the bass pellets. i only hand feed my largemouth and currently use aquamax. i guess there isn't a big enough demand to warrant a change in setup for larger pellets?
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#459755 - 11/30/16 01:43 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
teehjaeh57 Offline
Chairman, Pond Boss Legacy award; Moderator; field correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7974
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Can someone post a pic of the Jr. vs. the Regular pellet when time allows?
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#459766 - 11/30/16 04:48 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2142
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Here is BG jr compared to Catfish pellets. I don't have any regular left.


Attachments
IMG_20161130_154017.jpg (130 downloads)


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#459789 - 11/30/16 11:43 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
teehjaeh57 Offline
Chairman, Pond Boss Legacy award; Moderator; field correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7974
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Thanks John, hard to see a difference between it and regular Optimal I guess I'd need a side by side. Is there that much difference?
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#459794 - 12/01/16 12:21 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2142
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
If I correctly recall, the regular Optimal pellets are somewhat longer and almost twice the diameter of the Jr pellets. Not quite as big around as the catfish pellets, but almost. I fed two sacks of the regular to my CC. I believe that's why some of them went from seven inches to nearly four pounds and 21 inches in one growing season.

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#459821 - 12/01/16 10:46 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
BrianL Offline


Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 783
Loc: Paris, TX
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.ph...-difference.jpg

It worked. It is Optimal ad, but shows the difference.


Edited by BrianL (12/01/16 10:48 AM)
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#459902 - 12/02/16 05:01 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: teehjaeh57]
optimalfishfood Offline


Registered: 07/15/16
Posts: 27
Loc: SD
Here are couple of images to help demonstrate the size differences.

We used Optimal Junior and Optimal Bluegill to make an image we used on our Facebook page.

The other picture is the actual die inserts we use on the extruder to manufacture the two lines. The inserts are pieces that go on the end of the extruder to mold the shape and size of the final product. I added a ruler (in mm's) to help show the difference in size.

On manufacturing:
I try to keep expansion down to between 0.5 and 1.0 mm. The Optimal Standard die plate opening is 3.0 mm and the Optimal Junior is 2.0 mm. Expansion is the result of many inputs, but a large component is from heat and moisture. Adjustments in these variables (even minor ones) can change expansion dramatically. For example, I've seen 6+ mm pellets come off of a 2 mm die!

Some feed manufacturers use the actual die size to label their feeds. Because floating feeds require expansion, people often notice pellets are a bit larger than the bag label claims. As part of our quality control, we measure the pellets coming off the extruder and adjust parameters if necessary to keep the final pellet size within spec.

Hope this helps!


Attachments
Junior Vs Standard.jpg (121 downloads)
heart in the right place.jpg (100 downloads)


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#459903 - 12/02/16 05:35 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
optimalfishfood Offline


Registered: 07/15/16
Posts: 27
Loc: SD
No worries, feedback of any kind is greatly appreciated. Even though positive feedback is fun, I almost always learn the most from complaints. After all, it's hard to fix something I don't know is a problem!

First off, if you have bluegill big enough to eat a 9mm pellet; congrats are in order as that is a reflection of a healthy pond!

The bass pellets were designed to be as large as possible while still being able to throw the pellets in traditional feeders. I have received similar feedback from people on bluegill eating their bass pellets. Some people are even buying the bass pellets solely to feed their bigger bluegill.

This is quite interesting and exciting feedback! We are actively looking into some of the nutritional benefits of this discovery. More to come on this later...

We aren't sure how big the market is for a large hand-throw only feed, but we are looking into it. If anyone else is interested in a large hand-throw product line, please feel free to message me and give me some of your thoughts. I'm especially interested in opinions on pellet size, target species, and bag sizes.

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#459904 - 12/02/16 05:41 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2142
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
How about using the bass pellets to feed larger channel catfish? Worth it or waste of protein?

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#459905 - 12/02/16 05:43 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: John Fitzgerald]
optimalfishfood Offline


Registered: 07/15/16
Posts: 27
Loc: SD
John,

The bass feed has a higher proximate profile than catfish (or bluegill) require. It certainly will not hurt the fish (they will LOVE it)...but it might be hard on the wallet.

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#459909 - 12/02/16 08:19 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: optimalfishfood]
Yolk Sac Offline

Lunker

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 1255
Loc: Nashville
Originally Posted By: optimalfishfood
The bass pellets were designed to be as large as possible while still being able to throw the pellets in traditional feeders.

We aren't sure how big the market is for a large hand-throw only feed, but we are looking into it.

As others have said, thanks so much for posting here, it is a rare experience to be able to interface with a manufacturer. And thanks for making the high quality feeds you produce, and making them affordable to ship.

WRT throwable pellet sizes, many of us own Texas Hunter feeders, most of which can be readily adjusted to throw pellets in excess of a centimeter by increasing the distance between the bottom of the hopper and the spin plate just below. This is very simple to do on these feeders. I am relatively certain that an Optimally formulated feed specifically sized for trophy bluegill would go be a great seller, and a slow sinking variant specifically designed for trophy RES would do equally well. In fact I'd be willing to bet you could presell several thousand pounds of such a feed, were it to be produced, which would take some of the risk out of the endeavor.

And a hand thrown pellet would be welcomed as well, especially for those pellet hogging 3lb+ plus HSB....

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#459911 - 12/02/16 08:46 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5784
Loc: Boone County Illinois
I'll just keep pushing for a smaller bag of BG JR and Regular BG Chow for us small pond owners. I don't mind paying a little more a pound to keep the chow I'm feeding fresh. A bag available that is half the size would be great!


Edited by Bill D. (12/02/16 08:55 PM)
Edit Reason: Clarification
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#459912 - 12/02/16 09:17 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: Yolk Sac]
optimalfishfood Offline


Registered: 07/15/16
Posts: 27
Loc: SD
Yolk Sac,

Your comments on large bluegill and RES are music to my ears. As much as I want to talk about the various projects we've been working on, I better leave it at...

***2017 is gonna be an exciting year***

WRT hand-throw pellets, how would you feel about a pellet sized like this one?

(The pellets to the left are ~8mm / 5/16" for reference)


Attachments
Big ol pellets.jpg (110 downloads)


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#459913 - 12/02/16 09:53 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: optimalfishfood]
Yolk Sac Offline

Lunker

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 1255
Loc: Nashville
Originally Posted By: optimalfishfood
WRT hand-throw pellets, how would you feel about a pellet sized like this one?

.......Extremely anxious to know when and where I could purchase some!

I think there is a completely untapped market out there for larger sized pellets--especially if they can be so reasonably priced and easily sourced as your products have thus far proven to be. I've fished Richmond Mill once, and was intrigued to see all their feeders throwing pellets a lot larger than AM600, but only perhaps 1/2-1/3rd the size of an AM LMB pellet. I was told that the feed is custom produced for them....and obviously works great for both their LMB and enormous BG.

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#459914 - 12/02/16 10:01 PM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2142
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
One of my projects is to grow a few (5-10) trophy sized albino CC. My biggest one is now about 6 to 7 pounds. The others are 2 to 5.
Those big pellets might work. I got tremendous growth this summer by feeding a mixture of Optimal BG and regular 32% floating pellets. They are like pigs on the surface in warm water.

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#459918 - 12/03/16 05:55 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13739
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I doubt that I would be interested in a large pellet for the large bluegills. I want to feed all of my bluegills without adjusting the feeder. I see no advantage(for me) to have a specialized size when I can use a coffee can when I walk around.
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#459924 - 12/03/16 08:32 AM Re: optimal feed inconsistent [Re: scott69]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3968
Loc: Emory TX
Yolk, are you feeding Skretting? IIRC, it has a very smooth surface and the larger pellets seem to flow through the feeder easier than some other manufacturer's larger pellets.
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