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4CornersPuddle, anthropic, Augie, Billy Bates, DrLuke, FishinRod, gehajake, jpsdad, Mongos Pond, Quarter Acre, RStringer, Snipe, teehjaeh57
Total Likes: 20
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#531947 03/12/2021 8:18 PM
by Snipe
I know this has been attempted by a few individuals but I'm going to run a controlled experiment of my own on feeding BG.
I have 2 6X6X10' 1/2" mesh floating cage pens I'm going to use to try and determine 2 different goals.
#1, How well do BG accept "X" and "Y" Feed when training.
#2, What is the growth rate attained on each.
The standard will be 50 northern BG in each cage, 100 fish weighed and split by weight then counted. I will sort any fish out that are smaller in average and add average size additional so all fish are started as close to equal as possible.
Feed of choice is Aquamax 500, 3/16" at 41% protein, 12% Lipid. Optimal BG at 3/16" 40% protein, 10% lipid content.
3'X6' will be used for competition force training for 2 weeks. Day 15 I will remove the baffle and continue to feed the exact same amount of each product by weight per day.
I would like to try the MVP but the numbers on Protein and lipid are far enough apart I feel that would not be apples to apples.
Mortality will be recorded as well as observations of feeding habits.
The final results will be weights total and average of 25 individual fish, followed by WR average of remaining fish.
I realize this will be somewhat inconclusive in the fact that I'm not addressing liver function, but I want to see side by side what shows up.
This will begin about the 3rd week in April until sept 10th.
It's a long ways away but I plan to set up the same feed test for SMB next spring.
Once I start I will be adding pics to this thread.
Liked Replies
#535480 May 21st a 07:16 PM
by optimalfishfood
This is Dustin from Optimal and I just wanted to put my two cents out there. First and foremost, I’ve always been interested in fish food. Many of our “competitors” these days are actually feed companies (and nutritionists) I looked-up to growing up and ultimately paved the way for what I do today. Optimal is really focused on creating the best diets we can while still trying to keep the costs reasonable. There are a lot of pieces that go into how well a feed works. Individual components like ingredients, formulations, equipment, water quality, or even pellet shapes can all have dramatic impacts on feed performance. We run many different trials in our labs, and we mostly avoid comparing our feeds to others on the market. There is enough fish to feed for all of the feed companies to have a place. Our goal is to facilitate marketplace growth, provide easy access to quality feeds, and advance our understanding of fish nutrition.

As we keep growing and facing new challenges with sourcing the ingredients for our feeds, it is important to us that we get feedback from our customers. We are very excited to support any community or academic trials that will drive the evolution of fish nutrition. We have even tried a few of our own open trials….which I still need to compile and share on this forum when I can find some time.

There are some great questions and observations already and I think the best thing for me to do is keep quiet and remove any bias I can. I, like many others, am excited to watch this thread.

Jpsdad’s last paragraph is pretty spot on. Regardless of formulations and IP, basic commodity ingredients can vary dramatically between manufacturers and even between lots from the same manufacturer. We do not use low-cost formulations. Our formulations only change if we discover something in our labs that improve the diet. I’ve learned there will always be some variances in every batch or lot of feed even if the formulations stay exactly the same. As we grow our goal is to minimize those variances the best we can.

Every pond is unique, management styles vary, and people use their ponds in different ways. Find the feed that works for you and grow some memories.

9 members like this
#537355 Jul 5th a 04:40 AM
by Snipe
Time for an update. Going to keep things simple because this has been kicking my butt for various reasons..
After all fish were measured and weighed, I ended up using 40 per side.
Average weight= 54.78g
Average length= 141.1mm
WR average total= 99.477%
I weighed many fish in many combinations to get as close as possible in each side per weight.
Left=2191.6g, Right 2190.4
Left fed Purina Aquamax 500
Right fed Optimal BG
Both sides fed 3% of Total weight at start=2.2oz per side of each feed.
Day 11 I pulled, measured 10 fish from each and weighed the total in a bucket with 20lbs of water.
Purina side (left)=2449.2g
Optimal side (right)= 2408.8g, = 40.4 diff, minus original skew of 1.2g on left = total gain of
Purina= 257.8
Optimal= 218.4
39.4g advantage to Purina at 11 days= 1.6% better weight gain.
I am NOT going to pull and weigh every 10 days-this was incredibly stressful to the fish (and me)..
I'm going 30 days before I pull again which will be 22 July, 2021.
Personal notes at this time-- No real difference was noted on how fast fish began to feed. Some days fish fed much more aggressively than others but both sides reacted very much the same. Note- I expected some mortality after handling fish but have yet to note any morts.
The bottom line right now is this is just the beginning and I'm sure there are small errors that add up, so don't read too much into this just yet, as 10-11 days doesn't mean much to me at this point.
I chose not to post a bunch of pics right now because this whole deal has been way more time consuming than I had previously planned for, but I'm keeping up the best i can so we all can get "something" out of this without too many open variables to contend with.
I will add I went to 2.6oz/day on feed after weighing to stay ahead of the curve and they still consume total in less than 30 seconds at each of 3 feedings (.87g per event).
3 members like this
#535511 May 23rd a 04:31 AM
by Snipe
In the beginning, in my effort to create a plan on how to go about this, my Reg 1 bio suggested I sit down with one of our hatchery managers and spend some time figuring out what it is I'm looking for.
The answer became less clear the longer we talked. The document linked above was part of one subject we discussed. The question to me was "do you want to grow food fish or sport fish?" This was 2 months ago as we were starting WAE egg take.
I was advised that any feed trial of this type that's going to be done in a cage is going to answer some questions and likely raise even more.
For the purpose I had in mind, it falls into the sport fish location and the questions came up about "what if" concerning how it would be treated. That's when it became apparent that more than one trial would be needed to answer some of the other questions, but let's back up.. I have 50+ control fish that will be receiving no special treatment other than they are only sharing a 100,000 gallon grow out pond with a couple of pounds of FHM.
2 very obvious things are going to happen here. One is 50+ control fish will be able to spawn. 80 test subjects will not.
Now, for whatever reason, when we sorted and measured every fish, we also noted sex. We are very heavily skewed in the male direction-had it been the other way, I'd be fine with that also. Consideration has already been given to sex on growth rates AND to how it may affect the spawning control fish.
What I wanted to save as a final report is being brought up before the test begins, so I've no choice but to explain this part now.
We have weighed and measured both the males and females in each group including the remaining control fish.
What I haven't shared yet-but will now-is the majority of my fish are northern strain BG. The kicker is I added 10 CNBG (5M-5F) to each group that have spent 19 years growing in nasty cold central KS winter conditions and prosper well NORTH of I-70 where they've been stocked in the last 4 years.
When the trial is over at the end of the growing season, these fish aren't done yet. I'm planning fin clip on RH pectoral of Purina fed, LH pectoral of Optimal fed and they will be put into grow out pond with control fish. I plan to see this through long term and what effects this has in 3 years.
I have a plan in place that will give some insight to several questions and may open the door to more questions ahead, but I'm not going to speculate on what the correct way to do this is because that ALL DEPENDS on what the goal is.
I'm using part of a plan that includes input from 3 of our state hatchery techs, parts of what I believe will be beneficial to pond owners, and some bits and pieces from research done in the past that I believe will benefit all in the end.
In the end, I'm sacrificing 100,000 gal grow out pond, a lot of time and effort trying to put this together so whatever it is I come up with, I hope it is of some use to everyone.
2 members like this
#535503 May 22nd a 10:12 PM
by Snipe
Here's a few of the questions that have come to mind over time about several aspects of supplemental feeding and a good part of why I'm doing this.
One thought I wonder about is if we provide feed at a certain amount, there are many variables that need to be considered.
1. Do we feed until fish stop consuming? If so, what if they WANT to consume more of one feed than another.
2. If we go by % of body weight, again, how do we know they won't eat more (or less) of one brand than the other?
What I intend to record is how much do the fish want of each brand, then at the end I will determine what that percentage is and see what total growth actually was for that amount of food. I am expecting similar results from both but there are other parts to the feed besides protein and fat-how does that volume affect growth? I don't think we have anything but assumptions on that.
What if we get done and find that 30lbs of one feed converts to the same gain as 35lbs of the other??
I have a lot of questions and that's why I'm doing this.
1 member likes this
#535528 May 23rd a 06:40 PM
by Snipe
jpsdad, the above info that I have posted is some of the questions that arose from Professional hatchery techs and one of our managers while discussing the best way to conduct this in a manner it will be most useful to pond fish growers.
The fish will receive exactly the same amount of feed by weight each day, 6 days a week. To let the cat out of the bag to clarify what I wanted to add in the final report was that day 7 the weight doubles every week-only every 7th day-that's a planned part of the trial, and will be recorded as we go.
I will welcome criticism after my final report-I hope everyone tears it apart. Then we will learn from that.
If anyone has the time, the pond, money, fish and other equipment to try this, please feel free.
1 member likes this
#535572 May 24th a 09:14 PM
by FireIsHot
Originally Posted by Snipe
...I will welcome criticism after my final report-I hope everyone tears it apart. Then we will learn from that.
If anyone has the time, the pond, money, fish and other equipment to try this, please feel free.

Snipe, I can promise you that those that have actually spent hours in the water rearing targeted fish for whatever reason will not criticize any part of your experiment. In fact, those same people will learn from you. You've been very open, and have shared this whole event with all of us, and I for one can't wait to see the results. I've had complete failures, and epic successes, but nothing as linear and controlled as your project. The results should be able speak for themselves.

Good luck, and thank you for your posts.
1 member likes this
#538358 Aug 2nd a 05:05 AM
by Snipe
Hello to all that may be following this. Sat, July 31, I fed the BG their last meal of this trial, This am, Aug 1st, I started with the hardest part, yet most enjoyable job I know of- weighing and measuring.
Let me start by saying I had intensions of running this another 30 days but as it worked out, I've had algal growth darn near close off the 1" mesh cage- 3 times during the last 25 days! I'll explain the details of how I handled that later...
I have to say a BIG THANK YOU to both PURINA and OPTIMAL for providing the goods to go as far as we could with this. I believe a big thank you is also in order for PondBoss for bringing us all to the same table to share with everyone, whether we give or take that information, I can't think of any better place than right here to do that, so Thank You to BOB LUSK and crew for giving us a place to do this!
Now, I cheated a bit on this by pulling 1 fish from each side every 3rd day to see if a pattern developed or if any major changes were occurring during this to confirm the calculations that jpsdad helped with on this and I will say that on day 20 it became obvious that the weights and lengths I was coming up with was not a fluke-on EITHER side. After weighing a few fish on the 9th day after starting the 3 day weigh, I started to think I had recorded or miscalculated something so I thought, Snipe, this is going to show up in the end and I'll get the full picture so here we go....
LH-Purina AM 500, 40 day total weight = 5,052grams, Average length = 177mm, Ave weight = 126.3g, WR = 107.93%
RH-Optimal BG, 40 day total weight = 5,288grams, Average length = 179mm, Ave weight =132.2g, WR = 108.84%
Fish had a range of 98-118% WR, really, in both sides which leads me to believe some fish are just programmed differently even within the same species.

Here's where I am still shocked at both brands... Purina, 1.53 to 1 FCR, Optimal, 1.42 to 1...!!!!!!! I've been over this figure a hundred times and in this case, I'm going to assume they were utilizing something else available in the pond system because the trial was performed "in the pond"..

There is NO LOSER here.. it's very clear that both feeds produced exceptional in my mind, I would have never guessed it would be so close!
Note on male vs Female- I had 5 northern males and 5 CNBG in each cage. Both feeds show the same results-in this case-that males achieved an ave of 2mm more length but less weight than a female of the same length. I have to assume this would be different at different times of the year, interesting none the less and I have to also assume that upon achieving a larger size this would possibly skew the other direction. I can note that the CNBG were starting to add more length and weight than the NBG were.
I have many, many, many pictures and tons of little tid bits I'd like to share-and will- but I was excited to at the least get the numbers up so we can start the discussion if anyone cares to comment or ask questions!
I should also add on Friday I had 1 mort on the Purina side that I'm sure had nothing to do with Brand X or Y. I did not skew the numbers to exclude that fish as it was the only loss so I added the average X1 to total.
1 member likes this
#538404 Aug 3rd a 10:45 PM
by ewest
jpsdad not sure how to make those comparisons. It is a matter of energetics and you have to count energy expended. On feed trials on fish (not fish food) there is a huge difference as those that I have seen use live fish so the energy expended to capture is a negative. It is significant amount also. On fish food trials there is little to no energy output. I will find the study that provides that feeding can be between 4 -8 times more efficient in BG because there is no energy output.

Couple of threads

More from another thread - this is 2011 data and fish food and what we know about feeding has changed a lot since then.

natural food is better for fish over the long term

pellets (the right type) are 4 + times more efficient than natural food because the fish does not have to expend energy to catch it

lack of food is the single biggest limiting factor in fish growth and condition

From my presentation at PB IV � Fish Nutrition � Applied Science to Small Waters

Bioenergetics is the subject of a field of biochemistry that concerns energy flow and transformation through living systems.

Growth, development and metabolism are some of the central phenomena in the study of biological organisms. The role of energy is fundamental to such biological processes. The ability to harness energy from a variety of metabolic pathways is a property of all living organisms. Life is dependent on energy transformations; living organisms survive because of exchange of energy within and without.

Living organisms obtain energy from organic and inorganic materials. For example, lithotrophs can oxidize minerals . In photosynthesis, autotrophs can produce ATP using light energy. Heterotrophs (including fish) must consume organic compounds. These are mostly carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The amount of energy actually obtained by the organism is lower than the amount present in the food; there are losses in digestion, metabolism, and thermogenesis.

Energy Budget ---- Inputs = Outputs + Growth

Because fish growth often is limited by food availability, supplemental feeding is a logical tool to improve the condition of fish in small impoundments as the energy cost for bluegill to feed on pellets is small relative to the high caloric intake, which can be 4-5 times greater than those fed natural foods (Schalles and Wissing 1976). Substantial increases in the standing stock of bluegill in ponds that receive pellet feed have been recorded (Schmittou 1969) and, in lakes, pellet feeding has been found to increase the number of large bluegills (Nail and Powell 1975).

These results indicate that total fish production and production of bluegill were each increased approximately 75 to 80% by supplemental feeding in 19 months after stocking (Schmittou 1967)

Previous studies demonstrated that feed in excess of 10 pounds per acre per day in bluegill ponds was not utilized. Some accumulated and decomposed, thus depleting the supply of dissolved oxygen which resulted in fish kills (Schmittou 1967) .

the rate of growth of sunfish can be increased by short-circuiting the food cycle, thereby producing harvestable size sunfish in a shorter period of time than would occur under natural conditions (Carnes 1966).

The pellet size should be approximately 20-30% of the size of the fish species mouth gape. Feeding too small a pellet results in inefficient feeding because more energy is used in finding and eating more pellets. Conversely, pellets that are too large will depress feeding and, in the extreme, cause choking. Select the largest sized feed the fish will actively eat. Addition of supplemental pelleted feed did not contribute to the rate of growth of young shad, but did increase the growth and spawning frequency of adults.
1 member likes this
#538480 Aug 6th a 02:08 PM
by Snakebite
Thanks for the effort behind a study like this. There are many factors that skew and hurt a study, but I`m glad this was for the most part a success. I am in the process of a smaller scale effort involving different minnow species and different feeds in tanks.
1 member likes this
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